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History of Puroresu

pre-1940s - 1940s - 1950s - 1960s - 1970s - 1980s - 1990s - 2000s - 2010s




02/02BIRTHDAY: Gen'ichiro Tenryu [Katsuyama, Fukui]


03/25BIRTHDAY: Jumbo Tsuruta [Yamanashi]
09/16The Zainichi Torii Osasis Shriner's Club of Tokyo invites former world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis and seven wrestlers to appear on a show to entertain U.S. servicemen. The wrestlers include Bobby Bruns(U.S.), Andre Adoree (France), Ovira Asseli
09/30The Zainichi Torii Osasis Shriner's Club of Tokyo promotes the card at Ryogoku Memorial Hall in Tokyo to entertain the U.S. servicemen. The card, sponsored by the Japanese Red Cross, features Bobby Bruns(U.S.), Andre Adoree (France), Ovira Asselin(Canada)
10/15Rikidozan joins pro-judokas Masahiko Kimura, Toshio Yamaguchi, and Koukichi Endo in announcing their desire to become professional wrestlers. They begin training at the Shriner's Club.
10/23A legendary judoka Masahiko Kimura defeats Helio Gracie by TKO in Brazil with the President and Vice-President of Brazil in attendance.
10/28Rikidozan has his first match as a pro-wrestler against Bobby Bruns to a ten minute time limit draw at Nichidai Hall.
11/18Joe Louis hosts an outdoor show at Korakuen Stadium. Rikidozan wrestles Obira Asselin to a ten minute time limit draw.
12/03BIRTHDAY: Riki Choshu [Tokuyama, Yamaguchi]


02/03Rikidozan goes to Hawaii, where he trains at Oki Shikina's gym.
02/17Rikidozan wins his first match in the U.S., pinning Cheif Little Wolf in 8:40 at Honolulu Civic Auditorium.
04/01Kokichi Endo arrives in the U.S. along with Masutatsu Ooyama, who later founds Kyokushin Kaikan karate. The two are taken in by the Great Togo, who dubs them the Togo Brothers, a name they would use on numerous U.S. tours.
06/12In Rikidozan's first match on the U.S. mainland, he pins Ike Aikens at the San Francisco Cow Palace.
06/23Rikidozan teams with Primo Carnera in a shot at the world tag team champions Ben & Mike Sharpe at the Cow Palace. The match ends in a time limit draw.
06/26Rikidozan loses his first match, being pinned by Leo Nomellini at the Cow Palace.


03/06Rikidozan returns to Japan after 13 months in America. He fought over 260 matches during his tour, losing to only three men in singles competition: Leo Nomellini, Tom Rice, and Ike Aikens. He lost only twice in tag competition.
07/18Toshio Yamaguchi promotes the first wrestling card promoted by Japanese at Osaka Prefectural Gym. He wreslted against a former sumo wreslter Kiyomikawa.
07/30Rikidozan founds Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance (JWA). He has actually founded the Japan Pro Wrestling Promotion a short time earlier but this was the official ceremony establishing Japan's first full time pro-wrestling organization. Shinsaku Nitta was chosen as the president of the Promotion, and Tadamasa Sakai as the chairman of the Alliance.
09/04BIRTHDAY: Kengo Kimura [Niihama, Ehime]
11/29Rikidozan returns to Hawaii for an eight man tournament with the winner getting a shot at the World Heavyweight Champion Lou Thesz. Rikidozan emerges as the winner.
12/06Lou Thesz defeats Rikidozan with a piledriver at Honolulu Civic Auditorium in 43 minutes to retain the World Heavyweight Title.
12/28BIRTHDAY: Tatsumi Fujinami [Oita, Japan]


02/06Toshio Yamaguchi and Kiyomikawa promote a two-day card in Osaka as Japan vs. US Puroresu Match under the name of All Japan Pro-wrestling Alliance.
02/17The Sharpe Brothers (Ben & Iron Mike), the world tag team champions, come to Japan.
02/19JWA promotes their first cards at Kuramae Kokugikan (old Sumo Hall) for three days. Masahiko Kimura and Yamaguchi also wrestle on the cards. The first day is aired by both NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation, the semi-govermental broadcasting network) and NTV (Nippon Television Network). NTV also aired the second and third days. The tag matches between Rikidozan & Kimura and the Sharp Brothers, main event of the first and the last days, are still talked about today. In front of the "street television" that NTV setup for people who couldn't afford television, there were thousands of people just to watch Rikidozan.
03/14Toshio Yamaguchi starts All Japan Pro-Wrestling Alliance in Osaka.
05/10A legendary judoka Masahiko Kimura starts International Pro-Wrestling Force in Kumamoto.
09/11A former rikishi Yoshinosato debuts as a pro-wrestler.
11/19Sankei Shinbun Newspaper promotes women's show with Mildred Burke, the women's world champion, and six other American wrestlers. With four Japanese wrestlers, they have three consecutive soldout shows at Kuramae Kokugikan (old Sumo Hall). Because of the popularity of women's wrestling, more than six women's promotions are founded this year. The Pan Ikari & Chopin Ikari, who have started female pro-wrestling in Japan in 1948, start Japan Women's Wrestling Club. The Matsunaga Brothers start All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling Associataion, the former body of today's All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling.
12/12A former rikishi Toyonobori becomes a pro-wrestler.
12/22Rikidozan vs. KimuraRikidozan defeats Masahiko Kimura to be the first Japanese Heavyweight Champion in a contraversial match. Kimura, on his biography, explains this match was supposed to be a work as a draw but Rikidozan suddenly started shooting on him during the match.


01/26Rikidozan defends Japanese Heavyweight Title against Toshio Yamaguchi of All Japan Pro-Wrestling Alliance.
04/10A former yokozuna Azumafuji debuts in Honolulu, HI.
04/17Rikidozan & Azumafuji win Hawaiian Tag Team title from Bobby Bruns & Lucky Simunovich in Honolulu, HI.
08All Japan Women's Pro-wrestling Alliance is founded. This was similar to the old NWA, which was a union of the promoters that controls the championships, etc.. In the following month, the Alliance had the championships for the singles' titles in seven weight divisions and the tag titles in two weight divisions.
11/15King Kong & Tiger Jokinder defeat Rikidozan & Harold Sakata to be the first All Asia Tag Team champions.
11/22Rikidozan defeats King Kong to be the first All Asia Heavyweight champion.


05/04Rikidozan & Koukichi Endo win NWA World Tag Team title from Ben Sharpe & Iron Mike Sharpe at the Osaka Prefectural Gym.
05/10Ben Sharpe & Iron Mike Sharpe defeat Rikidozan & Koukichi Endo in Sapporo to win NWA World Tag Team title.
10/23The Japanese Championship Tournaments starts. Yoshinosato defeats Isao Yoshiwara in tournament final to be the first Japanese Light Heavyweight Champion.
10/24On the second day of the Japanese Championship, Surugaumi defeats Michiaki Yoshimura in the final of an 8-man tournament to be the first Japanese Junior Heavyweight Champion. In the heavyweight division, Azumafuji draws with Toshio Yamaguchi. They wrestle a rematch on 10/301956.
10/30In a rematch, Azumafuji defeats Toshio Yamaguchi to win the Japanese Heavyweight Tournament. Azumafuji wins the title shot against Rikidozan's Japanese Heavyweight Title. The match did not take place, however.


04/08Michiaki Yoshimura defeats Surugaumi to win Japanese Junior Heavyweight Title in Osaka.
04/30Rikidozan meets Lou Thesz in St. Louis, MO. Thesz signs the contract to defend World Heavyweight Title in Japan.
07/27Yoshinosato & Kokichi Endo defeat Azumafuji & Hiichi Nagasawa in Tokyo to become the first All Japan Tag Team Champions.
10/02Lou Thesz comes to Japan. He is the first World Heavyweight Champion to visit Japan.
10/07On the first World Heavyweight Title match ever in Japan, Rikidozan wrestles against the champion Lou Thesz to a time limit draw in front of 30,000 people in the audience at Korakuen Stadium (not to be confused with the small Korakuen Hall. Korakuen Stadium was the main baseball stadium of Tokyo before Tokyo Dome was built).
11/24BIRTHDAY: Satoru Sayama (Tiger Mask) [Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi]


All Japan Women's Pro-wrestling Alliance, which has started losing its authority in previous year, folded. The Ikari Brothers leave the business. Women's puroresu loses popularity and goes back from sports arena to striptease theaters.
08/27Rikidozan wins International heavyweight Title from Lou Thesz at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles to be the second champion.
09/03BIRTHDAY: Shiro Koshinaka [Tokyo]
10/25BIRTHDAY: Atsushi Ohnita [Nagasaki]


01/24BIRTHDAY: Akira Maeda [Osaka]
05/21The first World League round-robin tournament starts. This annual tournament continues until 1972.
06/15Rikidozan wins the first World League, defeating Jess Ortega in the final.
09/18Great Togo comes to Japan for the first time.
09/30A puroresu gym/dojo Puroresu Center opens in Naniwa-cho, Tokyo.

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