One of the biggest names from WWE’s Attitude Era appeared on NJPW for the first time in almost two decades.
Ken Shamrock was built up as a big star in WWE back when MMA was still growing. He was given a mild push and took part in some important moments, such as when he was the special guest referee in the Bret vs. Austin match at WrestleMania 13. But Shamrock wrestled in New Japan before his WWE stint and has returned to that company recently.
Shamrock made a surprise appearance at NJPW’s Rumble on 44th Street event. At the show, Shamrock confronted Clark Connors and offered him advice as he faced Shamrock’s old foe Minoru Suzuki. Unfortunately, no amount of advice could help Connors as he lost to Suzuki after almost sixteen minutes of wrestling.
After the match, it looked like Shamrock and Suzuki – both of whom are in their fifties – would get physical. But that didn’t happen; instead, the two MMA icons hugged each other instead.
Shamrock and Suzuki fought many years ago in Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling in what have been promoted as real MMA fights. However, some doubters out there still question whether Pancrase was fully ‘real’ and not somewhat worked like other wrestling matches. Shamrock also had two matches in New Japan: a win over Takashi Iizuka in 2003 and a loss to Josh Barnett in 2004.