The end of 2023 has brought tragedy front and centre to the wrestling world with WWE leading the tributes to the late Japanese star Killer Khan.
Born in Japan in 1947 as Masashi Ozawa, Killer Khan’s wrestling career began in his homeland in the early seventies. Khan wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling before competing for the then-World Wrestling Federation beginning in the early eighties.
During his time there, Khan challenged both Bob Backlund and Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship on multiple occasions but was unsuccessful in winning the gold. He will best be remembered for his massive feud with Andre The Giant with Khan believed to have broken Andre’s ankle. That led to Andre beating Killer Khan in several Mongolian Stretcher matches around the company’s northeast US territory.
WWE Pays Tribute To Killer Khan
WWE released a statement paying tribute to the late star:
WWE is saddened to learn that Masashi Ozawa, known to sports-entertainment fans as Killer Khan, passed away at age 76.
The Japanese-born competitor was an imposing figure in the ring and highlighted his career with memorable rivalries against Legends such as Bob Backlund, Pedro Morales, Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and more. After a brief return to WWE in 1987 with Mr. Fuji as his manager, Killer Khan would retire from sports-entertainment. Following his career in the ring, Ozawa owned a restaurant in Tokyo.
WWE extends its condolences to Ozawa’s family, friends and fans.
Khan was also mentioned by AEW commentator Excalibur during the Worlds End pay-per-view as was Kurtis Chapman – also known as Mad Kurt – who also passed away recently aged just 26.