Top Japanese Wrestling Stars Attend Unveiling Of Antonio Inoki Statue

Antonio Inoki

The Japanese wrestling world marked the first anniversary of Antonio Inoki‘s death with the unveiling of a bronze statue of the legend.

Inoki passed away on October 1st, 2022 at the age of 79. The Japanese icon was perhaps best known as the founder of New Japan Pro Wrestling, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and was also one of its top stars for several decades.

He came to international attention in 1976 when he fought another legendary figure, Muhammad Ali, in a ‘Boxer vs. Wrestler’ match that is widely believed to have paved the way for the creation of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

As well as veterans such as Yoshiaki Fujiwara and Masahiro Chono, stars from NJPW, All Japan Pro Wrestling, and Pro Wrestling NOAH gathered in Yokohama at the Sojiji Temple to witness the unveiling of the statue of the icon at the Inoki family grave. There was also a traditional Buddhist ceremony which was attended by over 120 people.

Like Inoki himself the statue is larger than life, being 110% of his actual size, while Kazuchika Okada acted as the model for his impressive physique.

AEW Holding WrestleDream in tribute to Antonio Inoki

Over in the US, AEW will be holding their own tribute to the star, with Tony Khan having announced the debut of a new pay-per-view, WrestleDream

Khan announced the event during the post-All In press conference, revealing that it will take place in Seattle, Washington on October 1st.

Only one match has been announced for the show so far, but it is one many have dreamed of as Bryan Danielson will clash with Zack Sabre Jr. for the first time in 14 years.

The match was originally slated to take place on the debut Forbidden Door event in 2022, but Danielson suffered an injury and was unable to compete on the show.