On a special edition of the Eastern Lariat podcast, Dylan welcomes Japanese wrestling translator & historian Cameren Lee on to discuss the life and career of Antonio Inoki. From an unbelievably harsh childhood and improbable upbringing in the wrestling industry we discuss his early days as Rikidozan’s trainee and his ascent and attempts to ascend to leading the company which turns into the formation of New Japan Pro Wrestling. From there we go into the deep political waters Inoki was forced to wade through with other wrestlers and especially TV Networks, his rivalry with his former tag team partner Giant Baba as they engage in constant attempts to one up each other as AJPW & NJPW owners. We talk about some of his biggest triumphs and matches in the ring and how he was even more than his reputation hails him as, which leads to scandals as time goes along with questionable decisions being made personally and professionally. We also discuss the underrated hand Inoki’s wife at the time, the actress Mitsuko Baisho played in keeping NJPW afloat and all the mayhem surrounding Inoki through the decade. Finally we (relatively) briefly cover his political career which involved more scandal, his 4 year long retirement tour and his post-in-ring career including some talk about the Inoki-ism era of NJPW and his fade into IGF, closing into our thoughts in the overall legacy of this one of a kind complex & influential figure in life, letalone wrestling.
Rest in Peace Antonio Inoki. February 20th, 1943 – October 1st, 2022.
Follow the Eastern Lariat on Twitter: @EasternLariat
Follow Cameren @KinchStalker & check out his blog centered around classic Japanese wrestling translation: frommilotomisawa.wordpress.com
Also very soon STRIGGA will return and join Dylan for a more in-ring focused look at Inoki and his career when we do a Week of: Antonio Inoki. The first episode will be free for all on this feed and the later matches will be on patreon.com/easternlariat so subscribe to hear that along with much great pro wrestling content. Also feel free to follow @STRIGGA for more into him and make sure to subscribe to the Eastern Lariat wherever podcasts are heard and any 5 star reviews are truly appreciated.
Most of all, thank you so much for listening! Thank you Antonio Inoki!