Tributes to Antonio Inoki flood in from the professional wrestling world

Wrestlers, promoters, announcers, and organizations have paid tribute to Antonio Inoki, whose passing was announced last night.

Wrestlers, promoters, announcers, and organizations have paid tribute to Antonio Inoki, whose passing was announced last night.

New Japan Pro Wrestling announced via its global Twitter account:

New Japan Pro-Wrestling is deeply saddened at the passing of our founder, Antonio Inoki. 

His achievements, both in professional wrestling and the global community are without parallel and will never be forgotten. 

Our thoughts are with Inoki’s family, friends and fans.

The news circulated while WWE SmackDown was on the air, and an impromptu tribute was delivered by Michael Cole and Corey Graves.

WWE’s Chief Content Officer Paul Levesque tweeted:

One of the most important figures in the history of our business, and a man who embodied the term “fighting spirit.” The legacy of WWE Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki will live on forever.

The National Wrestling Alliance posted a tribute featuring a photograph of Inoki wearing the NWA United National title in 1971, with Japan Pro Wrestling accounting manager Kokichi Endo on his left, and booker Mr. Moto on his right.

New Japan English-language commentator Kevin Kelly simply tweeted, “Rest in peace, Inoki san”, while his colleague Chris Charlton wrote:

Countless words will be written and spoken in the coming days and weeks, and nothing will come close to completely conveying just how important Antonio Inoki was. Not just a moment in professional wrestling but in global history. Rip.

All Elite Wrestling owner Tony Khan wrote:

RIP Antonio Inoki, a pioneer in the pro wrestling industry. Inoki’s influence and his achievements will live on forever in the wrestling world; he’s an inspiration to all of the dreamers. Thank you sir.

Pro Wrestling NOAH paid tribute and condolences on its global Twitter account:

IMPACT Wrestling also commented on Twitter:

Wrestlers from all over the world also paid tribute to the Japanese legend.

Shinsuke Nakamura took to Twitter to post a photograph of himself with Inoki, along with a message of thanks.

Keiji Muto also posted a tribute:

Many of the top stars of the NJPW roster are currently in London, England, for the Royal Quest II show, where tributes are expected to be paid later.

William Regal posted a photograph of himself and Inoki in the ring, noting that they became friends after wrestling at 1994’s Clash of the Champions 28. Regal has claimed that Inoki defeated him in that match with a genuine sleeper hold.

Natalya posted a photograph of her maternal grandfather Stu Hart together with Gene Kiniski and Inoki:

Samoa Joe commented: “I found my road… Thank you for everything Inoki-sama Rest in Power.”

Taz noted that he had wrestled on several tours for Inoki:

Adam Cole tweeted: “RIP Antonio Inoki…a legend in every sense of the word.”

Eric Bischoff stated:

Some of the moments in my career that I am most grateful for are a result of the friendship that evolved from our business together. Inoki san was a visionary. In some ways-too ahead of his time.

Konosuke Takeshita noted in a tweet that his first exposure to professional wrestling was watching Inoki’s retirement match with his father when he was two years old:

KAIRI also tweeted a message of thanks:

John Pollock and WH Park will be recording a special edition of Post Puroresu looking at the career and legacy of Antonio Inoki, scheduled for release early on Monday.

About Neal Flanagan 124 Articles
Based in Northern Ireland, former newspaper journalist and copy editor Neal Flanagan is a lifelong pro wrestling fan, Trekkie, and somewhat of a self-confessed nerd.