Antonio Inoki Passes Away Aged 79

Antonio Inoki vs. Mohammed Ali

Inside The Ropes is saddened to learn of the passing of wrestling legend and New Japan Pro-Wrestling founder Antonio Inoki at just 79-years old.

Yahoo News broke the unfortunate news of Inoki’s passing in the early hours of October 1st following an extended battle with the rare disease systemic transthyretin amyloidosis also known as wild-type transthyretin amyloid.

No information has been released regarding the official cause of death however in recent years the WWE Hall of Famer’s health had deteriorated and he had been in and out of hospitals after being diagnosed with systemic transthyretin amyloidosis, a condition that affects blood circulation throughout the body.

Antonio Inoki is a highly-decorated legend of Japanese wrestling. He trained under the Godfather of the sport in the country, Rikidōzan, from the age of 17 and then by another hugely influential wrestler, Karl Gotch.

Inoki wrestled for Rikidōzan’s promotion, the Japanese Wrestling Association for several years until, after the murder of his mentor, he went on excursion to the US in 1964. He returned to the JWA in 1971, but after a failed power grab was fired.

It was then that he went his own way and founded New Japan Pro Wrestling, which still operates 50 years later. However, Inoki himself was forced out of the company in 2005 after a big downturn in fortunes that many blamed on his booking decisions and focus on MMA-style matches which were not popular with fans.

Inoki also had a successful political career, being elected to the House of Councillors on two occasions.

Inoki reportedly underwent surgery on his lower back in 2018 and had been using a wheelchair ever since.

The biggest names in professional wrestling have come together sharing memories and celebrating the life of the man who once took on Mohammed Ali and without whom [the landscape of professional wrestling would be vastly different.

News of Inoki’s passing has broken the morning of one of NJPW’s biggest overseas events of the year – NJPW Royal Quest II – taking place in London, England on October 1st – 2nd.

Inside The Ropes sends our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Antonio Inoki during this difficult time.