Antonio Inoki was a giant in the world of professional wrestling. Inoki revolutionized puroresu by putting New Japan Pro Wrestling on the map in the early seventies. The wrestling legend passed away in his home last year and it appears Inoki was immortalized with a statute in Yokohama.

Antonio Inoki was recognized for his contributions to pro wrestling by WWE as well. The wrestling icon was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Stan Hansen in 2010. Even Wrestle Kingdom 17 was held in his honor earlier this year.

As announced by NJPW, a ceremony was held on September 12, unveiling a statue of Antonio Inoki. The ceremony took place at the Sojiji Temple in Tsurumi, Yokohama and every major NJPW star was present for the statue unveiling.

September 12 saw a special ceremony at the Sojiji Temple in Tsurumi, Yokohama marking the first anniversary of Antonio Inoki’s passing at the age of 79 on October 1 2022, as well as to unveil a special statue at the temple.


Representing New Japan Pro-Wrestling at the unveiling were Tiger Mask, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Kazuchika Okada, as well as NJPW consultant Seiji Sakaguchi. AJPW and NOAH representatives were also present along with Inoki students Yoshiaki Fujiawara, Masahiro Chono, Kazuyuki Fujita, Naoya Ogawa and more, with 120 people in attendance at the ceremony.

After incense was burned according to traditional Buddhist ceremony, Naoya Ogawa acted as IGF representative, leading a call of ‘1,2,3, Daa!’ From there, a special ‘Burning Fighting Spirit’ statue was unveiled at the Inoki family grave by Sakaguchi, Chono, Fujiwara, Ogawa, Okada, and Kaito Kiyomiya of NOAH and Kento Miyahara of AJPW.

Inoki’s cremated remains are currently with his daughter Hiroko, who resides in the US, and will be laid to rest in Yokohama when she returns to Japan later this year. The grave and statue are open for viewing to the general public.

Antonio Inoki will forever be remembered for his contributions to the pro wrestling world and that is all that matters now. After all, he has done a lot for the industry and his teachings continue to be taught even now.

What do you think of Antonio Inoki’s new statue in Yokohama? What’s your favorite match with Inoki? Let us know in the comments!

Subhojeet Mukherjee

Subhojeet is a professional wrestling fan for over 22 years. He got captivated by the sport during the Monday Night Wars and has a passion for it ever since. He also enjoys TV shows, movies, anime, novels and music, which broadens his perspective and appreciation for wrestling. He is a knowledgeable and respected voice in the industry.

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