- 1 Sumo wrestling career
- 2 Professional wrestling career
- 3 In wrestling
- 4 Championships and accomplishments
- 5 References
Sumo wrestling career
He was a sumo wrestler under the shikona Kinomura, a direct modification of his surname. He had taken up sumo to build his body for Western-style professional wrestling, thus by 1964 he decided to quit, considering that it would be harder to do so the higher up the divisions he went.
Professional wrestling career
Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance (1965–1966)
He debuted in 1965 in the old Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance against Sarukichi Takasakiyama (long-time jobber Motoyuki Kitazawa, later known as Shoji Kai in New Japan Pro Wrestling). As a protégé of Toyonobori, Kimura followed him when he left due to backstage struggles.
Original Tokyo Pro Wrestling (1966–1967)
Toyonobori, Isao Yoshiwara, Kimura, Antonio Inoki, Hiro Matsuda, Masa Saito and others formed Tokyo Pro Wrestling. Kimura did not compete much in the upper cards, but in the lower cards he served as debut opponent for future rival, Haruka Eigen, with whom he would have the longest-running fixture in puroresu from 1981 to 2003. Their last match until then happened on January 31, 1967, a win by Kimura.
When Tokyo Pro Wrestling closed down, Kimura joined Toyonobori and Yoshiwara in creating yet another larger promotion.
International Wrestling Enterprise (1967–1981)
On April 20, 1968, "Rusher" Kimura won his first major title by teaming with Thunder Sugiyama to win the TWWA (Trans World Wrestling Alliance) World Tag Team Championship from Stan Stasiak and Tank Morgan. They vacated the titles in the fall of that year to give way to the new IWA (International Wrestling Alliance) title governing body. On September 20, 1971, Kimura and Sugiyama regained the renamed titles by defeating Red Bastien and Bill Howard; they vacated the title yet again in May 1972 when Kimura left for tours abroad.
Kimura showed up in the NWA's Central States and Georgia territories in 1969-70 as Masao Kimura and in the American Wrestling Association as Great Kimura. This was the only time he actually competed in the AWA; his future challenges for AWA titles all happened in IWE in Japan. In 1972 he showed up in Europe, specifically Germany's Verband Der Berufsringer, under his real name.
On October 8, 1970, Kimura defeated Dr. Death (Moose Morowski under a mask) to win the first cage match in Japan. The match, broadcast on IWE's at the time outlet Tokyo Broadcasting System, earned Kimura a reputation and the nickname Kanaami no Oni (金網の鬼, "Demon of the Steel Cage"). Though TBS later banned cage matches from airing, Kimura was on the way to becoming a superstar. His last tag team title in IWE was earned on May 14, 1973, when he teamed with Great Kusatsu to defeat Mad Dog Vachon and Ivan Koloff for the IWA World Tag Team Championship. It was the beginning of Kimura's golden years.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (1981–1984)
Kimura, Animal Hamaguchi and Isamu Teranishi joined New Japan as an IWE "invading" stable and immediately targeted Inoki, who had given up his NWF Heavyweight Championship earlier in the year. In the subsequent match between former heavyweight champions on October 8, 1981, Inoki beat Kimura by disqualification.
Kimura teamed with Haruka Eigen, since 1973 a New Japan loyalist, for a tag team match against foreigners Roland Bock and Rene Goulet on December 7, 1981, and lost. This was the match that rekindled the rivalry between them that started back in Tokyo Pro Wrestling.
Kimura participated in the inaugural International Wrestling Grand Prix tournament as one of four Japanese entries (aside from Inoki, Akira Maeda and Killer Khan, the latter being a Japanese billed as a Mongolian per his North American persona). He finished sixth in the 10-man table. In the same year, Hamaguchi and Teranishi left him to join New Japan renegade Riki Choshu in the Ishin Gundan stable. Kimura spent the rest of his time feuding with Eigen and teaming with heels such as Bad News Allen.
In between stints in New Japan he and former IWE wrestler Ryuma Go showed up in the dying days of the Los Angeles circuit to win his last major title, the NWA Americas Tag Team Championship.
Universal Wrestling Federation (1984)
Kimura and Go followed Hisashi Shinma out of New Japan to form a new promotion, the Japanese UWF. Initially Kimura supported the circuit's concept, though he eventually followed Shinma out yet again as Satoru Sayama, who wanted to get back into puroresu through UWF after months of inactivity following his stint as the original Tiger Mask, did not want to work with Shinma. Thus, Kimura, Go and Gran Hamada joined All Japan Pro Wrestling after a few months.
In between UWF tours he showed up in Stampede Wrestling in Canada, his last North American tour. On May 5, 1984, he challenged former ally Bad News Allen for his North American Heavyweight championship, but failed.
All Japan Pro Wrestling (1984–2000)
Initially he aligned himself with other IWE wrestlers such as Mighty Inoue, Ashura Hara and Goro Tsurumi in feuding with the factions led by Giant Baba, Genichiro Tenryu, Stan Hansen and Riki Choshu. In 1989, after the Funks left All Japan, he made peace with Baba and the two men began to team, mostly in comedy tag team and six-man matches, though occasionally they got serious. During the 1989 World's Strongest Tag League, he and Baba lost to Hansen & Tenryu when Tenryu pinned Baba, the first time a Japanese wrestler had pinned Baba in All Japan. This tournament marked Kimura's last serious attempt at a title (the vacant AJPW World Tag Team Championship, eventually won by Hansen & Tenryu). Kimura teamed with Inoue for the 1990 and 1991 editions of the tag team tournament, but finished bottom of the table both times.
Kimura and Baba, mostly with Mitsuo Momota following them, continued teaming in comedy tag team matches throughout the 1990s. When Baba died in 1999, Kimura took over the leadership of the team with Momota. When Mitsuharu Misawa broke away from All Japan to form Pro Wrestling NOAH, Kimura jumped to a new Japanese promotion for the seventh and final time.
Pro Wrestling NOAH (2000–2004)
Kimura and Momota continued in their six-man and tag team preliminary bouts against Haruka Eigen and others.
- "Kanaami Death Match no Oni"
Championships and accomplishments
- International Wrestling Enterprise
- IWA World Heavyweight Championship (5 times)
- IWA World Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Thunder Sugiyama and Great Kusatsu
- TWWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Thunder Sugiyama
- IWA World Series (1973&1977)
- Japan League (1978)
- NWA Hollywood Wrestling
- NWA Americas Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Mr. Go