The strange tale of MMA pioneer Masahiko Kimura’s time in pro wrestling, where he legitimately got the shit kicked out of him by “Father of Puroresu” Rikidozan in a fixed fight that turned real. Via Wikipedia:
In the early 1950s, Kimura was invited by Rikidōzan to compete as a professional wrestler. They performed both as tag team partners and as opponents, but Kimura was not marketed or publicized as much as Rikidōzan, primarily due to Rikidōzan’s own opposition (Rikidōzan was actually Zainichi Korean, and thus he reportedly felt conflicted or insecure about having a real Japanese in competition with him for publicity). The Rikidōzan vs. Kimura match for the Japanese Professional Wrestling Heavyweight title was the first high-profile match between two native professional wrestlers. The match, according to Kimura, was supposed to go to a draw and set up a series of rematches. But Rikidōzan, whether it was premeditated or in the heat of the moment, shot (began fighting for real) on Kimura and battered him unconscious with a series of open hand strikes, punches, and kicks (some of which were to the groin), and won the match by knockout. Kimura never received a rematch with Rikidōzan. Kimura describes the events as follows:
“In November 1951, I founded Kokusai Pro Wrestling Association. After I came back from US doing pro wrestling matches, I did pro wrestling shows throughout Japan. In those days, Rikidozan also started a new organization called Japan Pro Wrestling Association. So, mass media started to talk about Kimura vs Rikidozan match. I met with Rikidozan and asked his opinion. He said, “That is a good idea. We will be able to build a fortune. Let’s do it!” The 1st bout was going to be a draw. The winner of the 2nd will be determined by the winner of a paper-scissors-stone. After the 2nd match, we will repeat this process. We came to an agreement on this condition. As for the content of the match, Rikidozan will let me throw him, and I will let him strike me with a chop. We then rehearsed karate chop and throws. However, once the bout started, Rikidozan became taken by greed for big money and fame. He lost his mind and became a mad man. When I saw him raise his hand, I opened my arms to invite the chop. He delivered the chop, not to my chest, but to my neck with full force. I fell to the mat. He then kicked me. Neck arteries are so vulnerable that it did not need to be Rikidozan to cause a knock down. A junior high school kid could inflict a knock down this way. I could not forgive his treachery. That night, I received a phone call informing me that several ten yakuza are on their way to Tokyo to kill Rikidozan. “
On December 8, 1963, while partying in a Tokyo nightclub, Rikidōzan was stabbed with a urine-soaked blade by gangster Katsuji Murata who belongs to Bōryokudan Sumiyoshi-ikka. He died a week later of peritonitis on December 15.
I’m sure in the 10 years between screwjobbing Kimura and his death, Rikidozan probably did a few other things that earned him a pee knife in the back. But it’s an interesting story none the less.
(video via the ScrambleStuff twitter)