The twelve-time professional wrestling world champion, Antonio Inoki (79) passed away on Friday and the WWE fraternity paid tribute to the Japanese legend on social media. WWE stars including chief content officer Triple H, former wrestlers William Regal, Taz, Mick Foley among others took to Twitter to wrote a heartfelt note.
Inoki was a WWE Hall of Fame inductee in 2010 and was the first Japanese to won the WWF heavyweight championship. In 1976, Antonio Inoki fought the then reigning WBC/WBA heavyweight boxing champion, Muhammad Ali under special rules at the Nippon Budokan arena in Tokyo, Japan.
Watch Muhammad Ali vs Antonio Inoki:
WWE superstars shared heartfelt notes on Twitter to pay tribute to Antonio Inoki
The current WWE Head of Creative, Triple H took to his official Twitter handle and called the Japanese professional wrestling icon as 'one of the most important figures' in WWE history and wrote, " 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 two-time Intercontinental Champion, a five-time Hardcore Champion, a four-time European Champion, a four-time World Tag Team Champion, and the 2008 King of the Ring, William Regal talked about his friendship with Inoki after their 1994 fight.
Former wrestler and currently commentator, Tazz opened up on the impact of Inoki over many wrestlers for many decades.
WWE Legends ambassador Mick Foley wrote a heartfelt note on Twitter and mentioned his fondness for Inoki's 'classic brawls' with Bruiser Brody.
Inoki once defeated Bob Backlund for the WWE Championship, however, the wrestling promotion company didn’t recognize that title change in their history books. The Japanese fought a number of greatest wrestlers from that time, including Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair among others.
Inoki has an immense contribution in the growth of the wrestling community as he was the founder and face of the NJPW (New Japan Pro-Wrestling).