NJPW Founder Antonio Inoki Biopic is in the Works

Fans of professional wrestling legend Antonio Inoki will soon be able to relive his life and career with a brand new movie.

The project was announced today at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17, which is being dedicated to the legacy of Inoki.

Inoki died on October 1, 2022, of systemic transthyretin amyloidosis at the age of 79.

Antonio Inoki: Wrestling Legend

When it comes to wrestling, few lives and careers are more deserving of a motion picture than Antonio Inoki.

Born during the grips of World War 2, Inoki began his wrestling career in the 1960s under the tutelage of the legendary Rikidozan.

Fire from the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance in 1971 over an attempted takeover of the company, Inoki founded his own promotion in 1972: New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Inoki’s strong style made him a force to be reckoned with, and in November 1979, the NJPW founder defeated WWF Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund to win the title.

A rematch that saw Backlund win was later declared a no-contest, but Inoki’s reign is not officially recognized by WWE.

Inoki also battled boxing icon Muhammad Ali in 1976 in a unique boxing/shoot wrestling style match that resulted in a draw.

In 1995, Inoki was part of the Collision in Korea in Pyongyang and defeated Ric Flair at the most-attended wrestling event in history.

For years after, Inoki would remain a staple of Japanese pro-wrestling and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010.

Inoki Out of the Ring

Not only an accomplished wrestler, Inoki was elected to Japan’s House of Councillors in 1989, despite being active in the ring at the time.

In 1990, Inoki traveled alone to Iraq and negotiated with Saddam Hussein that saw 36 Japanese captives be freed in exchange for a wrestling show in the nation.

A series of scandals saw Inoki lose his seat in 1995, but he would be re-elected in 2013.

In 2019, Inoki retired from politics, citing health issues at the time as a large factor in his decision.

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