Antonio Inoki vs Big Van Vader
Antonio Inoki (born Kanji Inoki (猪木寛至 Inoki Kanji) on February 20, 1943) is a Japanese professional wrestling and mixed martial arts promoter, politician, and retired professional wrestler and martial artist. His ring name is a homage to wrestler Antonino Rocca. He also wrestled under the ring names Little Tokyo, Tokyo Tom, among others. He converted to Islam in 1990 and took the name Muhammad Hussain Inoki, something he publicly revealed in 2012.
Inoki began his professional wrestling career in 1960, working for the Japanese Wrestling Association and became a wrestling promoter in 1972 when he founded New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) that he remained the owner of until 2005 where he sold his controlling share in the promotion to the Yuke’s video game company. He later founded the Inoki Genome Federation. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010. As a professional wrestler he became one of the most respected sport celebrities of Japan, bolstered by his mixed martial arts match against boxer Muhammad Ali in 1976. With Ric Flair, he headlined two shows in North Korea in 1995 that drew 150,000 and 190,000 spectators, the highest attendances in professional wrestling.
In 1989, while still an active wrestler, Inoki entered Japanese politics as he was elected to the Japanese House of Councillors and as part of his first term with the House of Councillors successfully negotiated with Saddam Hussein for the release of Japanese hostages before the outbreak of the Gulf War. His first tenure in the House of Councillors ended in 1995, but he was reelected in 2013.
Leon Allen White (born March 14, 1955), better known by his ring name Big Van Vader, or simply Vader, is an American semi-retired professional wrestler, small time actor and former professional football player. White most notably performed for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), and All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) during the 1990s and 2000s.
White wrestled as a super heavyweight wrestler capable of aerial maneuvers such as the Vadersault, which was voted as the “Best Wrestling Maneuver” for 1993 by Wrestling Observer readers. Among other accolades in WCW and Japan, he won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (the first non-Japanese holder) and the WCW World Heavyweight Championship three times each, the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship twice, the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship once, and won the battle royal main event of the 1993 Battlebowl pay-per-view. Although he never held a championship in the WWF, White challenged for all of the promotion’s heavyweight titles, including multiple WWF Championship matches on pay-per-view and cable television. White was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996.