WWE is set to hold two huge events in Japan in just under one month’s time. On July 3 and 4, WWE will present two live events in Tokyo at the famed Sumo Hall (Ryogoku Kokugikan), the site of many famous Japanese wrestling events over the years. The July 4 show will even be broadcast live on the WWE Network.
It only makes sense for WWE to promote any Japanese connections they have during the shows to excite the Japanese home crowd. It appears that’s exactly what WWE is planning on doing, according to a new report from Dave Meltzer in this week’s edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Meltzer notes that WWE is looking into having WWE Hall of Famer (Class of 2015) Tatsumi Fujinami appear at both of the shows in Tokyo, Japan. If they can’t get him to appear at both, WWE would like for Fujinami to appear during at least one of the shows.
Fujinami was inducted this year into WWE’s Hall of Fame during WrestleMania 31 weekend. Known as “The Dragon” during his wrestling career, Fujinami was the pioneer of the dragon suplex and the dragon sleeper. Fujinami spent the bulk of his career wrestling in New Japan Pro Wrestling, a promotion that is no stranger to promoting supercards at Tokyo’s Sumo Hall.
Fujinami spent a very minor amount of time working in North America during his career as a pro wrestler. He first came to the United States in the late 1970s and worked for Vince McMahon Senior’s WWWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation), winning the WWWF Junior Heavyweight Title in 1978 and taking the belt back to Japan. Fujinami also won the WWWF International Heavyweight Championship in 1982.
Despite never wrestling full-time in the United States, Fujinami did wrestle some of the biggest names in the history of North American wrestling, including Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Andre The Giant, and many others. The WWF (now WWE) had a working relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling for years, ending in the mid 1980s. It was during this time that Fujinami had the chance to work with many of the wrestling greats from the U.S. After NJPW had its falling out with the WWF, NJPW went on to work with WCW, and Fujinami had some all-time classic matches with Ric Flair. He even defeated Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in March, 1991, in front of 64,500 people at the Tokyo Dome.
[Image via WrestlingRumors.net]