Legendary WWF Tag Champion Passes Away

Masa Saito, an innovative Japanese wrestler who achieved successes both in Japan and in the United States, has passed away at 75. Saito suffered from Parkinson’s at the end of his life, but was working on being ready to carry the Olympic torch for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Initially competing in the Olympics for Japan as a wrestler, Saito turned pro and became a top star for New Japan Pro Wrestling, including having a legendary 2-hour “desert island death match” against Antonio Inoki.

In America, Saito was a star in the AWA, winning the heavyweight title. He also established himself as a tag-team specialist, winning tag belts in several major American and Japanese territories. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment was winning the WWF tag belts alongside the villainous Mr. Fuji.

Saito is also part of wrestling lore for an infamous incident involving fellow wrestler and Olympian Ken Patera. The two were allegedly refused service at a McDonalds leading to the Patera throwing a rock through the restaurant window. When the police came to confront the two, Patera and Saito beat up the officers until more help arrived. The two served time in prison for the incident.

Saito also innovated the “Saito suplex.”

Image result for saito suplex

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