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NJPW Named Antonio Inoki ‘Honorary Lifetime Chairman’

Photo credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images

New Japan Pro-Wrestling honored Antonio Inoki before he passed away, but the company didn’t get the chance to publicly announce the news.

Inoki, the founder of NJPW, passed away on September 30. His legacy and his contributions to the business, both in Japan and around the world, are immeasurable.

In recognition of the company’s 50th Anniversary, NJPW announced that it named Inoki the Honorary Lifetime Chairman on September 1. The news was set to be announced at the promotion’s Declaration of Power event on October 10, but Inoki passed away before the show.

The announcement, courtesy of NJPW’s official website, is as follows:

New Japan Pro-Wrestling wishes once again to express profound grief at the passing of founder Antonio Inoki, and our deepest sympathies to fans, family and friends.

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations, and to celebrate Antonio Inoki’s role as a founder, wrestler and beyond, NJPW had planned to name Mr. Inoki the Honorary Lifetime Chairman of New Japan Pro-Wrestling. After Antonio Inoki graciously accepted the invitation, he was officially named Honorary Lifetime Chairman on September 1 2022.

This information was due to be made public on October 10 at Declaration of Power in Ryogoku Sumo Hall. It is to our deep sadness that this announcement cannot take place as previously planned. However, in accordance with Mr. Inoki’s wishes, all of us at New Japan Pro-Wrestling will continue to move forward and lead the professional wrestling world to the utmost of our abilities.

Inoki was a legend in the Japanese wrestling world and beyond. He had twelve reigns as a world champion; he won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship once and the original version of the title twice, among many other accolades.

RELATED: Antonio Inoki Passes Away At Age 79

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