WWE News: Japanese wrestling legend Masa Saito passes away
What's the story?
This past Saturday, Japanese wrestling legend Masa Saito unfortunately passed away at the age of 76 due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease.
In case you didn't know...
After making his debut in the year 1965, Masa Saito wrestled for several years in various promotions being operated by the National Wrestling Alliance. Throughout his career, Saito competed both as a singles wrestler and a tag-team wrestler as well, but, the former AWA World Heavyweight Champion was best known for his success as a tag team wrestler.
Following his departure from the NWA, Saito went on to sign for the WWF, where he formed an alliance with Mr. Fuji and went on to capture the WWF Tag Team Championships on two different occasions. During his primary years, Saito also competed for New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he is a former two-time IWGP Tag Team Champion, having won the title belt alongside Riki Choshu and Shinya Hashimoto.
The heart of the matter
After announcing his retirement from Professional Wrestling in 1999, Masa Saito was diagnosed with Parkinson's disorder just one year later in 2000. Following his unfortunate death on this past weekend due to the very same disease, WWE officially posted an announcement regarding the passing away of Saito on their official website.
Below is WWE's official announcement:
Masa Saito passes away
WWE is saddened to learn that Masa Saito, a former World Tag Team Champion and AWA Champion, passed away on Saturday at the age of 76.
Saito's career in grappling began in freestyle amateur wrestling, and he represented his home country of Japan in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Turning pro in 1965, he utilized a punishing style in the ring that made him a feared competitor in both Japan and the U.S. Saito spent time competing in California, Florida and Alabama, racking up championships before heading to WWE in 1981.
Upon his arrival, Saito joined forces with Mr. Fuji, and under the tutelage of Captain Lou Albano, the two captured the World Tag Team Championship on two separate occasions. Saito later joined Verne Gagne's AWA, where he defeated Larry Zbyszko to become AWA World Champion in his home country at the Tokyo Dome.
Saito continued to compete, mainly in Japan, with several appearances for WCW, before retiring in 1999.
WWE extends its condolences to Saito's family, friends and fans.
Several notable WWE superstars and veterans of the Pro Wrestling industry have also paid tributes to the late great Masa Saito on social media.
Masa Saito’s unfortunate death is indeed another very sad moment for the entire Pro Wrestling industry and we send all our hearty condolences to Saito's family, friends, and all of his devoted fans around the world.