National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Inductee: Masanori Saito

Masanori Saito was a great amateur star in Japan, winning several national titles in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling and placing seventh in the 1964 Olympic Games.

In 1965, he became the first Japanese professional wrestler ever with a college degree and an Olympic pedigree. He won numerous titles in the NWA and AWA, and starred in the WWF. He won the AWA world heavyweight title by defeating Larry Zbyszko in 1990 in front of 65,000 fans in the Tokyo Dome. He also drew huge crowds for matches with Bob Backlund, Nick Bockwinkel and Hulk Hogan.

“Masa is one of the truly great wrestlers of his era,” said Brad Rheingans, a member of the Class of 2004. “Everyone in the business respects him. I am really excited that he has been recognized in this manner.”

He resides in Japan and has been involved in the business and training of professional wrestling.