Rusher Kimura

image image

Real Name - Masao Kimura
Birthdate - 6/30/41
6'1" 275 lbs. - Hokkaido, Japan

Aliases - Masao Kimura, Mr. Toyo, Mr. Sun, Crusher Kimura

Athletic background - Sumo (Makushita)

Professional background - JWA(`64-`66), Tokyo Pro(`66-`67), IWE(`67-`81), New Japan(`81-`84), Los Angeles(`82), Stampede(`83), UWF(`84), All Japan(`84-`00), NOAH(`00-)

Groups - International Blood Army, Family Gundan

Peak Years - `74-`81

Career Highlights -
- Wins IWE's World Series (annual round robin) in 1972
- Defeats Mad Dog Vachon to win his first of five IWA World heavyweight title
- Wrestles perhaps his greatest rival, Gypsy Joe, in their first cage match on 10/8/75
- Defeats the legendary Verne Gagne to win his fifth IWA title, holding it until the company closes
- Beats Antonio Inoki by DQ in their first meeting in on the sixth anniversary on that first cage match

Serious Injuries - Knees

Place in History - Rusher Kimura's very lengthy career began with Japan's pro-wrestling boom of the 60s. He was a former sumo like Rikidozan, Toyonobori and Michiaki Yoshimura, who were JWA's top native stars, Kimura found himself stuck in the midcard as a less-pushed version of the former two. When JWA was struggling in the years following Riki's death, Inoki tried a coup that failed and he started the short-lived Tokyo Pro with Kimura amongst those jumping on board. After its fall, most of the wrestlers joined the IWE, with whom Tokyo Pro had been running joint shows. Toyonobori was the top star in its formative years with Strong Kobayashi replacing him through the early 70s. He was a strong supporting player as a tag wrestler and got his first singles push when he won IWE's annual round robin in `72. Rusher took over as the top star when Kobayashi left and while he was not necessarily a better worker than his two predecessors, he was a strong preformer and consistantly won the Japanese media's "preformance award" in the 70s. He became known for his brawling style and the king of cage death matches having battles against lesser-known "hardcore legend" Gypsy Joe. In late 1970, Kimura had the first televised cage match in Japan and TBS refused to let another air, but they became the calling card of IWE throughout the next decade. The provincial champion, Kimura mainly battled foreign stars, especially those from the AWA and in the last half of the 70s, Rusher hoovering around 40, was one of the most popular wrestlers around. He kept IWE afloat for much of their latter years before their close at `81. A Kimura-Inoki/IWE-NJPW war followed with two notable matches, which were the final big matches of Rusher's career. First was a DQ win over Inoki and second was a 3-on-1 match where Inoki beat Animal Hamaguchi and Isamu Teranishi, but was counted out against Kimura. After that program, Kimura went abroad and tried to find a place, but it wasn't until All Japan picked him up and put him in light-hearted undercard matches with Giant Baba and other popular, but immobile veterans and he continues to do those to this day as he is the oldest active wrestler working full-time as he's into his 60s. Though he was known as the "monster of cage death matches" in his prime years, know he's known as the "monster of the microphone" with his popular post-matches done in his gravelly, deep voice.