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Motoshi Okuma (1941-1992)

Real NameMasashi Okuma

Lifespan - 12/18/41 - 12/27/92

5’8” 286 lbs. / 173cm 130kg - Soka, Saitama, Japan

Athletic BackgroundSumo [Sakinosaki]

Teacher(s) - Giant Baba [JWA Dojo]

Professional BackgroundJWA(`62-`71), Tennessee(`67-`68), Georgia(`68), Amarillo(`71-`72), Tri-State(`71), Florida(`71), NWF(`72), All Japan(`72-`92), Maritimes(`74), AWA(`74), Tennessee(`74-`75), IWE(`74-`78)

AliasesMr. Okuma, Daigoro Okuma, Kumagoro Okuma, Great Kuma, Gran Okuma, Tiger Mask

Peak Years`71-`78

Place in HistoryA burly sumo-turned-wrestler, Motoshi Okuma spent years as a reliable hand in the midcards of the JWA and All Japan.  While touring North America, Okuma worked in tag teams with Masio Koma, Geeto Mongol and, most notably, Great Kojika as the Rising Suns.  The Japanese young boys often had a difficult time in the States as the offices they worked for rarely looked after them and they were stuck in limited heel roles.  Okuma left Kojika to return home. His surname led his nickname of “Bear” and though he was stocky and powerful, he was not an imposing presence in the ring. When the JWA closed up, Baba brought much of their roster with him to All Japan.  The company’s top tag titles, the All-Asian titles, were held by the Great Kojika and Ibaraki Matsuoka, but the latter did not want to join Baba’s group. Kojika and Okuma teamed up again and became known as the Gokudo Combi. The two were an upper midcard act with a yakuza-type aura and held the titles off and on through 1981.  Okuma continued to have overseas tours and even worked for the IWE. However, his greatest fame might have come from his appearances on Beat Takeshi’s comedy shows. By the late 1980s, All Japan’s roster was changing and Okuma fell into a new role. He became one of the key members of the Akuyasuku Shoukai group that feuded with the Family Corps headed up by Giant Baba and Rusher Kimura.  The two groups’ comedy matches might have been criticized by some, but the live audiences loved them. Shortly after All Japan’s year ending tour in 1992, Motoshi Okuma died from renal failure. The hard-drinking, hard-hitting bad guy who went way back to the JWA days was always a favorite until his early death.