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Seiji Sakaguchi

Real Name - Seiji Sakaguchi
Birthdate - 2/27/42
6’5” 290 lbs. - Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan

Athletic Background - Judo (All Japan Champion `65)

Teacher(s) - Michiaki Yoshimura, Karl Gotch

Professional Background - JWA(`67-`73), Amarillo(`70), Los Angeles(`72), New Japan(`73-), Los Angeles(`74), South Africa(`76), Hawaii(`84)

Aliases - none

Groups - none

Peak Years - `71-`79


Finisher(s) - 
Stomach Claw
- Atomic Drop

Favorites -
- Boston Crab
- Bodyslam
- High Knee
- Kneelift
- Chop

Ringwork Rating - 

 Move Set
 Science
 Aerial
 Power
 Strikes


Intangibles Rating - 

 Entertainment
 Selling
 Bumping6
 Carrying
 Heat
 Legacy


Place in History - Seiji Sakaguchi is one of the stalwart stars of puroresu, but he tends not to get his due.  A highly accomplished judoka out of Meiji University who won the All Japan Championship in 1965, took a bronze in the subsequent World Championship and had Olympic aspirations that unfortunately never came to fruition.  In addition to his judo background, Sakaguchi’s height made him stand out.  The JWA scouted him, trained him and sent him abroad.  In a few years, Seiji Sakaguchi was working main events, although he was decidedly a second-tier star.  The puroresu scene was becoming volatile in the early 1970s with both of his former partners Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba leaving the JWA to form their own respective companies.  A potential merger of Inoki’s New Japan and the JWA was prevented by Kintaro Oki, leading Sakaguchi and his crew to jump.  The move led to JWA losing their network TV to New Japan and sped up their decline as they closed before the year was out.  Sakaguchi was paid for his move by sliding into the #2 spot behind Inoki, being named vice president of the company and basically maintaining a position for life with the company.  He was given several big pushes winning the World Leagues in `76 over Pedro Morales and in `77 over the Masked Superstar aside from his numerous tag title runs with Strong Kobayashi.  By the late 1970s, Sakaguchi’s best days were behind him and working to get over a new generation of talent became his role.  Whether he was teaming with Riki Choshu, Kengo Kimura, Tatsumi Fujinami or putting them or any other rising stars over, Sakaguchi was pivotal in helping New Japan become one of the best promotions in the world in the early 1980s.   In 1985, he ceremoniously passed the torch to Fujinami.  A few years later he was named the president of New Japan and held that position for many years before stepping down and moving into an advisory role.  Seiji Sakaguchi is certainly one of the most significant and important people in New Japan’s early years right up through their glory years.
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