Giant Baba

Birthdate: January 23rd, 1938
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 330 lbs.
Death: January 31st, 1999
Cause of Death: Heart failure
Debut: September 30th, 1960 vs. Yonetaro Tanaka
Retirement: December 5th, 1998
Promotion History: JWA (1960 to 1972) and All Japan (1972 to 1998)
Major Tournaments Won: Champion Carnival (1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1981, and 1982)

Championship History:

NWA World Heavyweight Championship (Held 3 Times):
- Defeated Jack Brisco on 12/2/74 and lost to Jack Brisco on 12/8/74
- Defeated Harley Race on 10/31/79 and lost to Harley Race on 11/7/79
- Defeated Harley Race on 9/4/80 and lost to Harley Race on 9/9/80

NWA International Heavyweight Championship (Held 3 Times):
- Defeated Dick the Bruiser on 11/24/65 and lost to Bobo Brazil on 6/25/68
- Defeated Bobo Brazil on 6/27/68 and lost to Gene Kiniski on 12/3/70
- Defeated Gene Kiniski on 12/19/70 and Vacated on 9/2/72

NWA International Tag Team Championship with Michiaki Yoshimura:
- Defeated Fritz Von Goehring and Padosis on 11/5/66 and lost to Tyler and Bill Watts on 10/6/67

NWA International Tag Team Championship with Antonio Inoki (Held 4 Times):
- Defeated Tarzan Tyler and Bill Watts on 10/31/67 and Forfeited on 1/8/68
- Defeated Lisowski and Bill Miller on 2/3/68 and lost to Danny Hodge and Snyder on 1/9/69
- Defeated Hodge and Snyder on 2/4/69 and lost to Dick the Bruiser and Lisowski on 8/11/69
- Defeated Dick the Bruiser and Lisowski on 8/13/69 and lost to Dory Jr. and Terry Funk on 12/7/71

NWA International Tag Team Championship with Seiji Sakaguchi:
- Defeated Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk on 5/19/72 and Vacated on 9/7/72

NWA International Tag Team Championship with Jumbo Tsuruta (Held 6 Times):
- Defeated Dory Funk, Jr. and Terry Funk on 2/5/75 and lost to Ohki and Kim Duk on 10/28/76
- Defeated Ohki and Kim Duk on 12/9/76 and lost to Kintaro Ohki and Kim Duk on 11/7/77
- Defeated Ohki and Duk on 5/11/78 and lost to Abdullah the Butcher and Candy on 10/12/79
- Defeated Abdullah the Butcher and Candy on 10/19/79 and lost to Bass and Hansen on 4/12/83
- Defeated Bass and Hansen on 4/17/83 and lost to Tiger Jeet Singh and Ueda on 7/26/83
- Defeated Tiger Jeet Singh and Umanosuke Ueda on 8/1/83 and Vacated in May of 1984

PWF Heavyweight Championship (Held 4 Times):
- Won on 2/27/73 and lost to Tor Kamata on 6/1/78
- Defeated Abdullah the Butcher on 2/10/79 and lost to Harley Race on 10/26/82
- Defeated Harley Race on 2/11/83 and lost to Stan Hansen on 9/8/83
- Defeated Stan Hansen on 7/31/84 and lost to Stan Hansen on 7/30/85

All-Asia Heavyweight Championship:
- Defeated Kintaro Ohki on 10/29/77 and Vacated on 4/13/81

Biggest Matches:
- October 31st, 1967 with Antonio Inoki vs. Tarzan Tyler and Bill Watts (title win)
- April 21st, 1973 vs. Mark Lewin (tournament win)
- December 2nd, 1974 vs. Jack Brisco (title win)
- April 23rd, 1981 vs. Bruiser Brody (tournament win)
- February 11th, 1983 vs. Harley Race (title win)

- Giant Baba with the title and trophy

Signature Moves:
- Boston Crab
- Neckbreaker

Career History:

Giant Baba, one of the tallest wrestlers of his time period, was destined for greatness from the beginning and never disappointed. Baba had more pressure put on him during his career then one could imagine, but his almost seven foot frame was enough to handle the load. From saving puroresu after Rikidozan's sudden death to creating a new promotion that grew to become one of the most successful in the world, Giant Baba is truly one of a kind and an icon in the wrestling business.

After being trained by the great Rikidozan, Baba debuted in 1960 at the young age of 22. Sparring with his fellow trainee Inoki, Baba was groomed to lead puroresu after Rikidozan decided to retire. Unfortunately, their well planned strategy came to a sudden end when Rikidozan was murdered in 1963, pushing Inoki and Baba into the spotlight before they were ready. With Inoki, Baba persevered however and in a matter of years was not only successful in Japan but was a success in the States as well. Rarely losing and even more rarely getting pinned, Baba was a big draw wherever he traveled. During this time Baba had many feuds, but some of his best matches came against The Destroyer, one of the most respected wrestlers of the 70s. Even though he was not as good of an in-ring wrestler as Inoki, he made up for it in ring presence and a special aura that few wrestlers have ever possessed.

In 1972 things changed, and Giant Baba created a new promotion - All Japan. Due to his close ties with many promoters in the States, Baba was able to bring to Japan the best wrestlers that America had to offer, including the Funks, Bruno Sammartino, and many more. Baba himself became even stronger in the ring, and won his first NWA Heavyweight Championship in 1974 when he defeated Jack Brisco in a two out of three falls match. Baba later would battle Stan Hansen, and both would hold the PWF Championship numerous times. Baba also had exciting exchanges with the always wild Bruiser Brody, one of the most feared wrestlers of his time. Over the years not only did Baba go on to hold more NWA Championships, but Baba would win seven Champion Carnivals and over 15 tournaments overall.

In the late 1980s, realizing that his in-ring ability had diminished, Baba took on a different role for the company. Still just as popular as ever (if not more so), it would have been foolish to take Giant Baba off the card entirely. So Baba began regularly wrestling in six-man tags, allowing him to be in front of the fans but not requiring a lot of wrestling from him. In 1990, Giant Baba teamed with his fellow big man Andre the Giant, and while the two were well past their primes they put on a very entertaining show. By the 90s, Baba was barely able to take hits in the ring due to the effect of the constant abuse that he had put on his large body from 30 years of wrestling. Even though he was a shell of his former self, the All Japan crowd still loved to see him and cheered every chop and big boot he laid on his opponents.

In the late 90s, with his health fading, Giant Baba retired from the ring and concentrated on running the business side of All Japan. Unfortunately, after an operation earlier in the month, Giant Baba would die on January 31st, 1999. His death sent All Japan into a terrible tailspin, as it became clear that he had been the force holding All Japan together. Even though his death was damaging to All Japan, it did show just how important Baba had been to the company and puroresu as a whole. When considered with his fellow trainee Antonio Inoki, it is hard to find a pair of men that had a stronger impact on the wrestling business.

Back to Obituaries