New Japan Pro-Wrestling intended to publicly honor Antonio Inoki before he passed away.
The wrestling world continues to mourn the legend's passing, given his countless contributions to the business. Inoki founded NJPW in 1972, and in a new announcement, the company revealed that it named him the Honorary Lifetime Chairman on September 1, 2022. The news was set to become public at NJPW's Declaration of Power event on October 10, but Inoki passed away on September 30.
The announcement, courtesy of NJPW's official website, is as follows:
New Japan Pro-Wrestling wishes once again to express profound grief at the passing of founder Antonio Inoki, and our deepest sympathies to fans, family and friends.
As part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations, and to celebrate Antonio Inoki’s role as a founder, wrestler and beyond, NJPW had planned to name Mr. Inoki the Honorary Lifetime Chairman of New Japan Pro-Wrestling. After Antonio Inoki graciously accepted the invitation, he was officially named Honorary Lifetime Chairman on September 1 2022.
This information was due to be made public on October 10 at Declaration of Power in Ryogoku Sumo Hall. It is to our deep sadness that this announcement cannot take place as previously planned. However, in accordance with Mr. Inoki’s wishes, all of us at New Japan Pro-Wrestling will continue to move forward and lead the professional wrestling world to the utmost of our abilities.
Check out several reactions to Inoki's passing here.
Click here to see what Hulk Hogan had to say about the legend.