The Origin Of The Rivalry: Tiger Mask vs. Black Tiger

One of the mythical rivalries in the history of wrestling is the one that have carried out two masked characters throughout different generations and incarnations of said personages, we refer to Black Tiger and the paladin Tiger Mask. Characters emerged more than sixty years ago and reached the quadrilaterals of the company New Japan Pro Wrestling in the early eighties of the last century.

Over the years, there have been six Masked Tigers (formerly Kota Ibushi, Ikuhisa Minowa, Yoshihiro Yamazaki, Koji Kanemoto, Mitsuharu Misawa and Satoru Sayama) and seven Black Tigers (in the same order: Nosawa, Tomohiro Ishii, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Rocky Romero, Silver King, Eddie Guerrero and Mark “Rollerball” Rocco) .

It was on April 23, 1981 when after campaigning in Mexico, the United States and England that Sayama wrapped the tiger’s mask for the first time, immediately impacting the eastern hobby and marking his future for life. Months later, in early 1982, Rocco featured as the nemesis of Tiger Mask, Black Tiger.

This rivalry fired both fighters to unsuspected levels, even going to fight in the grounds of the McMahon family , disputing the World Championship of Semi-complete Weight WWF (that at that time moved more in Japan and in Mexico).

But why did NJPW choose to award the Black Tiger character to the English fighter?

The answer goes back a year earlier, when Sayama fought in England as Sammy Lee (in clear allusion to the artemarcialist Bruce Lee) , repeatedly facing Rocco, who was one of the local ruffians, giving memorable fights, which to the Dessert made New Japan decide that it was Rocco who incarnated the Black Tiger.

SUPER STRUGGLE shares with you the first encounter between the two gladiators, on November 12, 1980, which ends unexpectedly in favor of Sayama, which was the origin of a rivalry that has had no end, and surely with the incarnation Of new Black Tigers and Masked Tigers go on for much longer.

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