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Love-Japan Japanophilia, and Masked Pro Wrestler “The Destroyer” dies

Hi  Messrs. Mses. Japanophiles.  how are you doing? Today’s topic is a sad obituary of Love-Japan Japanophilia and Masked Pro Wrestler “The Destroyer” passed away in the early part of this month.

“The Destroyer”, have you already known him or it’s the first time for you to hear his name?

Who’s “The Destroyer”?

When it comes to “Destroyer”, it reminds me of instantly the ring fierce duel between “Rikidozan” and “Destroyer” around 50 years ago.

Destroyer

When I was in my 20s, around twenty years passed after the end of World War II, Japan economy was drastically booming, and people were very enjoying to watch pro wrestling on television.

In addition, an unknown wrestler “Rikidozan” appeared suddenly and he fought many foreign wreslers with his technique used in professional wrestling, called karate-chopand his opponents were fallen down one after another.

Destroyer

Almost all Japanese people couldn’t stop viewing such scenes that gave us a refreshed feeling by Rikidozen chopping foreign rivals and down to the mat flatly.

We were too excited to the ecstasy to see such scenes. At around that time, ring name “Destroyer” came to Japan and he made a debut becoming an enemy for Rikidozan for the time being.

His televised match with Rikidozan in 1963 had a 64 percent viewer rating, which was the top at that time.

Since I was young enough at that time, we looked Destroyer as a demon or evil wrestler in the ring even though we knew it was just an entertainment match, when he tried to use a technique known as the “figure-four-leg-lock” against top Japanese wrestlers such as Rikidozan and Giant Baba.

Destroyer
Rikidozan was enduring the awful pain while Destroyer locked his leg

What’s “figure-four-leg-lock”?

The wrestler stands over the opponent who is lying on the mat face up and grasps a leg of the opponent. The wrestler then does a spinning toe hold and grasps the other leg, crossing them into a “4” (hence the name) as he does so and falls to the mat, applying pressure to the opponent’s crossed legs with his own.

While the hold applies pressure to the knee, it actually can be very painful to the shin of the victim. While the move is primarily a submission move, if the opponent has his shoulders on the mat, the referee can make a three count for a pinfall.

If the referee is distracted, heel wrestlers may grab onto the ropes while executing the move to gain leverage and inflict more pain.

The leg figure-four choke is also part of Japanese martial arts, where it is known as Sankaku-Jime.

What was his career, life of Japanophilia?

Richard Beyer, a former American pro wrestler who was popular in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s, died at his home on the outskirts of Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, his son said. He was 88.

“It is with a very heavy heart to let you know that Dad — aka The Destroyer, aka Doctor X, aka Dick Beyer, aka Coach — passed away shortly past noon today. He was in bed at home, and was surrounded by all of his children and wife as he slipped peacefully away,” Kurt Beyer said on Facebook.

Beyer, once known by the ring name “The Destroyer,” visited Japan for the first time in 1963 to wrestle in Tokyo with Rikidozan, a postwar wrestling legend in Japan. The televised bout garnered a huge 64 percent rating and sparked an unprecedented wrestling boom in Japan.

Destroyer

After retirement, he took part in Japan-US friendship exchanges.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Beyer taught physical education in Akron, New York, and promoted exchanges between young Japanese and American wrestlers.

He was also active in assisting people affected by the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan.

In 2017, Beyer received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, one of Japan’s highest honors.

In a news conference in February 2018 following a presentation ceremony in Buffalo, he said that although Japan had been a World War II enemy when he was in high school, he became a big fan of the country after traveling there.


With TV personality; Mr.Tokuyama

He also said at the time that he hoped to visit Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and while there spend some time coaching amateur Japanese wrestlers.

The Destroyer – Honoring A Wrestling Legend!

Lastly, we have a person who had loved Japan, “The man who loves the most Japan dies“, to be well-worth browsing, thanks

About the author

古林 茂樹(Shigeki Furubayashi )