By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Masa Saito died on Saturday at age 76 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. Saito competed for Japan in freestyle wrestling in the 1964 Summer Olympics. He started his pro wrestling career in 1965 and had successful runs in the AWA, NWA, and the WWF in addition to working in Japan.
Powell’s POV: I grew up on Saito wrestling in the AWA territory where he eventually formed the Far East-West Connection with Jesse Ventura. He had two runs as a WWF Tag Champion with Mr. Fuji, and also had a brief run as AWA Champion. Saito held titles in nearly every promotion he worked for. He was an excellent wrestler and his Saito suplex is still used and referred to by name in New Japan Pro Wrestling. My condolences to his friends and family.
— Shinsuke Nakamura (@ShinsukeN) July 16, 2018
Masa Saito was in the first tag team match I ever saw on TV 1981.
I was fortunate to be a fly on the wall while him and Nick Bockwinkel (I was the 3rd wheel) had lunch at our hotel in Tokyo in 2006. I was floored by how nice of a man he was.
A true legend. Rest well. pic.twitter.com/IVQ73OrTL0
— Steve Corino (@WWECorino) July 16, 2018
My thoughts are with the family, friends and fans of Masa Saito. pic.twitter.com/9flsQHkmEP
— Rob Schamberger (@robschamberger) July 16, 2018
RIP Masa Saito.
One of the first wrestling matches I ever saw was Fuji/Saito vs The Strongbows…and from that day, I knew I wanted to be a tag team wrestler.
Thank you for the inspiration.
Ganbatte Kudasai 💪 pic.twitter.com/nqbW6UI5Vy
— Bubba Ray Dudley (@bullyray5150) July 16, 2018