Thursday, April 11, 2024

Akebono And The Trivia Point

One of the first news stories I came across this morning was the announcement that Akebono has passed away.

I first became aware of Akebono in the early-2000s when I would keep up to date with Japanese fighting and wrestling news. He was associated with the K-1 group around that time. Then, in 2005, I really got to see him because he came to WWE for a sumo match at WrestleMania 21.

The meeting with the Big Show at Mania saw Akebono spin off and compete in other professional wrestling companies in the Far East.  He worked for a plethora of companies like New Japan, Hustle, Dragon Gate, but I suppose - due to accumulated tenure - his pro wrestling career will be defined by his years as a member of the All Japan Pro Wrestling roster.

Historically, Akebono will be best remembered - especially by the Asian public - for his sumo days. That's because - in 1992 and 1993 - he was the first non-Japanese born wrestler to be crowned a Yokozuna (Grand Champion) in the sport.

On a personal note - I have always thought, and will always remember, Akebono for something which happened to me in an online trivia game I played in during the early 2000s.

One of the people in the trivia room I was playing in was asking general knowledge questions. I surmise the question asked something along the lines of 'who was the first non-Japanese sumo wrestler to become a Yokozuna?' I don't even recall if I knew the answer or made a guess. Either way, I did know who Akebono was, and that he has was Hawaiian, so he was the answer I gave.

The person who asked the question - who happened to also be Hawaiian - was surprised that I got the question right so quickly. From that day on, we would speak occasionally about sport in general and I recall telling him about Akebono's arrival in World Wrestling Entertainment for that one match.

Akebono Passes Away

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