Wally Yamaguchi, who managed Kaientai in WWE under the name of Yamaguchi-San, has passed away at the age of 60 years old.
This news was broken tonight on Twitter by his best friend, Jimmy Suzuki, who is the president of Tokyo Championship Wrestling.
Yamaguchi had been in poor health in recent years. According to Suzuki, Yamaguchi was bed-ridden for the past 28 months. He suffered a stroke “about one year” ago and also had heart issues.
My best friend Wally Yamaguchi (Yamaguchi San)passed away .
He had stroke about one year ago. Had hart problem as well and he was on bed for about one year. I’ll have my show on March 13 as TCW Wally Yamaguchi Memorial Show. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/bSkErjS9wm
— Jimmy Suzuki (ジミー鈴木） (@JimmySuzuki1) March 9, 2019
Suzuki corrected himself to say that he was bed-ridden for two years and four months.
Wally was on a bed 2 years and 4 month… https://t.co/1ZkNyTL3OV
— Jimmy Suzuki (ジミー鈴木） (@JimmySuzuki1) March 10, 2019
Yamaguchi actually suffered the stroke in December 2017. His brother mentioned it on Facebook and wrote, “Don’t know how long he has.”
Yamaguchi, whose real name was Yusuke Yamaguchi, is considered one of the most influential figures in Japanese wrestling in the 1980s and 90s since he was one of the main people in charge of Gong Magazine. This was at a time when magazines had a lot of influence on the wrestling business, especially in Japan due to high readership.
Wrestling fans in the United States know Yamaguchi best as the manager of Kaientai at the height of the Attitude Era. Kaientai was a stable made up of Japanese wrestlers Shiryu, Dick Togo and Mens Teioh, later joined by Funaki and Taka Michinoku. The group debuted on Raw on March 30, 1998, and Yamaguchi-San arrived a few weeks later as their manager. Kaientai was originally referred to by the announcers as Club Kamikaze, but Yamaguchi-San stated their name as Kaientai during his debut.
Their most infamous feud in WWE was with porn star character Val Venis. Yamaguchi was enraged when he was shown a pornographic video of his (on-screen) wife, sleeping with Venis, and threatened to punish both of them. Mrs. Yamaguchi-San was brought to the ring for what was going to be a spanking by Yamaguchi-san using a wooden paddle, but she was rescued by Venis. A week later, just as Venis had finished a match, Yamaguchi and Kaientai showed up with salami on a table. Yamaguchi proceeded to chop the salami while shouting at Venis, “I choppy choppy your pee pee!”
The following week on Raw, Venis teamed up with Michinoku to take on Togo and Funaki in a tag team match. Michinoku, however, turned against Venis and proclaimed that Mrs. Yamaguchi-San was his sister. Venis got dragged backstage by Kaientai to have his penis amputated, though the audience did not see what happened next since Raw went off the air. Venis returned the following week and explained that Yamaguchi’s sword narrowly missed his genitalia due to the lights being turned off by John Wayne Bobbitt. Venis then broke up his relationship with Mrs. Yamaguchi-San to end the feud.
Yamaguchi, Teioh, and Togo were all gone by early 1999. Michinoku and Funaki began wrestling as a tag team in April 1999 using the name Kaientai.