The country of Japan has produced a wealth of legendary performers and iconic matches over the years, with the likes of Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, and Keiji Mutoh reaching near mythical status in the country.
However, while there are countless superstars in the world of Japanese wrestling, a surprisingly small number have made their way across to WWE. Smaller still is the number of those imports that made a lasting impact during their stay in Vince McMahon’s global territory.
Big stars in Japan, the likes of Tenryu and Hakushi, would frequently come and go to little fanfare. Meanwhile, WWE's tendency to give Japanese stars silly comedy gimmicks based on their ethnicity (e.g. Taka Michinoku and Kenzo Suzuki) did nothing for their US credibility in the long-term. Others, like Mr Fuji, while legendary, made a bigger name for themselves on the apron than they did in the ring.
Notwithstanding, there have been several men that made a lasting impression during their time across the Pacific Ocean. Whether it’s from a historical aspect, a work rate standpoint, or simply getting over with the fans, a number of Japanese wrestlers made the most of their opportunities and the results have been historic.