Natalya has paid tribute to former WWE superstar and women’s wrestling legend Kyoko Inoue.
Natalya, who performs for the WWE on its RAW brand, took to her Instagram page on Thursday to showcase a throwback from her days of wrestling in Japan. She praised Inoue in the post, reminiscing about a gift she once received from her as well as urging fans to go and watch some of her matches.
“My first tour of Japan (and I can’t wait until we go back!) I saved this jacket to remind me of Shibuya and I cherish the shoes that Kyoko Inoue bought me as a gift at the end of my trip to Japan. Look up Kyoko Inoue’s matches…. this woman is a bad ass.” she wrote.
Inoue made appearances for the WWE in the 1990’s. In 1994 she challenged Alundra Blayze for the WWE women’s championship at a WWE show at the Gekken Green Dome in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. Inoue was unsuccessful and would once again challenge for the belt in 1995, this time against Bull Nakano and once again falling short. In November 1995 she competed as part of Team Alundra Blayze in the second ever women’s Survivor Series match.
Inoue’s success isn’t limited to just the WWE, in fact is was outside the organization in which she would find her biggest success. She is a multiple-time world champion with acclaimed Japanese professional wrestling organization All Japan Women’s Wrestling. The 51-year-old still competes to this day, as well as training up-and-comers via her own promotion ‘World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana’.
Earlier this year one of Inoue’s students Sari Fujimura was signed to the WWE. Unfortunately her debut with the organization has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For fans who want a little reminder of some of Inoue’s work. Take a look back at the time she challenged Bull Nakano for the WWE Women’s Championship at a special event in Japan back in 1995.