Pro Wrestling's 10 Most Successful Japanese Stars in the United States

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Pro Wrestling's 10 Most Successful Japanese Stars in the United States
Photo from WWE.com

Japan's greatest wrestlers have not always translated their star power to the promotions in the United States, but there have been a number of big stars from Japan in WWE, WCW, AWA and elsewhere.

Language and culture differences, a lack of behemoths from the Land of the Rising Sun and various other factors have kept the Japan-to-America talent exchange a mostly one-sided affair.

The success rate for North American wrestlers heading to Japan and succeeding is far greater. Stan Hansen, Terry Funk, Steve Williams and Bruiser Brody were all huge stars in Japan.

Going from Japan to America with star power intact has been a difficult journey. WWE especially has struggled to find a way to promote and utilize Japanese stars.

Still, U.S. wrestling fans have come to know some great Japanese wrestlers and champions. From a man who held the tag team titles with Mr. Fuji for nearly a year to the innovator of the green mist, there are several Japanese success stories in the U.S.

Not included on this list are the men who were Japanese in kayfabe only.

Tojo Yamamto, Mr. Fuji and Pat Tanaka from the Orient Express were all from Hawaii. Yokozuna was American-Samoan. Kato, who teamed with Tanaka, was actually from Croatia.

Ranked here based on their longevity and renown in the U.S. and their stateside career accomplishments, including championships and being a part of big shows, these are the biggest and brightest Japanese stars who made a name for themselves across the ocean.

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