Kotetsu Yamamoto (October 30, 1941 – August 28, 2010) or known as Yamamoto Kotetsu was a Japanese professional wrestler, referee, and color commentator for New Japan Pro Wrestling. His real name is Yamamoto Masaru. He was named "Kotetsu" by a former Japanese pro wrestler "Toyonobori" after Aizu-No-Kotetsu, a knight.
Professional Wrestling Career
After graduating from high school, Yamamoto trained as a bodybuilder at a local YMCA while working for the then blossoming steel industry in Japan. In 1962 he was discovered by "Rikidozan" and trained as his last ever student. After Ridkidozan died, he became the "tsukibito" or trainee of Antonio Inoki.
During January 1967, he along with another were sent to the United States to gain Pro Wrestling experience. He returned to Japan the same year. On May 2, 1969 he defeated Gorilla Monsoon gaining one of the largest upset victories of the time in less than 5 minutes. When Antonio Inoki was expelled from the Wrestling Promotion he worked for at the time, he went along with Inoki and helped start New Japan Pro Wrestling. He trained many future legends including Fujiwara Yoshiaki inventor of the legendary "Fujiwara armbar" and the legendary Jushin Liger. Along with Antonio Inoki and Karl Gotch, Yamamoto is said to be responsible for the fundamentals of the Japanese "strong style".
In 1980, Yamamoto retired from Professional Wrestling as an active competitor. After that, he became a color commentator, coach, and referee for New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Yamamoto died on August 28, 2010 due to a hypoxic encephalopathy at the age of 68. His passing came three months before long time tag team partner Kantaro Hoshino who died on November 25.