|Ring name(s)||Yamamoto Kotetsu|
|Real name||Yamamoto Masaru|
|Nickname(s)||Ningen Bakudan (Human Bomb)|
Oni Gunsō (Oni Sergeant)
|Billed height||170 cm (5 ft 7 in)|
|Billed weight||100 kg (220 lb; 16 st)|
|Died||2010/8/28 (aged 68)|
Yamamoto Kotetsu (山本 小鉄) was a former professional wrestler, referee, and color commentator for New Japan Pro-Wrestling. His real name is Yamamoto Masaru (山本 勝). He was named "Kotetsu" by Toyonobori after Aizu-no-Kotetsu (会津小鉄), a knight-errant from the 19th century.
Professional wrestling career
After graduating from high school, Yamamoto trained as a body builder at a local YMCA while working for a steel manufacturer. In 1963, he joined Japan Pro-Wrestling Association to become the last deshi of Rikidōzan. He had debut match on 7/19 against Kitazawa Motoyuki. After the death of Rikidōzan, Yamamoto became a tsukibito for Antonio Inoki.
In 1967/1, Yamamoto and Hoshino Kantarō were sent to the United States to gain experiences. He returned to Japan later in the same year. On 1969/5/2, he defeated Gorilla Monsoon by pinfall in less than five minutes, which is known as one of the biggest upsets in the history of puroresu.
When Inoki was expelled from JWA in 1971/12, Yamamoto followed and helped him to start New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He became a booker and coach for the new promotion and trained many future legends including Fujiwara Yoshiaki, Sayama Satoru, Maeda Akira, etc. Along with Inoki and Karl Gotch, Yamamoto is said to be responsible for the fundamental of New Japan's "strong style".
Yamamoto is also the one came up with the idea of using a lion for the New Japan's company logo.
After retiring on 1980/4/4, he continued to serve as a referee, coach, and color commentator for New Japan's weekly television program on TV Asahi.
Yamamoto passed away at the age of 68 on 2010/8/28 due to hypoxic encephalopathy.
- Official Site (in Japanese)