By Dave Meltzer | @davemeltzerWON | Mar 9, 2019 5:02 pm
Yusuke "Wally" Yamaguchi, who was a former WWF manager of Kai En Tai but was a major figure in the Japanese pro wrestling business, passed away after a lengthy illness.
Yamaguchi was 60. He had suffered a serious stroke in 2017.
Yamaguchi, who grew up as one of the leaders of the Mil Mascaras Fan Club, ended up being a major player during the heyday of Japanese pro wrestling magazines, and one of the driving forces and faces of Gong Magazine, a weekly color magazine that had a huge circulation in the 80s and 90s before the bottom fell out of the Japanese magazine business.
He also had a hand in starting FMW, and was a key figure early in the career of New Japan booker Gedo. He was also, in the 80s, very close with the Baba family and All Japan Pro Wrestling until his being involved with independent promotions in Japan changed that relationship.
Yamaguchi had a ring in his house that many younger wrestlers trained at, and had tons of rare wrestling memorabilia.
On a personal note, he was a good friend of mine, and I stayed in his home on several trips to Japan during the 80s and 90s.
Yamaguchi was a key player in the Japanese coverage of wrestling in the Observer during that period and was very close with virtually every major star that came from the United States because he spoke perfect English and part of his role with the magazine and different companies was to make sure American talent's tours were as much fun as possible.
He later worked as the liaison for Japan for WWF, and also as part of putting the deal together to bring in the Kai En Tai group, which was a stable in Michinoku Pro Wrestling that were brought to the WWF from 1998 to 2001. His most memorable role was "choppy choppy pee pee" with the idea they were going to chop off the genitals of Val Venis, who in the storyline, was sleeping with Yamaguchi-san's storyline wife.
He is the older brother of current WWF announcer Shun Yamaguchi. Shun was a photographer working in the U.S. for his brother's magazine at the time, often at ringside at major shows for almost every promotion.
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