This past Saturday, it was revealed that Hirooki Goto of New Japan Pro Wrestling fame was cast in the upcoming “Kamen Rider Zero-One” movie. In the film, Goto will portray one of multiple armored fighters known as the Kamen Rider Abadon Team. It will release alongside the film for “Kamen Rider Saber,” the most recent entry in the long-standing tokusatsu series. This double feature is set to hit theaters, in Japan, on December 18, 2020.
Professional wrestling and Kamen Rider fans will know that Hirooki Goto isn’t the first example of a wrestler branching off into tokusatsu. Earlier this year, Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling star Reika Saiki appeared as the “Fighting Fairy” in “Kamen Rider Saber.” A few decades prior, Akira Nogami of WRESTLE-1 fame portrayed Zu-Zain-Da, one of the main antagonists of “Kamen Rider Kuuga.” However, Goto’s fellow NJPW wrestler, Hiroshi Tanahashi, may be the wrestler with the strongest connection to the franchise.
— 劇場版 仮面ライダーセイバー/劇場版 仮面ライダーゼロワン (@toeiHERO_movie) October 25, 2020
Not only has Tanahashi worn gear inspired by the series over the year, but he went on to make multiple appearances for various Kamen Rider media. He appeared in everything from music videos to film productions. In terms of the latter, he starred as one of the villains in “Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legends Rider,” which hit theaters in December of 2016. Furthermore, in the early 2000s, Tanahashi was slated to portray a wrestler based on Kuuga, though negotiations didn’t progress beyond basic communication. Simply put, the eight-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion is an avid Kamen Rider fan.
Since 1971, Kamen Rider, created by Shotaro Ishinomori and Toei Company, has been one of the staples of Japanese culture and tokusatsu in general. Though the series made attempts to break into North America, most recently with Kamen Rider Dragon Knight from 2008 to 2009, it remained largely exclusive to Japan. However, through efforts on the part of the fan base, subtitles exist for many of the series. Additionally, earlier this year, Shout Factory started to release its own subtitled versions of the show, specifically the original Kamen Rider from the early-to-mid 70s and Kamen Rider Kuuga from 2000 to 2001. This has been the most recent effort in bringing the franchise stateside.
Stay tuned to Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. Make sure to watch New Japan Pro Wrestling on NJPW WORLD.
Looking to talk wrestling, pro football, or any number of sports? Head on over to the LWOS Boards to engage in conversation with fellow fans!