July 5, 1941|
|Died||September 6, 2011
St. Joseph, Missouri,
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Shigeri Akabane
|Billed height||4 ft (122 cm).|
|Billed weight||98 lb (44 kg).|
|Trained by||Lord Littlebrook|
Shigeru Akabane (あかばね しげる Akabane Shigeru, (July 5, 1941 – September 6, 2011), best known under his ring name Little Tokyo was a Japanese professional midget wrestler who competed in North American promotions from the 1970s into the 1990s including appearances for American Wrestling Association (AWA), National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and the World Wrestling Federation, (WWF) most notably appearing at WrestleMania III in a mixed tag team match with Lord Littlebrook and King Kong Bundy against Hillbilly Jim, the Haiti Kid and Little Beaver in 1987. He held the NWA World Midget's Championship on three different occasions
Professional wrestling career
Akabane began his professional wrestling career in the early 1970s in his native Japan working under his real name. At some point during his first year in the business a troupe of professional midget wrestlers toured Japan with Lord Littlebrook striking up a friendship with Akabane. The friendship led to Akabane travelling to the United States where he became part of a touring troupe of midget wrestlers, known as "Little Tokyo" playing off his Japanese heritage and martial arts background. In August 1974 Akabane, as Little Tokyo was recognized as the NWA World Midget's Champion. Records are not clear on when Little Tokyo lost the championship but he was billed as the World champion once again in later 1981. On December 25, 1981 Little Tokyo lost the championship to Tiny Tom as part of Big Time Wrestling's Christmas Star Wars show. One year later Little Tokyo appeared at WCCW's Christmas Star Wars losing to Lone Eagle on the under card. On May 30, 1983 Little Tokyo defeated Cowboy Lang to become a three time world champion. On September 28, 1985 at American Wrestling Association's SuperClash '85 event Little Tokyo successfully defended the title against Midget Mr. T. On January 12, 1986 the same Little Mr. T ended Little Tokyo's third and final reign as World Midget Champion.September 28, 1985. Little Tokyo's most notable match took place on March 29, 1987 when he worked for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) at their WrestleMania III show. At the show he teamed with mentor Lord Littlebrook and King Kong Bundy against Hillbilly Jim, the Haiti Kid and Little Beaver. The match ended when all 4 midget wrestlers attacked the 458 lb (208 kg) King Kong Bundy attacked Little Beaver. On January 1, 1988 Little Tokyo became the first holder of the Windy City Wrestling Midget Championship when he defeated Cowboy Cottrell. On September 29, 1994, on the last show ever held by Universal Wrestling Federation, Little Tokyo defeated Karate Kid to become the first and only holder of the UWF Midget World Championship. Little Tokyo won the WCW Midget for a second time in 1996. Akabane retired in 1997.
Retirement and death
At the age of 69, Akabane was diagnosed with base tongue cancer. Doctors said it was cureable and family and friends gathered around him for support. He was living in St. Joseph, Missouri at the time. On September 6, 2011, Shigeri Akabane died after suffering a heart attack at the age of 70.
Championships and accomplishments
- Oliver, Greg (2011-09-06). "Little Tokyo remembered with laughter". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
- "1972 wrestling event poster featuring Little Tokyo". Slam Wrestling.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "World Midget's Championship". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "NWA World Midgets' Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
- "Christmas Star Wars". Pro Wrestling History. December 25, 1981.
- "Historical Cards: Wrestling Star Wars (December 25, 1981. Dallas, Texas)". PWI Presents: 2007 Wrestling Almanak and book of facts. Kappa Publications. p. 172. 2007 Edition.
- "Christmas Star Wars". Pro Wrestling History. December 25, 1982.
- "Historical Cards: Christmas Star Wars (December 25, 1982. Dallas, Texas)". PWI Presents: 2007 Wrestling Almanak and book of facts. Kappa Publications. p. 172. 2007 Edition.
- "SuperClash I". Pro Wrestling History. September 28, 1985. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
- Powell, John. "Steamboat – Savage rule WrestleMania 3". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved October 14, 2007.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Illinois: Windy City Wrestling Midget Title [Sam DeCero]". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "UWF Midget Title". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
- Windy City Pro Wrestling (2000). "Midget.." Title Histories. WindyCityProWrestling.com. Archived from the original on December 17, 2000. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
- "Former midget wrestler Little Tokyo dies Tuesday". Pro Wrestling Torch. 2011-09-06. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
- "Obituary". www.funeralplan.com. Retrieved 2016-09-08.