Former WWE wrestler Ryan Sakoda has died at the age of 48.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Sakoda also appeared in Zero1, Ultimate Pro Wrestling and MTV’s Wrestling Society X.
He spent time on the WWE’s roster on a developmental contract in 2003 and 2004, and appeared as a henchman of fellow Japanese wrestler Tajiri.
Sakoda filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, alleging that WWE had concealed that wrestlers suffered traumatic brain injuries while wrestling for them.
The case was brought by lawyer Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in several similar lawsuits, but was dismissed as frivolous by a judge in March 2016.
WWE producer and former five-time National Wrestling Alliance world champion Adam Pearce led tributes to Sakoda, who died on September 2.
“Godspeed, Ryan “Keiji” Sakoda,” Pearce tweeted.
“Always a good brother to me and one of the first to welcome me when I first moved to [California]. Rest well, my friend.”
Long-time independent and WWE wrestler Paul London meanwhile paid tribute to his “hysterical” friend.
“Heart is hurting by the sudden passing of Ryan Sakoda.
“From our time in OVW to Smackdown he was always able to make me laugh like none other. His impressions hysterical & his smile contagious.
“Met Ryan in 2001 at UPW & he was always a friend. Grateful for the moments.”
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies