One of the most shocking and tragic wrestler deaths was the passing of Giant Ochiai during a training session with Kenzo Suzuki in Japan.
The former WWE Superstar has seemed to have escaped consequences for causing the death of another wrestler, in one of the most controversial moments in the history of the sport.
Nobody was ever charged for Giant Ochiai’s death, although his family blamed Riki Chosu for his hand in the killing.
Kenzo Suzuki was banished from Japan, while the family of the victim never were given the closure they needed.
Who Was Giant Ochiai?
Takayuki Okada was a Japanese Mixed Martial Artist-turned professional wrestler who was best known under his ring name Giant Ochiai.
His career was born out of the rise of promotions like Pride incorporating pro-wrestling elements into their presentation, as well as the growth of “Inoki-ism” in Japanese wrestling.
While Giant Ochiai was not a part of Antonio Inoki’s New Japan Pro Wrestling, Inoki’s obsession with MMA fighters had a big part to play in his transition from fighting to wrestling.
After leaving the world of real fighting in 2000, Ochiai retired with a record of 3-3-2 (win–loss–draw) to sign with the Riki Chosu’s “World Japan” wrestling promotion, in order to be properly training in wrestling.
He was sent to the dojo under the watchful eye of former WWE Superstar Kenzo Suzuki.
However, Giant Ochiai’s wrestling career never took off the way he wanted. In fact, he never wrestled for World Japan, as he was killed during a training session in one of the darkest secrets in wrestling history.
Kenzo Suzuki Killed Giant Ochiai During An Intense Training Session
In the World Japan Dojo, Giant Ochiai was primarily trained by two wrestlers – the original ‘Tiger Mask’, Satoru Sayama and Kenzo Suzuki.
He had already wrestled twice for “Battlearts” in Japan, but had not been properly trained in the wrestling arts, and sought guidance from these two legends.
It was in Battlearts where he chose the name Giant Ochiai, inspired by his uncle Hiromitsu Ochiai (a famous baseball player in Japan).
Giant Ochiai died during a training session with Kenzo Suzuki in the Japan World Dojo. This took place in 2003, three years after he began his wrestling career. Details of this session are scarce, but we do know that Giant Ochiai collapsed during a heated training session with Kenzo Suzuki.
This took place in July 2003, although an exact date was not reported. While wrestling in the ring with Kenzo Suzuki (who had the racist gimmick of Hirohito in the WWE), Giant Ochiai collapsed and fell into unconsciousness. He was quickly rushed to hospital, but it was too late to do anything to save him
Ochiai fell into a coma, which he stayed in for nearly a month, without improvement. He remained in a vegetative state in hospital until he passed away on August 8th, 2003. The autopsy revealed that he died from acute subdural hematoma according to SBS Nation, which is more commonly understood as a bleed on the brain.
This would indicate that there was some sort of trauma on his head, likely caused by Suzuki. The most common cause of a brain bleed in an injury to the head, with head trauma being the number one reason for the injury for people under the age of 50-years old.
His death was seen as very suspicious in Japan, but nobody was ever sent to prison over his death. It could have been an accident, but may have been from an attack by Kenzo Suzuki that went further than he expected.
Suzuki was let go by World Japan, which folded soon after. The family of Giant Ochiai blamed World Japan boss Riki Chosu for his death, accusing him of negligence surrounding the alleged murder (although nother was ever proven).
Kenzo Suzuki was banished from Japan over the incident, which lead him signing for TNA in 2003, and then the WWE in 2004 under the racist gimmick “Hirohito”.
Giant Ochiai’s death has drawn similarities to the death of Hiromitsu Gompei.