Tor Kamata
Tor Kamata 1979.jpg
Kamata, circa 1979
Birth nameMcRonald Kamaka
Born(1937-03-09)March 9, 1937[1]
Hawaii[1]
DiedJuly 23, 2007(2007-07-23) (aged 70)
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada[2]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Tor Kamata
Tor Kamaka
"King" Tor Kamaka
Mr. Moto
Dr. Moto
Killer Moto
Billed height6 ft 3 in (191 cm)[3]
Billed weight350 lb (159 kg)[3]
Billed fromJapan
Debut1959
Retired1987

McRonald Kamaka[2] (March 9, 1937 – July 23, 2007) was an American-Canadian professional wrestler known by the ring name Tor Kamata. He won several heavyweight and tag team championships, most notably the PWF World Heavyweight Championship in All Japan Pro Wrestling and the AWA World Tag Team Championship in the American Wrestling Association. He was a classic heel, reviled for dirty tricks in the ring, included rubbing salt in his opponent's eyes.

Professional wrestling career

After returning to Hawaii after leaving the United States Air Force, 50th State Big Time Wrestling promoter Ed Francis convinced Kamaka to try professional wrestling.[1] He was given the name Tor Kamata in reference to Tomas De Torquemada of the Spanish Inquisition.[1] He also worked as Mr. Moto, holding the American Wrestling Association's AWA World Tag Team Championship with Mitsu Arakawa. One of his signature moves, the "judo chop" became a popular phrase for all types of martial arts strikes in the 1960s, even being mentioned by Snoopy in the comic strip "Peanuts" (21 December 1964, 14 January 1967). A generation later, the phrase was satirised in the Austin Powers films.[1]

In the early 1970s, Kamata worked for Stampede Wrestling in Canada, where he held the Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship three times.[1] In the promotion, he feuded with Dan Kroffat.[1]

In 1976 and 1977, Kamata wrestled in the World Wide Wrestling Federation. Managed by Freddie Blassie, he had two memorable matches with Bob Backlund when Backlund was on the brink of becoming the WWWF Champion. In the first, Kamata threw salt into Backlund's eyes, which set the stage for a televised Texas Death match, aired May 7, 1977. Again Kamata threw salt in Backlund's eyes, so Backlund merely used the referee's shirt to wipe it out. Then Backlund delivered an Atomic Knee Drop and won the match. At the time, Superstar Billy Graham had just defeated Bruno Sammartino for the championship and Backlund was being built up as the number one contender.

Personal life

Kamata was an amateur wrestler during high school.[1] He was a club bouncer before becoming a professional wrestler.[1] He joined the United States Air Force and trained with amateur wrestlers in Turkey.[1] During the 1970s, he owned restaurants in Calgary, Alberta, and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where he also ran a shiatsu business.[1][2]

Kamata died on July 23, 2007, in Saskatoon after almost a decade of heart disease.[2]

Championships and accomplishments

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Oliver, Greg (July 7, 2004). "Tor Kamata: Mean but nice". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
  2. ^ a b c d Oliver, Greg (July 26, 2007). "Tor Kamata dead at 70". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-12-20.
  3. ^ a b Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 310. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
  4. ^ Real World Tag League 1978 at purolove.com retrieved on October 6, 2018
  5. ^ Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary (2000). "Texas: NWA World Tag Team Title [Siegel, Boesch and McLemore]". Wrestling title histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  6. ^ "National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Title [E. Texas]". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  7. ^ Royal Duncan and Gary Will (2006). "(Kansas and Western Missouri) West Missouri: North American Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 253. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  8. ^ "NWA North American Tag Team Title (Central States version)". wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  9. ^ Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary (2006) [2000.]. "(Memphis, Nashville) Tennessee: Southern Tag Team Title [Roy Welsch & Nick Gulas, Jerry Jarrett from 1977]". Wrestling title histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Waterloo, Ontario: Archeus Communications. pp. 185–189. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  10. ^ "Southern Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  11. ^ Whalen, Ed (host) (December 15, 1995). "Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame: 1948-1990". Showdown at the Corral: A Tribute to Stu Hart. Event occurs at 27:55. Shaw Cable. Calgary 7.
  12. ^ "Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (1948-1990)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  13. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  14. ^ "W.W.A. World Tag Team Title (Indianapolis)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.