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Top 15 American Wrestlers Who Succeeded In Japan

It's no secret to the devoted wrestling fan, that Japanese wrestling has featured some of the best promotions and matches in the world, over the years. With a precise, physical style, often showcasing a stiff wrestling style, with a bevy of high-risk maneuvers, it has gained a notable, renowned following the world over. While promotions such as NJPW, AJPW, Pro Wrestling NOAH, and others, typically feature a large number of native Japanese stars, there are also usually a handful of American wrestlers that have made the jump over.

Sometimes it was just for several matches, especially as a result of cross-promotional deals, such as when WCW partnered with NJPW in a talent exchange during the mid-1990's. In other instances, wrestlers who had gained a following in the States, found themselves even more popular in Japan, due to their personal style getting over more with the Japanese audience. As opposed to stateside promotions, Japanese wrestling typically places less of an emphasis on mic skills and promos, with the action in the ring taking center stage. It also a somewhat more methodical, and psychological aspect than a lot of mainstream wrestling in America, though a lot of indie promotions, do employ the same philosophy in certain cases.

So, it's not exactly a common thing, but there have certainly been some notable cases of stateside wrestling talent going to Japan, and in some cases, saving or enhancing their career. For them, it offered an alternative to the more "entertainment" based style in the squared circle, most utilized over here, and exposed them to a fanbase that saw them at a higher caliber than the ones in America.

Ranked below are the top 15 American wrestlers who succeeded in Japan.

15 15. Road Warriors

via prowrestling.wikia.com

14 14. Sabu

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13 13. The Briscoe Brothers

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12 12. Brock Lesnar

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11 11. Scott Norton

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10 10. Steiner Brothers

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9 9. Eddie Guerrero

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8 8. A.J. Styles

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7 7. 2 Cold Scorpio

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6 6. Dynamite Kid

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5 5. Gary Albright

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4 4. Johnny Ace

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3 3. "Dr. Death" Steve Williams

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2 2. Vader

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1 1. Stan Hansen

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When it comes to the American wrestlers having success in Japanese promotions, Stan Hansen has always been the prime example. He spent some time in WWE and the AWA in the early portion of his career, but essentially from a twenty year period from 1980 to 2000 (with a short WCW stint in between), he was a main event talent for AJPW. Probably no other American wrestler has seen the level of Hansen's success internationally; a four time Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion, and eight time tag champion, Hansen was a superstar in Japan. His definitive cowboy persona, and devastating Lariat finisher captivated Japanese audiences for years, and he essentially became one of their own. Overall, Hansen should be considered an all-time great, and the best export from American wrestling to Japan.

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Top 15 American Wrestlers Who Succeeded In Japan