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Makoto 'Don' Arakawa passes away at 71 years old

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While this actually happened several weeks ago, the news didn't break until last night that Makoto Arakawa, a longtime Japanese wrestler from the glory days of New Japan passed away on November 5th. The cause of death is unknown. He was 71 years old.

Arakawa was better known as Don Arakawa, a prelim wrestler who were long black tights and had a powerful upper body from heavy lifting and heavy eating, and was nicknamed "Opener Rikidozan." He worked for New Japan Pro Wrestling full-time from 1972 until retiring in 1989, with his name change to Don Arakawa taking place in 1985.

He came back to work as a prelim wrestler in 1990 for Super World Sports, a short-lived promotion headed by Megane Super billionaire Hachiro Tanaka. After that promotion folded in 1992, Arakawa, who Tanaka loved, hired him full-time. He also wrestled for Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi from 1993 to 1996, and wrestled on independent shows as late as 2009, including appearing in a New Japan Royal Rumble rules match that year that was won by Kazuchika Okada, long before Okada was being pushed as a star.

Arakawa was not related to the more famous Mitsu Arakawa, who was a major internatioanl star in the 1960s as part of a tag team with Kinji Shibuya.