Demolition's Ax Talks Working In Japan, Handshake Deal With Antonio Inoki

Demolition's Ax is reminiscing about the 14 years he spent working in Japan, and the "very good" way legendary Japanese promoter Antonio Inoki treated him. "I had a pretty successful run there," Ax, the longtime WWF and NWA wrestler, said during a recent appearance on "Under the Ring." Ax, whose real name is Bill Eadie, said he would travel to work in Japan on a handshake deal with Inoki, who founded NJPW in 1972. At one point in his career, the Demolition member said he was offered the opportunity to work with All Japan Pro Wrestling, but felt loyal to NJPW because of Inoki.

"I had gotten an offer to go to All Japan, but New Japan's office with Inoki treated me so kindly," he said. "I mean, I was there for 14 years. I could pick my tours, and I would go anywhere from four weeks to 14 weeks all on a handshake between Inoki and myself. And I knew what I was gonna make. I knew when I was going, when I was coming back. And they treated me very good. They flew my family over to Hawaii two different times and paid for the trips, so to be offered to jump to All Japan, I had loyalty to Inoki."

Ax, whose decorated pro wrestling career spanned 45 years, said "some of the best memories that I have in this business are in Japan. The people are very knowledgeable, it's safe, I love the food. The trips were first class. The company treated their talent first class. To have a verbal contract signed by a handshake [deal], you just don't have that anymore."