When Tiger Mask was the top draw in the junior heavyweight division of New Japan Pro-Wrestling
in the early 1980s, All Japan Pro-Wrestling needed a junior heavyweight star as the answer to Tiger Mask.
They picked Atsushi Ōnita, who was an assitant for Giant Baba in mid to late 1970s.
In 1982, Ōnita defeated Chavo Guerrero for the NWA International Junior Heavyweight title. With this title, Ōnita became the top star
of All Japan's junior heavyweight division. After many matches
with high flying moves, Ōnita injured his knee and was forced to retire in 1985.
After being a talent for many TV shows, Ōnita came back to the ring in late 1980s to "declare independence."
Ōnita wrestled on the opening card of Japan's first indenpendet promotion by Ryuma Go in 1988, and he founded the Frontier Martial-art Wrestling in October, 1989.
In mid-1980s, the hottest thing in puroresu was the UWF, that promoted the "shoot style" matches.
The idea of UWF style was to eliminate everything that had kept the social status of puroresu low, such as using
ropes, brawling outside the ring, illegal moves, and many other aspects of showmanship which made the matches less realistic. Earlier in 1989,
Ōnita went to a UWF show with "a letter of challenge" but was refused at the gate by the UWF president Shinji Jin, who asked him,
"do you have a ticket for the card?" For some people, this was Ōnita's victory over UWF because they refused Ōinta's challenge despite the fact they had been claiming to promote "real stuff". Instead, Ōnita's FMW went totally different direction from UWF's and chose the idea that everything should be included in puroresu.
On March 6th, 1953, the first brass knuckles match ever was held in Houston, Texas between "Wild" Bull Curry and "Irish" Danny McShain,
where Curry defeated McShain. On October 8th, 1970, the first steel cage match in Japan was held in Osaka, where Rusher Kimura defeated Dr. Death. Then, on August 4th, 1990, Atsushi Ōnita's FMW promoted the first ever no-rope barbed-wire electric-explosive death match,
where Ōnita defeated Tarzan Goto. Ōnita's idea of death matches started growing stronger since then, and he came up with the crazy
idea such as surrounding the ring with mines, using time-bomb, etc.. This resulted his career to give him more than one thousand sutures on his body.
Since his idea was totally different from the traditional pro-wrestling, many people called his stuff an "evil way."
Ōnita, however, responded, "an evil way? Fine! But if you take it away from me, what would remain!?"
His idea and attitude toward the sport made him not only an idolized figure of death matches but also one of the most charismatic stars in the history of puroresu.