Early Years: New Japan, UWF, and Newborn UWF
Nobuhiko Takada made his professional wrestling debut in 1981 against Norio Honaga, for New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he started his career as a Junior Heavyweight. He left NJPW in 1984, along with Rusher Kimura, Akira Maeda, Ryuma Go, Mach Hayato, and Gran Hamada, to form the original Universal Wrestling Federation.
The original UWF dissolved in 1986. Takada and Akira Maeda returned to NJPW and formed a UWF stable. Only a few months later, Takada defeated Shiro Koshinaka to capture the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, which he held for four months. In 1987, Takada moved to the Heavyweight ranks. Along with Akira Maeda, he won the IWGP Tag Team Championship from rival, Koshinaka & Keiji Mutoh. He left NJPW in 1988 to form the second incarnation of the Universal Wrestling Federation called Newborn UWF, becoming one of its top stars.
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