Is there much in the way of wrestling manga, other than Kinnikuman?
Similar to the way manga is the reason I ever got interested in MMA, my interest in wrestling doesn’t extend far beyond Japanese black-and-white drawings. But as I’m sure you know, pro-wrestling is big business in Japan so it makes sense it would be reflected in their comics.
You already mentioned Kinnikuman, probably the biggest pro-wrestling manga property in Japan as well as the most visible here in the US. It’s easy for people to write off its domestic success, but not only did Viz manage to release all the Ultimate Muscle manga in English, the anime adaptation did well enough to merit an additional season especially made for FOX. People tend to forget that.
Anyway, on to the answer! One of the first manga that comes to mind is Tiger Mask, which ran for fourteen volumes beginning in 1968. It was adapted into a television series soon after. It’s a fairly episodic series targeted to kids about a heroic wrestler who wears a tiger mask and fights an evil organization he once belonged to. I don’t have high hopes of Tiger Mask ever being available in English, but there was a 1981 sequel anime which was only 33 episodes. I’d love to see that one!
In 1976 Go Nagai created a wrestling hero named Aztecaser, who starred in a series of manga as well as a live action/anime hybrid type of show. Like a lot of Go Nagai properties, the television show didn’t have a whole lot in common with the manga incarnation, and sadly I doubt we’ll be seeing the manga in English anytime soon. It’s really unfortunate, considering that much like Getter Robo, it was Ken Ishikawa who worked on the manga adaptations.
Speaking of Go Nagai, in 1989 he created an anime/manga called Juushin Liger, and its opening is delightfully eighties in all the right ways. Juushin Liger is technically about a boy who transforms into a giant biomechanical suit, but it inspired a professional wrestling character who uses the name to this day, so I thought I’d mention it! Also, robots with long flowing orange hair are the coolest, ask Genesic GaoGaiGar if you don’t believe me. This is a manga that has been entirely fan-translated.
Do you want me to count sumo wrestling? If so, Aah Harimanada is a 1992 sumo wrestling anime which is currently being fansubbed from VHS masters because it’s never been released on DVD. Don’t let that fool you, the manga was good enough to run for 28 volumes and was adapted into a series of video games as well. But once again, the odds of seeing the manga in English seem to be pretty low.
Notari Matsutaro is a 1973 sumo wrestling manga belonging to the seinen demographic, and it was adapted into ten OVAs in the nineties. I would LOVE to see this in any form, especially considering Ashita no Joe boxing manga superstar Tetsuya Chiba is the one who created it!
That’ll do for now, though I’m sure there are plenty more I don’t even know about, and some omissions I’ll later face-palm for forgetting. It’s also worth noting that professional wrestling features heavily in a lot of MMA manga. For example, one of the main conflicts in Keisuke Itagaki’s Garouden involves wrestlers trying to defend the legitimacy of their fighting prowess against martial artists who look down on them. One of the persistent villains in Tough is Iron Kiba, a former professional wrestler who becomes obsessed with the idea of defeating Kiibo’s father. And almost every adult fighting manga ever features a character with the likeness of Antonio Inoki, an utterly beloved Japanese wrestler with an imposing jawline.