The Legend Of Ribera: Visiting This Steakhouse In Japan Is A Rite Of Passage For Pro Wrestlers

by Julian Sonny

One of the longest standing traditions in the WWE, and all throughout wrestling, is a secret that's been kept in the heart of Japan for the past 30 years.

Ribera Steakhouse, a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant located in downtown Tokyo, has served as a Mecca for some of the greatest superstars of the sport to come visit, chow down and don the revered Ribera Steakhouse satin jacket.

Big E made his pilgrimage this week and posted this epic pic to his Twitter account to flex. If he wasn't already a man, then I don't know what that makes me!

Today, I became a man. — Epsilon (@WWEBigE) July 10, 2014

John Cena is another guy who stops by the restaurant whenever he's in town, and even entered the ring while wearing his Ribera jacket at his last match. Of course, he also wore zubaz, which are still all the rage in Japan.

Unfortunately, Cena also admitted that doesn't even really know how the tradition was all started. Does that make him a poser? He described the atmosphere of the restaurant to WWE.

It’s tradition that when you go to Japan, you go to Ribera. I don’t even know where the folklore starts, but the family that owns the place has always been traditionally hospitable to wrestlers. The food’s great. They treat us with the greatest hospitality.

Retired wrestler Stan Hansen can clear up some of that for us as he was one of the original guys who first found the spot. He credits Bruiser Brody for making the discovery, and the rest was history.

In Japan back in the late 70s, early 80s, steak was still foreign. It was very expensive. Just to get a normal steak was $20 or $30. Wrestlers had a hard time finding a place to eat fairly cheap and everybody loved steak, coming from America. Bruiser Brody happened to find this place. He took me soon after he found it. Probably ’78 or ’79. The [owner] was a wrestling fan and became a bigger fan as more and more guys came to eat.
This was dinner last night at the world famous ribera steakhouse #Tokyo — chad patton (@chadpattonwwe) July 10, 2014

The WWE is currently in Japan for a string of matches that conclude today. If you didn't already know, the wrestling culture is huge out in Japan and fans always show up in full force when the worldwide leader is in town.

And don't let the geographical distance from America fool you. These people know about everything that's going on with the current story. Just look at how they get dressed up for the matches below! Now, that's dedication.

Japan is one of the largest thriving markets for wrestling, and for many of the Americans who come visit, gaining their respect is an achievement. Dining at the famed Ribera Steakhouse and getting their jacket is a way to celebrate that.

With the WWE about to announce the signing of Japanese star Kenta, maybe we can expect the Ribera franchise to make it to the states. One can only dream! Check out a quick photo tour of the history that makes this place so great.

Hercules meets a couple of fans at the Ribera Steakhouse.

A very 80s Undertaker wears the satin jacket.

Stars from today pose after enjoying a meal and getting their jackets.

Inside of the Ribera Steakhouse.

What the meal looks like.

The history that's come before.

Big E enjoying his moment.

My dude is killing it with those Buccaneers creamsicle @zubaz. — Epsilon (@WWEBigE) July 10, 2014

Photo Courtesy: WWE and WWE Classics