RINGS was a Japanese professional wrestling promotion and later a Mixed Martial Arts organization from 1991 to 2002. It was founded by Akira Maeda on May 11, 1991, following the dissolution of the Newborn UWF.
At that time, Maeda and Mitsuya Nagai were the only two people to transfer from UWF International, which had been inaugurated just the day before. Wrestlers such as Kiyoshi Tamura, Hiromitsu Kanehara, and Kenichi Yamamoto later transferred from UWF International.
- Akira Maeda
- Mitsuya Nagai
- Yoshihisa Yamamoto
- Masayuki Naruse
- Tsuyoshi Kosaka
- Wataru Sakata
- Kiyoshi Tamura
- Kenichi Yamamoto
- Hiromitsu Kanehara
- Ryuki Ueyama
- Hiroyuki Ito
RINGS's system was very much like the National Wrestling Alliance in which members of "foreign promotions" (actually stables composed of fighters from a given country) competed against the Japanese members. The major countries represented were:
- Netherlands (Dirk Vrij, Hanse Nyman, Gilbert Yvel, Joop Kasteel, Valentijn Overeem, Alistair Overeem, Chris Dolman)
- Australia (Chris Haseman)
- Bulgaria (Todor Todorov, Dimitar Petkov (wrestler))
- Georgia (country) (Zaza Grom, Tariel Bitsadze, Amiran Bitsadze)
- Russia (Volk Han, Fedor Emelianenko, Andrei Kopilov, Nikolai Zuyev, Mikhail Ilyukhin)
- Brazil (Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Ricardo Arona, Renato Sobral)
- United Kingdom (Lee Hasdell, Paul Cahoon)
Later, United States group was added.
Maeda retired from active duty in 1998, leaving Tamura as the top star, but the collapse of UWF International and the subsequent rise of the PRIDE fighting circuit did in Tamura's worked winning streak, forcing the promotion to become a "real" martial arts circuit. Nevertheless, on February 15, 2002 the promotion ceased activity.