On October 26, 1897, McLeod defeated Martin “Farmer” Burns to win the American Catch as Catch Can Heavyweight Championship, which he would retain for four years. The most notable incident during his reign as champion came far away from the media spotlight when on June 18, 1899; McLeod met and defeated a young Frank Gotch in a hard-fought impromptu match on a cinder track. It was Gotch’s very first professional match and he later recounted that McLeod had hustled all involved by pretending to be a simple furniture dealer from a neighboring town, but was impressed enough by Gotch’s talent to leave him a visiting card revealing his true identity.
On August 12, 2012, Sakuraba, alongside Katsuyori Shibata , started appearing in New Japan Pro Wrestling . It was Sakuraba's first work for the company since 1995, and the first ever as a free agent instead of a representative from another promotion.  Sakuraba and Shibata wrestled their first match on September 23, defeating Hiromu Takahashi and Wataru Inoue in a tag team match.  Sakuraba and Shibata, collectively dubbed Laughter7,  continued their winning ways at the following two pay-per-views , King of Pro-Wrestling on October 8 and Power Struggle on November 11, both times defeating the team of Togi Makabe and Wataru Inoue.   Also at Power Struggle, Shinsuke Nakamura nominated Sakuraba as the next challenger for his IWGP Intercontinental Championship .  On December 2, Sakuraba won his first exchange with Nakamura, when Laughter7 defeated Nakamura and Tomohiro Ishii in a tag team match to remain undefeated since their return.  On January 4, 2013, at Wrestle Kingdom 7 in Tokyo Dome , Sakuraba suffered his first defeat since his return to professional wrestling, when he unsuccessfully challenged Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.  Sakuraba and Shibata returned to their winning ways at the following pay-per-view, The New Beginning on February 10, where they defeated Hirooki Goto and Wataru Inoue in a tag team match.  On April 7 at Invasion Attack , Sakuraba and Shibata suffered their first tag team loss, when they were defeated by Hirooki Goto and Yuji Nagata via referee stoppage, when Sakuraba injured his right elbow, after taking a belly-to-back suplex from Nagata, and unable to continue the match.  New Japan later announced that Sakuraba would be sidelined for two to three months.  Sakuraba wrestled his return match on July 20, defeating Yuji Nagata via submission.  On September 8, Sakuraba and Shibata took part in the Wrestle-1 promotion's inaugural event , defeating Masakatsu Funaki and Masayuki Kono in a tag team match.  Sakuraba continued his rivalry with Yuji Nagata at the September 29 Destruction pay-per-view, where he and Shibata defeated Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi with Sakuraba pinning his rival for the win.