Yoshiaki Fujiwara is a Japanese professional wrestler and trainer. He is famous for his long career in wrestling, having worked in New Japan Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling ZERO-ONE, the two incarnations of shoot style promotion Universal Wrestling Federation. Fujiwara is known for his catch wrestling expertise, having been praised by fighters like Josh Barnett and Ken Shamrock, he is considered to be Karl Gotch's best student and has trained many MMA fighters and professional wrestlers. Fujiwara was the first graduate of the New Japan Pro Wrestling dojo. A former judoka, Fujiwara was able to absorb and apply the "Strong Style" of professional wrestling taught by Inoki and Karl Gotch, he became Inoki's bodyguard and sparring partner. In 1975, Fujiwara won the Karl Gotch Cup. In the late 1970s, Fujiwara became embroiled in a feud with Allen Coage over the petty issue of who had the strongest head. Fujiwara would bang his head against the ring's corner post's metal face to provoke Coage, behind the scenes, Coage would advise him not to do so in fear of suffering permanent real-life damage.
All the while, Fujiwara remained a strong member of the undercard, but would he get opportunities for big singles matches or tag teams with better-known stars. In February 2, 1984, all that would change when Fujiwara appeared before a match to attack Riki Choshu the promotion's main villain; the sight of Choshu beaten and bleeding turned Fujiwara into one of the most popular babyface wrestlers in the promotion and a ainstay in the rivalry against Choshu and his Ishi Gundan faction. In storyline, it was suspected Inoki; the same year, Fujiwara was among the defectors who created the Japanese UWF. When he and most of them returned in 1986, they formed their own stable, indicating they would battle major New Japan wrestlers and receive recognition on their own terms; as a member of the UWF stable, along with Akira Maeda, focused on Inoki's IWGP Heavyweight Championship, pushing him to the limit in the annual IWGP tournaments. But at heart and Fujiwara were rivals - when unable to get the IWGP title and Nobuhiko Takada went for and won the IWGP tag team title and Kazuo Yamazaki split from the main UWF stable, feuded with them over the title winning it.
This split in the wake of Riki Choshu's return to NJPW after leaving in circumstances similar to Maeda and the rest of the UWF roster weakened the UWF stable. When Maeda was fired from New Japan for a shoot attack on Choshu during a match in late 1987, all the other UWF stable members except for Fujiwara and Osamu Kido left NJPW to reform the UWF. Kido and Fujiwara attempted to get back into the good graces of the rest of the NJPW roster - and for a time, Fujiwara seemed to go back into the NJPW undercard, although with more respect from his peers. Inoki had gained respect for him enough to be his tag team partner in 1986 for the annual tag team tournament. In the meantime, Fujiwara trained rookies Minoru Suzuki. In 1989, Fujiwara felt the need to continue shoot-style wrestling due to the rise of Choshu in backstage politics, so he moved to the UWF with Funaki and Suzuki. In Newborn UWF, Fujiwara was seen as the senior peer to Maeda, but jobbed to him. After Newborn UWF collapsed in December 1990, Funaki and rookie Yusuke Fuke formed Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi.
Although it was a shoot style promotion, Fujiwara had agreements with SWS, W*ING and Universal Lucha Libre, whereupon he would send talent to compete in them. Fujiwara Gumi had a big supercard at the Tokyo Dome in 1992, involving all the great talents in the promotion: Fujiwara, Suzuki, Yoshiki Takahashi, Yuki Ishikawa, others. Problems involving the collapsing Japanese economy and the essence of Fujiwara Gumi's wrestling, forced its roster to assess their individual futures. Funaki, Suzuki and Takahashi unsettled by the "performing" direction Fujiwara was taking, abandoned him in late 1993 to form Pancrase. Fujiwara had back-up talent - Ishikawa, Daisuke Ikeda, Katsumi Usuda, Minoru Tanaka, Mamoru Okamoto, Muhammad Yone, Shoichi Funaki. In need of funds, Fujiwara proposed to cooperate with their root promotion, New Japan. Fujiwara and the rest of the roster began having a small feud with NJPW, Fujiwara challenging the heavyweights, the rest the junior heavyweight division; the NJPW-PWFG feud, did not have the star-studded impression on fans that the NJPW-UWFI feud had.
In late 1995, Ishikawa and the rest of the Fujiwara Gumi roster abandoned Fujiwara and formed their own promotion, BattlARTS, citing problems with Fujiwara's management team. Since 1996, the only remaining member of Fujiwara Gumi and thus a free agent, has competed in several promotions in legends ma
Shinsuke Nakamura is a Japanese professional wrestler and former mixed martial artist. He is signed to WWE, where he performs on the SmackDown brand. Prior to his main roster debut, Nakamura competed in WWE's developmental brand, NXT, where he is one of only two wrestlers to have held the NXT Championship on more than one occasion. In January 2018, Nakamura won the 2018 Men's Royal Rumble match, won the United States Championship twice. Nakamura is best known for his work in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, where he is a former three-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, with his first reign coming at the age of 23 years and 9 months, he is a founding member and the original leader of the stable Chaos. Shinsuke Nakamura was born in Mineyama, Kyoto on February 24, 1980. Nakamura joined NJPW in March 2002 and began making a name for himself as a bright prospect for the company. Having earned the nickname "Super Rookie", Nakamura impressed both NJPW officials and fans with an excellent combination of strength and technical skill.
Alongside fellow rookies Hiroshi Tanahashi and Katsuyori Shibata, Nakamura became known as one of the "new Three Musketeers". Nakamura began training vale tudo and on December 31 made his mixed martial arts debut in a fight, where he was defeated by Daniel Gracie via submission to an armlock. Nakamura's second MMA fight took place on May 2, 2003, when he defeated Jan Nortje with a guillotine choke, he followed that up on September 13 with another submission victory over Shane Eitner in his third MMA fight. On December 9, Nakamura defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, thus becoming the youngest wrestler in history to win the title. On January 4, 2004 at Wrestling World 2004, Nakamura defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against the NWF Heavyweight Champion Yoshihiro Takayama in a title unification match. However, Nakamura was forced to vacate the title due to an injury just a month later. Upon his return, Nakamura received a shot at the title, now held by Bob Sapp, but he was defeated by the defending champion on May 3.
That month, Nakamura competed in his last MMA fight, defeating Alexey Ignashov with a forearm choke on May 22. On December 11, Nakamura and his tag team partner Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Kensuke Sasaki and Minoru Suzuki in a decision match to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. On January 4, 2005 at Toukon Festival: Wrestling World 2005, Nakamura defeated his own tag team partner to win the IWGP U-30 Openweight Championship. During their tag team title reign, the two left for an excursion to Mexico, where they feuded with Los Guerreros del Infierno and defended the IWGP Tag Team Championship against Rey Bucanero and Olímpico. On October 30, they lost the IWGP Tag Team Championship to Cho-Ten. Nakamura challenged Brock Lesnar for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on January 4, 2006 at Toukon Shidou Chapter 1, but he lost. In March 2006, Nakamura announced that he would depart on a learning excursion in order to further improve his wrestling skills. Among other things, he would travel to Mexico and Russia as well as train with Lesnar at Lesnar's personal gym in order to gain muscle mass.
NJPW President Simon Inoki suggested that as part of his learning excursion, Nakamura would be loaned to World Wrestling Entertainment to gain experience in working large American shows. However, it proved to be speculation and never came to pass as Nakamura was urgently needed back in New Japan due to Lesnar's departure. On September 24, Nakamura made his long-awaited return to New Japan, joining Masahiro Chono's Black New Japan faction, which had the goal of reforming New Japan with Chono as the president and Nakamura as the "ace". Nakamura had improved his muscular mass during his overseas training and debuted a new finisher, called the Landslide. On December 10, Nakamura was unable to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from then-champion Tanahashi and was again unsuccessful on January 4, 2007 at the Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome show, where he lost to Toshiaki Kawada. Nakamura entered the 2007 G1 Climax tournament, where he reached the semifinals before dislocating his shoulder; the injury sidelined Nakamura for months, but he made his return on November 11 and took over the leadership of Black New Japan from Chono and reformed the faction under the new name RISE.
The faction consisted of himself, Milano Collection A. T. Hirooki Goto, Giant Bernard, Travis Tomko and Prince Devitt. Low Ki was added to the stable after Milano was injured, having impressed Nakamura during an appearance when he was still with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. On December 9, Nakamura defeated Togi Makabe to earn an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match at the following month's Tokyo Dome show. On January 4, 2008, Nakamura defeated his rival Tanahashi in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom II in Tokyo Dome, winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the second time. On February 17, Nakamura defeated Kurt Angle to win the IGF version of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, unifying it with his own NJPW version of the title, he lost the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to All Japan Pro Wrestling representative Keiji Mutoh in Osaka on April 27. On September 5, Nakamura and RISE stablemate Hirooki Goto unsuccessfully challenged Togi Makabe and Toru Yano for the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
After the match, the duo were attacked by Giant Bernard, Rick Fuller and the returning Low
Kanagawa Prefecture is a prefecture located in Kantō region of Japan. The capital of the prefecture is Yokohama. Kanagawa is part of the Greater Tokyo Area. Kanagawa Prefecture is home to Hakone, two popular side trip destinations from Tokyo; the prefecture has some archaeological sites going back to the Jōmon period. About 3,000 years ago, Mount Hakone produced a volcanic explosion which resulted in Lake Ashi on the western area of the prefecture, it is believed. In the ancient era, its plains were sparsely inhabited. In medieval Japan, Kanagawa was part of the provinces of Musashi. Kamakura in central Sagami was the capital of Japan during the Kamakura period. During the Edo period, the western part of Sagami Province was governed by the daimyō of Odawara Castle, while the eastern part was directly governed by the Tokugawa shogunate in Edo. Commodore Matthew Perry landed in Kanagawa in 1853 and 1854 and signed the Convention of Kanagawa to force open Japanese ports to the United States. Yokohama, the largest deep-water port in Tokyo Bay, was opened to foreign traders in 1859 after several more years of foreign pressure, developed into the largest trading port in Japan.
Nearby Yokosuka, closer to the mouth of Tokyo Bay, developed as a naval port and now serves as headquarters for the U. S. 7th Fleet and the fleet operations of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. After the Meiji period, many foreigners lived in Yokohama City, visited Hakone; the Meiji government developed the first railways in Japan, from Shinbashi to Yokohama in 1872. The epicenter of the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake was deep beneath Izu Ōshima Island in Sagami Bay, it devastated Tokyo, the port city of Yokohama, surrounding prefectures of Chiba and Shizuoka, caused widespread damage throughout the Kantō region. The sea receded as much as 400 metres from the shore at Manazuru Point, rushed back towards the shore in a great wall of water which swamped Mitsuishi-shima. At Kamakura, the total death toll from earthquake and fire exceeded 2,000 victims. At Odawara, ninety percent of the buildings collapsed and subsequent fires burned the rubble along with anything else left standing. Yokohama and other major cities were damaged by the U.
S. bombing in 1945. Casualties amounted to more than several thousand. After the war, General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers for the Occupation of Japan, landed in Kanagawa, before moving to other areas. U. S. military bases still remain in Kanagawa, including Camp Zama, Yokosuka Naval Base, Naval Air Station Atsugi. In 1945, Kanagawa was the 15th most populous prefecture in Japan, with the population of about 1.9 million. In the years after the war, the prefecture underwent rapid urbanization as a part of the Greater Tokyo Area; the population as of September 1, 2014, is estimated to be 9.1 million. Kanagawa became the second most populous prefecture in 2006. Kanagawa is a small prefecture located at the southeastern corner of the Kantō Plain wedged between Tokyo on the north, the foothills of Mount Fuji on the northwest, the Sagami Bay and Tokyo Bay on the south and east; the eastern side of the prefecture is flat and urbanized, including the large port cities of Yokohama and Kawasaki.
The southeastern area nearby the Miura Peninsula is less urbanized, with the ancient city of Kamakura drawing tourists to temples and shrines. The western part, bordered by Yamanashi Prefecture and Shizuoka Prefecture on the west, is more mountainous and includes resort areas like Odawara and Hakone; the area, stretching 80 kilometres from west to east and 60 kilometres from north to south, contains 2,400 square kilometres of land, accounting for 0.64% of the total land area of Japan. As of 1 April 2012, 23% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Topographically, the prefecture consists of three distinct areas; the mountainous western region features Hakone Volcano. The hilly eastern region is characterized by the Tama Hills and Miura Peninsula; the central region, which surrounds the Tama Hills and Miura Peninsula, consists of flat stream terraces and low lands around major rivers including the Sagami River, Sakai River, Tsurumi River, Tama River.
The Tama River forms much of the boundary between Tokyo. The Sagami River flows through the middle of the prefecture. In the western region, the Sakawa runs through a small lowland, the Sakawa Lowland, between Hakone Volcano to the west and the Ōiso Hills to the east and flows into Sagami Bay; the Tanzawa Mountain Range, part of the Kantō Mountain Range, contains Mount Hiru, the highest peak in the prefecture. Other mountains measure similar mid-range heights: Mount Hinokiboramaru, Mount Tanzawa, Mount Ōmuro, Mount Himetsugi, Mount Usu; the mountain range is lower in height southward leading to Hadano Basin to the Ōiso Hills. At the eastern foothills of the mountain range lies the Isehara Plateau and across the Sagami River the Sagamino plateau. Nineteen cities are located in Kanagawa Prefecture: These are the towns and villages in each district: Tama River Firework event Yokohama Port Anniversary Festival Kamakura Festival Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival Odawara Hōjō Godai Festival Yugawara
Karuizawa is a town located in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 October 2016, the town had an estimated population of 19,939, a population density of 128 persons per km², its total area is 156.03 square kilometres. Karuizawa is a popular summer resort area for the residents of Tokyo. Karuizawa is located in eastern Nagano Prefecture, bordered by Gunma Prefecture to the north and south; the town is located on an elevated plain at the foot of Mount Asama, one of Japan's most active volcanoes. The mountain is classed as a Category A active volcano. A small eruption was detected in June 2015, a more significant eruption spewing hot rocks and a plume of ash occurred in February 2015. Mt. Asama's most destructive eruption in recent recorded history took place in 1783, when over 1,000 were killed; the volcano is monitored by scientists and climbing close to the summit is prohibited. Usui Pass Highest elevation: 2,568 metres Lowest elevation: 798.7 metres Nagano Prefecture Saku Miyota Gunma Prefecture Takasaki Annaka Shimonita Naganohara Tsumagoi Karuizawa has a humid continental climate with warm summers and cold winters.
Precipitation is much heavier in the summer than in the winter. The area of present-day Karuizawa was part of ancient Shinano Province, developed as Karuizawa-shuku, a post station on the Nakasendō highway connecting Edo with Kyoto during the Edo period. August 2, 1876: The villages of Kutsukake, Karijuku and Yui merged to form the village of Nagakura; the village of Hatsuji in Saku District absorbed the village of Matorikaya. January 14, 1879: Kitasaku District Government enforced, the town of Usuitoge, the villages of Karuizawa, Oiwake belongs to Kitasaku District. 1886: Canadian Anglican missionary Rev. Alexander Croft Shaw and Tokyo Imperial University English professor James Main Dixon introduced Karuizawa as a summer resort. April 1, 1889: With the establishment of the municipalities system, the town of Usuitoge, the villages of Karuizawa, the areas of the former villages of Kutsukake and Karijuku from the village of Nagakura merged to form the village of Higashinagakura in Kitasaku District, the areas of the former villages of Narusawanitta and Yui in the village of Nagakura, the villages of Hatsuji and Oiwake merged to form the village of Nishinagakura in Kitasaku District.
1910s: Begins to attract the attention of other expatriates and Japanese. Specially Germans congregate here, language professors and academics hold annual conferences. August 1, 1923: The village of Higashinagakura gains town status to become the town of Karuizawa. May 8, 1942: The village of Nishinagakura is merged into Karuizawa 1942-45: Site of an internment camp for enemy foreigners and diplomats during World War 2. From 1943 relocation of an increasing number of Germans from Tokyo, suffering from US fire bombing; the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers deported most of them in late 1947. 1951: Selected as International Cultural and Tourism City. February 1, 1957: Karuizawa absorbed Serizawa area from the former village of Goga, absorbed by the town of Miyota. April 1, 1959: The Kajikazawa area of the former village of Oiwake was split off and merged with the town of Miyota. 1964: 1964 Summer Olympics February 1972: Asama-Sanso incident Police besiege communist militants holed up in holiday resort after mass killing and hostage taking.
October 1, 1997: The Nagano Shinkansen opens, serving Karuizawa. 1998: 1998 Winter Olympics 2004: Mount Asama erupts. Hoshino Resorts has its headquarters in Karuizawa. Karuizawa has three public elementary school and one public middle school operated by the town government, one high school operated the Nagano Prefectural Board of Education; the UWC ISAK Japan international school is located in the town. JR East – Hokuriku Shinkansen Karuizawa Shinano Railway – Shinano Railway Line Karuizawa - Naka-Karuizawa - Shinano-Oiwake Jōshin-etsu Expressway Japan National Route 18 Japan National Route 146 Campos do Jordão, Brazil Whistler, British Columbia, Canada At an elevation of 1,000 m and a temperate summer climate, Karuizawa is a popular year round resort offering many outdoor sport, hot spring and recreational activities. Convenient road and rail access from central Tokyo, has ensured Karuizawa's popularity as a location for second homes and resort hotels since the Meiji era; the town is known for its historic shopping street known as "Ginza dōri" or "Kyū-dō" and association with both Japanese royalty and visitors such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Karuizawa hosted equestrian events in the 1964 Summer Olympics as well as curling in the 1998 Winter Olympics. To date, it is the only city in the world to have hosted both Winter Olympic events. Since 1997, Karuizawa has been accessible via the JR East Nagano Shinkansen. New high speed rail links has resulted in modest population growth and the development of large outlet style shopping malls. Arishima Takeo, writer Endo Shusaku, novelist Idei Nobuyuki, former Sony Chairman, CEO Paul Jacoulet, woodblock print artist E. Herbert Norman, Canadian diplomat and historian Yoko Ono, artist and activist Alexander Croft Shaw, Anglican missionary Tabaimo, artist Media related to Karuizawa, Nagano at Wikimedia Commons Official Website Karuizawa Tourism Website Karuizawa Tourism Website
Minoru Suzuki is a Japanese professional wrestler and mixed martial artist working for New Japan Pro-Wrestling as a freelancer. In NJPW, Suzuki is a one time holder of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship belt, as well as a one time NEVER Openweight Champion, he is the current co-holder of the Undisputed British Tag Team Championship alongside fellow Suzuki-gun stablemate Zack Sabre Jr. Revolution Pro Wrestling promotion. Suzuki was the co-founder of Pancrase, one of the first mixed martial arts organizations in the world. During the 1990s, he was considered one of the best fighters in the world and was the second King of Pancrase world champion. Suzuki returned to regular puroresu in 2003, when he has become a perennial top contender for all major Japanese heavyweight championships, he is known for his time in All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he is two-time Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion, Pro Wrestling Noah, where he is a one-time GHC Heavyweight Champion. A mixed martial arts pioneer, Suzuki is well noted for his excellence in freestyle wrestling and catch wrestling, has been praised many times by elite fighters such as Josh Barnett, Bas Rutten, Ken Shamrock for his outstanding grappling and submission skills.
Suzuki trained in amateur wrestling since high school, in part inspired by Antonio Inoki and other professional wrestlers, in part to paliate his own physical condition. He won a stateside freestyle wrestling championship in Kanagawa Prefecture, finished second nationwide as an Olympic alternate, he had a background in kendo as well. As an amateur wrestler, Suzuki first met future professional wrestling rival Yuji Nagata. In 1986, when they both were seniors, Suzuki beat Nagata first in a Tokyo high school tournament and again at the Japanese sectionals. Suzuki trained at the New Japan Pro-Wrestling dojo and made his pro wrestling debut on June 23, 1988, against Takayuki Iizuka, but soon after left with catch wrestling mentor Yoshiaki Fujiwara for the newborn Universal Wrestling Federation, he joined Fujiwara's Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi but left the organization to form Pancrase, one of the first mixed martial arts organizations in the world, in 1993 with Masakatsu Funaki. Suzuki's career in MMA originated after his departure from the Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi promotion along with Masakatsu Funaki and other wrestlers to found the Pancrase promotion.
He had his debut in professional fighting on the first card of the company, facing Katsuomi Inagaki in a bout which showed Suzuki's top grappling prowess, with Minoru winning by rear naked choke in 3:25. He continued his beginnings with a victory over Lion's Den trainee Vernon White, in which Suzuki made him submit to a catch wrestling-inspired crooked headscissors. At the third Pancrase event in November 1993, Suzuki had his debut in kickboxing rules against American champion Maurice Smith, in a rematch of a "different style fight" celebrated back in UWF where Smith defeated Suzuki. Outclassed, Minoru was knocked down several times and finished shortly after, he had a third match with Smith in May 1994, this time under a special ruleset: the first and the third round would be fought wearing kickboxing gloves, the second and fourth without them and the fifth under a combination of the two. Suzuki got his revenge, submitting Smith at the third round with an armbar despite the disadvantage of the gloves.
Despite his significant size disadvantage against most competitors, Suzuki became one of the most successful fighters in Pancrase. He amassed a 7-0 winning streak, including a huge upset win over Pancrase's top fighter Ken Shamrock, who had defeated Masakatsu Funaki in the first main event of the company. During the match, celebrated in January 1994, the two fighters traded positions, with Suzuki getting overpowered by the stronger Shamrock, but he was able to turn Ken over and initiate a leglock attack; the Japanese fighter locked a heel hook, which Ken looked to reverse, but at that moment Suzuki transitioned it into a kneebar and extended his leg further. Shamrock reached for a rope escape as the Pancrase ruleset stipulated, but he was gravely injured by the hold and couldn't continue, thus losing the match. However, the bout was not without controversy. Ken Shamrock would claim years after that he had been asked not to injure Suzuki during the match, as he was affected by a back injury, that he had accepted only to find himself deliberately injured himself by Suzuki in return.
Suzuki did not lose a match. In 1995, he won the King of Pancrase title to become the second King of Pancrase. Suzuki twice defeated Shamrock and is the only man to hold two wins over Shamrock in the Pancrase era. Over time, Suzuki's body became damaged and worn down from various injuries and resulted in his skills diminishing, he decided to focus on the business and training side of Pancrase. He collaborated with the Tekken series of fighting video games as a motion actor for the character King, his last non-worked fight for Pancrase was against a professional wrestler, Jushin Thunder Liger, whom Suzuki had known under his real name Keiichi Yamada in his first NJPW stint. At the time he competed in grappling matches exclusively. Suzuki witnessed the transition Pancrase made from the so-called "hybrid wrestling" style to that of regular MMA and was instrumental in paving the way for mixed martial arts in Japan. In 2003, Suzuki and Yusuke Fuke announced their plan to return to puroresu and invade promotions under the stable name Pancrase Mission.
Suzuki began competing for NJPW as a freelancer, where he aligned himself with Yoshihiro Takayama and won the IWG
AWA Southern Tag Team Championship
The AWA Southern Tag Team Championship was a professional wrestling tag team title in the Tennessee area from the 1940s through the late 1980s. It was named the NWA Southern Tag Team Championship from its inception through 1977, when it was renamed the AWA Southern Tag Team Championship due to a partnership with the American Wrestling Association; the title existed until 1988 when it was replaced with the Continental Wrestling Association Tag Team Championship. The title was referred to as the Mid-Southern Tag Team Championship to avoid confusion with the various other versions of the NWA Southern Tag Team Championship in Championship Wrestling from Florida, Georgia Championship Wrestling, Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, Southern Championship Wrestling. Key Key NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship – the version of the title used in Championship Wrestling from Florida NWA Southern Tag Team Championship – the NWA board-controlled version of the title NWA/AWA Southern Tag Team Championship history – Wrestling-Titles.com 1983, 1984 1985, 1986 1987 Mid-South Coliseum event results – ProWrestlingHistory.com
Keiji Mutoh is a Japanese professional wrestler who first gained international fame in the National Wrestling Alliance. He is known for his work as The Great Muta in New Japan Pro Wrestling during the 1990s, but he has worked in the United States, Puerto Rico and Taiwan, he is a former president of All Japan Pro Wrestling, as well as being a full-time wrestler for the promotion from 2002 to 2013. Mutoh is credited as one of the first Japanese wrestlers to achieve a fan base outside of his native Japan; the Great Muta gimmick is one of the most influential gimmicks in puroresu, having been emulated by many wrestlers including Satoshi Kojima, Kazushi Miyamoto, Atsushi Onita, Seiya Sanada. In addition, countless other wrestlers have paid tribute to Muta through imitation. Mutoh is one of three wrestlers to hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, he is a former five-time AJPW World Tag Team Champion and a six-time IWGP Tag Team Champion.
He is famous for taking part in what was considered to be the bloodiest professional wrestling match of all time against Hiroshi Hase, leading to the creation of the "Muta scale". Mutoh is the owner and founder of Wrestle-1, where he also wrestles semi-regularly, Mutoh made special appearances for American promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling as part of the TNA/W-1 talent exchange partnership. Between AJPW, NJPW, World Championship Wrestling and W-1, Mutoh has held a total of 22 championships. Mutoh was a judo black belt with experience in many national competitions prior to being trained by Hiro Matsuda in the New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo, he debuted on October 1984 against Masahiro Chono. In 1985, Mutoh was sent on his first learning excursion to the United States. Wrestling in Florida as the "White Ninja", Mutoh teamed with Kendo Nagasaki before returning to New Japan in 1986, where he was nicknamed "Space Lone Wolf", a space-age type character, revived in 2005 by NOSAWA Rongai. In March 1987, Mutoh won the IWGP Tag Team Championship with Shiro Koshinaka, before losing the titles to Akira Maeda and Nobuhiko Takada six days later.
In the summer of 1987, Mutoh took part in the NOW vs. NEW feud, in which he aligned himself with Antonio Inoki and his group, teaming with the likes of Inoki, Seiji Sakaguchi, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Kantaro Hoshino, battling the likes of Tatsumi Fujinami, Riki Choshu, Akira Maeda, Kengo Kimura, Super Strong Machine. In January 1988, Mutoh went on another excursion, this time in Puerto Rico for the World Wrestling Council under his new ring name, "The Super Black Ninja", he feuded with Miguel Perez Jr. with whom he lost a hair vs. hair match to that April. It was in Puerto Rico he formed The Three Musketeers with Shinya Hashimoto, he wrestled only one match in New Japan during this period on July 29, before returning to Puerto Rico. In the fall of 1988, Mutoh moved to the Dallas, Texas-based World Class Championship Wrestling, where he reunited with Kendo Nagasaki and had a short lived feud with Kevin Von Erich before departing the organization in March 1989. Mutoh's personality and ring skills shown in his early American matches earned him a high billing within the National Wrestling Alliance.
Mutoh first appeared as "The Great Muto" in the NWA on the March 18, 1989 edition of WCW Saturday Night, although announcer Jim Ross pronounced the name as "The Great Muta". His manager Gary Hart introduced him as the son of the Great Kabuki, whom Gary Hart had managed years earlier, he wrestled his first match under the new persona on April 2 against Scott Casey. Muta would feud with stars like Lex Luger, Ric Flair, Sting, from whom he would capture the NWA World Television Championship on September 3, 1989. Mutoh lost the championship to Arn Anderson on January 2, 1990, which aired on the January 12, 1990 edition of WCW Power Hour, some time after the Clash of the Champions on February 6, Mutoh would return to New Japan, going between his real name and his Muta gimmick as he pleased. Mutoh rose in the ranks upon returning to New Japan in March 1990, his Great Muta persona would make its NJPW debut six months later. In April 1990, he won his second IWGP Tag Team title with Masahiro Chono, defeating Shinya Hashimoto and Masa Saito.
He and Chono would hold the titles for over six months, before losing them to Hiroshi Hase and Kensuke Sasaki. Meanwhile in World Championship Wrestling, it was announced on Clash of the Champions XIII that The Great Muta would be returning at Starrcade'90 to team with Mr. Saito. Less than a month Mutoh teamed with Saito in the Pat O'Connor Memorial Tag-Team Tournament at Starrcade; the duo defeated The New Zealand Militia in the quarterfinals Victor Zangiev and Salmon Hasimikov in the semi-finals. Muta and Saito were defeated by US Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers in the finals. Muta continued to make sporadic appearances within WCW during 1991 while wrestling in New Japan, he was shown in attendance at WrestleWar 91, defeated old rival Sting at the combined New Japan/WCW Starrcade event on March 21, 1991 in Tokyo, Japan. Mutoh was entered into a match with United States Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger to determine the Number One Contender for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. On June 12 at Clash of the Champions XV, Muta was pinned by Luger to ear