::Minoru Suzuki::

Real Name: Minoru Suzuki
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 220 lbs
Date Of Birth: June 17, 1968
Birthplace: Yokohama, Japan
Debut: June 23rd, 1988
Status: Pancrase MISSION
Signature Moves:
Sleeper Hold
Overback Takedown (see pic 10. It's done out of sleeper hold, then after takedown, sleeper is held on)
Manjigatame (see pic 3, octopus hold)
Gotch-style Piledriver (see pic 4)
Running Dropkick (see p24)
Leg Kick
High Kick (to upper body)
Shotei (palm strike/slap)
Titles Won:
King Of Pancrase Openweight Title (1)
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles (1) (w/ Yoshihiro Takayama)
GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Titles (1) (w/ Naomichi Marufuji)
Tournaments Won:
Notable Facts:

  • Since he was a boy Minoru Suzuki knew he wanted to be a fighter.

  • Inspired by the legendary Antonio Inoki, the young Suzuki trained in submission for years. In his high school days Suzuki was so afraid that he would get beat up, that he beat up the other guys before they could do it to him. In retrospect (Masakatsu) Funaki and Suzuki had similar tempers.

  • Suzuki was a state wrestling champion in Kanagawa, Yokohama and also studied kendo. His wresting credentials saw him finish second nationwide. Suzuki along with others was taught in submissions by the legendary Karl Gotch. He developed a certain level of overconfidence which could be mistaken for arrogance. But, he was also a man that knew no fear.

  • He suffered from a severe neurological condition that stunned half the development of his body, but that wouldn’t stop him. This was a recurring theme in his career as he managed to swing back from just about everything.

  • Enter pro-wrestling. In April 1989 Akira Maeda reached an agreement with Antonio Inoki to let Masaharu (Masakatsu) Funaki and Minoru Suzuki leave New Japan for the second incarnation of UWF. Maeda personally trained Funaki and Suzuki in the stiff style that was UWF, and the group began to thrive with the addition of the two young wrestlers. Funaki and Suzuki were groomed to become future stars in New Japan and it was no different in UWF.

  • Suzuki was the first ever opponent for future shoot-style great Kiyoshi Tamura. In the promotion he lost some and won some, but it was a great learning experience. And his loss against Maurice Smith on the U-COSMOS show at the Tokyo Dome was a glimpse of what the future would hold in store for the rising star.

  • The UWF reached its peak with their "Atlantis" show. The card featured Akira Maeda vs. Masakatsu Funaki and Nobuhiko Takada vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Yoji Anjoh and Wayne (Ken) Shamrock as well as Minoru Suzuki versus Shigeo Miyato in individual bouts. Unfortunately, the UWF continued to have internal problems and on December 1, 1990 UWF President Shinji Jin announced that all wrestlers were fired and disbanded the promotion.

  • On March 4, 1991, Yoshiaki Fujiwara formed Professional Wrestling Fujiwaragumi (PWFG) with Funaki, Suzuki, Yusuke Fuke and American Bart Vale. Wayne Shamrock would join them later on.

  • These four men left PWFG and formed Pancrase. They were looking to establish a wrestling organization that had no predetermined outcomes, the first of its kind since the early days of pro wrestling in the U.S. Funaki and Suzuki went out to scout fighters and handpicked only the best that they could get. Pancrase had their first show on September 21, 1993, and became a big success.

  • Suzuki fought Katsuomi Inagaki in their debut show. Suzuki totally outclassed him. He was a tricky fighter that had great balance, and was a fantastic wrestler. What he lacked in size, he more than made up with his speed and skill.

  • He would go on to lose to the previously mentioned Maurice Smith in a match where he really stood no chance due to it being fought under special kickboxing rules, but again he knew no fear.

  • The rematch which he won had different rules as the first and third round were the same as in the first fight except Suzuki could go for takedowns. The second and fourth were Pancrase rules and the fifth was mixed. Suzuki dominated and Maurice just dove to the ropes every time Suzuki attempted something.

  • Suzuki kept winning fights. Having little to no trouble with any of his opponents though his pattern before his fall was sort of like it’s now in New Japan, wins some then loses an important bout. He controlled Takaku Fuke in their fight. Disposed a scrawny Thomas Puckett (who in an odd visual, was actually overmatched physically by Suzuki). And beat Ken “Wayne” Shamrock, the best fighter in Pancrase at the time. His second loss would be at the hands of Bas Rutten, like in their second fight he was able to control him, but not finish. Bas caught him with a brutal knee and that was it.

  • Suzuki would be the one to beat Ken Shamrock (second time), for his King of Pancrase (KOP) title en route to becoming the second champion. It's still considered to be THE title in Pancrase. An often outweighed Suzuki showed that it could be done and fighters like Yuki Kondo would follow in his footsteps.

  • He was motion captured for King from the fighting Tekken videogame series.

  • Suzuki’s career took a turn for the worst in 1996 after having built up a great record. He was still a great fighter, but giving up weight constantly and fighting through injuries that weren’t healed up yet wasn’t a good idea.

  • A herniated disk threatened to end his career. He was a stubborn man all in all. His arrogance and easy frustration didn't help him either, but the man couldn't be stopped and he eventually rebounded and finished his career on a high note, despite never getting close to a full 100 percent.

  • Pancrase made the transition to MMA in 1999 and Suzuki went along. He outlasted co-founder of Pancrase Masakatsu Funaki, even though he sustained the same level of damage throughout his career. He started participating in a lot of catch wrestling and Contenders rules tag bouts and won most of the time. He won four consecutive times over fellow pro-wrestlers, including Jushin Thunder Liger on 11/30/02, and the man he debuted against Takashi Iizuka in his last fight on 8/31/03 under catch-wrestling rules. Since, he has put aside his fighting career for pro-wrestling.

  • He started Pancrase MISSION and along with Takaku Fuke, who want to prove that they are the strongest pro-wrestlers.

  • Entered his old, old home in New Japan Pro-Wrestling on 5/25/2003 at Korakuen Hall. Announcing he would be open to going against any of it's pro-wrestlers, making his main MISSION area, rightfully at his roots.

  • Since coming back to New Japan, he has used all of his training and personality to become one of the most unique and interesting combatants on the planet.

  • Entered Mitsuharu Misawa's Pro-Wrestling NOAH in Summer 2004 in wanting to explore outside New Japan, and continuing Pancrase MISSION. Later in September, he had a singles match vs. Naomichi Marufuji, top junior and one of the top young wrestlers in NOAH. He defeated Marufuji, and soon after took him under his wing to form a popular and successful team.

  • Challenged NOAH ace, and then GHC Heavyweight champion Kenta Kobashi in late January 2005. He put up a 20+ minute battle vs. Kobashi, but lost.

  • Joined Masahiro Chono's massive Black New Japan heel group in mid-February 2005.

  • Other wrestlers like Minoru Tanaka have expressed their admiration for him. He continues to train fighters in Yokohama and along with his pro-wrestling schedule the Minoru Suzuki story has not ended yet. He is a legend and a pioneer.
    Greatest Matches:
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Kazuo Yamazaki (UWF 9/7/89)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoji Anjo (UWF 10/25/89)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Tatsuo Nakano (UWF 2/27/90)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Akira Maeda (UWF 5/28/90)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoji Anjo (UWF 6/21/90)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Yoji Anjo (UWF 12/1/90)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Ken Shamrock (Pancrase 1/19/94)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Maurice Smith (Pancrase 5/31/94)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Ken Shamrock (Pancrase 5/13/95)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Koji Kanemoto (NJPW 7/21/03)
    Minoru Suzuki & Masayuki Naruse vs. Josh Barnett & Koji Kanemoto (NJPW 8/15/03)
    Minoru Suzuki, Bob Sapp, Yoshihiro Takayama, Kazuyuki Fujita, & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, & Seiji Sakaguchi (NJPW 10/13/03)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (NJPW 10/26/03)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Yuji Nagata (NJPW 11/3/03)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Takashi Iizuka (NJPW 12/9/03)
    Minoru Suzuki & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yuji Nagata & Josh Barnett (NJPW 12/14/03)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Osamu Nishimura (NJPW 1/4/04)
    Minoru Suzuki & Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Osamu Nishimura (NJPW 2/1/04)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Scott Norton (NJPW 3/12/04)
    Minoru Suzuki & Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Genichiro Tenryu & Manabu Nakanishi (NJPW 3/28/04)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Blue Wolf (NJPW 8/8/04)
    Minoru Suzuki vs. Yuji Nagata (NJPW 8/14/04)

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    Minoru Suzuki & Yoshihiro Takayama
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    Minoru Suzuki & Masahiro Chono
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    (Credit to: SportsNavi for all images.)

    (Thanks a bunch to Kamatari (< link soon) for notes 2-4, 6-7, 10-12, 15-17, 22.)



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