Hamaguchi in February 2011.
|Billed height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Billed weight||103 kg (227 lb)|
August 31, 1947 |
|Debut||September 20, 1969|
Heigo Hamaguchi (濱口 平吾 Hamaguchi Heigo?, born August 31, 1947) is a Japanese retired professional wrestler, better known by the ring name Animal Hamaguchi (アニマル浜口 Animaru Hamaguchi?). During his career he was recognized as a talented tag team wrestler despite his small size for a heavyweight, and today he is recognized as a trainer in both professional and amateur wrestling.
Hamaguchi debuted in 1969 in the old International Wrestling Enterprise. He was a regular mid-carder although his teams with Mighty Inoue and Rusher Kimura were main event. He also made forays into North American wrestling in the late 1970s, winning titles in Puerto Rico's World Wrestling Council and Canada's Stampede Wrestling.
In 1981, when IWE collapsed, Hamaguchi teamed with Kimura and Isamu Teranishi in an "invasion" angle in New Japan Pro Wrestling. When the angle was dropped, Hamaguchi joined Riki Choshu in forming the original Ishin Gundan rebel stable.
In 1984 Ishin Gundan left NJPW and formed Japan Promotion, which eventually became a mere stable of All Japan Pro Wrestling. AJPW promoted Giant Baba ordered Choshu to replace Hamaguchi, who was rather small-sized, with rookie Yoshiaki Yatsu in order to feud with Jumbo Tsuruta and Genichiro Tenryu in the upper card. Hamaguchi thus reformed his team with Inoue in the lower card.
After Japan Pro Wrestling broke up and Choshu and others went back to NJPW in 1987, Hamaguchi chose to retire.
In 1990 he returned as Big Van Vader's partner against Antonio Inoki and Tiger Jeet Singh in Inoki's 30th anniversary match. Hamaguchi competed sporadically until settling in Tenryu's WAR in 1993. In his last earnest comeback he teamed with Tenryu and Koki Kitahara to win his last title, the WAR 6-Man Tag Team Championship.
Hamaguchi retired in 1995, after his team lost the title, to dedicate full-time to his dojo, today recognized as one of the premier independent wrestling schools in Japan. Famous pros trained by him include Satoshi Kojima and Shinjiro Otani; he also trains amateur wrestlers, including his own daughter Kyoko, who is one of the premier amateurs in Japan.
Championships and accomplishments
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- International Pro Wrestling
- Tokyo Sports
- Wrestle And Romance/Wrestle Association R
- WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Championship - with Genichiro Tenryu & Koki Kitahara
- World Wrestling Council
- NWA North American Tag Team Championship (Puerto Rico/WWC version) - with Gordon Nelson