May 5, 1961 |
Oyabe, Toyama, Japan
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Hiroshi Hase
Viet Cong Express #1
|Billed height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Billed weight||105 kg (231 lb)|
|Billed from||Ho Chi Minh City, North Vietnam (as Viet Cong Express #1)|
|Trained by||Riki Chōshū
|Debut||February 28, 1986|
|Retired||August 27, 2006|
Hiroshi Hase (馳 浩 Hase Hiroshi?, born May 5, 1961) is a retired Japanese professional wrestler who worked for New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling, prior to transitioning to a position in the Japanese parliament. He is also a former chairman for the PWF, which is the governing body for all championships in All Japan Pro Wrestling.
Amateur wrestling career
1984 Summer Olympics
Professional wrestling career
Early years (1986–1987)
Originally trained by Riki Chōshū, Hiroshi Hase began his pro wrestling career in February 1986, at Carlos Colón's World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico. Later that year, Hase went up to Calgary, where he was trained by Stu Hart and Mr. Hito, and wrestled in Stampede Wrestling, under a mask, in a tag team known as the Viet Cong Express with Fumihiro Niikura, with whom he held the Stampede International Tag Team Championship. By 1987, he started to wrestle under his name and unmasked in Stampede Wrestling. By the end of 1987, Hase would return to Japan.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (1987–1996)
When he returned to Japan, Hase wrestled for NJPW's junior heavyweight division, winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship twice between December 27, 1987 and March 16, 1989. In June 1989, Hase and Takayuki Iizuka went to the Soviet Union to be trained in sambo, where he learned one of his signature moves, the uranage. He is one of a handful of wrestlers, Japanese or American, to successfully graduate from the junior heavyweight to heavyweight class. In the 1990s, Hase had many memorable encounters with famous Japanese talents first in New Japan, and later All Japan. In June 1990, Hase had a near-death experience in the ring, after being knocked out by a backdrop from Tatsutoshi Goto. Hase would form a successful tag team with Kensuke Sasaki in March 1990, winning the IWGP Tag Team Championship twice between November 1, 1990 and March 6, 1991. Hase was involved in a classic December 14, 1992 encounter with The Great Muta, in which the "Muta Scale" was created, due to the incredible amount of blood shed by Muta.
Hase and Keiji Mutoh were also regular tag team partners; they won the IWGP Tag Team Championship twice between November 5, 1991 and November 25, 1994, including a victory over The Steiner Brothers, and won the Super Grade Tag League twice in 1993 and 1994. As Mutoh became established as a singles wrestler through his holding of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, however, Hase was left behind, and was only able to hold the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship (which briefly replaced the NWA World Heavyweight Championship) for eight days in March 1994.
In July 1995, Hiroshi Hase was elected into the Japanese House of Councillors as the Senior Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Hase is one of a number of professional wrestlers to transition into politics, other notables being predecessor Antonio Inoki, and later Atsushi Onita and Great Sasuke. The following year he announced his retirement from New Japan, only to jump to the rival All Japan Pro Wrestling. His last New Japan bout as a New Japan wrestler was against Kensuke Sasaki on January 4, 1996.
One of the main reasons Hase left New Japan Pro Wrestling, was because in 1995, he recruited a young amateur wrestler named Hiromitsu Gompei into New Japan Pro Wrestling, after convincing his parents that they will watch for their son's safety. Sometime after an altercation with Kensuke Sasaki at the Dojo, Gompei died, forcing Hase to be the bearer of bad news to his parents. Hase claimed there was a giant cover-up in the young man's death.
All-Japan Pro Wrestling (1996–2006)
After a brief hiatus, he made his return to the ring in All Japan Pro Wrestling in November 1996. In All Japan, Hase did not contend for titles again despite his name recognition, as he made politics his full-time job. In 2001 he was re-elected by his constituency in Ishikawa Prefecture. The same year he founded the multi-promotional Bad Ass Translate Trading stable with Mutoh, Taiyō Kea and Jinsei Shinzaki; Hase and Mutoh reformed their team to battle Jun Akiyama and Yuji Nagata on October 8, the rising stars of their respective promotions (NOAH and NJPW), and were defeated in a ceremonial passing of the torch match that highlighted the advancement of professional wrestling in Japan since it was permanently established in 1951.
When Mutoh (along with Satoshi Kojima and Kendo Ka Shin) jumped to All Japan the following year, Hase was seen as having influenced them (if not Mutoh at least) in their decision. Antonio Inoki, who had once preceded Hase to the Japanese Diet, blasted Hase and suggested that he resign his position in the Diet, but nothing came out of this.
Hase's final match occurred on August 27, 2006. He tagged with Katsuhiko Nakajima & Satoshi Kojima to face TARU, Kohei Suwama, & "brother" YASSHI of the Voodoo Murderers. He pinned YASSHI with a Northern Light Suplex for the victory, ending his in-ring career after 20 years. A week later, he was elected into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.
On July 10, 2007, Hase took over the duty of the PWF chairman, after Stan Hansen (who held the position since 2000) voluntarily resigned from the position.  In August 2009, Hase lost his seat in the Japanese Diet, but regained his seat in a different block.
On March 17, 2013, Hase announced that he is stepping down as chairman for the PWF after nearly six years. His last day as PWF chairman was June 21, 2013.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- IWGP Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Kensuke Sasaki (2), and Keiji Mutoh (2)
- Super Grade Tag League (1993, 1994) – with Keiji Mutoh
- WCW International World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)1
- Tag Team Best Bout (2001) with Keiji Mutoh vs. Jun Akiyama and Yuji Nagata on October 8
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
1The championship was won in Tokyo, Japan as part of an interpromotional card between New Japan Pro Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling.
- "全日本プロレス6・30両国大会に佐藤光留緊急参戦！海外遠征の延長を申し出た真田は欠場！馳氏が正式にPWF会長辞任". Battle News (in Japanese). 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2000". Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: New Japan G-1 (Grade-1) Climax Tag Tournament Champions". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 374. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- "2001 New Japan Awards". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- "Stampede Wrestling Hall of Fame (1948-1990)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.