January 14, 1954 |
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Masanobu Fuchi
|Billed height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Billed weight||105 kg (231 lb)|
|Debut||August 22, 1974|
Masanobu Fuchi (渕 正信 Fuchi Masanobu?, born January 14, 1954) is a Japanese professional wrestler currently wrestling in All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he is also a director and the co-head booker. Fuchi holds the record for the longest World Junior Heavyweight Championship reign and has competed exclusively in All Japan Pro Wrestling, until becoming a freelancer in 2009, but has since officially resigned with the company in 2013 as a director and wrestler, making him the only man that wrestled for the promotion longer than anyone in the current roster.
All Japan Pro Wrestling (1974–present)
Early years (1974–1986)
With a background in amateur wrestling, Fuchi debuted as a professional wrestler on August 22, 1974 for AJPW, facing future Death Match innovator Atsushi Onita. For the next couple of years, Fuchi and Onita alternated between teaming and feuding on the opening bouts. In 1979, the two went on an excursion to Memphis, Tennessee to season their careers. Fuchi briefly worked for the NWA's Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling as a jobber who always showed a good account of himself.
Junior Heavyweight Ace (1986–1996)
Following Onita's retirement in 1985 and Tiger Mask II's graduation to the heavyweight division in 1986, Fuchi became the top junior heavyweight star, holding the World Junior Heavyweight Championship on five different occasions spanning over 11 years. Fuchi's third reign spanned 4 years (1989–1993), but the fact that AJPW was relatively closed off to outside competition factored heavily in his lengthy third reign.
All Japan's Last Hope (1996–2002)
After losing the belt for the last time in 1996, Fuchi was relegated to the opening "legends" bouts, mostly in teams opposing AJPW founder Giant Baba. In 2000, when Mitsuharu Misawa defected from AJPW to form Pro Wrestling Noah, Fuchi was one of two (the other being Toshiaki Kawada) native wrestlers who remained with the promotion. As a result, Fuchi was pushed for a while into the upper regions of the card, teaming with Toshiaki Kawada and becoming a top contender for the World Tag Team Championship. Fuchi's last title was the All Asia Tag Team Championship with fellow veteran Genichiro Tenryu.
Wrestler and Director (2002–present)
Fuchi became a director for the promotion soon after the arrival of Keiji Mutoh, a position that Fuchi still holds to this day. Fuchi still competes on a full-time basis for All-Japan Pro Wrestling, but usually in comedic preliminary bouts against rookie heavyweights and junior heavyweights. On August 20, 2006, Fuchi became a member of the Voodoo Murders stable, competing under a red mask as Akaoni. His tenure as Akaoni and with the stable only lasted for that evening, as Fuchi unmasked and helped fellow All Japan competitors attack the stable following the main event. From November 23 to December 9, 2007, Fuchi teamed with Osamu Nishimura to compete in the World's Strongest Tag Determination League, finishing the league with 7 points (2 wins, 2 losses and 3 draws) and placing 5th overall.
On June 21, 2013, it was revealed that Masanobu Fuchi had long since resigned from his position in the AJPW Board of Directors and hasn't had an exclusive contract since 2009 due to his age, thus becoming a freelancer, although he still wrestles for AJPW on a pay per performance basis. However, on July 14, during the launching event of the post-Keiji Mutoh All Japan, Fuchi appeared and announced that he had officially re-signed with the promotion not only as a wrestler, but also as a member of the Board of Directors, ending his tenure as a freelancer. Shortly afterwards, Fuchi also became the co-head booker of All Japan, alongside Jun Akiyama.
Championships and accomplishments
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- 5 Star Match (1989) with Jumbo Tsuruta & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs Genichiro Tenryu, Toshiaki Kawada & Samson Fuyuki on January 28
- 5 Star Match (1990) with Jumbo Tsuruta and Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada and Kenta Kobashi on October 19
- 5 Star Match (1991) with Jumbo Tsuruta and Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada and Kenta Kobashi on April 20
- 5 Star Match (1992) with Jumbo Tsuruta and Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada & Kenta Kobashi on May 22
- 5 Star Match (1992) with Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Kenta Kobashi and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi on July 5
- 5 Star Match (1994) with Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue vs. Kenta Kobashi, Mitsuharu Misawa & Giant Baba on February 13
- Meltzer, Dave (September 16, 2013). "Sep 16 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Mayweather vs. Canello hype, Night of Champions preview, Olympic Wrestling, CMLL 80th Aniversario preview, tons more!". Wrestling Observer Newsletter (Campbell, California): 31. ISSN 1083-9593. "Jun Akiyama and Masa Fuchi have taken over as bookers for this group."
- "Update on AJPW's Personal Situation (German)".
- "渕正信、全日本に残留／全日本". Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-07-15.