Riki Chōshū

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Riki Chōshū
Riki Chōshū.jpg
Chōshū in January, 2006
Ring name(s) Riki Chōshū
Yoshida
Billed height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Billed weight 120 kg (260 lb)[1]
Born (1951-12-03) December 3, 1951 (age 62)
Seoul, South Korea
Resides Yamaguchi, Japan
Trained by Masa Saito
New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo
Debut August 8, 1974

Mitsuo Yoshida (Japanese: 吉田光雄; hangul: , hanja: , Kwak Gwang-ung) (born December 3, 1951), better known by his stage name Riki Chōshū (長州力 Chōshū Riki), is a Korean-Japanese professional wrestler who is most known for his longtime work in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) as a wrestler and a booker. He is considered one of the most influential wrestlers in Japan in the 1980s and 1990s and known as the first wrestler to popularize the Sasori-Gatame, better known in English as Scorpion Deathlock or Sharpshooter. After Chōshū left New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2002, he formed Fighting World of Japan Pro Wrestling (WJ), which was later known as Riki Pro as he was the main promoter of the promotion. In October 2005, he returned to New Japan as a site foreman, a booker, and a part-time wrestler.

Amateur wrestling career[edit]

1972 Summer Olympics[edit]

Kwak Gwang-ung represented South Korea in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, as a wrestler. He didn't place in the tournament.[1]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early years (1974–1987)[edit]

He debuted in New Japan Pro Wrestling in August 1974. In the mid-1970s, Chōshū was sent to North America to gain experience. Wrestling under his real name, he appeared in George Cannon's "Superstars of Wrestling" promotion as a heel, managed by Superstar (or Supermouth) Dave Drasen. Chōshū had a brief feud with the top fan favorite of Cannon's promotion, Luis Martinez.

Chōshū was the first "traitor heel" in a Japanese promotion. In 1983, upset at not being selected for the inaugural tournament for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, he turned on Tatsumi Fujinami during a match and formed his own stable, Ishingun (Revolutionary Army), which was the core for the later Japan Pro-Wrestling promotion that "invaded" All Japan Pro Wrestling.[2]

New Japan Pro Wrestling (1987–1998)[edit]

Upon returning to NJPW in 1987, Chōshū was a part of the Takeshi Puroresu Gundan. After NJPW split ties with Takeshi Kitano over the December 27 Sumo Hall riot, Chōshū slowly climbed back up into the main event picture. In June 1988, he won his first IWGP Tag Team Championship with Masa Saito, with whom he had also teamed with while in a brief stint in the American Wrestling Association.[3] At the same time, he feuded with Tatsumi Fujinami over the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. On May 27, the match ended in a no contest, in which the title was held up. Fujinami won the rematch on June 24.[4]

In July 1989, he won his first IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Salman Hashimikov of the Soviet Union.[4] The same month, he would also win his second IWGP Tag Team title with young up-and-comer Takayuki Iizuka.[3] Two more IWGP Heavyweight title reigns would follow between August 19, 1990 and January 4, 1992.[4]

In August 1996, he won the G1 Climax, winning every single match in the tournament.[5] In 1997, he won his third IWGP Tag Team title with Kensuke Sasaki.[3] In January 1998, he retired from the ring; for his retirement match, he wrestled five matches in one night, winning four out of five matches.[6] He would focus on booking matches for NJPW.

Comeback (2000–present)[edit]

Retirement di not last long, as Atsushi Onita challenged Chōshū to a barbed wire deathmatch in 2000. Chōshū accepted and wrestled Onita. He then balanced wrestling and booking for NJPW, until his departure in 2002, stemming from the departures of Keiji Mutoh and Satoshi Kojima, among others, to All Japan Pro Wrestling, which caused his position of head booker taken away.

After leaving NJPW, he formed Fighting World of Japan Pro Wrestling in 2003, which would later changed to Riki Pro, after the failure of some of their big shows.[7] He ran Riki Pro until 2005 when he returned to NJPW as a site foreman, booker, and wrestler. In 2007, Chōshū joined the Legend stable with Masahiro Chono, Jushin Liger, and AKIRA.

Chōshū also promotes an occasional series of events called "LOCK UP", which feature talent from New Japan and other promotions. New Japan supported this financially until 2008 before withdrawing.

In 2012 Riki was booked in a series of matches for LEGEND The Pro Wrestling and Dradition.

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

On July 30, 2013, Chōshū threw out the ceremonial first pitch for a Hiroshima Toyo Carp game at Mazda Stadium

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Riki Chosyu". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved April 18, 2010. 
  2. ^ "The 10 hottest feuds in wrestling history: 4. Ishinun vs. Seikigun". Power Slam Magazine (Lancaster, Lancashire, England: SW Publishing LTD). July 1998. p. 28. 48. 
  3. ^ a b c d Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: New Japan IWGP Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 373. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  4. ^ a b c d Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: New Japan IWGP International Wrestling Grand Prix Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. pp. 372–373. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  5. ^ a b "What's going down... NJPW". Power Slam Magazine (Lancaster, Lancashire, England: SW Publishing LTD). September 1996. p. 7. 26. 
  6. ^ "Final Power Hall in Tokyo Dome". Pro Wrestling History. January 4, 1998. Retrieved April 13, 2010. 
  7. ^ "What's going down... Japan". Power Slam Magazine (Lancaster, Lancashire, England: SW Publishing LTD). November 2003. p. 7. 112. 
  8. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: JWA/All Japan NWA International Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 368. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  9. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: All Japan Pro-Wrestling PWF PAcific Wrestling Federation Title (Shohei Baba)". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. pp. 365–366. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  10. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: New Japan WWF Martial Arts Title / Greatest 18 Club Title Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. pp. 371–372. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  11. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: New Japan NWF/NWA North American Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 371. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  12. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: New Japan WWF International Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 372. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  13. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: New Japan G-1 (Grade-1) Climax Tournament Champions". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 375. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  14. ^ http://www.cagematch.net/?id=26&nr=2385
  15. ^ http://www.cagematch.net/?id=1&nr=11587[unreliable source?]
  16. ^ a b c d e f "東京スポーツ プロレス大賞". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  17. ^ a b "東京スポーツ プロレス大賞". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  18. ^ a b "東京スポーツ プロレス大賞". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  19. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Mexico: Universal Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 397. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  20. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Mexico: UWA Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 399. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.