Tiger Mask IV

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Tiger Mask IV
Tiger Mask IV.jpg
Tiger Mask in May 2011
Birth name Yoshihiro Yamazaki[1]
Born (1970-10-20) October 20, 1970 (age 44)[1]
Urayasu, Chiba
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Tiger Mask (IV)[1]
Billed height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)[2]
Billed weight 81 kg (179 lb)[2]
Trained by Tiger Mask[1][2]
The Great Sasuke[1]
Debut July 15, 1995[1]

Yoshihiro Yamazaki (山崎 佳宏 Yamazaki Yoshihiro?, born October 20, 1970)[1] is a Japanese professional wrestler, best known by his ring name Tiger Mask (タイガーマスク Taigā Masuku?). He works for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Yamazaki is the fourth wrestler to portray the Tiger Mask image / persona; having used it since 1995. This makes him the person to have used the "Tiger Mask" gimmick the longest time.

Career[edit]

The young Yamazaki was originally trained by the original Tiger Mask (Satoru Sayama) and The Great Sasuke and unlike Tiger Mask II and Tiger Mask III, Yamazaki has been endorsed by Sayama himself. He also traveled to Mexico where he trained in lucha libre.[3]

Michinoku Pro[edit]

He made his professional wrestling debut in 1995 for Michinoku Pro and became the fourth Tiger Mask, succeeding Koji Kanemoto. While working for Michioku Pro Tiger Mask IV won the “APEX OF TRIANGLE” Six Man Tag Team Championship with his trainer the Great Sasuke and Gran Hamada. Just over a year into his wrestling career Tiger Mask IV won the UWA World Middleweight Championship and held it for 3 months before being forced to vacate the title due to an injury.[4] After returning from his injury Tiger Mask IV spent a couple of years working mid card and lower main event matches until he was finally given another run with a singles title when he won a tournament to crown a new British Commonwealth Jr. Heavyweight Champion in London, England. Despite it being called "British Commonwealth", the title was mainly promoted in Japan. Tiger Mask IV would later vacate the title due to an injury but was given a second reign with the title in 2000 that would last exactly one year shortly before Tiger Mask IV left Michinoku Pro.[5]

New Japan Pro Wrestling[edit]

Tiger Mask IV made his NJPW debut on January 20, 2002, and at first wrestled as a Michinoku Pro star and not a full-time worker. In December 2002, he officially joined NJPW, and quickly rose in the contenders ranks in the Junior Heavyweight division. On April 23, 2003, Tiger Mask IV was booked to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship from then champion Koji Kanemoto.[6] Tiger Mask IV’s first IWGP reign came to an end in December 2003 when he had to vacate the title due to an injury.[7] Tiger Mask IV returned with renewed strength and won the 2004 Best of the Super Juniors tournament where he beat the then IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Heat in the semi finals and Koji Kanemoto in the finals to win the annual tournament.[2] It wouldn’t be until 2005 that Tiger Mask IV was able to recreate his semi final victory to defeat Heat for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title.[7] Tiger Mask IV also won the 2005 Best of the Super Juniors making him the first and to date only wrestler to win the tournament 2 years in a row. In October 2005 Tiger Mask IV lost the title to the latest incarnation of the Black Tiger gimmick – Black Tiger IV (Rocky Romero).[7] Tiger Mask IV defeated Black Tiger in a rematch on February 19, 2006, in a match where Black Tiger put both the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship making Tiger Mask IV a double champion.[7][8] Tiger Mask’s reign as IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion ended on May 3, 2006, by the man he won the title from the first time, Koji Kanemoto.[7] the NWA World Junior Heavyweight title would reside around Tiger Mask IV’s waist for over a year until he lost it to Mike Quackenbush on a National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) sanctioned show in Portage, Indiana.[8]

Tiger Mask in September 2013.

When New Japan decided to create several "Brands", Tiger Mask was appointed as an 'ace' of WRESTLE LAND alongside Hiroshi Tanahashi but ended up wrestling 2 matches under the WRESTLE LAND Brand. In July 2008, Tiger Mask IV defeated Prince Devitt in a tournament final to become a 4 time IWGP World Jr. Heavyweight champion. On the "Circuit 2008 New Japan Generation" tour Low Ki ended Tiger Mask’s reign. On January 4, 2009, during NJPW's annual Tokyo Dome show Wrestle Kingdom III, he regained the title and became only the third 5 time IWGP World Junior Heavyweight champion in the title's history.[7] Tiger Mask made his first successful title defense Jushin Thunder Liger after which he was presented with a third-generation IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship belt. While being presented with the belt he was attacked by new version of Black Tiger, the fifth version of his storyline arch enemy. After defeating and unmasking Black Tiger IV (Rocky Romero) at Resolution '09 in a title vs. mask match, Black Tiger V once again attacked Tiger Mask, gave him a Death Valley driver and then unmasked him.[9] On June 20, 2009, at Dominion 6.20, Tiger Mask defeated Black Tiger V in a mask vs. mask match. Afterwards Black Tiger removed his mask to reveal Tatsuhito Takaiwa, the first native under the Black Tiger mask.[10] On August 15, 2009, at G1 Climax 2009 Tour Tiger Mask lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title to Místico. He regained the title on November 8, 2009, at NJPW's Destruction '09 show when he defeated Místico.[11] On January 4, 2010, at Wrestle Kingdom IV in Tokyo Dome Tiger Mask lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship to Naomichi Marufuji.[12] After losing a rematch to Marufuji on May 8, 2010, Tiger Mask began showing signs of a heel turn as he attacked the champion after the match.[13] Tiger then entered the 2010 Best of the Super Juniors tournament in an attempt to win his third BOSJ and on May 30 continued his heelish behaviour by refusing to shake hands with La Sombra after losing his opening match to him.[14] The following day it was announced that Tiger had suffered a neck injury and would be sidelined for two months, forcing him to forfeit the rest of his matches in the Best of the Super Juniors tournament.[15]

He made his return on August 14, 2010, in a six-man tag team match, where he, Koji Kanemoto and Ryusuke Taguchi wrestled Pro Wrestling Noah representatives Atsushi Aoki, Ricky Marvin and Taiji Ishimori to a fifteen-minute time limit draw.[16] On August 22 Tiger and Kanemoto defeated Marvin and Ishimori at a Pro Wrestling Noah event to win the promotion's GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.[17] They would lose the title to Atsushi Aoki and Naomichi Marufuji on December 24, 2010.[18] On January 23, 2011, Tiger Mask IV put his mask on the line in a Mask vs. Hair match at Fantasticamania 2011, a New Japan and Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre co–promoted event in Tokyo, and defeated Tomohiro Ishii to win his third Lucha de Apuesta. After the match Ishii attacked and unmasked Tiger Mask.[19][20] On February 20 at The New Beginning, Tiger Mask IV defeated Ishii, who had begun wearing a Black Tiger mask, in a Mask vs. Mask match.[21] On June 16, 2012, at Dominion 6.16, Tiger Mask IV won his first IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, when he and Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Taichi and Taka Michinoku for the vacant title.[22] On July 22, the team lost the title to Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov and Rocky Romero).[23]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling[edit]

Tiger Mask IV has made several appearances for the American based wrestling company Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) through the working relationship between NJPW and TNA. He appeared on TNA Sacrifice 2007 in a four way bout featuring Alex Shelley, Jerry Lynn, and Senshi.[24] He also made a couple of appearances on TNA Impact!, TNA's weekly show. Tiger Mask IV was booked as a Special Appearance and never given any long term storylines.

Other media[edit]

Outside of wrestling, Yamazaki appeared on the second SASUKE competition in 1998 although he failed to make it past the first obstacle of the First Stage.

Personal life[edit]

On July 22, 2006, Yamazaki married a then 32-year-old woman whose given name is unknown, though her former last name was Nishimura.

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Lucha de Apuestas record[edit]

Wager Winner Loser Location Date Notes
Mask Tiger Mask IV Black Tiger IV Tokyo, Japan April 5, 2009 IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship vs. Mask match.[9]
Mask Tiger Mask IV Black Tiger V Osaka, Japan June 20, 2009 [10]
Hair Tiger Mask IV Tomohiro Ishii Tokyo, Japan January 23, 2011 Mask vs. Hair match.[19][20]
Mask Tiger Mask IV Tomohiro Ishii Sendai, Japan February 20, 2011 [21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Online World of Wrestling profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Pro Wrestling llustrated 500 - 2004 :84 Tiger Mask IV". Pro Wrestling Illustrated (Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, United States: Sports and Entertainment publications LLC). October 2004. p. 27. December 2004. 
  3. ^ http://www.njpw.com/fighters/tigermask.shtml
  4. ^ a b Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 398. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  5. ^ a b Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 415. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  6. ^ "NJPW Strong Energy tour results". Strong Style Spirit. Archived from the original on 2007-08-19. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship title history". Strong Style Spirit. Archived from the original on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  8. ^ a b c "NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  9. ^ a b "(Results) New Japan, 4/5/09". Strong Style Spirit. 2009-04-05. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  10. ^ a b "(Results) New Japan, 6/20/09". Strong Style Spirit. 2009-06-20. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  11. ^ a b "Resultados NJPW DESTRUCTION – Tiger Mask vence a Místico – Team 3D y Nakamura retienen" (in Spanish). SuperLuchas Magazine. November 8, 2009. Retrieved November 8, 2009. 
  12. ^ "January 4 New Japan Tokyo Dome report - legends, promotional wars". Wrestling Observer. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  13. ^ "Back and a large update". Strong Style Spirit. 2010-05-12. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  14. ^ "(Results) New Japan, 5/30/10". Strong Style Spirit. 2010-05-30. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  15. ^ "Tiger Mask injured, out of Super Jr. tournament". Strong Style Spirit. 2010-05-31. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  16. ^ "(Results) New Japan, 8/14/10". Strong Style Spirit. 2010-08-14. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  17. ^ a b "NJ in NOAH results; Kanemoto & Tiger win belts, Nakamura loses". Strong Style Spirit. 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  18. ^ "Kanemoto & Tiger Mask lose GHC Jr. Tag Title". Strong Style Spirit. 2010-12-24. Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  19. ^ a b "NJPW Presents CMLL Fantastica Mania 2011". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). 2011-01-23. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  20. ^ a b "(Results) New Japan x CMLL, 1/23/11". Strong Style Spirit. 2011-01-23. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  21. ^ a b "The New Beginning". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). 2011-02-20. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  22. ^ a b "Dominion 6.16". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  23. ^ "NJPW 40th anniversary Tour Kizuna Road". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-07-22. 
  24. ^ Banks, B. (May 9, 2007). "New Japan Star Tiger Mask To Compete Sunday At Sacrifice". Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Retrieved May 13, 2007. 
  25. ^ "2008 results". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  26. ^ "(Results) New Japan, 2/15/09". Strong Style Spirit. 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  27. ^ "(Results) New Japan, 5/26/11". Strong Style Spirit. 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 
  28. ^ "(Results) New Japan, 5/29/11". Strong Style Spirit. 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 
  29. ^ a b c d e "Puroresu Central profile". Puroresu Central. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  30. ^ "『Super Jr.』参戦選手決定! 全日本から "レンタル移籍"のBushi、ロウ・キー、そしてドラゲーの"超・鳥人"Pacが初参戦!!". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2012-07-18. 
  31. ^ a b "Purolove profile". Purolove. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  32. ^ "2005 New Japan Awards". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  33. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 - 2005". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  34. ^ a b 2013年7月28日. Pro Wrestling Noah (in Japanese). Retrieved 2013-07-28. 

External links[edit]