||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2010)|
|Ring name(s)||Yoshiaki Yatsu
|Billed height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Billed weight||120 kg (260 lb)|
July 19, 1956 |
Oura, Gunma, Japan
|Debut||December 29, 1980|
|Retired||November 30, 2010|
Yoshiaki Yatsu (谷津嘉章 Yatsu Yoshiaki) (born July 19, 1956) is a retired Japanese professional wrestler, amateur wrestler and mixed martial artist. He is known for being one-half of the first-ever AJPW Unified World Tag Team Champions with Jumbo Tsuruta, having won the NWA International Tag Team Championship and the PWF Tag Team Championship, and unifying the two titles.
Amateur wrestling career
1976 Summer Olympics
1980 Summer Olympics
Professional wrestling career
In 1980, after Japan decided not to send their athletes to take part in the Summer Olympics in Moscow, Yatsu garnered a great deal of national attention, when he announced his intention of becoming a professional wrestler. Within just a few years, Yatsu became a regular headliner for New Japan Pro Wrestling, before joining Riki Chōshū, when he left the promotion for All Japan Pro Wrestling at the end of 1984. In All Japan Yatsu and Chōshū formed a tag team, which would go on to win the NWA International Tag Team Championship.
In 1986 Yatsu took a hiatus from professional wrestling in order to one last time chase his Olympic dream. However, after winning a Japanese National Championship in the super heavyweight division in 1986 and while training for the 1987 Asian Wrestling Championships, the International Olympic Committee declared that Yatsu was a professional athlete and banned him from not only that competition, but also from the 1988 Summer Olympics. The decision stunned many people, but Yatsu didn't file an appeal.
While Yatsu was training for his Olympic dream, Chōshū left All Japan and returned to New Japan. Upon his return to professional wrestling, Yatsu decided not to join his tag team partner in New Japan, but to stay in All Japan. Afterwards, All Japan broke up the tag team of Genichiro Tenryu and Jumbo Tsuruta and made Tsuruta Yatsu's new tag team partner. The tag team, known as "The Olympics", would go on to win the AJPW Unified World Tag Team Championship five times, the PWF World Tag Team Championship once and in 1987 the team also won the World's Strongest Tag Determination League. In 1990 the team broke up when Yatsu jumped to Super World of Sports. In 1991, while working for the promotion, Yatsu unsuccessfully challenged Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship. When Super World of Sports folded in 1992, Yatsu formed his own promotion Social Pro Wrestling Federation (SPWF), but would wrestle himself only semi-regularly. In 1994 he returned to New Japan to take part in the G1 Climax tournament.
In recent years, Yatsu has been the president of a transportation company. On November 30, 2010, he returned to the professional wrestling ring to wrestle his retirement match. The match took place in front of 500 fans at Shinjuku Face in Tokyo, and saw Yatsu and Koji Ishinriki losing to Tatsumi Fujinami and Tiger Mask, when Yatsu submitted to Fujinami.
Mixed martial arts career
After spending multiple years out of the spotlight, Yatsu, aged 44, received a big money offer to fight for mixed martial arts promotion Pride Fighting Championships. On October 31, 2000, Yatsu faced Gary Goodridge in Osaka. Yatsu, who hadn't had any stand-up training at all and hadn't wrestled in 13 years, was defeated at 8:58 in the first round. Despite being dominated, Yatsu received a standing ovation from the crowd. The two were booked in a rematch on September 24, 2001. Goodridge again dominated the fight, got Yatsu in a guillotine choke and asked for his corner to throw in the towel, which they did.
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
- 1976 Japanese Olympic Trials - First place, 198 pounds
- 1978 Asian Games - First place, super heavyweight
- 1979 Asian Wrestling Championships - First place, 220 pounds
- 1979 Japanese National Championships - First place, super heavyweight
- 1980 Japanese Olympic Trials - First place, 220 pounds
- 1986 Japanese National Championships - First place, super heavyweight
- AJPW Unified World Tag Team Championship (5 times) - with Jumbo Tsuruta
- NWA International Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Riki Chōshū
- PWF World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Jumbo Tsuruta
- World's Strongest Tag Determination League (1987) - with Jumbo Tsuruta
- January 2nd Korakuen Hall Heavyweight Battle Royal (1990)
- IWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Goro Tsurumi
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|2 matches||0 wins||2 losses|
|Loss||0-2||Gary Goodridge||TKO (corner stoppage)||Pride 16||September 24, 2001||1||3:03||Osaka, Japan|
|Loss||0-1||Gary Goodridge||TKO (punches)||Pride 11||October 31, 2000||1||8:58||Osaka, Japan|
- Meltzer, Dave (December 6, 2010). "Dec 6 2010 Wrestling Observer Newsletter". Wrestling Observer Newsletter (Campbell, CA): 20–23. ISSN 1083-9593.
- "Yoshiaki Yatsu". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
- "Profile at Puroresu Central". Puroresu Central. Retrieved 2013-10-15.