El Desperado (wrestler)

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El Desperado
El Desperado 2017.jpg
Mikami as El Desperado in May 2017
Birth nameKyosuke Mikami
Born (1983-12-29) December 29, 1983 (age 35)[1]
Nagaoka, Niigata, Japan[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)El Desperado
Kyosuke Mikami
Namajague
Billed height1.77 m (5 ft 9 12 in)[1]
Billed weight90 kg (198 lb)[1]
Trained byNJPW Dojo[1]
Koji Kanemoto
DebutMarch 7, 2010[1]

Kyosuke Mikami (三上 恭佑, Mikami Kyōsuke, born December 29, 1983)[1] is a Japanese professional wrestler currently working under the ring name El Desperado (エル・デスペラード, Eru Desuperādo).[2][3] He is signed to New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW). Mikami was trained by the NJPW dojo and worked for NJPW for two years as a Young Lion. In 2012 he traveled to Mexico for a learning excursion, working for NJPW's Mexican affiliate Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) as the masked character Namajague, a Spanish translation of Namahage, a Japanese folk demon. While in CMLL he won his first professional wrestling title alongside Okumura, the CMLL Arena Coliseo Tag Team Championship, in March 2013. After being unmasked due to losing a match and briefly working without one, Mikami returned to NJPW in January 2014 and was repackaged under another mask as El Desperado.

Early life[edit]

Mikami was born and raised in Nagaoka, Niigata, Japan. He later attended Senshu University but dropped out before graduating.[1] He pursued both a Judo and an Amateur wrestling career, both in Greco-Roman and in Freestyle wrestling.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

He attended New Japan Pro-Wrestling's (NJPW) annual open try out test in May, 2009. He passed the test and was accepted into the NJPW Dojo.[1] Mikami trained in the same class as King Fale and Hiromu Takahashi who all made their in ring debut around the same time.

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2010–2012)[edit]

After training in the NJPW Dojo for almost a year Mikami made his debut on March 7, 2010, losing to Ryusuke Taguchi.[1] NJPW traditionally requires their rookies (referred to as "Young Lions" in NJPW) to wear simple, generic black trunks and boots and pay their dues by helping to set up the ring etc. while they gain in ring experience. Mikami would lose at least 31 matches in a row, not uncommon for NJPW dojo graduates, until he was able to beat fellow dojo trainee Hiromu Takahashi in Takahashi's debut match on August 24, 2010 at NEVER.1. He competed in the 2011 "Road to the Super Junior 2Days Tournament" on April 7, but was eliminated in the first round by Ryuichi Sekine.[4] He would later team up with fellow "Young Lions" Hiromu Takahashi Takaaki Watanabe to compete in NJPW's "J Sports Crown Openweight 6 Man Tag Tournament". The team lost to Madoka, Shinobu and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi in their first match.[5] Mikami's last match to date came on January 4, 2012 as he appeared in a dark match before NJPW's Wrestle Kingdom VI in Tokyo Dome show, the biggest show in NJPW. The match saw Mikami and Tomoaki Honma lose to Tama Tonga and Captain New Japan.[6] It was later announced that Mikami was injured to take some time off, a storyline to cover for his long term absence from NJPW.

Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (2012–2013)[edit]

NJPW often sends their "Young Lions" on a learning excursion outside Japan, be it the United States, Europe or in particular Mexico, where NJPW has a working relationship with Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) which has seen a series of Japanese wrestlers work for CMLL for shorter or longer periods of time. Mikami's "learning excusion" took him to Mexico in early 2012, where he was given a new name, Namajague and a mask that was inspired by the imagery of the Japanese folk demon Namahage. While Mikami had worked primarily as a face, he was given a heel or rudo character and teamed up with CMLL's resident Japanese worker Okumura.[7] The two formed a tag team called La Fiebre Amarilla ("the Yellow Fever"). He made his debut as Namajage on February 2, 2012 teaming with Okumura and Misterioso, Jr., defeating the team of Black Warrior, El Sagrado and Sangre Azteca.[8] The following month Mikami worked CMLL's major spring show Homenaje a Dos Leyendas where he teamed up with Misterioso, Jr. and Rey Escorpion to defeat the team of Fuego, Titán and Tritón in a Best two-out-of-three falls Six-man tag team match[9] In September 2012 La Fiebre Amarilla unsuccessfully challenged for the CMLL Arena Coliseo Tag Team Championship as defending champions Fuego and Stuka, Jr. were victorious.[10] Only weeks later Namajague was part of CMLL's largest annual show as they celebrated the 79th Anniversay of CMLL as he teamed up with Okumura and Taichi, a trio billed as La Ola Amarilla ("The Yellow Wave"), La Ola was defeated by three of CMLL's top tecnicos, Ángel de Oro, La Sombra and Titán.[11] In the months following the Anniversary show Namajague and Okumura developed a long running storyline with Stuka, Jr. and Rey Cometa that evolved into the main event of the 2013 Homenaje a Dos Leyendas show contested under Luchas de Apuestas, or "bet match" rules where Namajague and Stuka, Jr. both risked their masks and Okumura and Rey Cometa would risk their hair on the outcome of the match.[12] On March 3, 2013, Namajague and Okumura defeated Fuego and Stuka, Jr. to win the CMLL Arena Coliseo Tag Team Championship, Mikami's first professional wrestling title.[13] On March 15, 2013 Okumura and Namajague were defeated by Stuka, Jr. and Rey Cometa in the main event of the 2013 Homenaje a Dos Leyendas show, forcing Okumura to have all his hair shaved off and Namajague was unmasked and had to reveal his real name, Kyosuke Mikami, as per lucha libre traditions.[14][15] The storyline between Namajague and Rey Cometa did not end after the unmasking, instead it switched to an individual storyline between the two, that included Namajague breaking a pane of glass over Rey Cometa's head during a one-on-one match.[16][17] The conflict led to CMLL signing a one-on-one Lucha de Apuestas between with Cometa and Namajague's hair on the line, to take place on the April 26, 2013 Arena Mexico 57th Anniversary Show.[18] Rey Cometa won the Luchas de Apuestas, two falls to one, to have all of Namajague's hair shaved off after the match.[19] On November 3, Namajague and Okumura lost the Arena Coliseo Tag Team Championship to Delta and Guerrero Maya, Jr.[20]

Return to NJPW (2014–present)[edit]

Mikami as El Desperado in March 2014.

On December 9, 2013, NJPW announced the upcoming debut of a new masked wrestler named "El Desperado".[21] Mikami returned to his home promotion on January 4, 2014, at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome. Wearing a new white mask and a black suit and carrying a guitar case, similar to the character El Mariachi from the Mexico Trilogy films, he entered the ring after Kota Ibushi had become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and gave him a bouquet of flowers.[22][23] In storyline, El Desperado is Mexican, but has a Japanese father and can therefore speak Japanese.[24] El Desperado made his in-ring debut the following day, teaming with Jyushin Thunder Liger in a tag team match, where they defeated Ibushi and Bushi, with him pinning Bushi for the win.[25] The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match between El Desperado and Ibushi took place on February 11 at The New Beginning in Osaka and saw Ibushi retain his title.[26] On March 6 at New Japan's 42nd anniversary event, El Desperado started a new feud with Jyushin Thunder Liger. After a brawl following a six-man tag team match, Liger challenged El Desperado to a Mask vs. Mask match.[27] On April 6 at Invasion Attack 2014, El Desperado teamed up with Kota Ibushi to unsuccessfully challenge The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.[28] From May 30 to June 6, El Desperado took part in the 2014 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, where he finished with a record of three wins and four losses, failing to advance from his block.[29][30] On July 4, El Desperado turned heel and joined the Suzuki-gun stable, while also setting his sights on the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.[31] On September 23 at Destruction in Okayama, El Desperado and Suzuki-gun stablemate Taichi received a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, but were defeated by the Time Splitters (Alex Shelley and Kushida).[32] On October 13 at King of Pro-Wrestling, El Desperado unsuccessfully challenged Ryusuke Taguchi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.[33][34] El Desperado then began chasing Jyushin Thunder Liger for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship,[35] leading to a title match between the two on January 5, 2015, where Liger retained his title.[36]

Also in January 2015, Suzuki-gun entered a storyline, where the entire stable invaded the Pro Wrestling Noah promotion.[37] As part of the storyline, El Desperado and Taka Michinoku won the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship on March 15 by defeating Choukibou-gun (Hajime Ohara and Kenoh) and No Mercy (Daisuke Harada and Genba Hirayanagi) in a three-way match.[38] In July, El Desperado entered the 2015 Global Junior Heavyweight League. After a record of four wins and one loss, El Desperado entered the final day on August 5 with a chance to reach the finals, but a loss to Daisuke Harada meant that Harada instead advanced from the block.[39][40] The following month, El Desperado and Michinoku made it to the finals of the 2015 NTV G+ Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League, but were defeated there by Harada and Atsushi Kotoge.[41] On October 4, El Desperado and Michinoku lost the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship to Harada and Kotoge.[42] Following the loss, El Desperado was sidelined with a neck injury.[43] After his return, El Desperado was forced to put his spot in Suzuki-gun on the line, but managed to retain his membership by defeating stablemate Takashi Iizuka by disqualification on March 17, 2016.[44] The Suzuki-gun Noah invasion storyline concluded in December 2016,[45] which led to the stable returning to NJPW on January 5, 2017.[46] In May and June, El Desperado took part in the 2017 Best of the Super Juniors, where he finished last in his block with a record of three wins and four losses.[47] Because of his win over Kushida during the tournament, El Desperado was granted a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on September 16 at Destruction in Hiroshima, but was defeated by Kushida.[48] On March 6th, El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship in a 3-way involving Roppongi 3K and Los Ingobernables de Japon. Desperado's first title in NJPW. In May 2018, he entered the Best of the Super Juniors tournament. He finished the tournament with 3 wins and 4 losses, failing to advance to the finals. Because of his win over eventual tournament winner and new champion Hiromu Takahashi during the tournament, El Desperado was granted a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on June 18th Kizuna Road Show, but was defeated by Takahashi.[49] From October 16 to November 1 2018, Desperado and Kanemaru participated in the 2018 Super Junior Tag Tournament, where they topped the block with a record of five wins and two losses, advancing into the finals,but were defeated by Roppongi 3K in a triple threat match which also included Los Ingobernables De Japon (Bushi and Shingo Takagi). [50]. On January 4, 2019, at Wrestle Kingdom 13, Desperado and Kanemaru lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship to Bushi and Takagi, in a three-way rematch which also included Roppongi 3K, ending their reign at 304 days.[51]

At New Japan's Fantastica Mania 2019 tour, it was announced that Mikami, returning under his Namajague moniker, would be making his debut for the promotion for the tour[52]. Namajague made his debut on January 11 2019, teaming with Bárbaro Cavernario and Carístico in a six-man tag team match, where they defeated Kushida, Volador Jr and Soberano Jr.[53]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Luchas de Apuestas record[edit]

Winner (wager) Loser (wager) Location Event Date Notes
Stuka, Jr. (mask) and Rey Cometa (hair) La Fiebre Amarilla
(Okumura (hair) and Namajague (mask))
Mexico City, Mexico 2013 Homenaje a Dos Leyendas March 15, 2013 [14]
Rey Cometa (hair) Namajague (hair) Mexico City, Mexico Arena Mexico 57th Anniversary Show April 26, 2013 [19]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]