Junji Hirata

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Junji Hirata
Born (1956-12-20) December 20, 1956 (age 62)
Hiratsuka, Kanagawa
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Junji Hirata
Sonny Two Rivers
Strong Machine #1
Super Strong Machine
Makai #1
Black Strong Machine
Super Love Machine
Super Strong Azteca Machine
Billed height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Billed weight115 kg (254 lb)[1]
Trained byTokyo Joe[2]
DebutAugust 26, 1978
RetiredJune 19, 2018

Junji Hirata (平田 淳嗣, Hirata Junji) (born December 20, 1956) is a retired Japanese professional wrestler currently working as a trainer for the New Japan Pro Wrestling promotion, known primarily by his ring name Super Strong Machine (スーパー・ストロング・マシン, Sūpā Sutorongu Mashin).

Career[edit]

Hirata made his debut in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) on August 26, 1978, against Yoshiaki Fujiwara. In November 1982, he left on an overseas training expedition to Mexico, and later Canada, where in Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling he would create the famous Super Strong Machine persona, as well as use a First Nations gimmick as Sonny Two Rivers. In April 1986, he left NJPW with Riki Choshu for rival wrestling promotion, All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW). In June 1987, he returned to NJPW and would soon capture the IWGP Tag Team Championship on three separate occasions with George Takano, Hiro Saito, and Shinya Hashimoto as his tag team partners.

In the fall of 1986, the World Wrestling Federation introduced a stable of wrestlers called The Machines -- "The Giant Machine" (André the Giant), "Big Machine" (Blackjack Mulligan), and "Super Machine" (Bill Eadie) -- based on Junji Hirata's popular Super Strong Machine gimmick.[3] In 1984, Hirata had tried to make his own "Machines" stable with Korean wrestler Yang Seung-hi and veteran Yasu Fuji as Strong Machine #2 and Strong Machine #3 respectively, but this version of the stable did not have the exposure or push of their American counterparts.[4] Hirata briefly turned face and became "Super" Strong Machine, feuding with his former partners. When Hirata left for Japan Pro, Fuji retired and Yang went back to South Korea.

In December 1994, after Masahiro Chono turned on him, he finally unmasked, dropping the Super Strong Machine character and wrestling under his real name. He revived the Super Strong Machine persona for the first time in six years in October 2000, having a brief feud with T2000 Machine (Tatsutoshi Goto). In 2005, Hirata, as the masked persona of Black Strong Machine, became a regular fixture on NJPW shows reconciled with Chono and part of his Black New Japan stable. He also had a brief stint in AJPW as Super Love Machine, the leader of the Love Machines, this time taking as partners Arashi as Love Machine Storm and Gran Hamada as Mini Love Machine. Whatever role he plays, Junji Hirata is a very respected veteran and is well liked by wrestlers, officials, and fans alike.

In the late 2000s, Hirata was a founding member of the Legend and Seigigun stables.[1] He wrestled his to date final match on April 2, 2014, at Wataru Inoue's retirement event.[5] He now works as a trainer at the NJPW dojo. On April 12, 2018, it was announced that he was retiring from active competition. His retirement ceremony was held on June 19 at Korakuen Hall.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • PWI ranked him #105 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the year in the PWI 500 in 1997[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c スーパー・ストロング・マシン. New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-08-28.
  2. ^ Meltzer, Dave (November 5, 2017). "'Tokyo' Joe Daigo passes away at 75 years old". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  3. ^ Graham Cawthon (June 24, 1986). "WWF Show Results 1986". Retrieved 2007-07-01. (Shown: July 5) featured Vince McMahon interviewing Bobby Heenan in which he showed Heenan footage of Gene Okerlund finding the Machines in Japan, with the Machines saying they were coming to the WWF and would have Capt. Lou Albano as their manager
  4. ^ cagematch.net - Strong Machine matches
  5. ^ Road to Invasion Attack 2014 〜井上亘引退記念大会〜. New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  6. ^ Hoops, Brian (October 30, 2015). "DAILY PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (10/30): A SLEW OF TAG TEAM TITLES CHANGE HANDS". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  7. ^ http://wrestlingdata.com/index.php?befehl=bios&wrestler=552&bild=1&details=3
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-19. Retrieved 2014-01-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]