Masahiro Chono

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Masahiro Chono
Masahiro Chono 3.jpg
Chono in November 2010
Born Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Residence Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Kamikaze Chono[1]
Masahiro Chono[1]
Masa Chono[1]
Tokyo Chono[1]
Billed height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Billed weight 96 kg (212 lb)
Billed from

Tokyo, Japan (WCW)

Mitaka, Tokyo (NJPW)
Trained by Stu Hart
Lou Thesz
Antonio Inoki
Kotetsu Yamamoto[2]
Debut October 5, 1984
Retired 2014

Masahiro "Masa" Chono (蝶野 正洋, Chōno Masahiro), is a retired American-born Japanese professional wrestler. He primarily wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), but has also made appearances for World Championship Wrestling (WCW), as a member of the New World Order. Chono was also known by the nickname Mister Black Jack when he first started portraying a villainous character. He is a former NWA World Heavyweight Champion and IWGP Heavyweight Champion. He has become well known for his appearances on the new year's specials of Downtown's This Is No Task for Kids! No-Laughing batsu games, where his ritual appearance always involves slapping Hōsei Tsukitei in the face.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

New Japan Pro Wrestling[edit]

Early years (1984–1989)[edit]

Chōno debuted in 1984 against Keiji Mutoh at a New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) event in Saitama, Japan.[3] In 1987, he defeated Shinya Hashimoto to win the Young Lions Cup. After winning the tournament, he went on an excursion that started in Europe, wrestling for Otto Wanz's Catch Wrestling Association.

After a while in Europe, Chono went on an excursion to North America, starting in the United States, where he wrestled in NWA territories in the Kansas City and Alabama areas.[3] He would also later wrestle in the Canadian Maritimes and in Puerto Rico, where he, Hashimoto, and Mutoh formed The Three Musketeers.

Chono returned to NJPW part-time in July 1988. He came back to the United States later in 1988 and teamed with Mike Davis in Continental Championship Wrestling (CCW), by then renamed the Continental Wrestling Federation (CWF), and won that company's tag titles as the Japanese Connection.

In April 1989, he took part in the IWGP Heavyweight Championship tournament, held at New Japan's very first show at the Tokyo Dome; he lost to eventual winner of the tournament and new champion Big Van Vader in the quarterfinals. During this time, he would return to the United States and have a brief run in Australia.

Rise to superstardom (1989–1994)[edit]

Upon Chono's return to New Japan in October 1989, on February 10, 1990, he wrestled in the main-event of NJPW's second Tokyo Dome show, teaming with Shinya Hashimoto against Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi, on April 27 he won the IWGP Tag Team Championship with Mutoh, and on December 26 he defeated his mentor, wrestling legend Lou Thesz, when Thesz came out of retirement for one last match.[3] The next year, Chono solidified his main-event status with an amazing performance in the first G1 Climax tournament, winning the tournament in a thirty-minute final over Mutoh.[3]

He won the tournament again in 1992, winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in the process. Since then, he has won the tournament on three more occasions. On September 23, 1992, Chono suffered a serious neck injury while defending the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Steve Austin.[3] On January 4, 1993, he lost the NWA World title to IWGP Heavyweight champion The Great Muta in a Title vs. Title match. Around 1993, he participated in his third G1 Climax tournament, losing to Hiroshi Hase in the semi-finals. In January 1994, he received a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Shinya Hashimoto, though he would ultimately lose the match. In August 1994, he won his third G1 Climax tournament, defeating Power Warrior in the finals.

nWo Japan and Team 2000 (1994–2004)[edit]

A short time after winning his third G1 Climax, Chono underwent a change in attitude. Originally a clean-cut fan favorite during his NWA World title reign, he turned heel, angered that Power Warrior received a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship before him, as he won the tournament. He also changed his image and adopted a yakuza gimmick, complete with sunglasses, menacing mannerisms and black coats and tights. Chono's partnering with Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Hiro Saito as "Team Wolf" provided a foundation to NJPW's nWo Japan. Establishing himself as leader of its Japanese sister stable, Chono joined the American nWo in December 1996 as it was gaining momentum in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He would also join its successor, Team 2000, which would eventually restructure again. In a match against WCW's Bill Goldberg, Chono supposedly "shot" the match (actually employing legitimate combat) and dislocated his shoulder.

Upon returning to Japan, Chono rejoined NJPW, where he achieved much success. He won the IWGP Tag Team Titles on six occasions and also won the very prestigious IWGP Heavyweight Title in 1998. In 2002, Chono won his fourth G1 Climax tournament and had a brief, memorable feud with WWE's Chyna. He also became a booker for NJPW around this time.[3] In 2003, Chono briefly joined Pro Wrestling NOAH for a handful of matches and was defeated by GHC Champion Kenta Kobashi on 2 May of that year. On October 13, he lost to Hulk Hogan.

Black New Japan and ChoTen (2004–2007)[edit]

In early 2004, Chono became the leader of the Black New Japan stable, which was the most dominating heel stable in NJPW until it was disbanded by Riki Choshu. As a reaction to this, Chono lead an "Anti-Choshu Army" with Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Black Strong Machine. Chono won the 2005 G1 Climax tournament, thus having achieved a record-setting five G1 victories. His success in the G1 has given him the nickname Mr. August.

On October 30, 2005, Masahiro Chono and Tenzan defeated the team of Shinsuke Nakamura and Hiroshi Tanahashi to win their fifth IWGP Tag Team Championship. The team went on to rename themselves Cho-Ten, a portmanteau of the members' names. They were stripped of the titles in late 2006 after they split up, and refused to defend them together. Masahiro Chono formed a stable with Shinsuke Nakamura in 2006 called Chono and Nakamura-gun, which began feuding with Tenzan's new group, GBH.

Legend (2007–2010)[edit]

Chono in November 2010

Chono continued to wrestle full-time in 2007, but also began working as a promoter, with New Japan permitting him to set up cards in different areas of Japan. Following the 2007 G1 Climax, it appears that Chono may be breaking away from his BLACK faction and formed the Legend stable, having sworn in wrestlers such as Riki Choshu, Jyushin Thunder Liger, Shiro Koshinaka, and AKIRA.

Outside wrestling, Chono began appearing on Gaki no Tsukai's "No Laughing Batsu Game" as one of the attackers, usually giving Hōsei Tsukitei a slap to the face.

In January 2010 it was reported that Chono would be leaving New Japan and becoming a freelancer, after spending most of his career with the company.[4]

Freelancer (2010–2013)[edit]

In March 2010, Chono wrestled two matches since leaving New Japan, during a Samurai Festival. For the special occasion, Chono portrayed Nobunaga Oda. On both days, he wrestled AKIRA, who portrayed Mitsuhide Akechi. On the first day, he won, but lost the next day.

On July 31, 2010, Chono announced he is heading to All-Japan and wrestle in the Taiwan tour in November.

On August 15, 2010, Chono returned to New Japan to serve as the special ring announcer for the G1 Climax final match between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Satoshi Kojima.[5]

On November 5 and 6, Chono appeared in All Japan's Taiwan shows. On November 5, Chono and Mutoh defeated the Voodoo Murders (TARU and Rene Dupree). The following day, Chono teamed with Mutoh and Masakatsu Funaki to defeat the Voodoo Murders (Dupree, KENSO, and Joe Doering).[6]

In December 2010, Chono began working for Antonio Inoki's Inoki Genome Federation as a booker.

On March 6, 2011, Chono entered Pro Wrestling ZERO1 for their 10th Anniversary Show. There he defeated Daichi Hashimoto in his debut match.[7]

On April 17, 2011, Chono wrestled for Osaka Pro where he teamed with Kuuga and Orochi in a losing effort against Shodai Tiger Mask, Billyken Kid, and Tsubasa.[8]

On August 14, 2011, Chono returned to Osaka Pro, this time teaming with TAJIRI and Zeus against Kuuga, Orochi, and Tadasuke.

On October 3, 2011, he returned home to NJPW, for a Team Wolf reunion match, teaming with Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Hiro Saito against Osamu Nishimura, Koji Kanemoto, and Shinjiro Otani.

All Japan Pro Wrestling (2013–2014)[edit]

In January 2013, Chono signed with All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) as an advisor.

On August 25, 2013, Chono teamed with Joe Doering and defeated KENSO and AJPW President Nobuo Shiraishi in an exhibition tag team match.

Chono left AJPW in 2014.

Return to freelancing (2014–present)[edit]

Since leaving AJPW, Chono has become a freelancer. His last match on record was on April 13, 2014, for Dotonbori Pro Wrestling, teaming with Daisuke Masaoka and Hayata in a loss to Super Delfin, HUB, and Gran Hamada.

Personal life[edit]

On December 28, 1991, Chono married Martina Carlsbad, whom he met while on an excursion in Germany in 1987.[citation needed] Together they have one son (born July 4, 2006) and one daughter (born August 2009).[citation needed]

In late-June 1995, Chono's father died. His death forced Chono to miss an IWGP Tag Team title defense and take a hiatus, which forced him and Hiroyoshi Tenzan to vacate the title on July 7, 1995.[citation needed]

Other media[edit]

Chono appears as a gang member in the 2017 video game Yakuza Kiwami 2, alongside Genichiro Tenryu, Keiji Mutoh, Riki Choshu and Tatsumi Fujinami.[9]

Chono applying the STF on Kenso

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Chono as the NWA World Heavyweight Champion in 1992


  1. ^ a b c d e "Masahiro Chono". Retrieved 2016-09-25. 
  2. ^ "Masahiro Chono " Wrestlers Database " CAGEMATCH – The Internet Wrestling Database". Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f John Molinaro, The Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of All Time, (Winding Stair Press: 2002), page 198.
  4. ^ "Chono becomes a freelancer". Strong Style Spirit. January 21, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  5. ^ "(Results) New Japan, 8/15/10". Strong Style Spirit. August 15, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  6. ^ "Masahiro Chono " Wrestlers Database " CAGEMATCH – The Internet Wrestling Database". Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  7. ^ "Purolove.Com". Purolove.Com. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  8. ^ "Purolove.Com". Purolove.Com. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  9. ^ "『龍が如く 極2』武藤敬司・蝶野正洋・長州力・天龍源一郎・藤波辰爾 VS 桐生一馬・真島吾朗が実現!?【TGS2017】". Famitsu (in Japanese). September 21, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017. 
  10. ^ Hoops, Brian (February 26, 2017). "Daily pro wrestling history (02/26): Verne Gagne wins AWA title on his birthday". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 27, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Independent Wrestling Results – July 2003". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ a b Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: New Japan G-1 (Grade-1) Climax Tag Tournament Champions". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 374. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  14. ^ "New Japan Pro Wrestling tournaments". Archived from the original on August 3, 2009. 
  15. ^ "New Japan Other Tournaments". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on August 13, 2011. 
  16. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Japan: New Japan Young Lions Cup Tournament Champions". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 375. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  17. ^ a b "2005 New Japan Awards". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  18. ^ a b "2002 New Japan Awards". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  19. ^ "2004 New Japan Awards". Strong Style Spirit. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  20. ^ "The World's Largest Wrestling Database". Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  21. ^ Nikkan Sports Awards - 1997. wrestlingscout. February 10, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 – 1997". Wrestling Internet Archive. Archived from the original on September 19, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f "The Great Hisa's Puroresu Dojo: Puroresu Awards: 1990s". Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  24. ^ "The Great Hisa's Puroresu Dojo: Puroresu Awards: 2000s". Retrieved 2013-10-03. 

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