Satoshi Kojima

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Satoshi Kojima
Satoshi Kojima 2015.JPG
Kojima in September 2015
Born (1970-09-14) September 14, 1970 (age 47)[1][2]
Kōtō, Tokyo[1][2]
Website Cozy-Official.net
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) The Great Koji
The Great Kosuke[3]
Joe-Joe Lee[citation needed]
Kojima[4]
Lion Satoshi[citation needed]
Satoshi Kojima
Suzuki Karimoto[citation needed]
Billed height 183 cm (6 ft 0 in)[1][2]
Billed weight 108 kg (238 lb)[1]
Trained by Animal Hamaguchi[1]
Stan Hansen[5]
NJPW Dojo[1]
Debut July 16, 1991[1]

Satoshi Kojima (小島 聡, Kojima Satoshi) is a Japanese professional wrestler, currently signed to New Japan Pro Wrestling.[1] As a singles wrestler, he was the first wrestler to hold NJPW's IWGP Heavyweight Championship and All Japan Pro Wrestling's Triple Crown Championship simultaneously, and one of three wrestlers to hold the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, Triple Crown Championship and NWA World Heavyweight Championship (the other two being Keiji Mutoh and Shinya Hashimoto). As a team, he and Hiroyoshi Tenzan are six-time IWGP Tag Team Champions and became the first team to win G1 Tag League and World's Strongest Tag Determination League on the same year. He and Tenzan are also former National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Tag Team Champions. Between the NWA, AJPW, and NJPW, Kojima has held 19 total championships.

Early life[edit]

Like many Japanese wrestlers, Kojima has a background in judo, but he chose not to continue the sport when he went to college. He got his start loading trucks for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), and after some months of persuasion finally convinced head trainer Animal Hamaguchi to accept him into the dojo.

Career[edit]

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (1991–2002)[edit]

Kojima entered the NJPW Dojo in February 1991. He debuted as a wrestler on September 14 in a match against Hiroyoshi Yamamoto, who would later adopt the stage name of Hiroyoshi Tenzan. In 1994 he defeated Manabu Nakanishi in the Young Lions Cup finals, winning the tournament. In the end of that year he went to Europe, including a spell in Orig Williams' British Wrestling Federation as face-painted Suzuki Karimoto,[citation needed] and returned to NJPW in January 1996. When he returned, he formed The Bull Powers with Nakanishi, who had returned from WCW. In May 1997 he defeated Riki Choshu and Kensuke Sasaki with Nakanishi to become an IWGP Tag Team Champion for the first time. At the end of 1998 he joined nWo Japan, by Keiji Mutoh's leadership. Kojima and Tenzan (known together as Tencozy, a portmanteau of their last names) formed a tag team and ended up holding the IWGP Tag Team title together twice.

All Japan Pro Wrestling (2002–2010)[edit]

In January 2002, in opposition to Antonio Inoki focusing the IWGP title on unreliable shoot style wrestlers such as Kazuyuki Fujita and Tadao Yasuda, Kojima left NJPW with his mentor Keiji Mutoh, and joined All Japan Pro Wrestling where he was finally able to receive the push of a top star. He held both of the company's tag team titles, the World Tag Team Championship twice. On February 16, 2005, he won the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, AJPW's unified heavyweight championship from Toshiaki Kawada. Only four days later he won NJPW's heavyweight championship, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, from his former tag team partner Hiroyoshi Tenzan in a cross-promotional double title match. The match had a unique finish designed to fool fans in attendance. The idea was to make it look like the match was going to end in a 60-minute time limit draw. However, with just seconds before the match would be declared a time limit draw, Tenzan, who was known to have a legitimate back injury, could not continue, resulting in Kojima being declared the winner and becoming the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion. NJPW officials had come up with the finish, which was designed to look like a "mistake", having agreed with AJPW that it would be better if Kojima won the match, but not wanting the match to end in a standard pinfall or submission.[6] On May 14, 2005, Tenzan won the IWGP title back, but not the Triple Crown.[7]

Upon joining AJPW, Kojima began to use the Great Koji (copying The Great Muta) and Great Kosuke (copying The Great Sasuke) personas for special matches.

On July 3, 2006, Kojima lost the Triple Crown to Taiyō Kea. Three days later it was revealed that Kojima would return to New Japan to compete in the 2006 G1 Climax, where he would go to lose in the finals against former tag team partner and rival Hiroyoshi Tenzan.

In October 2006 it was announced that Tencozy would reform for the upcoming World's Strongest Tag Determination League tournament. On December 2, 2006, the reformed Tencozy won the World's Strongest Tag Determination League defeating Kohei Suwama and RO'Z in the finals when Kojima used a lariat on RO'Z. The duo next faced Masahiro Chono and Keiji Mutoh at NJPW's Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome. They lost when Chono forced Tenzan to submit.

In July 2007, Kojima shocked the All-Japan Army when he betrayed them and joined the Voodoo Murders, where he was quickly made the group's co-leader along with TARU. Soon after joining, Kojima and TARU won the World Tag Team Championship from Toshiaki Kawada and Taiyō Kea. Kojima left the group in 2008 after returning from injury to side with his sworn friend Hiroyoshi Tenzan and to feud with the alliance of Great Bash Heel (Tenzan's former group) and the VooDoo Murders.

In 2008, Tenzan and Kojima became the first tag team to ever win G1 Tag League and World's Strongest Tag Determination League in the same year. Later he started his 1st stable named F4 (Friend Fight Fan and Future) with young proteges YAMATO and KAI. A 4th member in ZODIAC joined later in 2009. On September 26, 2009 a few days after his 39th birthday Kojima lifted the All-Japan Triple Crown off of Yoshihiro Takayama, returning the titles to All-Japan and winning them for the 2nd time. He lost the title on March 21, 2010 to Ryota Hama.[8]

Kojima's AJPW page was taken down soon before he agreed to compete in New Japan Pro Wrestling's 20th annual G1 Climax. It is reported that he was plagued with an arm injury that required surgery and needed time off to heal. AJPW then refused to discuss re-signing Kojima until he was healthy. It has been reported Kojima was not pleased with this and began entertaining other possibilities.

Return to NJPW (2010–present)[edit]

Kojima in August 2011

Kojima returned to New Japan in August 2010 in order to take part in the 2010 G1 Climax tournament. His return match took place on August 6, 2010, when he teamed up with El Samurai in a tag team match, where they were defeated by Hirooki Goto and Ryusuke Taguchi.[9] In the round robin stage of the tournament Kojima won five out his seven matches and won his block to advance to the finals, where, on August 15, he defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win G1 Climax.[10] On October 11 Kojima defeated Togi Makabe to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the second time.[11] On December 11 Kojima made his first successful defense of the title, defeating Shinsuke Nakamura.[12] On December 14 Kojima announced that he was starting his own stable, tentatively named Kojima Office, and named Taichi, who had accompanied him to the ring for his Nakamura match, its first member.[13] Kojima turned heel on December 23, when he hit his number one contender Hiroshi Tanahashi with a lariat after a match, where he and Kota Ibushi had defeated Tanahashi and Prince Devitt.[14] On January 4, 2011, at Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome, Kojima lost the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to Tanahashi.[15][16] On January 30 Kojima defeated Togi Makabe to earn a rematch with Tanahashi.[17] Meanwhile, the newly renamed Kojima-gun expanded to include Taka Michinoku and Nosawa Rongai, who in turn used his connections to get MVP to also join the group.[18][19] Kojima received his rematch for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on February 20 at The New Beginning, but was again defeated by Tanahashi.[20] After Kojima was defeated by Togi Makabe on May 3, Taichi and Taka Michinoku turned on him and named the returning Minoru Suzuki as their new leader, while Kojima himself formed a new partnership with Makabe and MVP, who left the stable after Suzuki took over.[21][22][23] On July 18, Suzuki defeated Kojima in a singles match.[24] The two had a rematch on August 1 during the first day of the 2011 G1 Climax, where Kojima managed to pick up the win.[25] Kojima managed to win five more matches in the tournament, but a loss to former partner Hiroyoshi Tenzan on the final day eliminated him from the running for a spot in the finals.[26] After the tournament Kojima was sidelined indefinitely with an eye injury suffered during the match with Tenzan.[27]

On September 19, it was announced that Kojima had signed a contract with New Japan to become an official member of the promotion's roster. Kojima then announced that he would make his return on October 10 at Destruction '11 and challenged former partner Hiroyoshi Tenzan to be his opponent that day.[28] Kojima would end up defeating Tenzan in his return match.[29] In the 2011 G1 Tag League, Kojima teamed with Togi Makabe as the "Beast Combination".[30] After picking up three wins and one loss in their first four matches, Kojima and Makabe were defeated by the Billion Powers (Hirooki Goto and Hiroshi Tanahashi) on November 4, causing them to narrowly miss advancing to the semifinals of the tournament.[31] Kojima and Tenzan faced each other yet again on November 12 in a match, which was won by Tenzan. Afterwards, the former tag team partners came together to fend off an attack from CHAOS.[32] Tencozy wrestled their return match as a tag team on December 4, defeating CHAOS members Hideo Saito and Takashi Iizuka.[33] On January 4, 2012, at Wrestle Kingdom VI in Tokyo Dome, Kojima and Tenzan defeated Bad Intentions (Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship for the third time.[34] On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2012, Kojima and Tenzan lost the title to Takashi Iizuka and Toru Yano in their third defense.[35] On July 22, Kojima and Tenzan defeated Iizuka and Yano in a decision match to regain the newly vacated title.[36] On October 8 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Kojima and Tenzan lost the title to K.E.S. (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. and Lance Archer).[37] From November 20 to December 1, Tencozy took part in the round-robin portion of the 2012 World Tag League. The team finished with a record of four wins and two losses, winning their block and advancing to the semifinals of the tournament.[38][39] On December 2, Tencozy was eliminated from the tournament in their semifinal match by Sword & Guns (Hirooki Goto and Karl Anderson).[40] On December 9, Kojima made a rare appearance for Pro Wrestling Noah, unsuccessfully challenging Takeshi Morishima for the GHC Heavyweight Championship.[41] On April 7, 2013, Kojima unsuccessfully challenged visiting Rob Conway for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship at New Japan's Invasion Attack event.[42] On May 3, Tencozy regained the IWGP Tag Team Championship from K.E.S. in a four-way match, which also included Takashi Iizuka and Toru Yano, and Manabu Nakanishi and Strong Man, starting Kojima's sixth reign as champion.[43] From August 1 to 11, Kojima took part in the 2013 G1 Climax.[44] where he finished second to last in his block with a record of four wins and five losses.[45] However, a victory over reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada on the final day of the tournament earned Kojima a shot at the title. The title match between the two took place on September 29 at Destruction and saw Okada retain his title.[46] Following the match, Kojima was sidelined with a dislocated shoulder and was expected to miss two months of in-ring action.[47] Kojima returned to the ring on November 9 at Power Struggle, where he and Tenzan lost the IWGP Tag Team Championship back to K.E.S. in a three-way match, which also included The IronGodz (Jax Dane and Rob Conway).[48] In December, Tencozy made it to the finals of the 2013 World Tag League, defeating K.E.S. in the semifinals, before losing to Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson.[49]

Kojima in November 2011

During the tournament, Kojima pinned Rob Conway, which led to him challenging him to a rematch for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.[50] On January 4, 2014, at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome, Kojima defeated Conway to become the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion.[51][52] The following day, Tencozy unsuccessfully challenged The IronGodz for the NWA World Tag Team Championship with Conway pinning Kojima following a low blow.[53] On February 9 at The New Beginning in Hiroshima, Kojima made his first successful defense of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Big Daddy Yum-Yum.[54] Two days later at The New Beginning in Osaka, Tencozy defeated Yum-Yum and Michael Tarver to earn another shot at the NWA World Tag Team Championship.[55] On April 6 at Invasion Attack 2014, Tencozy defeated The IronGodz to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship.[56] Six days later, during New Japan's trip to Taiwan, Kojima made his second successful defense of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Rob Conway.[57] The following day, Tencozy also successfully defended the NWA World Tag Team Championship against The IronGodz.[58] On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2014, Kojima defeated Wes Brisco for his third successful defense of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.[59] On May 25 at Back to the Yokohama Arena, Tencozy successfully defended the NWA World Tag Team Championship against Brisco and Conway and K.E.S. in a three-way match.[60][61] The following week, Kojima returned to the United States to defend the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. After successful defenses against Jeremiah Plunkett, Damien Wayne and Houston Carson, Kojima lost the title back to Rob Conway on June 2 in Las Vegas.[62] Upon his return to Japan, Kojima and Tenzan successfully defended the NWA World Tag Team Championship against K.E.S. on June 21 at Dominion 6.21.[63] After four successful title defenses, they lost the title to K.E.S. in a rematch on October 13 at King of Pro-Wrestling.[64] The following month, Tencozy took part in the 2014 World Tag League,[65] where they finished with a record of four wins and three losses, failing to advance to the finals.[66] In late 2014, Kojima began making appearances for Pro Wrestling Noah, which culminated in him unsuccessfully challenging Naomichi Marufuji for the GHC Heavyweight Championship on January 10, 2015.[67] On March 21, Kojima unsuccessfully challenged Hiroyoshi Tenzan for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.[68] From July 23 to August 15, Kojima took part in the 2015 G1 Climax,[69] where he finished with a record of three wins and six losses.[70] On March 19, 2016, Kojma unsuccessfully challenged Katsuyori Shibata for the NEVER Openweight Championship.[71]

On July 3, Kojima teamed up with Matt Sydal and Ricochet to defeat The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)) for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship.[72] Afterwards, Kojima backed out of the 2016 G1 Climax and gave his spot to Hiroyoshi Tenzan in order to give his longtime tag team partner one final chance to win the tournament.[73] On August 14, Kojima unsuccessfully challenged Jay Lethal for the Ring of Honor (ROH) World Championship.[74] On September 25, Kojima, Ricochet and Sydal were stripped of the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship due to Sydal failing to make a scheduled title defense at Destruction in Kobe because of travel issues.[75] That same day, Kojima and Ricochet, now teaming with David Finlay, defeated Adam Cole and The Young Bucks to regain the vacant title.[76] They lost the title to Los Ingobernables de Japon (Bushi, Evil and Sanada) in a four-team gauntlet match at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2017.[77] On March 6, Tencozy defeated Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship for the sixth time.[78] They lost the title to War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe) on April 9 at Sakura Genesis 2017.[79]

On August 27, 2017, Kojima made a one-night return to AJPW, wrestling his first match for the company in five years. He defeated Suwama in the match, but was left with a bad aftertaste due to the win coming as a result of a pre-match attack on Suwama by Joe Doering.[80]

Mexico (2017)[edit]

On June 28, 2017, Mexican promotion Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) announced that Kojima would be making his debut for the promotion in the 2017 International Gran Prix.[81] He was eliminated from the torneo cibernetico on September 1 by Último Guerrero.[82] Kojima also took part in an event held by the Lucha Memes promotion on September 3, losing to Hechicero.[83]

Other media[edit]

Kojima, along with fellow NJPW wrestlers Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Kazuchika Okada, Tetsuya Naito and Toru Yano, appears as a member of the gang Justis in the 2016 video game Ryū ga Gotoku 6.[84]

Personal life[edit]

Kojima has a daughter.[85]

In wrestling[edit]

Kojima performing a lariat on Yoshitatsu
Kojima executing the Cozy Cozy Cutter on Yoshitatsu

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Kojima as the IWGP Heavyweight Champion in December 2010
Kojima (right) and Hiroyoshi Tenzan as the IWGP Tag Team Champions in February 2012
Kojima as NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champion with David Finlay (left) and Ricochet (right)

References[edit]

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