Takayama in November 2011.
September 19, 1966 |
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Takan Hansen
|Billed height||1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)|
|Billed weight||130 kg (290 lb)|
|Trained by||Nobuhiko Takada
|Debut||June 28, 1992
vs. Hiromitsu Kanehara
Yoshihiro Takayama (高山 善廣 Takayama Yoshihiro?, born September 19, 1966) is a Japanese professional wrestler and mixed martial artist. Takayama is well known for his ability to endure massive amounts of punishment, especially after his fight at PRIDE 21 against Don Frye. He is one of two men to hold all three of puroresu's major heavyweight titles (the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, and the GHC Heavyweight Championship), the other being Kensuke Sasaki.
- 1 Career
- 2 Mixed martial arts career
- 3 Other media
- 4 In wrestling
- 5 Championships and accomplishments
- 6 Mixed martial arts record
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Union of Wrestling Forces International (1992-1996)
A former rugby player, kendoka and lifeguard, Takayama started his professional wrestling careers for shoot-style promotion Union of Wrestling Forces International (UWFI). Put under the tutelage of top star Nobuhiko Takada, Takayama debuted against Hiromitsu Kanehara and became a usual competitor of the Junior League Tournaments through the years. In 1995, with the interpromotional feuds with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and WAR, he allied himself with Yoji Anjo and Kenichi Yamamoto to form the semi-serious "Golden Cups" stable. They competed extensively against NJPW representatives, specially against Masahiro Chono's Ookami Gundan. The trio was famous for their involvement in comedic and parodic skits, like assuming masks in NJPW as the "200% Machines" to mock "Super Strong Machine" Junji Hirata, and playing a pop band gimmick to the point of releasing a CD album in July 1996. In WAR, they feuded with Gedo, Jado and Hiromichi Fuyuki, having several important garbage wrestling matches against them.
All Japan Pro Wrestling (1997-2000)
After UWFI's subsequent collapse, he joined Kingdom, but after it also collapsed, he joined All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) as a free agent along with former UWFi comrade Masahito Kakihara. In the beginning, Takayama was put in a feud with Toshiaki Kawada (against whom he had lost once in an interpromotional match before the UWFI's collapse), but as he lost matches often, he was back in the undercard. He joined former UWFI foreigner Gary Albright and native Takao Omori in a new version of the "Triangle of Power" stable Albright had formed with Steve Williams before he briefly went back to the United States.
In 1999, upon Shohei Baba's death, Mitsuharu Misawa made him and Kakihara full-time members of All Japan. Pushed as the NO FEAR team with Omori, Takayama found instant success, first winning the Asian tag team title from Hayabusa and Jinsei Shinzaki and then the Double Cup from Johnny Ace and Bart Gunn. However, they were eventually defeated by the combination of Misawa and Yoshinari Ogawa. In 2000, when Misawa announced plans for his new promotion, Pro Wrestling Noah (Noah), Takayama followed him.
Pro Wrestling Noah and freelance (2000-present)
During the first few months of Noah's existence, Takayama competed in the first ever GHC Heavyweight Championship tournament, but lost to Mitsuharu Misawa in the final match. He found continued success in Noah, winning the new GHC Tag Team Championship with Takao Omori, too. It was around 2001 that, spurred by his old UWFI comrades' success in the PRIDE fighting circuit, Takayama decided to try his hand at mixed martial arts competition. He also competed in memorable Noah matches during 2002, winning the GHC Heavyweight Championship from Yoshinari Ogawa on September 7 before losing it to Mitsuharu Misawa later that month.
Takayama declared free agency from Noah so he could pursue MMA, as well as matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he began challenging the top stars, such as Yuji Nagata, Masahiro Chono, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan. In 2003 and 2004 he participated in New Japan's annual G1 Climax tournament. In mid-2004 he affiliated himself with former Pancrase wrestler Minoru Suzuki, and they won the IWGP Tag Team Championship, but he suffered a stroke later in the year following a brutal match with Kensuke Sasaki. During his time away from the ring, Takayama provided occasional colour commentary for Pro Wrestling Noah, famously saying, "I hope this never ends" during a chop exchange between Kenta Kobashi and Kensuke Sasaki on the July 18, 2005 "Destiny" show. In June 2006, Pro Wrestling Noah announced that Takayama would return at the July 16 Nippon Budokan show, and would team with Kenta Kobashi to take on Jun Akiyama and Mitsuharu Misawa. The match was later changed due to Kobashi needing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, leading to Takayama teaming with Kensuke Sasaki against Akiyama and Misawa. However, when Kenta Kobashi returned, it would be in the same match, teaming with Yoshihiro Takayama to take on Jun Akiyama and Mitsuharu Misawa.
Takayama then started teaming with old UWFI comrade Takuma Sano in a tournament for the GHC Tag Team Championship vacated by Kenta Kobashi and Tamon Honda due to Kobashi's kidney tumor (Takayama and Sano would reach the final where they would lose to Muhammad Yone and Takeshi Morishima). On December 27, he showed up at a Pro Wrestling ZERO1-MAX show, attacked former partner Takao Omori, and promised to return at the next show.
Takayama defeated Great Muta on March 14, 2009 at Pro-Wrestling Love in Ryogoku Vol. 7 to win the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship. With this victory, Takayama became the second wrestler (the other being Kensuke Sasaki) to win the three major heavyweight titles in Japan: NOAH's GHC Heavyweight Championship, New Japan's IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and All Japan's Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship. Takayama held the Triple Crown for almost seven months, losing the title to Satoshi Kojima on September 26.
On January 4, 2010 at Wrestle Kingdom IV in Tokyo Dome, Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Takayama to retain his IWGP Heavyweight Championship. In 2010, Takayama and Sano competed in NOAH's "Global Tag League" tournament and emerged the victors, however they were subsequently unable to dethrone the GHC Tag Team Champions Takeshi Rikio and Muhammad Yone.
From March 28 to May 2, 2010, Takayama competed in (and eventually won) Pro-Wrestling Noah's 1st ever Global League Tournament. He defeated Jun Akiyama in the final match of the tournament, finishing up with a total of 7 points. It was then announced that due to his victory, Takayama had earned a GHC Heavyweight Championship match versus Takashi Sugiura on July 10. On September 18, 2010, Takayama and Takuma Sano defeated Akitoshi Saito and Bison Smith to win the vacant GHC Tag Team Championship. On January 4, 2011, at New Japan's Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome, Takayama and Sugiura defeated Hirooki Goto and Kazuchika Okada in a tag team match. Takayama and Sano would lose the GHC Tag Team Championship to New Japan's Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson on June 18, 2011, at Dominion 6.18 in a match contested also for the IWGP Tag Team Championship. In late 2011, Takayama began making appearances for New Japan Pro Wrestling as a member of Minoru Suzuki's Suzuki-gun, which built to a match on January 4, 2012, at Wrestle Kingdom VI in Tokyo Dome, where he was defeated by Togi Makabe in a singles match. On March 18, Takayama and his Suzuki-gun stablemate, Lance Archer, unsuccessfully challenged Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima for the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
Mixed martial arts career
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Takayama had his debut in MMA at the event PRIDE 14 against fellow pro wrestler Kazuyuki Fujita. Takayama impressed "real-fight" pundits by keeping the fight competitive despite the experience gap, escaping several dangerous positions and avoiding the knockout despite receiving heavy knees to the head. At the end of the second round, he was submitted with an arm triangle choke, but the fight had been enough to warrant more fight offers.
At PRIDE 18, he faced superheavweight kickboxing champion Semmy Schilt in a valiant effort, getting knocked out by his large opponent. However, Takayama would confirm the pundits' judgements at PRIDE 21, in what many PRIDE fans consider to be one of the organization's most exciting matches ever. Pitted against the aggressive Don Frye, Takayama came with equal energy and the fight soon devolved into a brutal slugfest, with both fighters holding each other's head with an arm and delivering savage right punches to the face with the other. The Japanese wrestler actually got the upper hand for a moment with knees to the body, but the situation returned to his base, and they continued striking each other until Frye finally overpowered Takayama and pounded him with hammer strikes for the technical knockout. The fight appeared at number one on Fox Sports Network's "Best Damn 50 Beatdowns" and solidified Takayama's reputation as one of the toughest Japanese fighters in PRIDE.
At Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2002, Takayama had his last MMA fight as part of Antonio Inoki's team, facing an opponent even heavier than Schilt, the 350-pound Bob Sapp. The fight was one-sided, with Sapp using his superior strength and size to mount Takayama and perform an armbar for the tap out.
Aside from wrestling, Takayama featured a sporadic music career. In summer 1996 Takayama, as part of Golden Cups stable, participated in the group's official music debut with the CD album "Golden Cups Present... Oh Taco," containing the three wrestlers's entrance themes along with some covers and original songs. In 2009, Takayama appeared with Riki Choshu in the music video of King RIKI's tenth anniversary version of "Love Machine", posing as HUSTLE wrestlers flanking RIKI.
Takayama has acted in small parts in several films, beginning with Muscle Heat in 2002, and continuing with Cromartie High - The Movie and Nagurimono in 2005. He also appeared in 2004's The Calamari Wrestler, playing himself in a cameo role. He also voiced the character Canis Major Sirious in the Saint Seiya OVA trilogy The Hades Chapter.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- Cho Hanabi
- Bakuha-ō Championship (1 time)
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Pro Wrestling Noah
- GHC Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- GHC Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Takao Omori (1) and Takuma Sano (1)
- 2 Days Tag Tournament (2011) with KENTA
- Global League Tournament (2010)
- Global Tag League (2010) - with Takuma Sano
- Global Tag League (2013) - with KENTA
- Global Tag League Fighting Spirit Award (2014) - with KENTA
- Pro Wrestling Zero1
- Tenryu Project
- Tokyo Sports
- Wrestle Association "R"
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|4 matches||0 wins||4 losses|
|Loss||0-4||Bob Sapp||Submission (armbar)||Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2002||December 31, 2002||1||2:16||Saitama, Saitama, Japan|
|Loss||0-3||Don Frye||TKO (punches)||Pride 21||June 23, 2002||1||6:10||Saitama, Saitama, Japan||Fight of the Year (2002).|
|Loss||0-2||Semmy Schilt||KO (punches)||Pride 18||December 23, 2001||1||3:09||Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan|
|Loss||0-1||Kazuyuki Fujita||Submission (arm triangle choke)||Pride 14 - Clash of the Titans||May 27, 2001||2||3:10||Yokohama, Japan|
- "Yoshihiro Takayama". Puroresu Central. Retrieved 2013-09-25.
- マスカラスが飛んだ！圧倒的な存在感で論外に完勝。ミノディ＆タカンの超獣コンビが暴走戦士相手に大暴れ！. Battle News (in Japanese). 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
- "Independent Wrestling Results: 2009~". Purolove (in German). Retrieved 2013-12-15.
- Oh Taco
- "January 4 New Japan Tokyo Dome report - legends, promotional wars". Wrestling Observer. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- レッスルキングダムⅤ ｉｎ 東京ドーム. New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved 2011-01-05.
- Gerweck, Steve (2011-01-04). "1/4 TNA-NJPW Results: Tokyo, Japan". WrestleView. Archived from the original on January 7, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
- "Dominion 6.18". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved 2011-06-18.
- "NJPW 40th anniversary Tour. レッスルキングダムⅥ in 東京ドーム". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- "NJPW 40th anniversary Tour New Japan Glory 2012". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-03-18.
- 高山が大仁田破り、初代爆破王に. Daily Sports Online (in Japanese). Kobe Shimbun. 2015-01-23. Retrieved 2015-01-23.
- 2013年4月28日(日). Pro Wrestling Noah (in Japanese). Retrieved 2013-04-28.
- 「グローバル・タッグリーグ戦2014」各賞発表. Pro Wrestling Noah (in Japanese). 2014-04-28. Retrieved 2014-04-28.