Characters / Universal Wrestling Federation UWF International
Real Pro-Wrestling

"UW Fi was a proto-MMA organization that aimed to show that real, tough, submission wrestling could draw large crowds again. Their aim was to bring back credibility and respect back to the world of professional wrestling. There are too many styles in the world of pro-wrestling today responsible for the bad reputation that pro-wrestling is sometimes associated with. In particular the "loud-mouthed", popular style that puts a premium on appearance and useless muscles, silly costumes, and trademark "cartoon" characters but very little premium on competitive wrestling, character, or proven skill. From the UW Fi perspective, that kind of show only encourages body abuse and sends the wrong sort of message to audiences, especially younger ones. The UW Fi message is to get into the gym; get on the mat, learn from your elders and betters, respect your opponents, and do your best. The UW Fi matched all types of athletes; boxers, kickboxers, wrestlers, martial artists to show how effective the UW Fi style is. The UW Fi aimed to bring real professional wrestling back to the world!"
Ted Pelc, a summary for UWF Bushido: Way of The Warrior, basically UW Fi shows with English commentary.

"A few years ago, a group of wrestlers got tired of working the kind of show you see on TV, the theatrics you associate with professional wrestling. You see, they learned to shoot, a kind of shooting that has nothing to do with guns, but everything to do with real fighting. They combine the meanest, most realistic elements of jiu-jitsu, boxing, kickboxing, and submission wrestling into the toughest fighting style in the world. You win or lose a fight by a knockout, or by giving up before something gets broken. You can punch, slap, kick, knee, wrestle, almost anything goes as long as it works. Now some people call this street fighting, if so, it's the most highly developed form of street fighting you've ever seen. We prefer to think of it as the newest, toughest form of hand-to-hand combat around."
A voiceover from a trailer for UWF Bushido: Way of The Warrior.

"Takada's group debuted before a sellout 2,300 fans at Korakuen Hall on 5/10, with all tickets sold out in something like 15 minutes the first day they went on sale. The group, called UWF International or UWFI for short, is the closest thing to the old UWF which had a two-year run as the hottest promotion in the world before fizzling out as shooting stars are wanton to do because of problems between Maeda and office boss Shinji Jin. The show wasn't really very good, but what remains of the legion of UWF fans were there and felt good about being there. Takada grabbed the house mic before the show and said the group was the only one left 'with the feeling of the UWF' which got a big pop. The card itself consisted of three matches, a prelim match between Masahito Kakihara and Kiyoshi Tamura, won by Tamura. Then came a 'doubles' match (tag team) with Shigeo Miyato & Yoji Anjyo beating Kazuo Yamazaki & Tatsuo Nakano with the surprise finish of Yamazaki doing the job when he was knocked out by a series of kicks from both guys in 23 minutes. This was different from the old UWF, which didn't have any tag matches. The rule were that a guy couldn't tag out while in a submission hold unless he got to the ropes or was able to break the hold. It was different since Yamazaki is really the group's second biggest name and he did the job. The main event saw Takada beat Tom Burton (who worked as a Dirty White Boy in Memphis some months back) with a boston crab in 10:46. The match was disappointing to most because Burton really had no idea of the style and Takada was giving him lots of openings and trying to carry him for ten minutes but the fans saw it as Takada could unload on him and beat him at anytime. At the 10 minute call, Takada seemingly proved them right because he got a quick win at that point. After the match in the press conference Takada apologized and said 'my opponent was poor.' They also confused fans by instituting new rules. On the scoreboard, each man starts the match with 15 points. You lose three points every time you go to the ropes to break a hold, and lose one point every time you get suplexed. The match can end with a pinfall (which almost will never happen), a submission (usual finish), knockout, five knockdowns or if a man's point total goes down to zero. When the press asked Takada after the show what his goal a year from now was, he said honestly, "I'm only thinking about one card at a time." In the sense that they drew the full house so easily, the card was a financial success. But the truth is, it has been so long since there has been a "real" UWF show in Tokyo, which was the home base of the UWF, that the first house was easy. Whether this group, with only eight wrestlers and access to only no-name Americans can book shows that will draw over the long haul or be able to draw outside of Tokyo is another story."
Dave Meltzer, on the first UWFI show.

"Speaking of UWFI, some statistics that are really quite impressive. Since the group formed in 1991, over its six-year history it promoted 64 shows and drew 585,724 fans—or 9,152 fans per show. I wonder if there has ever been a promotion in pro wrestling history that averaged that many fans per show over a six-year period? I'd almost be sure that has never happened before, and the funny part of the story is despite all that the company, at least over the past two years, was running deeply in debt and went out of business."
Dave Meltzer, on the last UWFI show.

As a whole

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    UWFI Natives 

Hiromitsu Kanehara

Masakazu Maeda

Shunsuke/Daijiro Matsui

  • Bald of Awesome
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Thrashed the legendary vale tudo fighter Jose "Pele" Landi-Jons in one of the most mindcrossing upsets ever.
  • Determinator: He could be at the best a mediocre shooter, but he got out unfinished from Wanderlei Silva and many other guys who should have punched and/or stretched him to pieces. As his PRIDE profile put it, he never gave up not matter what.
  • Escape Artist: Was very good in submission escapes, and his fight against Carlos Newton featured increasingly crazy ones.
  • I Know Judo: And amateur wrestling.
  • Improv Fu: Unlike other shooters who were able to hold their own by striking and grappling, Matsui had not very much skills on those fields, but he was a sharp wrestler and had proficiency in improvising during his fights. If his opponent was too much for fighting the old way, he would threw dropkicks, coconut openers, running slams against the turnbuckle, piledrivers and whatnot in order to get the win.
  • The Lancer: To Kazushi Sakuraba.
  • Made of Iron: Matsui was tough to submit or knock out, whoever was his opponent, and that's saying something.
  • Red Baron: "Honoo no Grappler" ("The Flame Grappler").
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After seeing his partner Sakuraba fall to Wanderlei Silva, Matsui fastly went after his homologue in Silva's camp, Pele, and defeated him.

Masaya Onosaka

Kazushi Sakuraba

Shinji Sasazaki

Yoshihiro Takayama

"The other wrestler in No Fear was Yoshihiro Takayama. Takayama, known for his toughness and willingness to get near-killed in shoots, became a huge star in Japan - and his Pride fight with Don Frye made him a legend."
— Mike Sempervive and Keith Lipinsky, PW Torch contributors.

  • The Brute: For Yoji Anjo.
  • Catch-Phrase: "No Fear!".
  • Delinquent Hair: He naturally has black hair, he keeps it dyed blond.
  • Determinator: He made a point against Don Frye in their legendary Pummel Duel.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: He was a trainee at the UWF Dojo when UWF Newborn was still in business.
  • The Giant: Is quite tall and burly for Japanese standards.
  • Gonk: Has been in-universe referred by other wrestlers due to his odd-looking face.
  • Hope Spot: In his fight with Don Frye, at one point it looked like he had the upper hand when he started delivering knees to Frye's body, then the situation eventually returned to a slugfest and Frye overpowered him for the TKO.
  • I Know Kendo: Learned this before coming to UWFI.
  • It's All About Me: He once got enraged, trashed the press hall and went to directive Fumihiko Uwai to threaten with no-showing in the NJPW G1. Why? Because his face was not in an official poster. He ended making Uwai allow him to book the tour.
  • Made of Iron: Demonstrated through his MMA career.
  • Red Baron: "Puroresu Kai no Teioh" ("The Emperor of Pro Wrestling"), "Wasei Bruiser Brody" ("Japanese-made Bruiser Brody").
  • Stout Strength: When he debuted he was actually quite slim. He developed a big gut later in life.
  • Suplex Finisher: A very high German.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: With Yoji Anjo and Kenichi Yamamoto as the Golden Cups.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Though never a wrestling technician, he could work hard.

Ryuki Ueyama

  • The Apprentice: To Kiyoshi Tamura.
  • Atrocious Alias: Fought in UWFI as Tatsunori Kamiyama for some reason.
  • Cool Teacher: Has his own gym, U-Spirit Japan Machina Gym.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Had a few matches in UWFI and Kingdom before joining RINGS.
  • Eye Scream: Accidently eye gouged Lee Hasdell once in a match and was disqualified.
  • I Know Amateur Wrestling: In high school and trained in shoot wrestling at the UWFI Snakepit, the Kingdom Dojo, and U-File Camp.
  • Jobber: In UWFI, Kingdom and RINGS.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Like Yasuhito Namekawa, he debuted in RINGS in 1998 so he never got to be a bigger star. He also debuted in UWFI in its last year and left Kingdom after the first few events.
  • Ur-Example: The first DEEP Middleweight Champion.
  • Wrestling Family: His brother is also Tomoaki Ueyama an amateur wrestler and MMA fighter who also trained at U-File Camp.

Ryogaku Wada

  • Bald of Awesome
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Though he never debuted as a pro wrestler, he was a weighlifting expert and was supposedly very good on the gym, with people like Sakuraba and Tamura praising him when he had his MMA debut.
  • Combat Referee: Was a referee for UWF-i, RINGS and NJPW, and later had two MMA fights.
  • Cool Teacher: He's a personal physical trainer, guy like Akihiro Gono, Eiji Mitsuoka, Hideo Tokoro and Kazuyuki Fujita have trained under him.
  • Game Master: He made the RINGS King of Kings rules, as well as ZST's official rules.

Kenichi Yamamoto

  • Arch-Enemy: Kiyoshi Tamura. Kenichi challenged him after winning the UFC tournament, but never received an answer. They seem to have made up at Nobuhiko Takada's retirement ceremony.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Was an Akira Maeda fanboy, by his own admission. He even named his gym after the title of Maeda's autobiography.
  • Badass Teacher: Has his own gym and most notably trained Hideo Tokoro.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Reading the numbers of his poor MMA record (and watching his profile images wearing wacky hats and shades) can make forget that the guy won a UFC tournament against people who went to become much more successful than him.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Suffered Parental Abandonment and even abuse as a child. Reading Akira Maeda's autobiography The Power of Dream in middle school was basically the only thing which made him keep on.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Was forcefully retired from RINGS when he started getting one too many concussions.
  • I Know Karate: Also trained in the Seidokaikan before it became K-1, and later added Muay Thai.
  • Red Baron: "Yamaken" as he has the same name as a Yakuza Kumicho and founder of the Yamaken-gumi.
  • Start My Own: Founded a small MMA company called Club Fight.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: With Yoji Anjo and Yoshihiro Takayama as the Golden Cups.
  • Unknown Rival: In real life to Kiyoshi Tamura. He unsuccessfully challenged him to a MMA fight several times, and criticized for leaving Fighting Network RINGS during the promotion's lowest point.

Takahiro Yoshimizu

  • Hammy Herald: As a ring announcer in the UWFI and Sengoku Raiden Championship.
  • He Also Did: He is a voice actor affiliated with Aoni Production and has been doing so since 1988. He has voiced several characters in One Piece.
  • The Idiot from Osaka: He is from the prefecture and graduated from Osaka Institute of Technology High School and Setsunan University.
  • Large Ham Announcer: His job in the UWFI and Sengoku Raiden Championship.
  • Non-Action Guy

    UWFI Ganjins 

Gary Albright

Bad News Allen

Vladimir Berkovich

Greg Bobchick

Nick Bockwinkel

"Nick had a great head for the game, a wonderful sense of ring psychology, and an uncanny ability to use his intelligence and cockiness to get under the people's skin. He was a terrific representative for the AWA and was the key player in the success of the AWA for a long time."

Jim Boss

Tom Burton

Tommy Cairo

Steve Cox

Steve Day

Mark Fleming

"My name is Mark Fleming I was a protege of Lou Thesz, and the coach at his wrestling school for 4 years. Lou took me to Japan to wrestle for New Japan Prom. UWFI Prom. on 19 tours. I learned more wrestling holds and hooks, that guys today don't know because nobody teaches them!"

Salman Hashimikov

Danny Hodge

"Danny was a legit shooter; a total badass who knew the business inside and out."
Jim Ross from his autobiography, Slobberknocker: My Life in Wrestling.

"I can't finish this book without mentioning one guy who should always be remembered — Danny Hodge. Of all the guys I ever knew in wrestling, the one guy I never, ever would want to shoot with would be Danny Hodge in his prime. Hell take Danny Hodge now, in his 70s, amputate his arms and legs, and I might have a 50 percent chance with him. I watch shootfighting groups like Pride and Ultimate Fighting Championship and they have some tough guys. But let me tell you — you can have all the Gracies, all the Shamrocks you want. They couldn't hold a candle to Danny Hodge."
Terry Funk from his autobiography, Terry Funk: More Than Just Hardcore.

"People say I'm a shooter, a hooker and a worker!"
— Danny Hodge

  • The Ace: Was a perennial NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion, holding the title eight times for a total of over ten years, longer than anyone else. He is also the only man to win national titles in both boxing and wrestling.
  • The Apprentice: To Leroy Mc Guirk and Ed "Strangler" Lewis.
  • Authority Equals Ass Kicking: Serves as chairman of the Oklahoma Professional Boxing Commission, which regulates professional boxing, wrestling, and mixed martial arts in Oklahoma.
  • Badass Grandpa / Retired Badass: Over 80 and can still crush apples with one hand.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: He is famous for the ability to crush apples with one hand, he said his strength was due to having double tendons in his hands.
  • The Dreaded: One of the best shooters of his era and not one to mess with.
  • Hidden Depths: He is also an accomplished woodcrafter.
  • I Know Amateur Wrestling: Won the 165-pound title at the state tournament in 1951, was undefeated at 46-0, with 36 pins and reportedly was never taken off his feet during his collegiate career for University of Oklahoma, a three-time Big Seven conference champ at 177 pounds (1955–1957), and won the 177-pound title at the NCAA championships those same three years, pinning all three of his finals opponents, being one of two three-time NCAA Division I champs to have done that, the other being Oklahoma A&M's Earl Mc Cready in 1928–1930. Hodge placed 5th in 1952 Olympics, and won the Silver Medal in 1956, in Melbourne, Australia after being defeated at the final by Bulgarian Nikola Stanchev. The Dan Hodge Trophy, named after him, is the amateur wrestling equivalent of the Heisman Trophy and is the only amateur wrestler to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated as an amateur wrestler. He also trained in boxing and won the 1958 Chicago Golden Gloves at Heavyweight, then won a Chicago-NY Intercity bout in October, beating Charley Hood. He finished his amateur career with 17 wins, no losses and 12 KO's. Convinced by boxing manager Art Freeman that he was a better prospect than Rocky Marciano, Hodge decided to become a professional boxer rather than pursue the opportunity to compete as a boxer and a wrestler at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy. As a professional, he had a reported record of 8-2, although only 7 wins have been documented.
  • Non-Action Guy: Was only a judge.
  • Red Baron: "Dynamite".
  • Respected by the Respected: Bret Hart has referred to Hodge as "one of the greatest wrestlers in pro wrestling or amateur wrestling there’s ever been".
  • Ring Oldies: Wrestled his last match at the age of 50.
  • Special Guest: Served as a judge.

Dennis Koslowski

Ray Lloyd

Gene Lydick

Steve Nelson

"I wrestled since I was nine years old including college for Oklahoma State University. I was a black belt judo player and had won three world medals in Sambo. A Bronze in the 1987 World Cup, a Silver in the 1991 World Championships and also a Silver in the 1994 World Championships. I wanted to be involved with fighting at the professional level."

  • Always Someone Better: Was beaten by Ralph Gracie twice.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Fought in his own USWF events.
  • Cool Teacher: Steve is a longtime head wrestling coach for both the boy's and girls' wrestling teams at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo.
  • Hidden Depths: He now works full-time as the manager of Sakura Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar in Amarillo.
  • I Know Amateur Wrestling: Wrestled at Oklahoma State and was a silver medalist at the 1994 Pan-American Games, won two world silver medals and a bronze in sambo as well as 5 national championships, has a Judo black belt, and trained in Catch Wrestling under Billy Robinson.
  • Start My Own: The founder and owner of the USWF (Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation).
  • Ur-Example: Was the first USWF middleweight champion.
  • Wrestling Family: Son of the late "Mr. Wrestling" Gordon Nelson and Marie Laverne and the grandson of Ann Laverne and Pancho Villa.

Ted Pelc

  • Combat Commentator: Was an English commentator for UWFI and Real Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • Hidden Depths: He owns Pelc Enterprises, a Merchandising Company that represents music artists, sports and entertainment entities that tour overseas in Japan.
  • Non-Action Guy: Is not a wrestler.

Billy Robinson

"Wrestling is my life. When I was a little boy, all I did was wrestle. When I get to 90 years old, if I live that long, I will be teaching wrestling."
— An impassioned Billy Robinson declared during a taping of a Continental Wrestling Association match in Memphis in 1979.

  • Always Someone Better: According to Billy and Karl Gotch, their friend and trainer Billy Joyce was this to both of them. He was considered the best of the Snakepit in his prime, and the only reason they ever beat him in matches was because he was getting old. They also considered another Snakepit senior student, George Gregory as this as well.
  • Badass Boast: Not usually for himself, though he is not really modest by any means, he mostly likes to boast about the superiority of Catch Wrestling compared to other styles.
  • Badass Family / Wrestling Family: His dad, Harry Jr. was a pro lightheavyweight boxer, his grandfather, Harry Sr. was a champion bare knuckle boxer, his uncle Alf was a pro boxer turned pro wrestler, and his cousin Jack was also a wrestler. His son, Spencer is a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard in Little Rock.
  • Badass Teacher: Trained guys like Kazushi Sakuraba, Kiyoshi Tamura, Yukoh Miyato, Josh Barnett, Marty Jones, Billy Scott, Gary Albright, etc. He was for a time the head trainer at the UWF Snakepit and trained the American shooters for UWFI. He also was a trainer for Westside MMA in Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: “Do it again!”, which he got from his trainers at the Snake Pit in Wigan.
  • The Chessmaster: Like many old wrestlers, he describes wrestling as physical chess, which is also the name of his autobiography.
  • Cool Old Guy: Almost everyone who met him in his last years would agree.
  • Cool Teacher: A trainer for Verne Gagne’s American Wrestling Association (AWA) and trained many pro wrestlers like El Signo, Johnny Saint, Jack Gallagher, The Iron Sheik, etc.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: His match with Antonio Inoki was billed as "The Match Between the World's Top Two Technicians" by the Japanese press.
  • Downer Ending: Robinson died on March 3, 2014, at the age of 75.
  • Fun with Acronyms: His full name is William Alfred Robinson. While that is quite standard, his initials spell out W.A.R.
  • Guest Fighter: Had an exhibition match in UWFI with Nick Bockwinkel.
  • Handicapped Badass: Was blind in his right eye after an accident at 11 years old with some kids spinning and throwing coca-cola bottle caps. While that prevented him from being a boxer, he still became a great wrestler.
  • I Know Catch Wrestling: Trained at the original Snake Pit in Wigan. He was also a British amateur wrestling champion and had some training in boxing.
  • Insistent Terminology: As an old school catch wrestler he uses wrestling terminology instead of modern submission grappling terminology which is mostly based on Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Was in his prime a heavyweight that could move like a lower weight.
  • Old Master: Of Catch Wrestling.
  • Red Baron: “The British Lion”, “The Wrestler’s Wrestler”, The Connoisseur of The Human Body", “The Man Of A Thousand Holds”, “Ningen Fuusha” (“Human Windmill”), “Europe no Teioh” (“Emperor of Europe”).
  • Signature Move: He favours the double wrist lock as his goto submission as seen with his trainee Kazushi Sakuraba's use of it in his fights, and Billy even has a instructional video focused solely on the double wrist lock. He also favors the double underhook suplex as his goto suplex.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: During a certain tour in Japan in 1971, he was once travel companions with Karl Gotch and André the Giant.
    "André the Giant has a posse, you're screwed they're catch wrestlers."
  • Unknown Rival: Does not seem to respect Masahiko Kimura’s skills as Billy told a story about how Kimura once came to Wigan and got beat easily by another wrestler who was not that great. He also was not impressed by the story of Mas Oyama killing a bull with one strike, he said even if it was true, he would only be impressed if he did it to a Spanish fighting bull as those bulls are actually breed to fight, instead of a bull that is raised as a farm animal.

Billy Scott

"The best American athlete I’ve trained."
— Billy Robinson

  • '80s Hair: A mullet.
  • Action Survivor: Out of all the guys UWF-I that could have been chosen to fight James Warring, a champion in boxing and kickboxing, the same night as Nobuhiko Takada vs Trevor Brebick, they chose a gaijin with little experience. After the first few rounds of the fight, Warring realized he couldn't get any offense in without the risk of getting hooked, so instead Warring kept stalling the fight and basically kept running away from Billy so the match would go to a decision.
  • A Day in the Limelight: His mixed styles bout with James Warring which he won by decision.
  • The Apprentice: To Billy Robinson, and is said to be his best American student.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Acted like this at times. One example is his match against James Warring: because Warring had literally unlimited rope escapes and he was using them to stale the whole fight, a frustrated Billy did the following things: tackling and palm striking Warring through the ropes several times, throwing Warring over the ropes once in the seventh round, trying to kick Warring when he was down on the ground in the ninth round, and finally in the middle of the final round punched Warring with a closed fist to the face when they went to the ground in the corner, which should have been illegal, but was never called out on it thanks to home referees.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Usually wore turquoise Underwear of Power, knee pads and boots.
  • Cool Teacher: Teaches Catch Wrestling and MMA these days at the MMA & Catch Wrestling Academy and Gym.
  • Guest Fighter: Had only one MMA fight in USWF against Paul Jones, he lost by disqualification for grabbing the ropes too much.
  • I Know Catch Wrestling
  • Name's the Same: Not to be confused with BJJ black belt and MMA fighter and trainer Bill Scott, who gets mistaken for Billy in his MMA fight in USWF and said fight is erroneously added to Bill Scott's MMA record despite him only beginning training in BJJ and MMA in 1999 and made his MMA debut in 2004.
  • Red Baron: "Jack".

Dan Severn

Mark Silver

JT Southern

James Stone

Lou Thesz

Geoff Thompson

Super Vader

Pez Whatley

Victor Zangiev

    UWFI Kickboxers 

Bovy Chowaikung

Gong Yuttachai

    Other Wrestlers 

100% Machine



  • The Apprentice: To Giant Baba and Genichiro Tenryu.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": His real name is Isao Takagi.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Was fired by All Japan in 2006 for possession of marjiuana, was put on trial on drug charges, and sentenced to three years in prison.
  • Guest Fighter: From Wrestle Association R.
  • I Know Sumo: Was a rikishi under the name of Takuetsuyama (previously Maenohikari) as part of the Takadagawa stable, run by former ozeki Maenoyama. He reached elite sekitori status upon promotion to the second highest juryo division, but was demoted back to the unsalaried makushita division after only four tournaments and quit after that.
  • Put on a Bus: Was sent to jail on drug charges in 2006.
    • The Bus Came Back: Freed after serving a portion of his sentence, he returned to wrestle in Tatsumi Fujinami's Muga World (now Dradition).
  • Shout-Out: His ring name was taken from a masked gimmick used by also former sumo and pro wrestler Daikokubō Benkei.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Arashi means "Storm".
  • Stout Strength: As a former sumo wrestler, he is this.

Masahiro Chono

The Cobra

  • Animal Motifs: Snakes as the Cobra.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Was the son of an American Navy officer and boxer, and his mother was Japanese.
  • Canada, Eh?: Got his start in Canada in Stampede Wrestling and trained at the Hart Dungeon under Tokyo Joe.
  • Cool Mask: As the Cobra.
  • Finishing Move: Takano Otoshi (Crucifix Powerbomb).
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Subverted as he was not a heel, but as The Cobra, he was billed from Uganda, the place Kamala was billed from.
  • Guest Fighter: From Pro Wrestling Crusaders.
  • I Know Sumo: Was a former sumotori and also learned a bit of boxing fro his father.
  • Japanese Ranguage: His real name is Joji Takano, but he used to wrestle as "George" to make him easier to remember by English-speaking fans.
  • Start My Own: Co-founded Network of Wrestling with Kazuo Sakurada and his brother, Pro Wrestling Crusaders with just his brother, and Fighting Spirit wRestling (FSR) by himself.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Was the next masked star of NJPW after Satoru Sayama left. That should be enough to know how that turned out.
  • Wrestling Family: Is the older brother of Shunji Takano.

Tatsumi Fujinami

Hiromichi Fuyuki

  • The Apprentice: To Isao Yoshihara and Genichiro Tenryu.
  • The Chessmaster: Was the last head booker of FMW before it closed down. He was also for a time FMW Commissioner.
  • Cool Teacher: Trained Gedo.
  • Downer Ending: Passed away at approximately 6:50pm on March 19, 2003, after an almost year long battle with intestinal cancer. He was 42.
  • Guest Fighter: From Wrestle Association R.
  • I Have Many Names: Has wrestled as either Hiromichi (real name), Kodo (most known ring name), Ricky (after Riki Choshu) or Samson (not sure) Fuyuki.
  • Posthumous Credit: Is perhaps the only wrestler to participate in a match posthumously, as before his death he planned to come out of retirement and had been scheduled to face Shinya Hashimoto in a barbed wire deathmatch, and the planned match indeed went ahead. After a ceremony in Kawasaki stadium honouring Fuyuki, Hashimoto clutched an urn containing Fuyuki's ashes and flung himself into the barbed wire, giving Fuyuki a final victory.
  • Power Stable: Team No Respect.
  • Red Baron: "Macho Body".
  • Start My Own: Founded World Entertainment Wrestling.
  • Tag Team: With Toshiaki Kawada as Footloose.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: With Jado and Gedo as Fuyuki-Gun.


"WWE has characters, and it's not that big a deal. You need characters that people can understand and like, but that's not as important as skill. Characters are different in the United States than they are in Japan. Skill and fighting spirit are most important, much more than character, in Japan. Ultimately, my most important thing is my partner, Jado. I choose to stay with my partner."

Shinya Hashimoto

Takashi Iizuka


"Two of them were Jado and Gedo, who I'd met while they were making pennies working in Mexico. They'd follow Dragon's path and gone to Mexico after being told they were too small for New Japan. They were also tremendous performers and were major contributors to the strengthening WAR junior division."
Chris Jericho, in his autobiography; A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex.

The Great Kabuki

  • 10-Minute Retirement: His retirement from full time wrestling was in 1998, though every once in a while he comes back for special events.
  • The Apprentice: To Umanosuke Ueda and Giant Baba.
  • Cameo: Was in the WWF for the 1994 Royal Rumble.
  • Chef of Iron: He runs a restaurant in the district of Iidabashi in Tokyo.
  • Cool Teacher: Trained Kazuharu Sonoda who wrestled as Magic Dragon and even wrestled as his mentor's persona. Apparently, no one would be able to tell the difference when it was done too. This would mainly happen in Japan, World Class Championship Wrestling, Jim Crockett Promotions, and in Georgia Championship Wrestling from 1981-84. It was also done mainly because of Gary Hart's commitments to a promotion that he and the real Kabuki that would not want them leaving to work elsewhere due to their drawing power. Gary Hart would create this as a deal to other promoters that also wanted Kabuki for a show that they would be doing. Magic Dragon as Kabuki would always be without Gary Hart and would do it that way until his death in 1987.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: His matches against Chris Adams, the feud was billed as the "Battle of the Superkicks".
  • Expy: The Great Muta and a few others, though they usually base it off Muta more than Kabuki.
  • Facial Markings: Wore face paint, the storyline explanation was that his face was scarred in a bed of hot coals during his childhood.
  • Fighting with Chucks: Had a pre-match ritual of showing his skills with the nunchaku and blowing Asian mist that intimidated most opponents.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Was billed as being from Singapore.
  • Guest Fighter: From Tokyo Pro Wrestling.
  • Hidden Depths: He had a background in swimming before wrestling.
  • I Have Many Names: Has wrestled as The Great Kabuki, Akihisa Takachiho, Hito Tojo, Kiyo Moto, Mr. Sato, Takachiho, Yoshino Sato, and his real name Akihisa Mera.
  • Power Stable: Heisei Ishingun.
  • Red Baron: "Mystery of the Orient".
  • Ring Oldies: Has been wrestling since 1964.
  • Shout-Out: His gimmick was created by Gary Hart who based it on an old gimmick used by Filipino wrestler Rey Urbano.
  • Super Spit: Was the first wrestler to blow "Asian mist" in his opponents' faces.
  • Wrestling Family: For a time The Great Muta was billed as the kayfabe son of Kabuki.

Kōji Kanemoto

  • Cool Mask: As Tiger Mask III.
  • Finishing Move: Ankle Hold and Moonsault.
  • Guest Fighter: From New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
  • I Know Judo: Practiced it during his high school days and won a few championships as a professional before being recruited by the NJPW Dojo. He also trained in shoot style with Kazuo Yamazaki and kickboxing.
  • Koreans In Japan: Is of Zainichi Korean descent.
  • Legacy Character: Was the third Tiger Mask after Satoru Sayama and Mitsuharu Misawa.
  • Power Stable: Team 2000.
  • Red Baron: "The Jr. Star", "Junior Charisma", "Kenka Bancho" ("The Brawling Gangleader"), "Puroresu Kai no Aniki" ("The Big Brother of the Pro Wrestling World").
  • Ur-Example: The first New Japan junior heavyweight wrestler to battle for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (the first was MMA legend Bas Rutten)and was the first man to defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship in the United States. He also supposedly innovated the Koji Clutch and passed it to Christopher Daniels in his Curry Man Days in NJPW.
  • Wrestling Family: Was once married to Joshi wrestler Hikaru.

Kishin Kawabata

Toshiaki Kawada

  • The Ace: One of the aces of AJPW in the 1990s.
  • The Apprentice: To Giant Baba and Genichiro Tenryu.
  • Arch-Enemy / Foil: To Mitsuharu Misawa, though in truth they were more Vitriolic Best Buds.
  • Boring, but Practical: One of his finishers is a simple hard kick to the head.
  • Cool Teacher: Trained wrestlers like Kazushi Miyamoto, Taichi and Yuto Aijima.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Has the distinction of having competed in 17 matches that were given a 5-Star Rating and one match which received a 6-Star rating by Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. He had a few of dream matches in his later career like his match with Shinsuke Nakamura at the 2007 Wrestle Kingdom and a tag team match with old friend Akira Taue against old rival Jun Akiyama and fellow kicking Extremity Extremist Kenta.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Announcers have called it "Shuichioku no Rakka (Vertical Drop) Power Bomb," "Dangerous Powerbomb," and "Dangerous Sankan Powerbomb", but it is better known as the Kawada Driver or the Ganso Bomb. One of the most legitimately dangerous moves in pro wrestling, which he used only three times in his career, the first time he did it was after breaking his arm and botching a powerbomb on Mitsuharu Misawa. Incredibly enough and perhaps horrifyingly, it was not a Finishing Move.
  • Determinator: A requirement in being an AJPW ace.
  • Elite Four: Along with Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, and Akira Taue, they made up the Four Pillars of AJPW due to them all being hardworking, self sacrificing, honorable baby faces standing against an ever constant tide of evil foreigners.
  • Extremity Extremist: While Misawa had his elbows, Kobashi had his chops, and Taue had his chokeslams, Kawada had his kicks.
  • Fake Nationality: As Kio Kawada in Canada, he was billed as being a Korean from Seoul.
  • Guest Fighter: From All Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • Hidden Depths: After retiring from wrestling, he opened up a ramen shop called 'Men-gerous K', a play on his Dangerous K nickname and the word 'men' means noodles in Japanese.
  • Identical Stranger: Stylistically speaking, his stiff wrestling style was quite similar to the UWF shoot style wrestling.
  • I Know Karate: He is stated to be a shidokan practitioner which explains his proficiency in kicking, but he is better known as an amateur wrestler and was very active during his high school years, becoming a national champion in his senior year after defeating Keiichi Yamada (who later became Jushin Thunder Liger) in the finals.
  • Red Baron: "Dangerous K", "Hustle K", "Monster K".
  • Screwed by the Network: Early in 1996, Kawada criticised AJPW booker Giant Baba publicly for his isolationist policies towards. At the time, AJPW’s rival promotion New Japan was making record business doing cross-promotional feuds and exposing their wrestlers to a wider audience. By criticising Baba in this way, Kawada was punished by being relegated to lower card matches. Thankfully it didn't last long.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Averted, when Mitsuharu Misawa and 95% of AJPW’s roster and non-wrestling employees staged a mass exodus from the company to form Pro Wrestling Noah, only Kawada and Masanobu Fuchi stayed behind.
  • Tag Team: A prolific tag team wrestler in addition to his singles career. Some of his teammates include Vitriolic Best Bud Mitsuharu Misawa, Hiromichi Fuyuki as Footloose, Akira Taue as the Holy Demon Army, etc.
  • Worthy Opponent: Kenta Kobashi.
  • Wrestling Psychology: He knew how to make every move he made important. Every strike served a purpose in a larger, over-arching story, and he knew exactly how to make his strikes look devastating. Part of this was through the selling and the psychology used by his opponents when they took his moves, but the biggest part was that Kawada was stiff.

Kengo Kimura

Koji Kitao

Jushin Thunder Liger

Keiji Mutoh

Hiro Saito

Kensuke Sasaki

  • '80s Hair: Had a mullet in his early career, he shaved it off when he started training for MMA.
  • Action Dad / Papa Wolf: Supposedly, he actually adopted Katsuhiko Nakajima, who debuted in the business in his teens, to act as this both in physical presence and through the Kensuke Office organization, which is essentially a "brand name" for their family (He and his wife, female legend Akira Hokuto also have two biological sons) and affiliated wrestlers.
  • Battle Couple: He and real life wife and former wrestler Akira Hokuto. Akira often accompanied to his matches, and she even came out of retirement for a 10 man tag match.
  • The Big Guy: In Dragon Gate, he was this to the Florida Bros. Really, he dwarfed just about everyone on the roster.
  • Breakup Breakout: He was successful teaming with The Road Warriors, but he eventually held all three major Japanese World Titles.
  • Charles Atlas Super Power: Has a background in weight lifting
  • Cool Teacher: Trained Katsuhiko Nakajima, KENSHIN, Kento Miyahara, Manabu Nakanishi, Ryuji Yamaguchi and Takashi Okita.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Had an epic chopfest in Pro Wrestling Noah with Kenta Kobashi.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: In Dragon Gate, after repeatedly losing to the Florida Bros via their trickery, Sasaki gave up on pulping them and joined them.
  • Double Knockout: Once had one with Yuji Nagata, via lariat and enzuigiri respectively.
  • Expy / Suspiciously Similar Substitute: He was a member of The Road Warriors (known in New Japan as the Hell Raisers) as Power Warrior taking the place of an injured Animal.
  • Facial Markings / Shoulders of Doom: As Power Warrior to match with the look of the Road Warriors.
  • Fan Nickname: "Kenskee" in Dragon Gate. It became in-universe when the Floridas started calling him that too.
  • Finishing Move: Northern Lights Bomb, King Buster, Lariat and Strangle Hold variations.
  • Guest Fighter: From New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
  • I Know Muay Thai: He trained it in 1997, although rarely used it. He did MMA afterwards, however. He also trained in Judo before his wrestling career.
  • It Will Never Catch On: In Dragon Gate with the Florida Bros, Akira Hokuto was originally adamantly opposed to the whole angle and gimmick, thinking that it would ruin Sasaki's legacy. Instead it revitalized his career, and she decided the Florida Bros routine was Actually Pretty Funny - she could often be seen at ringside first corpsing and then looking irritated at herself.
  • Lame Excuse: He left NJPW claiming they impeded his promised MMA fight against Minoru Suzuki (in which Jushin Thunder Liger replaced him due to Sasaki being injuried). Actually everyone knew he was leaving to join his mentor Riki Choshu's new promotion.
  • Lightning Bruiser: About 250 ibs with a power based wrestling style and capable of pulling of top rope rolling sentons and frankensteiners.
  • Love at First Sight: Sort of, he proposed to Akira Hokuto on their first date.
  • Minored In Ass Kicking: Had two MMA fights, he won them both in the first round by submission.
  • No-Sell: It is part of his shtick. In Dragon Gate, a big part of Florida Bros comedy was the weakness of Michael and Daniel contrasted to the badassery of Sasaki.
    • The Floridas did several variations on the spot where Sasaki would forget to sell, so they'd do the spot over again and Sasaki would oversell horribly.
  • Pick on Someone Your Own Size: When he was working in Canada, for whatever reason, Sasaki was being really stiff with jouneyman wrestler Mike Lozansky. Unfortunately for Sasaki, Lozansky was a protege of "Bad News" Allen Coage, who came charging at him like a mad bull in the dressing room. He looked at Sasaki and pointed his finger in his face, shouting, “You try that with ME!”. He then slapped Sasaki twice in the face, luckily it didn't get further than that. Dan Kroffat was also a friend of Lozansky and is said to have gotten even with Sasaki back in a dressing room in Japan.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" and Ozzy Osbourne's "Hellraiser" as Power Warrior.
  • Red Baron: "Massuruborukēno" ("Muscle Volcano").
  • Sadist Teacher: Has a reputation of being one for the NJPW Dojo. He supposedly killed a trainee.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Tended to cause this in other wrestlers in Dragon Gate. One time five guys at him, and he no-sold four of the kicks and caught the fifth (Magnum Tokyo's). The other four bailed leaving Tokyo to get killed. Another time K-Ness hit him with a series of chops that he utterly ignored - so K-Ness turned around and went back to the ring apron.
  • Start My Own: Kensuke Office, later renamed Diamond Ring.
  • Ur-Example: The first wrestler to hold all three major Japanese World Titles (New Japan's IWGP, All Japan's Triple Crown, and Noah's GHC).
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: In Dragon Gate, after joining the Floridas, he started wearing American Flag pattern shorts.
  • Wrestling Family: Husband to joshi wrestler Akira Hokuto.

Tatsuhito Takaiwa

The Great Takeru

Genichiro Tenryu

John Tenta

Hiroyoshi Tenzan

Khosrow Vaziri

Tadao Yasuda

    Other Kickboxers & Fighters 

Raphael Aguilera

Juan Arellano

Dave Beneteau

"Dave Beneteau works in construction. Before that, he was briefly a criminal defense lawyer after graduating from York University's Osgoode Hall Law School in 2002. But before that, he slugged it out in the (almost) anything-goes era of the Ultimate Fighting Championship."
— Beneteau's profile in the book, The MMA Encyclopedia.

  • Always Someone Better: Lost to Oleg Taktarov twice.
  • Canada, Eh?
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Became well known after he fought in UFC 5.
  • Genius Bruiser: Worked as a criminal lawyer. He also earned a LL.M (master of laws) from Osgoode Hall law school in 2015.
  • Guest Fighter: Was brought in for a match against Yoji Anjo.
  • I Know Judo: A 2nd dan black belt, a Canadian juvenile and US junior freestyle wrestling champion and Canadian powerlifting champion.
  • Red Baron: "Dangerous".
  • Special Guest: Was a judge for the RINGS USA Rising Stars tournament.

Trevor Berbick

Rodney Brockfield

Fernando Calleros


Tony Cockburn

David Cummings

Lucien Deroy

Jason Dirody

  • Jobber: Had only one match in UWFI against Yoshihiro Takayama which he lost.

Nikolai Gordeau

Gary Hadwin

Pat Kane


Kimo Leopoldo

"I went into the UFC originally as a representative of Christ. I wanted to show people to look outside the box. How can a Christian enter such a violent situation and attempt to hurt another person. I answered this by stating ‘I have no ill nor harming feelings towards my opponents.’ Its an extreme sport. Some people think skydiving is extreme, everyone has an opinion, my heart was in the right place. Both my opponent and I were only out to exemplify our abilities. And we both knew the chances we were taking. Thus it wasn't personal."

  • The Apprentice: To Joe Son as part of their story to Art Davie to get into UFC 3.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Before his fight with Royce Gracie, he and Joe Son bought the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instructional tapes and the previous 2 UFCs in order to form a strategy against Royce and it kind of worked as Kimo was the first guy not to get curbstomped by Royce and actually seriously hurt him enough to get him to fall out of the tournament.
  • Badass Israeli: Half, his mother was a German with Jewish descent.
  • The Berserker: His fighting style.
  • Bouncer: Worked at clubs before his fighting career.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: For his kickboxing bouts, it is said he hardly trained in kickboxing and instead focused on weight training.
  • Collegiate American Football: Was a middle linebacker in football at Waianae High School, then attended the University of Washington on a partial athletic scholarship, but he was unprepared for college, and returned to Hawaii shortly after. He sought to renew his career in football in Huntington Beach, California, going under the name "Kim Leopold" he quickly became an NJCAA All-American and gained interest from many Division I colleges, until he tore both of his ACLs, and his success only lasted until the middle of his sophomore year.
  • David vs. Goliath: Another Goliath against Royce Gracie's David.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Once stated there was a time he was a slave to speed. He also got arrested in Tustin, California in 2009 for possession of a controlled substance. In the police report Leopoldo was standing by his car, wearing sandals, playing with a yo-yo, and donning a Long Beach Police Department jumpsuit that can only be worn by the motor pool mechanics.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Made his MMA debut at UFC 3 and had an earlier fight against Kazushi Sakuraba at Shootboxing S-Cup 1996 before his UWFI match against Yoshihiro Takayama.
  • Glass Cannon: Was big, fast and hit hard, but had poor stamina.
  • Guest Fighter: Was brought in to have a match with Yoshihiro Takayama.
  • Hero Killer: Has beaten Kazushi Sakuraba and Bam Bam Bigelow and drew with Dan Severn.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Royce may have defeated him at UFC 3, but after their fight Royce was too battered to continue the tournament, it would be the first time Royce didn't win a UFC tournament.
  • I Know Taekwondo: Subverted, he was billed as a taekwondo black belt in his MMA debut but it was just a ploy to get into UFC 3 as they were looking for martial art black belts at the time and even then his proper style name would have been listed as Jo Son Do after his cornerman Joe Son which Joe claimed to have founded (he actually didn't know martial arts at all). Legitimately, he was a former amateur wrestler at Waianae High School and played on the team that won the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Championship. He later trained under Joe Moreira in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and earned a black belt and also trained under Matt Hume at AMC Pankration.
  • Mixed Ancestry: His father was American of Irish and Polynesian descent and his mother was German of Jewish descent.
  • Only One Name: Is sometimes introduced only as Kimo.
  • The Quiet One: Subverted, he was actually as hammy as a pro wrestler when he wanted to be. He played it straight when meeting Art Davie for UFC 3.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: The first blatant example in MMA, in his debut he carried a cross to the cage and stated he is warrior in the service of the Lord and that he was on a mission to “bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the whole world.”.
  • Red Baron: "Kaijin" ("Phantom"), "Puroresurā no Tenteki" ("Pro-Wrestler's Natural Enemy").
  • Start My Own: Founded New Era Fighting, though it only lasted one show.
  • Tattooed Crook: Subverted, he sports many religious tattoos based on his Christian beliefs.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: He enter UFC 3 without any formal martial arts training except for his high school amateur wrestling experience, though he lost the fight he beat up Royce Gracie enough that he couldn't continue in the tournament and was the first guy to seriously hurt Royce.

Rudy Lovato

Chris Mack

Errol Maduro

Denver Matthews

Damien Meyer

Didier Montoya

Matthew Saad Muhammad

Mel Murray

Vince Ross

Sakchai Sakawettaia

Kungpon Geyu Samrick

Danny Steele

  • I Know Kickboxing: A multiple time world champion, started training at age 18 in the same gym in Bakersfield where Kathy Long trained under Eric Nolan, then trained at the Jet Center under Benny "The Jet" Urduidez, Ruben Urquidez and David Krapes. He also knows Vietnamese Martial Arts under Bao Truyen and Muay Thai under guys like Seaksan Janjira and Bob Chaney. He also competed in the Russian equivalent of Chinese sanshou, Draka.
  • Red Baron: "Hard As" a Punny Name that plays on his surname and for his powerful legs and toughness.

Frank Tauber

Mark Tyson

James Warring

Merv Wihnon