Wrestling / Kazuyuki Fujita

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The man with the iron skull.
"That guy can take a baseball bat to the side of the head!"
Eddie Bravo after witnessing Fujita's toughness.

"Wanderlei eventually got to his feet and stalked Fujita like a Japanese octopus in an all-female prison. He hit him as hard as you can hit someone, many times. And every time Fujita fell down, Silva kicked him in the head as if he was going for a 70-yard field goal. None of this did anything!"

Kazuyuki Fujita (b. 1970) is a Japanese Professional Wrestler and Mixed Martial Arts fighter, best known for his work in New Japan Pro Wrestling and PRIDE Fighting Championships. He was originally a decorated amateur wrestler who missed the Olympics for one point, later turning to pro wrestling in NJPW. Starting traditionally as a jobber, he was climbing his way to low-card when he volunteered to take part in the blossoming MMA, a field which Antonio Inoki was endorsing among the New Japan wrestlers, but unlike most of them, Fujita was succesful and became the spearhead of the Inoki fighters. By beating names like Mark Kerr, Ken Shamrock and Gilbert Yvel through pure toughness and a barely not preternatural measure of Hard Head, he turned into one of the main Japanese players in PRIDE and once came as close as anyone to beat the invincible Fedor Emelianenko. After PRIDE's fall, he fought briefly for Sengoku and returned to Inoki in his company Inoki Genome Federation, where he currently wrestles.

As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki. As said above in the quoting, Seanbaby has a less serious recap of his more known MMA fights.

"The Last Tropes of the Inoki-ism":

  • The Ace: He was the top fighter of the Inoki Dojo, along with Lyoto Machida. Less in the conventional sense, although he definitevely could step up in the ring with world names.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent:
    • Arguably to WWE's Brock Lesnar, given their similar physiques and equal levels of skill in wrestling and MMA. They even faced in a three-way match during Lesnar's short stint in NJPW.
    • Fujita was also compared to Bill Goldberg, which is also in-universe, given that Inoki used to bill him as the "Japanese Goldberg".
  • The Apprentice: To Antonio Inoki. He personally trained Fujita in catch wrestling, although he was Genre Savvy enough to send him to train with vale tudo expert Marco Ruas (who, as a luta livre practitioner, was a catch wrestler too - all in the family). Fujita also trained with Satoru Sayama, Gerard Gordeau and other members of Inoki's entourage.
  • Arch-Enemy: In MMA, arguably Mirko Filipovic, who gave Kazuyuki his first defeat and beat him again in the rematch. In pro wrestling and real life, Naoya Ogawa, mainly due to the 1.4 Incident, in which Ogawa attacked Shinya Hashimoto, who had been Fujita's Big Brother Mentor in backstage.
  • Badass Boast: The normally quiet Fujita left this jewel to define his fighting style.
    "I am not so great a puncher, nor so great a kicker. I don't really have anything all that great. But in today's vale tudo, the strongest is the one that can take a beating."
  • Bald of Awesome: At his beginnings, because his skull was enough. He later sported blond-dyed hair.
  • Bash Brothers: With Team JAPAN, especially Kendo Kashin.
  • Boring, but Practical: Being mainly a wrestler, Fujita's defensive and controlling style was not spectacular or exciting, but his punches and knees were enough to put his opponents out once they were out of gas by trying to beat him. Similarly, he was not a great grappler, but he did have a solid submission defense and knew some effective chokes.
    • It is believed that the infamous "lay and pray" term was coined by Stephen Quadros during the fight between Fujita and Gilbert Yvel, after Kaz spent almost all the match on top of him not doing nothing more than some random armbar attemps.
      • Interestingly, it was not the lay and pray itself what won the fight for him, as the ruleset of PRIDE valued finishing attempts over control or positioning, but the mentioned armbar attempts; the lay and pray just served to impede Yvel from doing anything more notable than them. So Fujita basically only did the "lay", without the "pray" part.
    • His victories in PRIDE led to Inoki meddling to change Kazuyuki's wrestling style in New Japan to a generic MMA one, filled with positioning and ground and pound. Antonio seemed to have the reasoning of "if we our wrestling moves don't work in MMA, then MMA moves will work in our wrestling".
  • The Brute: He was a heel in NJPW, as part of the Anti-NJPW Inoki faction.
  • The Champion: After seeing him getting victories in the MMA ring, Antonio Inoki appointed Fujita as his personal champion and gave him his entrance theme and flavour, arguably trying to live his dreams of MMA greatness through him.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: White, as reflected on his tights.
  • Death Seeker: Not straight, but he compared walking into the MMA ring like walking to his own execution, as he went to give everything out in a place where a crowd got excited whenever blood was shed.
  • Dented Iron: Injuries and general weardown reduced his legendary toughness. When he was forced to face Satoshi Ishii many years past his prime, he was a shell of himself.
  • Determinator: Embodying the Japanese Spirit of kakan or perseverance, Fujita walked to the ring with no thoughts of giving up or falling down. He did not care whether he was facing just a difficult opponent, a plainly better fighter or even the best in the world. Like the many other pro wrestlers who had turned to MMA despite knowing they could not succeed, Fujita just went out to fight until his opponent were defeated or until the ref and/or the medics said otherwise.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In his fight against Fedor Emelianenko (at the time considered the best fighter in all MMA) Fujita came the closest anyone at that point ever did to knock Fedor out with a thunderous punch.
    • On the other end, when Alistair Overeem knocked him out cold it was a huge surprise.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Being showered with strikes from Mark Kerr and not getting knocked out, and then turn the fight on his head when Kerr got tired and pummeling him in the ground.
  • Evil Counterpart: Can be considered one to Manabu Nakanishi in NJPW. They both are big, tough wrestlers with a decorated amateur background and a similar physique, but Nakanishi has been always portraited as a New Japan loyalist, while Fujita was a part of the Inoki MMA army and got his success from it. Similarly, Nakanishi's nickname was "Wild Man", while Fujita's was "Wild Beast".
  • Face: While Kazushi Sakuraba proved that puroresu could win fights, Fujita proved that the traditional Japanese Spirit of determination and indomitability alone could win fights. The Japanese crowd loved every second of it.
  • Feel No Pain: His losses against Mirko Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva were doctor stoppages due to cuts. Despite getting showered with all kind of punches and kicks, he only looked annoyed for having to lose the matches for such a trifle.
  • Finishing Move: Soccer kick to the head, running knee strike and sleeper hold. He also used to end matches with a random barrage of MMA strikes.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Did it to Fedor Emelianenko on the crowd of PRIDE, meaning he was his next opponent.
  • Heroic Build: Played for laughs in some promos and post-events ring celebrations in PRIDE, where foreign fighters were often in awe about how large were his trapezoids.
  • Hero Killer: His wins over Kerr and Shamrock were this to UFC fans, as well as his win over Toshiaki Kawada to AJPW fans.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In 2004, Fujita lost the IWGP Heavyweight Championship before Kensuke Sasaki when he pinned himself while choking Sasaki. It counts twice as a bad petard for New Japan, because such a match finish (which was booked by Fujita himself in which he thought would be a good idea to preserve his aura) was seen by the fans as ridiculous and offensive to the puroresu tradition, and they started to throw rubbish to the ring and bashed the company.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Kaz was almost impossible to knock out, so this trope was often on board when he stepped into the ring against a striker - the usual questions were how many hits would need his opponent to open a cut and get the stoppage, or alternatively how many time would need Fujita to get the opponent tired and finish him. Even although Wanderlei Silva already had him quite overwhelmed in their match, it was an absolute upset when Alistair Overeem knocked Fujita out cold.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: To Inoki himself.
  • I Know Freestyle Wrestling: An accomplished freestyle wrestler. As said above, he missed the Olympics for one mere point.
  • The Juggernaut: One of the few examples which qualify both in pro wrestling and MMA. His master Sayama just described him as a "monster".
  • Kick the Dog: Literally, with Shinsuke Nakamura. At the 2004 Toukon Festival, Inoki ordered Fujita to shoot on Nakamura in a tag team match, kicking him in the face and hurting him badly. Only to Inoki to came personally to the ring and beat him even more.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: His soccer kick finisher.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Fujita was not a lightweight wrestler, but he could nail super hurricanranas with ease.
  • Made of Iron/Hard Head: His skull, chin and neck were hard as steel. He has shrugged off beatdowns which would have knocked out more or less everybody, including knee strikes to the top of the head and haymakers to the face by Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva. According to a supposed medical test, his bones were naturally thicker than common people.
  • Man in White: Often wore white tights.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: When the referee stopped the match in midst of Wanderlei Silva's savage beating on Fujita, the first thing the Japanese wrestler did was getting up and look annoyed.
  • Nice Guy: By all accounts. Unlike many fighters at the time, Fujita was very humble and polite.
  • The Quiet One: Was a guy of few words. All his answer to Bob Sapp's boasts and threats was a laconic "see you in PRIDE".
  • Red Baron: "Ironhead", "Inoki Izumu Saigo no Keishosha" ("The Last Adept of the Inokiism") and "Yaju" ("Wild Beast").
  • Stone Wall: In MMA. His striking output was rudimentary and he usually found himself outgunned by his opponents, but they always got tired before being able to knock him out or submit him, which allowed him to finish them.
  • The One Who Wears Shoes: Usually wore wrestling shoes in MMA, as PRIDE's ruleset allowed it.
  • To Be a Master: According to him, his main motivation was not winning championships, but being the strongest fighter.
  • Time To Unlock More Potential: He trained with Japanese boxing champion Yoshiaki Numata in order to improve his striking after his Grand Prix tenure.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Aside from an admittedly excellent freestyle wrestling acumen, Fujita had little other abilities aside from his freaking natural toughness and strength. He later gained some heavy striking to it.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: The premise of his fight against Bob Sapp, although the result was much less exciting than it sounds. Basically, Fujita took him down and soccer kicked him in the head while a terrified Sapp tried to do something to stop the beatdown. Afterwards, Kaz called himself "The Real Beast", as Sapp had been known until that point as "The Beast".
    • His various fights with elite strikers of MMA were billed as such.
  • Victory by Endurance: What his most famous MMA wins were.
  • Worked Shoot: His Different Style Fights. In fact, it was them (especially the ones against Kendo Kashin and Kimo Leopoldo) which impelled him to try MMA.
  • Worthy Opponent: Manabu Nakanishi after their fight.
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