Takuya Sugi (b. 1983) is a JapaneseProfessional Wrestler, better known by his ring names Yoshitsune, El Blazer and SUGI, among many others. He is known for his work in countless wrestling promotions both in Japan and Mexico, as well as the long list of gimmicks he has played during his career. He was trained at the Ultimo Dragon Gym in México, wrestling for his Toryumon promotion and appearing in the short-lived Toryumon X brand along his class. They later were moved to Michinoku Pro Wrestling, where Sugi had his home for years, eventually becoming the main star under the name of Yoshitsune until his departure in 2009. He also was a part of the reborn Toryumon movement, wrestling in Dragondoor and El Dorado Wrestling before briefly working for Dragon Gate, using the character El Blazer which became his trademark in the Japanese indy scene. He also had participations in main promotions like HUSTLE, All Japan Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling NOAH and Pro Wrestling ZERO1, playing colorful gimmicks and one-night characters. In 2009, he moved to México again, becaming a young cruiserweight prospect for the Asistencia Asesoría y Administración company, until he was released due to a scandal involving fellow wrestler NOSAWA Rongai. Sugi is known as one of the best pure high-flying wrestlers in the world, being often compared to Jack Evans and PAC.As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki.
As Himself: Among his many characters, his Sugi San gimmick (later known as SUGI) was thought to be his "no-gimmick" persona, but the AAA commentators presented him kayfabely as the son of a yakuza boss. This was apparently forgotten during his return.
Bash Brothers: With Rasse (they have teamed up under four different gimmicks), Milanito Collection a.t. (in El Dorado), Kota Ibushi (in El Dorado and some indies) and Ikuto Hidaka (in ZERO-ONE).
Big Damn Heroes: Sugi's first in-ring apparition in All Japan (as the masked character AHII) was a rush to save Keiji Mutoh and Masanobu Fuchi from the Voodo Murders.
Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: El Blazer was the boke to Milanito Collection a.t.'s tsukkomi. In a famous promo, Milanito superkicked him for fooling around the gym instead of rehearsing their tag entrance dance.
Bratty Half-Pint: Mini Crazy MAX was portraited this way, specially Mini CIMA, who SUWA had often to remind his place by slapping him.
Breakup Break Out: Despite his international fame, Sugi has a nasty tendence to be the Jannetty to almost every tag team partner he has had.
When Shanao and Kagetora broke up, the latter skyrocketed and got ace status and stables in M-Pro and El Dorado, while the former remained trapped in the low/mid-card and took years for him to reach his position. Even now, Kagetora is a respected member of Dragon Gate, while Sugi has almost completely faded into darkness.
Somewhat zig-zagged with Rasse. Although Sugi was always in a higher level in terms of skill and charisma, his irregular freelance ventures after his departure from Michinoku Pro have granted him less exposure than Rasse, who still wrestles in MPW and enjoys small pushes now and then.
The biggest example is Kota Ibushi. As the top high-flyers in the indy scene, Ibushi and Sugi used to team up in every promotion they shared and individually struggled for years to be the main HSQ wrestler in Japan. Over time, Ibushi became the main star in Dramatic Dream Team (a promotion somewhat prone to giving disproportionate pushes and title reigns) and got drafted by New Japan Pro Wrestling, turning one of the world's most decorated and famous junior wrestlers. Sugi, on the other hand, became more and more inconsistent over the years and never achieved something special aside from his underwhelming tenure in Mexico.
Takuya's luck didn't changed after his return to NOAH as Dual Force. Ironically, despite refering to his partner Pesadilla as his "leverage" to dominate the junior heavyweight division, Force got injuried and disappeared from the company, while Pesadilla remains an active member.
The only example in favor of Sugi is his old partner in the Toryumon system, Milanito Collection a.t. (now known as Hercules Senga). Milanito was considered the main face of the team, but he ended being relegated to the low-card tag team field in every promotion he wrestled, while Blazer, on the other hand, became much more known for his indy treks.
Canon Immigrant: Was one of the few Toryumon X wrestlers who made his way to Dragon Gate, although (perhaps unsurprisingly) they didn't have a great amount of success there.
Costume Copycat: El Blazer was victim of this in VKF Wrestle Naniwa, taking part in a match where everybody was impersonating him, sporting Blazer-like attires and (unsucesfully) trying to do his patented Blazing Arrow. Notably, his partner Kiku Blazer (Kikutaro, naturally) was the closest to pull it.
Costume Porn: Some of his gimmicks, like NOIZ and The★ZEST, had very outrageos outfits.
David Versus Goliath: He is the second smallest wrestler ever trained in Toryumon (only surpassed by Shinjitsu Nohashi), so most of his matches feature a natural size disadvantage.
Demoted to Extra: In Dragon Gate, he got a clean win over a veteran like Genki Horiguchi in the Open The Brave Gate Title Tournament, but shortly after he was relegated to Mochizuki Buyuden and NEX shows. Then he left and never came back.
Determinator/Made of Iron: Ws able to endure a lot of punish from his opponents during his matches. He even kicked out GAINA's elevated powerbomb, which was quite of a feat at the time.
As Yoshitsune, pinning Rasse with the spectacular Shura during his redebut.
As El Blazer, pinning Shuji Kondo with the spectacular Cielo Perfecto Uno during El Dorado's first big event.
As AHII, performing a spectacular shooting star press (notice the pattern?) onto brother YASSHI during his first apparition in AJPW.
Expecting Someone Taller: When Kenzo Suzuki told his ally El Oriental about another Japanese wrestler brought by him to AAA, Oriental expected a large, Giant Baba-esque wrestler, as Kenzo himself is very tall. Naturally, he was astonished when he saw the little Sugi. Kenzo's remark, however, was "just wait to see him wrestle".
Expy: Inside the Toryumon system, Sugi is one to Dragon Kid, only lighter and (even) more nimble. Outside, he could pass as a small version of Hayabusa, given his baggy attire, mask and athleticism.
Face: Has wrestled as face during his entire career, except his initial run in Mexico and possibly upon the 2013 return to NOAH.
Fainting: For some reason, El Blazer tends to briefly faint during his ring entrance.
Finishing Move: Has too many to list, but the main ones are the shooting star press and many 450º splash variants. Other ones are the Shura (shooting star senton), the Kuramahachiryuu (corkscrew shooting star press) and the Cielo Perfecto Uno (springboard somersault hurricanrana).
Fish People: Namazu Man, which translated as "Catfish Man".
Foreign Wrestling Heel: In AAA. Actually, Japanese wrestlers used to be highly respected in Mexico from the times of Satoru Sayama and Gran Hamada, and Sugi himself was compared to those two names, but he played a rudo.
Fragile Speedster: Considered one of the best high-flyers in the planet, and not too fragile.
Game-Breaking Injury: He recently unjuried his leg in NOAH while landing from a specially crazy spot.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: RONIN appeared as SUGI's archnemesis with little context before it. He simply attacked him after a match in NOAH and initiated the feud.
All There in the Manual: Promotional materials in Mexico revealed that RONIN was an evil samurai ghost who chased SUGI from Japan, but they don't explain nothing else. In AAA, the commentators only knew that RONIN was an old enemy to Sugi and a very bizarre guy.
Hope Spot: During the Fukumen World League, after enduring some hard punish from Mexican brawler Atlantis, Yoshitsune had him effectively pinned for three after a springboard 450º splash, but the referee was busy fending off Atlantis's cornerman Olímpico and didn't see it. This costed Yoshi the match.
I Have Many Names / Man of a Thousand Faces: Has used eighteen names and monikers during his career. In fact, his tendence to not stuck up in a specific gimmick has became a recurrent gag in internet, specially after he adopted what many thought to be his definitive persona, SUGI.
Improv: Is known for his amazing ability to improvise new spots whenever he has a botch. Sometimes it's difficult to tell if those changes were actually accidents or not.
During his debut in Toryumon X, he slipped out of the ropes while doing the triangle jump Mad Splash, so he springboarded at the drop of a hat to end the move.
In his first match as Shanao, he botched the Kuramahachiryuu during his debut as Shanao and switched mid-air to a corkscrew somersault leg drop of all things. You can even hear the announcers wondering what had they just seen.
When he took part in the first El Dorado match, he went for a tiger feint kick against one of the Sato twins, but they realized Sato was set too far to reach him with the legs. Sugi's solution was springboarding horizontally between the ropes into an elbow smash to the face.
Informed Ability: SUGI's All Japan profile revealed his finisher's name as "Senbonzakura", but we were never told what move it was.
Killer Robot: UWAI #23, a short-lived gimmick played by Sugi in UWAI Station, was a robot made to fight other robot wrestlers. He and another UWAI robot defeated the popular indy robot Mecha Mummy and his partner Mecha Mummy Lite.
Kryptonite Factor: Due to his small frame and his frequently convoluted moves, Sugi is specially vulnerable to pragmatic, brawling styles, which allowed shoot-style practitioner Hayato Fujita defeat him.
The "Mini CIMA" persona was a knock-off from (then) Toryumon Japan ace CIMA. It was helped by the fact that Sugi looks very like him.
"HUSTLE Kamen Red" was played by Masaki Okimoto aka Rasse in his first match against Super Crazy. Later Okimoto changed to blue and Sugi adopted the red suit.
His "Little Dragon" character was taken from his master Ultimo Dragon. The gimmick, however, had been first used by Dragon Kid, albeit with different outfit and moveset.
"The★ZEST" has been played by three pople: an unknown wrestler (possibly Okimoto or Takeshi Minamino), Sugi and KAMIKAZE. Another ZEST who does not seem to be Sugi has recently surfaced.
Kensuke Office's comedic character "Namazu Man" have been played by many people (Kota Ibushi, Cho-un Shiryu, Bear Fukuda, Shinobu and a long etc.), to the extent it is almost impossible to tell who is under the mask in every match. It's known, however, that Sugi played him for a time.
Red Baron: "Hiraizumi no Densetsu" (Japanese for "The Legend of Hiraizumi", as Yoshitsune), "El Amo del Aire" (Spanish for "The Lord of the Air", as Sugi San or SUGI) and "The Mardi Gras Ninja" (as El Blazer).
Shout-Out: El Blazer's name is too similar to the character "El Blaze" from Virtua Fighter 5, but given that the gimmick and the videogame debuted within months of difference, it's unknown who copied who.
The Stoner: El Blazer was portraited this way in Dramatic Dream Team, when he entered the ring wearing a marijuana shirt (and high as a kite) and proceeded to apathetically wrestle a losing effort against MIKAMI.
Straight Man and Wise Guy: Yoshitsune was the straight man to The Great Sasuke's wise guy, who adequately was the older of the two.
"Super Sentai" Stance: In HUSTLE as the HUSTLE Kamen Rangers, and later in Michinoku Pro as the Michinoku Rangers.
Tight Rope Walking: One of his most known signature moves is the Blazing Arrow, an attack in which Sugi runs across the ring rope and performs a dropkick in a cornered opponent.
Tweener: Dual Force is the quintaessential example, as evidenced for his duality gimmick.
Interestingly, Sugi's other character, El Blazer, remains friends with Kagetora, despite having opposed him as well in El Dorado. They travelled together to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and had some matches between them.
Wrestling Psychology: Tend to be somewhat Spot Monkey-ish at his beginnings, but he greatly improved over time. Then again, he was often put to play spot-oriented one night gimmicks.
Yakuza: He was a part of the La Yakuza stable in AAA along Kenzo Suzuki, El Oriental and Go Shiozaki. The group didn't resemble the actual yakuza very much, however.