Wrestling / Takuya Sugi

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sugi.jpg
One of his many, many faces.
Takuya Sugi (b. 1983) is a Japanese Professional 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 all under the character El Blazer, which became his trademark in the Japanese indy sleaze 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.

"El Troper":

  • Aborted Arc: The La Yakuza stable in AAA was going originally to feature much more Japanese wrestlers brought to the company, but Go Shiozaki and Sugi San were the only ones who came.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • After his El Dorado run ended, El Blazer started the custom of briefly Fainting during his ring entrance. This has been never explained.
    • It is said that the spectacular move he innovated in his debut as Shanao, the corkscrew imploding somersault leg drop (!), was actually a botched attempt to do the Kuramahachiryuu, or according to other theory, it was the first version of the move before it settled down as a corkscrew shooting star press. During the match, you can even hear the announcers calling it by the name but wondering what had they just seen.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Sato twins, Kagetora and RONIN, as well as Taiji Ishimori.
  • As Himself: Subverted and later played straigth. Among his many characters, his Sugi San gimmick (later known as SUGI) was thought to be his "non-gimmick" persona, but the AAA commentators spoke about him as the son of a yakuza boss who was an acquitance to Kenzo Suzuki. This was apparently forgotten during his return, however.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: His first El Blazer costume featured blue feather stoles which simulated a cool sapphire flaming trail behind him, but he lost half of the feathers in his first match, so he discarded them announcing he was "changing to his summer clothes".
  • Badass: One of the (figuratively) biggest in Japan at his time.
  • Badass Long Robe: Wore a long purple robe as Shanao, with some extra long sleeves to add effect.
  • 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 Brother Mentor: Blazer became a temporary one to perennial rookie Shota Takanishi 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 Voodoo Murders.
  • Big Red Devil: Subverted by AHII, who was kind of small and debuted as a face. Also, he was not just a devil, but a red pepper devil spider or something.
  • 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 with him.
  • Book Ends: He went inactive in 2012 due to the NOSAWA scandal when he was scheduled to compete in the Fukumen World League. Four years later, he did his return as a surprise member of the 2016 Fukumen World League.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Mini Crazy MAX was portrayed this way, specially Mini CIMA, whose place SUWA had often to remind him by slapping him.
  • Breakup Break Out: Despite his international fame, Sugi has a nasty tendency to be the Jannetty to almost every tag team partner he has had. We list:
    • When Shanao and Kagetora broke up, the latter skyrocketed and received both ace status and his own stable 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 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 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 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 absurd numbers of title reigns) and got drafted by New Japan Pro Wrestling, becoming one of the most decorated and famous junior wrestlers in the world ever. 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 injured 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 stepped in, while Blazer became much more known for his indy treks.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": "RB" on Rabbit Boy's mask.
  • 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.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Arrived to Dragon Gate in 2008 and quietly disappeared the same year.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: El Blazer is portraited as one, when not as a downright catatonic pothead. His El Dorado run was the only usage of the character that didn't feature comedy, at least inside the ring.
  • Cool Mask: Several ones, in fact.
  • Cool Sword/Katanas Are Just Better: Carried one to the ring as Shanao/Yoshitsune/SUGI, and used to unsheath it on the ramp and point to the opponent with it to signal that the thing was gonna suck for him.
  • Costume Copycat: El Blazer was victim of this in VKF Wrestle Naniwa, taking part in a tag team match where everybody was impersonating him, sporting Blazer-like attires and (unsuccessfully) trying to do his patented Blazing Arrow. Interestingly, 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 vs. Goliath: He is the second smallest wrestler ever trained in Toryumon (only beaten by Shinjitsu Nohashi), so most of his matches featured a natural size disadvantage, especially against heavyweights like Shuji Kondo or GAINA.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: With Masaaki Mochizuki after losing to him in a title match in Pro Wrestling ZERO1.
  • 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: Was able to endure a lot of punishment from his opponents during his matches. He even kicked out GAINA's elevated powerbomb, which was quite of a feat at the time.
  • Distaff Counterpart: While not exactly the same, Sugi and joshi wrestler Command Bolshoi were compared for years due to their similar small sizes, baggy costumes and masks, and similar wrestling style. They ever teamed up during an Último Dragón event, with Sugi in his Yoshitsune persona and Bolshoi cosplaying Shanao in their entrance.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Sugi and Masaki Okimoto had originally very similar wrestling styles, which can be noted in their matches as the HUSTLE Kamen Rangers, but over time Sugi's became more high-flying and crazy while Okimoto was made more grounded and well-rounded.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Due to his many characters, he has had several.
    • 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.
  • Dynamic Entry: During his Fukumen League match against Jushin Liger, Yoshitsune got in the ring dropkicking him over the ropes.
  • El Spanish O: El Blazer (fortunately, it was not "El Blazero" or "El Blazo" or something more bizarre) and El Forte.
  • 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 a bit lighter and even more nimble. Not only his satellite headscissors and hurricanrana variations make him resemble to Kid very much, but also his Little Dragon character was basically his equivalent.
    • Outside the system, 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.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: His Dual Force mask has an asimmetric design in black and white.
  • 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", was Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Flanderization: El Blazer first started as an eccentric if highly competent wrestler, but after his El Dorado run, the former trait increased with every year while the latter decreased, to the point he was relegated to a goofy buffon who barely won matches.
  • 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, albeit he played a rudo.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: He injuried gravely his leg in NOAH while landing from a particularly crazy highspot and was forced to step out of competition.
  • 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. Promotional materials in Mexico revealed that RONIN was an evil samurai ghost who was chasing SUGI from Japan, but they don't explain anything else. In AAA, the commentators only knew that RONIN was an old enemy to Sugi and a very bizarre guy overall.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: His finisher "Cielo Perfecto Uno" is Spanish for "Perfect Sky One".
  • Hope Spot: During the Fukumen World League, after enduring some hard punishment 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 cost Yoshi the match.
  • Horned Humanoid: AHII's mask had two horn-like thingies on top.
  • I Have Many Names/Man of a Thousand Faces: Has used eighteen names and monikers during his career. In fact, his tendency 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.
  • I Have the High Ground: One of his signature moves is a moonsault from a balcony a la Super Crazy.
  • 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. He had to do the same after he botched again in one of the last shows.
    • 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 frequently convoluted moves, Sugi is especially vulnerable to pragmatic, brawling styles, which made easier to shoot-stylist Hayato Fujita to defeat him.
  • Left Hanging: We never learned how the feud between SUGI and RONIN started, and we never knew how it was supposed to end due to Sugi's retirement due to the NOSAWA scandal.
  • Legacy Character:
    • 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 while 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 people: an unknown wrestler (possibly Okimoto or Takeshi Minamino), Sugi and KAMIKAZE. Another ZEST who seems to be another guy 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.
  • Manly Tears: Upon his return in 2016 (see World of Cardboard Speech below).
  • Masked Luchador: Well duh.
  • Mirror Match: Fought people using the The★ZEST's mask while Sugi was using other gimmicks.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Promoted as such as expected from Toryumon, and the mask did nothing the discourage them. Even if he barely showed skin with all his clothes, he was said to be really popular with M-Pro female fans.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Sugi teamed with the Mexican high-flying stable Real Fuerza Aérea in AAA, but never was made an official member.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: His Yoshitsune gimmick was based in (guess who?) Minamoto Yoshitsune.
  • The Phoenix: His Blazer gimmick is based on the Phoenix. Well, a sort of.
  • Power Stable: Mini Crazy MAX, HUSTLE Army, Dragondoor Seikigun, La Yakuza and Sword Army.
  • Power Trio: La Yakuza with El Oriental and Kenzo Suzuki.
  • The Quiet One: Shanao didn't talk very much. Only after becoming Yoshitsune he dropped some of his quietness.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: His NOIZ outfit was silver and pink.
  • Real Song Theme Tune:
    • As Yoshitsune, he used "Kazabayashi Volcano (Fuhrinkazan)" by Gackt.
    • As El Blazer in Dragon Gate, he used "Aquí y Ahora" by David Bisbal.
    • As NOIZ he used a theme song played by Imitation Pops Uchuu Sentai NOIZ.
    • As Sugi in AAA, he used the theme of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
  • 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).
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Rabbit Boy's.
  • Ricky Morton: He typically plays the punching bag in tag team matches, as his size makes him easy to throw around and he can sell very spectacularly.
  • The Rival:
    • Taiji Ishimori. They both were considered top workers in Toryumon X and have clashed in several occasions in high-flying brawls.
    • Also Kota Ibushi, the only Japanese wrestler who can match him in aerial abilities. They started teaming up in Dragondoor and El Dorado and became frequent opponents in the rest of promotions.
  • Roundhouse Kick: He used them a lot.
  • Shout-Out:
    • El Blazer's name is similar to the character "El Blaze" from Virtua Fighter 5, but this is an unique case: as the gimmick and the videogame debuted within months of difference, it's unknown who copied who in first place.
    • AHII closely resembles Venom, with orange replacing white in his color scheme.
  • Signature Move: A tope feint in which he flips forward, no hands, into the ropes and flips back to his feet. Also his Gojoe Ooashi evasion and the Blazing Arrow.
  • Spot Monkey: There is considerable debate about whether he qualifies as a Spot Monkey or not, as he is known to have given some really good matches under some of his wrestling personas while he has openly indulged in spot-tastic wrestling under some others. His champion run as Yoshitsune is considered his best year in terms of psychology, while many of his tag team matches in HUSTLE are seen very keen from the lucha libre viewpoint; however, his beginnings as Shanao and most of his El Blazer indy runs in any time are thought to lack both psychology and fluidity aside from his crazy moves.
  • The Stoner: El Blazer was portrayed this way in Dramatic Dream Team. 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.
  • Tournament Arc:
    • Mini CIMA (him) and SUWAcito won Toryumon México's La Copa Yamaha Internacional 2004
    • KAGETORA and Shanao (him) won the Michinoku Pro Tag League 2005
    • Yoshitsune won block D of the Michinoku's Fukumen World League Qualifiers in 2007, though Tiger Mask IV won the whole thing.
  • Tweener: Dual Force is the quintessential example, as evidenced for his duality gimmick.
  • Warrior Monk: As Shanao.
  • We Used to Be Friends
    • With Kagetora, until he betrayed Shanao and went to form STONED.
    • 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 Guerilla and had some matches teaming up.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Cut an epic one after his return to MPW in 2016.
    "What this match means for me is the joy to see that all the people whom I obliged to wait such a long time are still here. I don't know if I have done enough for this day to come, but for me it is enough to receive this little time of chance. I'm very happy that you all can hear me announce my return here. In four days, I will show you my best by defeating Carístico.
    But I know that this is not so simple. I know Michinoku Pro Wrestling is my home, but I don't know yet what will my place be in this world of organizations which rise and fall. Therefore I will look to gather together again the pieces of myself - therefore I will look to the future if I cannot erase the past.
    To all the fans, I don't want this to be just a thank you. Whatever my past was, whatever my future will be, I will fight not only to thank you all for this chance, but also for all the expectatives you crammed about me in those four years of blank space not be in vain".
  • Would Hit a Girl: El Blazer had zero qualms about fighting joshi wrestlers. But again, most mixed gender matches in puroresu see intergender action with grace.
  • Wrestling Psychology: Tended 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.

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