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Wrestling / Masaaki Mochizuki

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Masaaki Mochizuki (b. 1964) is a Japanese Professional Wrestler, best known by his work in Toryumon and Dragon Gate. Originally a Karate fighter, he fell in love with professional wrestling thanks to Nobuhiko Takada, becoming a shoot-style wrestler under Koji Kitao and debuting as part of his entourage in Genichiro Tenryu's Wrestle Association R. After building some career in WAR, Battlarts and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, he landed on Último Dragón's Toryumon circuit, which soon became his home. Masaaki was initially a sore thumb in Toryumon, a stern shooter who preferred to kick people in the head rather than playing their lucharesu game, and this was his gimmick for most of the conflict between the babyfaces of the company and the heel faction Crazy MAX. However, one day Masaaki decided he was tired of everybody, so he recruited two anarchists named Yasushi Kanda and Susumu Mochizuki (no relation) and created M2K, the nastiest stable in all the promotion. Their presence and wild attacks ended up turning Crazy MAX into heroes, and this gave birth to a gang war that lasted through years and eventually outlasted Toryumon itself, leading to the birth of the new company Dragon Gate. Mochizuki has remained one of the promotion's aces from then, trusting on his experience and toughness to teach respect to the new generations, and that's what he does now.

"The Strongest Tropes"

  • The Ace: Downplayed. In a literal sense, he is possibly the least flashy of all the Toryumon "aces", as he is a grumpy talker with a pragmatic wrestling style and a fairly grounded fashion sense. However, he has always been the promotion's top wrestler, second only to CIMA, by his own merits in wrestling and popularity.
  • Always Someone Better: Has been this consistently to Ikuto Hidaka since their Battlarts days, to the point it was an upset that Hidaka could regain his ZERO-ONE title from Mochizuki in 2008. It sometimes extends to tag team field with their respective usual partners Minoru Tanaka and Minoru Fujita.
  • Anti-Villain: His first descent to villany was because he had got so frustrated with the war against the evil Crazy MAX that he was now willing to do everything to get revenge on them. This became subverted when he turned his newfound savagery against his former heroic allies and anybody who opposed him.
  • The Apprentice: To Koji Kitao.
  • Arch-Enemy: CIMA, Magnum TOKYO, Milano Collection A.T. and YAMATO.
  • The Artifact: His core wrestling style, called shoot-style, could be considered an artifact from other eras of wrestling, as it was hugely popular back when Mochizuki became a pro wrestler yet is pretty much forgotten today. It also counts as a characterization trait, as Mochizuki started his career in Toryumon as part of a shoot-style stable from WAR that disappeared in less of a year.
  • The Atoner: After returning to the Seikigun, he tried to make up for M2K's acts. This met some interruption, like his short-lived time in Aagan Iisou.
  • Battle Strip: Initially wrestled in a karategi before switching to more traditional wrestling attire, but he still makes some entrances with a gi-like jacket which he takes off to wrestle.
  • Bash Brothers: With Minoru Tanaka in Battlarts and later with Don Fujii in Dragon Gate.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Masaaki started as a heroic martial artist who wanted to stop the Crazy MAX gangbangers from tormenting babyfaces like him. How did he get it? By forming and leading a marauding unit eveb worse than C-MAX. He eventually realized it in his final match against CIMA.
  • Big Bad: Of Toryumon Japan for the time M2K was the main rudo stable.
  • Big Brother Mentor:
    • He also attempted to do this with Aagan Iisou, but it backfired on him.
    • Became a more successful example towards Katsuhiko Nakajima, who started visiting Dragon Gate in 2004. They turned into rivals when Nakajima developed as a wrestler, but still team up in special occasions.
  • Big Good: He is the most frequent and long-lasting of all who have occupied this place in Toryumon/Dragon Gate. It started right after being kicked out of M2K, as the original Big Good of Toryumon, Magnum TOKYO, had joined Mochizuki's former henchmen, so Mochizuki was now the top face wrestler by default. Some mistrust and his failure with Shin M2K drove him to become heel again with Aagan Iisou, but he repented and returned again, and has been on/off on the job through the years since.
  • Boring, but Practical: Mochizuki is a shoot-style wrestler, which means most of his moveset is composed of kicks and submissions, along with a couple basic brainbusters - nothing flashy, but surely very effective, especially against lucharesu wrestlers like everybody in Toryumon/Dragon Gate is. However, some of kicks can be flashy (like his Sankakugeri, which is basically an enzuigiri from the top rope), and he has also adopted a more lucharesu-inspired approach to fit with the rest of the promotion over the years, although he is still a shoot-stylist at the core.
  • Bullying a Dragon: During his early career in Kitao Dojo in a match with Al Snow. Mochizuki was supposed to do a kick to Al's chest (and he'd done it flawlessly several times while working out). Well, Mochizuki decided to change things a bit and nailed him in the jaw. Al rolled out of the ring and barely made it back in by the twenty count. He was legitimately dazed and when he got back up, he was pissed. Al finished the match by german suplexing Mochizuki on his head and then really cranked on the armbar and later stated that Mochizuki couldn't move his neck for a few days afterwards.
  • Canon Immigrant: He was trained in the Koji Kitao's Buko Dojo and came to Toryumon as a freelancer before becoming a permanent member.
  • Cool Shades: As part of M2K, possibly in a reference to his rival CIMA.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Initially it looked like Mochizuki was being Necessarily Evil with M2K to stop Crazy MAX's thug antics, but it soon became obvious that he had got lost in his own thirst for revenge and would not listen to his good side anymore. His defeat to CIMA's hands made him finally snap, but by then it was too late to stop his own henchmen from rejecting his authority and creating another nasty gang with Magnum TOKYO.
  • Defeat Means Respect: Being defeated by CIMA in El Número Uno 2001 and losing his hair to him finally made him stop hating Crazy MAX and realize the latter had already stopped being Toryumon's bane. Unfortunately, this only pitted against his own M2K friends, who didn't share his sense of honor and ability for introspection.
  • Fallen Hero: He started as a defender of the heroic Toryumon Seikigun, but their inability to dispose of Crazy MAX turned him into a brutal crusader bent on getting revenge.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Although the heel Mochizuki was more of a disenchanted hero than a cackling villain, he was still unable to notice that the Crazy MAX guys were True Companions who would follow each other to any direction of their moral compass, while in contrast his own M2K wrestlers were essentially power-hungry mercenaries without any real loyalty to him. This came back to bite him on his ass when he underwent an epiphany and tried to turn his group into a new face unit like his own actions had made Crazy MAX.
  • Evil Costume Switch: His Yokosuka Jumper jacket, which all the members of M2K wore.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: He discovered it himself after Kanda, Susumu and Darkness Dragon, the three wrestlers he had personally recruited to counter Crazy MAX specifically because they were even more wicked than CIMA and company, turned on him when he vowed to drop his beef and become more heroic.
  • Extremity Extremist: Downplayed. His offense consists primarily, though not at all exclusively, of karate-style kicks.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Kenichiro Arai had to defeat Mochizuki in a match to force him into stopping trying to recreate his old glory days with cheap M2K replacements. Mochizuki eventually accepted it and disbanded Shin M2K.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In his bitter enmity with Crazy MAX, Mochizuki resolved to utilize wrestlers and tactics so brutal that they made his enemies look heroic underdogs in comparison, and he put it into practice by forming M2K. The only thing is that they turned on him at the moment he lost this resolve.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Has become a bit so, especially when facing younger talent.
  • Hewhofights Monsters: With his campaign of terror against Crazy MAX, Mochizuki effectively turned them into heroes trying to defend themselves against a band of thugs, just like Mochizuki and the Seikigun were before he founded M2K. It took time for him to realize.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    • Mochizuki was aware that he was allied to two anarchists, an evil dragon and a rogue surfer vandal when he returned to M2K from his 2001 hiatus; what he got wrong was the belief that he held enough influence over them to make them turn their moral codes upside down at his whim, when they actually only obeyed him because his experience and fighting skill made him a good leader. As it is natural, the M2K guys became appaled that he tried to make them a heroic unit, so they kicked him out and replaced him with the much eviler Magnum TOKYO. (However, Mochizuki would be proven right at long term, as his former friends would eventually discover some nostalgia for his leadership and helped him to form Shin M2K and Final M2K.)
    • Speaking of which, the Shin M2K project was born of Mochizuki's desire to reform M2K, which led him to recruit people almost at random because the only original members who acceded to return to him were Horiguchi and a non-wrestling Kanda. The new stable was unpopular and disjointed, as their members would not do their best as a team as Mochizuki had expected, and one of his "unoriginal" members, Kenichiro Arai, eventually forced him to disband it. Mochizuki's bad decisions would pursue him to the true return of the stable, Final M2K, as he decided to include some of the previous recruits, and one of them, Second Doi, betrayed him.
    • Again, he believed the Aagan Iisou guys would look at him as a Big Brother Mentor, and was sorely wrong.
  • Hotter and Sexier: He has been reducing his attire over the years. He started wrestling in a sleeveless karategi, later changed it to just long pants, and finally adopted regular tights. Since siding with BxB Hulk, though, he went back to long pants.
  • Hurricane Kick: One of his signature moves, the Illusion, sees him throwing a roundhouse kick and transitioning it into a reverse roundhouse kick with the other leg if the opponent dodges the first.
  • Identical Stranger: He and former Pro Wrestling NOAH wrestler Makoto Hashi could believably pretend to be brothers. The two had fun with it for promotional purposes after acknowledging it, and even teamed up in special occasions as a Similar Squad before Hashi retired from pro wrestling.
  • Improbable Weapon User: M2K introduced the blue plastic box that SUWA would make famous.
  • I Know Karate: An unspecified style, though he did train with Shidokan karatekas when he was training under Koji Kitao (Kitao himself was not a Shidokan practitioner, but had a working relationship with their organization to some extent).
  • Magnetic Hero: Painfully subverted in his original M2K tenure, but straight outside of Dragon Gate. Being a veteran who has wrestled in varied promotions over the years, Mochizuki has made a lot of non-DG frenemies whom he sometimes reunites with, and he even created the Mochizuki Buyuden events only to book them in. The list is pretty long and includes Minoru Tanaka, Ikuto Hidaka, Katsuhiko Nakajima, TAKA Michinoku, Yuji Nagata, El Blazer and Hayato Fujita.
  • One-Steve Limit: He invoked this while feuding with Susumu Mochizuki following the breakup of M 2 K. He eventually won the match where the stipulation was that the loser couldn't use the name 'Mochizuki' anymore, forcing Susumu to spend almost 20 years wrestling as Susumu Yokosuka. Masaaki finally relented and let Susumu use the Mochizuki surname again in 2022.
  • Red Baron: "Ontai" ("Boss"), "Saikyo" ("The Strongest", taken from Takada), "Tetsujin" ("The Iron Man"), "Tamashi no Shugeki O" ("The Spiritual King of Kicking", officially translated as "Soul of the King of the Kicker").
  • Revisiting the Roots: He has tried to revisit past eras of his career many times, among them with the several incarnations of M2K, Magnum TOKYO's Renaissance project, and the Mushozoku/Zetsurins veteran factions.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After M2K betrayed him, Mochizuki did what he had always overlooked out of friendship: challenge Susumu Mochizuki to a match for the rights of their surname. He won, forcing his opponent to rename himself Susumu Yokosuka.
  • Roundhouse Kick: The Saikyo (left leg) and Shin Saikyo (right leg) High Kicks are among his most favored moves. As a karate-based striker he'll also throw side roundhouses, and there's also the Illusion mentioned above.
  • Spectacular Spinning: His Twister finishing move is a spinning brainbuster. He also created an inverted brainbuster version as a counter to YAMATO's Gallaria, and has also used a spinning Falcon Arrow called the Twister II.
  • Start My Own: He used to have a personal brand of events, Mochizuki Buyuden ("Mochizuki's Martial Story"), where he hosted matches with other shoot-stylists and wrestlers from other promotions.
  • Troll: This was the original M2K's hat - they weren't just content to collect titles and steal wins, they were out to ruin the promotion. They did things like try to ruin tournaments by forcing the final match to end on a double ring-out.