Masahiro "Masa" Chono (born September 17, 1963) is a Japanese Professional Wrestler and promoter best known for his work in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He debuted in 1984 for New Japan and also competed in various North American territories, including the Continental Wrestling Association in Memphis, and other countries like Germany and Australia. After his return to Japan, now turned into a fast-working apprentice of Lou Thesz, he became a mainstay of NJPW's G1 Climax tournaments and won three of them, balancing them with the IWGP Tag Team Championship with Keiji Mutoh and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Everything changed after losing both of his championships and scoring an underwhelming win in another G1: he did a FaceHeel Turn, adopted a Yakuza gimmick and became the great villain of the promotion, getting to form part of the Japanese version of World Championship Wrestling's nWo. He eventually got tired of the stable's heroic ways under Keiji Mutoh's influence, so he left and formed his own stable, the massive TEAM 2000. After defeating and absorbing NWO Japan, TEAM 2000 began to feud with smaller factions that teamed up against the tiranny, but nothing really challenged it until the arrival of Antonio Inoki's Mixed Martial Arts corps. It seemed Chono had returned to the babyface side in order to fight off Inoki's invasion, but he demonstrated his villainess again by forming yet another massive baddy stable, Black New Japan, out of the remnants of all the factions in conflict. It was eventually disbanded by authority figure Riki Choshu after some clashes with Kazuyuki Fujita's Team JAPAN and Jushin Thunder Liger's CTU, and Chono was left to feid with his long time frenemy Hiroyoshi Tenzan. By 2010, the great times of Masahiro Chono had waned from NJPW, but its legend would live forever. He works as a freelancer now.
As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki
- Actually Pretty Funny: Chono's yakuza gimmick was a Refuge in Audacity, as there was a very real risk that the actual Japanese yakuza could get offended by it; yakuza are very susceptible to how they are portrayed in media, especially if it is in a negative way, and Chono was unfortunately supposed to be a heel. However, his style, poise and push ended up making the stunt work, and Chono became over time a favorite wrestler of many yakuza.
- Anti-Hero: When face.
- The Bad Guy Wins: His calling card.
- Badass Longcoat
- Bash Brothers: With Hiroyoshi Tenzan (as Cho-Ten)
- Bowdlerise: Asahi TV directives weren't as bold as the NJPW bookers and didn't feel safe having a yakuza character in their wrestling show, so they demanded it to be toned down in order to avoid offending the real yakuza. Thus, Chono was never referred by the Y-word onscreen and his Yakuza Kick was changed to Kenka Kick.
- The Chessmaster: After he saved his role as NJPW's GM from Chyna, he used it to book a tournament inside the Makai Club to create dissension on it, which gave as a result some internal feuds.
- Combination Attack:
- His Ningengyora or Cho-Ten Torpedo, which he created with Hiroyoshi Tenzan to take down superheavyweights like Akebono or Giant Bernard. It was basically a double diving shoulder block. They also added a brainbuster to the technique when Bernard joined them.
- He had a move with Giant Silva in which the latter held an opponent up in a chokeslam for Chono to down him with a diving lariat or shoulder block.
- Cool Shades
- Defeat Means Friendship: With Chyna after their infamous feud.
- Delinquent Hair: He used to had his hair in a punch perm like those used by yakuza.
- Finishing Move: Yakuza Kick, STF and variations.
- Horrible Judge of Character: He brought Mike Barton and Jim Steele to NJPW as hired guns, but they turned on him at the first opportunity.
- I Know Soccer: His powerful kicks are attributed to his experience playing soccer.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Was NJPW's chairman until 2004.
- Red Baron: "Kuro no Charisma" ("Black Charisma"), "Kuro no Sosui" ("The Black Leader"), "Gokuaku Butterfly" ("The Butterfly of Villainess"), "Mr. G1" (due to his success as G1 leagues) and "Natsu Otoko" ("The Summer Man", as his most successful tenures have been in summer season).
- Ring Oldies: Still wrestles in his 50s.
- Power Stable: The nWo, BLACK, Team 2000 and Legend.
- Short Hair with Tail: His mullet.
- Timeto Unlock More True Potential: He went to train boxing with champion Takashi Ito, who said that his Sliding Yakuza Kick was stronger that many kickboxing kicks. It also helped him to conceive another technique, the FTS.
- Ur-Example: First Japanese wrestler to join the nWo.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Hiroyoshi Tenzan.
- Yakuza: Actually part of his gimmick at first, helped by the fact that he does rumoredly have actual Yakuza connections.