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Wrestling / Shinjiro Otani

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Shinjiro Otani (born July 21, 1972) is a Japanese Professional Wrestler, famous by his work at New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Pro Wrestling ZERO1. He started as a successful amateur wrestler in his highschool days before joining Animal Hamaguchi's dojo to become a pro wrestler. Otani was accepted in NJPW and turned into one of its hottest junior heavyweight prospects, and it didn't take much time before he did his perfunctory abroad excursion, hitting Canada. Upon his return, he defeated the famous Jushin Thunder Liger and stole the prestigious J-Crown from El Samurai in which would be the multi-title's last reign. After hitting the NJPW junior scene a bit more, Otani made a surprising move when he, accompanied by his long time friend Tatsuhito Takaiwa and others wrestlers, followed Shinya Hashimoto out of the company in order to form ZERO-ONE. Otani shone through the few years ZERO-ONE lasted, figuring as one of its most successful players both solo and in tag team (and at both junior and proper heavyweight divisions), and after Hashimoto's unfortunate death, he was made the true presence of the promotion's new incarnation, ZERO 1 MAX. As part of it, he also appeared in Pro Wrestling NOAH and was a key player in Fighting Opera HUSTLE. Even after replacing Yoshiyuki Nakamura as the president of the promotion, Otani remained as an active figure in the puroresu landscape until April 10, 2022, when he suffered a cervical spinal cord injury at a ZERO 1 event that left him a quadriplegic.

"Flame Tropes":

  • The Apprentice: To Animal Hamaguchi, Kensuke Sasaki, Hiroshi Hase and Shinya Hashimoto.
  • The Atoner: During his time in NJPW, he was famously critical towards indy pro wrestlers, whom he considered amateurs and lowlifes, and almost had a fistfight with Terry Boy when Michinoku Pro Wrestling had a working agreement with NJPW. After he was forced to work with TAKA Michinoku, however, he changed his mind completely and regretted his previous attitude. Nowadays he's a crusader for pro wrestling at any size or level.
  • Authority Equals Ass Kicking: The acting president of Pro Wrestling ZERO1.
  • Badass Teacher: Trained Daichi Hashimoto, Medianoche, Yuichiro Nagashima and several other wrestlers.
  • Bash Brothers: With Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Masato Tanaka (as Emblem) and Akebono (known as KAZAN).
  • Berserk Button:
    • In HUSTLE, whenever Takada pretended to mistake him for Atsushi Onita.
    • In general, insulting pro wrestling.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Has this reputation. In his first appearance in HUSTLE, he even talked politely to Generalissimo Takada and asked why did he want to attack pro wrestling, although he eventually got angry at Takada's subsequent taunts.
  • Big Eater: Once hosted a takoyaki eating contest in HUSTLE.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: The little guy to Akebono's big guy.
  • Bully Hunter: Has done a lot of social activism against bullying, which is a pretty big problem in Japan.
  • Casanova Wannabe: While in HUSTLE, Otani nicknamed his team with Masato Tanaka "Sekaiichi no Otokotachi" ("The World's Hottest Men"). Otani is not ugly, but he is definitely not known as a heartbreaker either.
  • Cast Speciation: Otani created his Spiral Bomb because he realized his running powerbomb was already being used by both Jushin Thunder Liger and Último Dragón. He also stopped to use a modifided facebuster because he learned the move had become more associated to Sanshiro Takagi than him.
  • Catchphrase: Has two that are pretty famous in Japanese popular culture. "Isshokenmei!" ("all out effort!") and "Puroresu no kyokasho peji ni... to kaitearu!" ("We will write it down... on the book of pro wrestling!"). He typically uses them even outside of pro wrestling stuff.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: He was noted to resemble comedian Egashira 2:50, and actually teamed up with him in HUSTLE.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Has an infectious amount of enthusiasm and a lot of quirks, and his time in HUSTLE capitalized on it.
  • Cool Teacher: For all accounts, Otani is a very friendly and reasonable dojo teacher, completely different from the classic Sadist Teacher figure that is often synonymous with Japanese trainers.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He and Kintaro Kanemura have the record of the shortest wrestling match ever, happened in July 2001. Otani picked Kanemura up for a German suplex just before the gong rang and landed it just while it was doing it, making a match out of the 3 seconds the referee needed to count the pinfall.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: He tried dancing with RIKISHI and his fans in HUSTLE, but failed miserably because he didn't know the choreography.
  • The Face: A very charismatic wrestler, to the point he was elected president of the new company.
  • Finishing Move: Bridging Dragon Suplex, Cobra Hold and Spiral Bomb.
  • Four Is Death: During the homage to Shinya Hashimoto in 2006, he was called one of the four protectors of Shinya's memory along with Naoya Ogawa, Keiji Mutoh and Masahiro Chono.
  • Friend to All Children: He routinely campaigns against bullying and child abuse, celebrates children charity events from time to time, and has even hosted open pro wrestling lessons for children.
  • Hot-Blooded: He loves pro wrestling. A lot.
  • I Know Amateur Wrestling: Placed at national championships.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Or rather scraping their face while they are down on the turnbuckle. That's what his facewash move is.
  • Lightning Bruiser: A high-flying wrestler whose finisher is a spinning powerbomb. Nowadays, his style is less aerial and more technical.
  • Old Maid: A very uncommon male example. Before he married in 2013, he had the Running Gag of express his intention to marry every damn year, only for the year to pass without him accomplishing it.
  • Playing with Fire: Becoming HUSTLE Achichi apparently gave him powers over fire, as his flashy suit was in fire and his partners couldn't even shake his hand without being burned.
  • Power Stable: BATT in NJPW.
  • Red Baron: "Honoo no Senshi" ("The Flame Soldier"), "Atsui Otoko" ("Burning Man").
  • Sadist Teacher: In HUSTLE, where he hit HUSTLE Titus with his sword for posing too much in front of the mirror instead of training (and Kantoku for ogling Yinling).
  • Suplex Finisher: The dragon suplex and the more traditional German.
  • Talkative Loon: Late in his career, he adopted the trait of talking a lot during his matches, usually to mock merrily his opponent and/or try to rally the crowd behind him.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In kayfabe, was very antagonistc both to Hashimoto and Ogawa, so his alliances with them were of this kind.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: Created his Cobra Hold move in 2001 when he was called by Keiji Mutoh for his BATT stable.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Like his trainer, Hiroshi Hase before him, he trained and went from a junior heavyweight ot a heavyweight.
  • Ur-Example:
    • He was the first IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion with Tatsuhito Takaiwa, and the first WCW Cruiserweight Champion in a tournament held in New Japan. He also innovated the facewash, which later Koji Kanemoto adopted and made famous.
    • It is said that Otani's springboard dropkick was the move in which the term "swan dive" (Japanese pro wrestling slang for a springboard aerial attack) was first applied by commentator Yoshinari Tsuji.