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Wrestling / Yoshihiro Takayama

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"The other wrestler in No Fear was Yoshihiro Takayama. Takayama, known for his toughness and willingness to get near-killed in shoots, became a huge star in Japan - and his Pride fight with Don Frye made him a legend."
— Mike Sempervive and Keith Lipinsky, PW Torch contributors.
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Yoshihiro Takayama (b. 1966) is a Japanese Professional Wrestler and Mixed Martial Arts fighter. Coming from a unusual background in Kendo and rugby, he started at Union of Wrestling Forces International under the tutelage of Nobuhiko Takada. He gained notoriety from the low card by joining Yoji Anjo and Kenichi Yamamoto in their multifaceted villainous stable Golden Cups, but the promotion fell shortly after, so Takayama found himself working to reinvent himself again in All Japan Pro Wrestling. His big break came by the hand of Mitsuharu Misawa, who put him and Takao Omori into the powerhouse tag team NO FEAR, and they both thanked him by following him to his company Pro Wrestling NOAH, where Takayama's shoot-style talents were best used. However, Takayama's true breakout came not from pro wrestling, but from a short and seemingly unsuccessful MMA career for PRIDE Fighting Championships. Although barely trained for the sport and never pitted against somebody he could aspire to beat, Takayama carved his place on the MMA history by giving a timelessly legendary brawl against Don Frye that profiled him as one of the toughest men on the Japanese rings. From there, his career turned into a meteoric freelancing between the nation's top wrestling companies, becoming one of the two ever wrestlers to win all three of puroresu's major heavyweight titles in NOAH, AJPW and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. His career ended tragically in 2017, when a botched sunset flip in a Dramatic Dream Team event aggravated a neck injury that paralyzed Takayama from the neck down, just like the late Eiji Ezaki.

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As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki.

"No Fear Tropes":

  • Bash Brothers: With Takao Omori as NO FEAR. He also had another in Minoru Suzuki.
  • The Brute: For Yoji Anjo.
  • Catchphrase: "No Fear!".
  • Collegiate American Football: Played it before his wrestling debut.
  • Delinquent Hair: He naturally has black hair, he kept it dyed blond.
  • Determinator: He made a point against Don Frye in their legendary Pummel Duel.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: He was a trainee at the UWF Dojo for the original UWF, but a shoulder injury from rugby prevented him from debuting.
  • Finishing Move: Running Jumping High Knee and Everest German Suplex.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: His career ended tragically in 2017, when a botched sunset flip in a Dramatic Dream Team event aggravated a neck injury that paralyzed Takayama from the neck down.
  • The Giant: Is quite tall and burly for Japanese standards.
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  • Gonk: Has been in-universe referred by other wrestlers as such due to his odd-looking face. He was actually pretty good looking in his early UWFI days, it was years of pro wrestling and MMA fights that made his face what it is now.
  • Handicapped Badass: Downplayed, he is a lifelong sufferer of asthma.
  • Hidden Depths: Was a former lifeguard.
  • Hope Spot: In his fight with Don Frye, at one point it looked like he had the upper hand when he started delivering knees to Frye's body, then the situation returned to the slugfest and Frye eventually overpowered him for the TKO.
  • I Know Shoot-Style: Comes from the UWF International, where he was trained by Nobuhiko Takada and Makoto Oe. He also knew Kendo.
  • It's All About Me: He once got enraged, trashed the press hall and went to directive Fumihiko Uei to threaten with no-showing in the G1. Why? Because his face was not in an official poster. He ended making Uei allow him to book the tour.
  • Made of Iron: One of the biggest examples. Demonstrated through both his wrestling tenures and his MMA career. His MMA fights were rather hard, but he simply didn't care.
  • Red Baron: "Puroresu Kai no Teioh" ("The Emperor of the Pro Wrestling World"), "Wasei Bruiser Brody" ("The Japanese-made Bruiser Brody").
  • Rugby Is Slaughter: Played in high school.
  • Stout Strength: When he debuted he was actually quite slim. He developed a big gut later in life.
  • Suplex Finisher: A very high German.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: With Yoji Anjo and Kenichi Yamamoto (as Golden Cups) in UWF-i, and with Masahito Kakihara and Gary Albright (as Triangle of Power) in AJPW.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Though never a wrestling technician, he could work hard.
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