Takada Nobuhiko


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Takada Nobuhiko
Ring name(s) Takada Nobuhiko
Real name Takada Nobuhiko
Billed height 183 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Billed weight 100 kg (220 lb; 16 st)
Born 1962/4/12 (1962-04-12) (age 52)
Yokohama
Shishō Antonio Inoki
Fujiwara Yoshiaki
Debut 1981/5/9
Retired 2002/11/24


Takada Nobuhiko (高田 延彦?) (b. 1962/4/12) is a retired professional wrestler, mixed martial arts fighter, trainer, and promoter. He is currently an entrepreneur and actor. His real name is written 高田 伸彦.

He is the president of Takada Dōjō and former director of PRIDE. His wife, Mukai Aki, is an actress and former radio personality.

Contents

Biography

Early life

During his elementary school years, Takada was a baseball player. Though his skill helped him to be selected as a member of All-Yokohama team, his passion in the sport cooled down after his hero Nagashima Shigeo retired.[1]

Inspired by Antonio Inoki, he decided to become a professional wrestler when he was only a junior high school student. After junior high school, he started working out with his own methods while working part-time. In 1980, he finally joined the New Japan Pro-Wrestling Dōjō.[1]

New Japan

He was trained by Fujiwara Yoshiaki. Takada and Maeda Akira, who had joined the dōjō three years ealier, became close friends.[1]

Takada debuted on 1981/5/9 against Honaga Norio. His signature maneuver was a drop kick off the top rope. In 1982, Takada started serving as a tsukibito for Inoki. Takada accompanied his shishō for Inoki's match for Stampede Wrestling in Canada in 1983, but when Tiger Mask, who was also scheduled to wrestle on the same card, suddenly announced his retirement, Takada replaced him, and his match was aired on the Japanese television program for the first time.[1]

The original UWF

Main article: Universal Wrestling Federation

Takada wrestled on the first card of the newly-formed Universal Wrestling Federation on 1984/4/11. When Fujiwara Yoshiaki joined the new organization in 1984/6, Takada followed his shishō.

The UWF only lasted a year and half, and most of the roster returned to New Japan to start an "interpromotional" feud in 1986/12. In New Japan, Takada's biggest rival was Koshinaka Shirō, who had joined New Japan in the previous year and, ironically, was a tsukibito for Giant Baba in All Japan Pro-Wrestling during the same time period Takada was had the similar role for Inoki.

The rivalry between Takada and Koshinaka over IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship brought many memorable matches to the fans.

The 2nd UWF

Main article: UWF (2nd)

In 1988, Takada, along with Yamazaki Kazuo, followed Maeda to start the second version of the UWF. He was the second top star under Maeda.

Although UWF's popularity was a phenomenon, there was a disagreement within the organization, and the company closed in 1991. The roster split into three groups: Maeda's Fighting Network RINGS, Fujiwara's Professional Wrestling Fujiwara-gumi, and Takada's UWF International.

UWF International

Main article: UWF International

Takada became the president of UWF International. With the "strongest" as his slogan, Takada gained even bigger popularity through the matches against the big names such as Kitao Kōji, Super Vader, and Gary Albright. He was voted as the Wrestler of the Year in the 1992 Puroresu Awards.

In 1994/1, he married an actress Mukai Aki. Few months after, he also became a newscaster for a sports program while he continue to wrestle as an active competitor.[2]

Around the same time, however, UWF International, which had neither regular television program nor sponsors, started struggling financially. In 1995, Yamazaki Kazuo left and returned to New Japan. In 1995/8, Tamura Kiyoshi challenged Takada for a "real match", but Takada refused.[1] With various problems, the organization decided to work with New Japan. The first interpromotional card between the two groups took place on 1995/10/9 at Tokyō Dome. In the main event, Takada lost to Mutō Keiji in an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match. Takada defeated Mutō on 1996/1/4 at the same venue to win the title and held it until losing to Hashimoto Shin'ya on 4/29. UWF International also started working with Tenryū Gen'ichirō's Wrestle Association R afterwards. One of the two matches between Tenryū and Takada was voted for Match of the Year in the Puroresu Awards.

However, in 1996/6, Tamura and Nakano Tatsuo also left the promotion. Six months later, UWF International finally closed down.

Kingdom

Most of the UWF International roster started a new company Kingdom. Takada, who was preparing for a mixed-martial arts match against Rickson Gracie, did not officially joined the new group but was supporting it as a trainer and commentator. In fact, he was tired of the involvement in the management because of his experiences in UWF International.[1] Around this time, he opened Takada Dōjō, a training facility (but not a wrestling promotion).

Mixed Martial Arts

Takada was heavily involved in promoting the PRIDE Fighting Championship, an MMA event.

As a competitor, however, Takada had more losses than wins. On 2002/11/24, Takada lost in a retirement match to his former deshi Takmura Kiyoshi.

Post-retirement

Takada became the chief director of the PRIDE events, promoted by Dream Statge Entertainment, and also worked as the color commentator.

He also participated in another DSE-promoted events HUSTLE, which emphasized skits and angles similar to American pro-wrestling. Takada played a role as "Takada Sōtō" (Generalissimo Takada), a friend of Takada's who leads the heel group "Takada Monster Army".

On 2009/7/26, Generalissimo Takada was "killed" when a new enemy by the name of "King RIKI" (played by actor/singer Riki Takeuchi) showed up at the "HUSTLE AID 2009" event and repelled one of Takada's lasers, sending it back towards him and wounding him. It was Takada's final appearance for the HUSTLE events.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Kaneko, Tatsuhito (2003). "Nakimushi" (biography). Gentōsha. ISBN 4344004159. 
  2. ^ Suzuki, Ken (2002). 最強のプロレス団体 UWFインターの真実 〜夢と1億円〜. Enterbrain. ISBN 4757712324. 

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