KONO, formerly known as Masayuki Kono, is a 3-year veteran of puroresu who, like Masakatsu Funaki, put his wrestling prospects on hold for several years to try his hand at MMA. But he returned to All-Japan in 2009 and is once again a regular in the promotion.
Kono debuted for AJPW in March 2003 and competed for them for about 2 years before departing. In July 2005 he joined fellow AJPW wrestler-turned-fighter-turned-wrestler Masakatsu Funaki in the Pancrase promotion. Kono fought for Pancrase from July 2005 until December 2008, compiling a 3-5 overall record, but he lost his last 4 fights after starting his career 3-1. After his last fight he quit MMA and, a few months later, announced he was returning to All-Japan. As of late Spring 2009 he is competing full-time again in All-Japan.
Kono changed his ring name to KONO in October 2010 after defecting from the New Generation Force faction to join Voodoo Murders. He also changed his look as seen in the updated photo above (now has facial hair and a different hairstyle).
KONO is inactive as of June 3, 2011 after being suspended indefinitely by All-Japan for being present when stablemate Super Hate was assaulted before a match by TARU and not doing anything to break it up. He was reinstated by All-Japan on June 30, 2011 and announced he was changing his name back to Masayuki Kono, but will remain inactive due to having surgery for a lingering injury. He is expected to be out another 3 months.
Stats & info:
Real name: Masayuki Kono
Weight: 238 pounds/108 kg
Experience: 3 years
Finishing move: Running Knee Strike To Upper Body, Kneedrop
Current affiliation: All-Japan (Inactive as of June 2011)
MMA record: 3-5
Ring entrance theme: “ALWAYS”
1-time All-Japan World Tag Team Champion
2010 World’s Strongest Tag League
Ring entrance music: