Oh It’s True…It’s True. There is a “Japanese Kurt Angle” and it’s this man, Takashi Sugiura. This 9-year pro has spent his entire career in NOAH, and was also the first wrestler to make his pro debut in the promotion.
An accomplished judoka in high school, Sugiura just missed the cut for the Japanese Olympic Team in 1996. He then became a self-defense instructor and was recruited to the All-Japan Dojo by Tamon Honda and was trained by Honda and Yoshihiro Takayama. He debuted in December 2000 in NOAH, eventually teaming with Yoshinobu Kanemaru and winning the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title. More recently he’s been competing at and against Heavyweights, both in NOAH and in New Japan, representing NOAH in interpromotional rivalry matches. He also held the GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Titles. He had several standout singles and tag team matches against New Japan ace Shinsuke Nakamura, splitting 2 tag team matches in the rivalry. He also became the first NOAH wrestler to get an IWGP Heavyweight Title shot, coming up just short against then-champion Hiroshi Tanahashi of New Japan.
In 2009 Sugiura had a major breakout campaign. Excelling in both singles and tag team matches, he also participated in New Japan’s G1 Climax tournament for the first time. Despite a loss to Nakamura he still managed to finish second in his block and advance to the semifinals, where he lost to eventual winner Makabe. In December 2009 Sugiura upset Go Shiozaki to win the GHC Heavyweight Championship for the first time, following in Naomichi Marufuji’s footsteps as a Jr. Heavyweight to hold a Heavyweight singles title. It also helped him win the 2009 Tokyo Sports Outstanding Performance Award. With two effective finishers-Olympic Yosen Slam and ankle lock-he will take the title into 2010 and hopes to have a long and dominant reign as champion. It’s True, It’s True.
Sugiura’s outstanding 2010 compaign was recognized by Tokyo Sports in December 2010 as he was awarded the annual MVP award (the top honor) in the Tokyo Sports Grand Prix Awards.
Sugiura has also competed in MMA occasionally since 2002, he currently has a 1-3 career record. He last fought for World Victory Road Sengoku in September 2008.
Stats & Info:
Weight: 228 pounds/104 kg
Experience: 9 years
Finishing move: Olympic Yosen Slam, Ankle Lock
Current affiliation: NOAH
Ring Entrance Music: “When Love Comes To Town” by U2
1-time GHC Heavyweight Champion
2-time GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion
1-time GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
2-time GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
2003 One Night Jr. 6 Man Tag Tournament
2006 wXw 6 Man Tag Team Tournament
2009 Tokyo Sports Grand Prix Outstanding Performance Award
2010 Tokyo Sports Grand Prix Most Valuable Player Award
Ranked #14 in 2010 PWI 500
MMA career record: 1-3