Takuma Sano is a 26-year veteran who has competed for NOAH in 2001. A former MMA fighter, he also briefly fought in the now defunct PRIDE FC promotion from 1998-2000.
Sano graduated from the New Japan Dojo in 1984, making his debut the same year. In 1989, he won the Young Lions Cup and he had numerous acclaimed matches against Jushin Liger. Sano defeated Liger for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on August 10, 1989, but lost it back to Liger on January 30, 1990.
In July 1990, Sano moved to the Super World of Sports (SWS) after a big money offer from Megane Super, the company backing the promotion. In SWS he became the top junior heavyweight, feuding with native talent and outsider talent from the United States, Mexico, and outsider promotions Universal Lucha Libre and Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi. In December 1991, Sano won the tournament for the SWS Light Heavyweight Championship. He was the only titleholder. After SWS collapsed in June 1992, Sano worked a few matches for Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi, but soon moved to Union of Wrestling Force International (UWFI) upon recommendation from former NJPW comrades Nobuhiko Takada and Kazuo Yamazaki, the top stars of UWFI. In UWFI, he adopted the name Yuhi Sano. Adopting the shinguards and trunks typical of shoot style wrestlers, Sano had more opportunities to face actual heavyweights. Nevertheless, during the 1995-96 feud against NJPW, Sano participated on UWFI’s side, beating old rival Liger one more time but losing to Shinya Hashimoto. In the feud against the WAR promotion, which had been born out of the ashes of SWS, Sano lost to old patron Genichiro Tenryu in a singles match. Upon UWFI’s collapse later in December 1996, Sano joined its successor promotion, Kingdom. Sano then competed in the indies and FMW before moving to BattlARTS, where he became recognized as the first Independent Jr. Heavyweight Champion as the final FMW World Jr. Heavyweight Champion. In 2000 he participated in the third Super J Cup tournament held by Michinoku Pro Wrestling. He advanced to the final four before losing to CIMA.
In 2001, he joined NOAH. He became Takuma Sano, for a year wearing tights and wrestling junior heavyweights, but after fully turning heavyweight, he went back to the shinguards and trunks. As part of the faction led by Akira Taue and also composed of Daisuke Ikeda, Sano had opportunities for the GHC Heavyweight Championship held by Kenta Kobashi and later, Mitsuharu Misawa, but failed both times. In 2010, he teamed with Yoshihiro Takayama to win the Global Tag League. He currently competes mainly in tag team matches and is in the top tier of the ranks. In September 2010 he finally won a NOAH title, winning the then-vacant GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Titles with Yoshihiro Takayama.
Sano participated in MMA from 1998-2000, compiling an 0-3 record in PRIDE.
Stats & Info:
Real name: Naoki Sano
Weight: 242 pounds/110 kg
Experience: 26 years
Finishing move: Northern Lights Bomb
Current affiliation: NOAH
Ring entrance theme: “Attack And Release”
1-time IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion
1-time GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
1-time FMW World Jr. Heavyweight Champion
1-time Independent Jr. Heavyweight Champion
1-time SWS Light Heavyweight Championship
1-time WAR World 6 Man Tag Team Championship
1-time Comision de Box y Lucha D.F. Distrito Federal Trios Championship
1-time CNWA World Mid-Heavyweight Champion
1989 Young Lions Cup
2010 Global Tag League
1990 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Match Of The Year (vs. Jushin Liger)