Masahiro Chono

Birthdate:  September 17th, 1963
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 238 lbs.
Debut:  October 5th, 1984
Background:  Trained in the "strong style" approach by Antonio Inoki
Promotion History: New Japan (1984 to 2009) and a Freelancer (2010 to present)
Alliances: None 
Ring Attire:  Long black tights
Card Position:  Upper Mid-Card
Major Tournaments Won: G1 Climax (1991, 1992, 1994, 2002, and 2005) and the G1 Tag League (1995, 1997, and 2006)
Current Title Held:  None

Championship History:

IWGP Heavyweight Championship:
- Defeated Tatsumi Fujinami on 8/8/98 and Vacated on 9/21/98

IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with Keiji Mutoh (Held 2 Times):
- Defeated Masa Saito and Hashimoto on 4/27/90 and lost to Hase and Sasaki on 11/1/90
- Defeated Sasaki and Kazuo Yamazaki on 10/19/97 and Vacated on 5/7/98

IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with Hiroyoshi Tenzan (Held 5 Times):
- Defeated Shinya Hashimoto and Junji Hirata on 6/12/95 and Vacated on 7/7/95
- Defeated Yamazaki and Iizuka on 7/16/96 and lost to Fujinami and Kimura on 1/4/97
- Defeated Tenryu and Koshinaka on 6/5/98 and lost to Tenryu and Koshinaka on 7/15/98
- Defeated Nagata and Nakanishi on 3/24/02 and lost to Yoshie and Tanahashi on 6/13/03
- Defeated Nakamura and Tanahashi on 10/30/05 and Vacated on 9/24/06

NWA Heavyweight Championship:
- Defeated Rick Rude on 8/12/92 and lost to Great Muta on 1/4/93

Biggest Matches:
- April 27th, 1990 with Mutoh vs. Masa Saito and Shinya Hashimoto (title win)
- August 11th, 1991 vs. Keiji Mutoh (tournament win)
- August 7th, 1994 vs. Power Warrior (tournament win)
- August 8th, 1998 vs. Tatsumi Fujinami (title win)
- August 14th, 2005 vs. Kazuyuki Fujita (tournament win)

- Chono with the Shining Yakuza on Choshu
- A chair attack by Chono
- Chono hits a piledriver
- Chono with the Yakuza Kick on Tenzan

Featured Signature Moves:
- Cross-Style STF
- Deathlock STF
- Ganso STF

Other Signature Moves:
- Butterfly Lock
- Octopus Hold
- Heel Kick

Yakuza Kick Variations:
- Yakuza Kick
- Sliding Yakuza Kick
- Shining Yakuza Kick
- Yakuza Kick to a Kneeling Opponent
- Yakuza Kick to the Back of the Head
- Catapult Yakuza Kick

Career History:
written by Charles Schaeffer

Masahiro Chono was born on September 17th, 1963 in Seattle, Washington. Chono though would be raised in Japan, and when he was in school he was known as an avid player of football. After he was finished with school he went to take a shot at puroresu. He set his sights on the New Japan Wrestling Academy, and on October 5th, 1984, he debuted against Keiji Mutoh who was also debuting. In 1986, Chono battled Tatsutoshi Goto on multiple occasions and had a submission victory over Masa Funaki. In March of 1987, he won the Young Lions Cup, and this would turn out to be his first major success in the business. He would go on to win his first title the NWA Central States Television Championship when he would defeat Mike George on January 1st, 1988. He would not hold the title long because soon after NWA Central States would shut down. Chono won his first tag team title when he would win the CWF "Continental Wrestling Federation" Tag Team Championship, with Mike Davis, on May 5th, 1989, when they defeated Johnny & Davey Rich. They would only manage to hold the titles for a couple of weeks, but Chono would get the feel of tag matches and they would eventually become his specialty for championships. In late '89, Chono would again win a tag championship when he would win the "Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling" North American Tag Team Championship with Bob Brown.

On April 27th, 1990, Chono won his first title in Japan the IWGP Tag Team Championship when, along with Mutoh, they defeated the team of Shinya Hashimoto and Masa Saito. They retained the titles soon after in a rematch against Hashimoto and Saito, and then against the Destruction Crew couple months later. In September of 1990, he took part and won a "New Japan in China" tournament when he defeated Takayuki Iizuka, Kengo Kimura, and Kensuke Sasaki all in the same night. Chono and Mutoh would finally lose the IWGP Tag Titles on November 2, 1990, to Sasaki and Hase. At the end of 1990, Chono would take place in one of the biggest matches of his career when he would face and defeat his mentor Lou Thesz, in Thesz final retirement match.

In August of 1991, NJPW unveiled a new tournament known as the G-1 Climax, a tournament showcasing the top wrestlers from around the world. Chono would defeat Bam Bam Bigelow, Hashimoto, and he would face and defeat Mutoh in the finals to become the first G-1 Climax winner. During this time Chono, Keiji Mutoh, and Shinya Hashimoto would began to be recognized as the new top talents of the sport, and the future of puroresu. On August 12, 1992, he would defeat Rick Rude for NWA World Heavyweight Championship also in the process winning the G-1 Climax again. He would hold on to the title until January 4th, 1993, when he would be beaten by Keiji Mutoh. The rest of 1993 would turn out kind of slow for Chono with only a major victory coming out of an elimination tag match in June of 1993. Around the second quarter 1994, Chono would land a huge victory over Yoshiaki Fujiwara by submission. This would lead to even better success when during the 1994 G-1 Climax he would yet again defeat Fujiwara, and he would win the tournament when he beat Power Warrior in the finals. Soon after the win Chono's new heel attitude started to show more and more, and soon came a new stable in early '95, known as "Team Wolf." "Team Wolf" would be comprised of Hiro Saito, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and himself. Chono would start to team with Tenzan and soon they would earn themselves an opportunity for the IWGP Tag Titles. They would face and beat Shinya Hashimoto and Junji Hirata on June 12th, 1995 for the vacant titles. A month later tragedy would fall upon Chono when his Father passed away. Chono would not be able to make it to his next title defense, and they would be forced to relinquish the titles. Soon after NJPW officials would learn what happened and they would give their condolences.

Chono would seem to hit another slump after his father's death by losing the '95 G-1 Climax and losing to Lex Luger at WCW's Starrcade PPV in December. In 1996, Chono would finally seem to be gaining his ground back by getting a revenge win over Luger in February. Then in July Chono, along with Tenzan, would win back the IWGP Tag Titles from Takashi Iizuka and Kazuo Yamazaki. Chono also around this time started to wrestle for WCW on more of a regular basis. It seemed at first Chono was acting like more of a good guy, but around the end of the year Chono removed his shirt and showed he was part of the newly risen nWo faction. He would bring the nWo to Japan and with "Team Wolf", and a little help from Buff Bagwell and Scott Norton nWo Japan was set to take over New Japan. On January 4th, 1997, Chono and Tenzan would lose the IWGP Tag Titles to Kengo Kimura and Tatsumi Fujinami. The loss only made Chono strive more to make nWo Japan stronger and to make NJPW fall to their knees. Chono would soon create a war between the two factions with nWo on one side and NJPW being run by Mutoh, Hashimoto, Choshu, and Sasaki. Chono would eventually gain NJ's biggest asset in Mutoh, and the two would soon become a force to be reckoned with. On October 19, 1997 Chono and Mutoh would win the IWGP Tag Team Titles again when they would defeat the team of Kensuke Sasaki and Kazuo Yamazaki. They would also go on to win the Super Grade Tag League when they defeated the team of Manabu Nakanishi and Shinya Hashimoto. Going into 1998, Chono would do toe to toe with Shiro Koshinaka with each one gaining decisive victories over one another. Later in the year Mutoh would suffer a major knee injury and on May 7th they would be forced to vacate the tag titles. Chono would go on to compete in the 1998 G-1 Climax, but he would fall short and be eliminated by Kazuo Yamazaki. On August 8th, 1998, Chono finally won the biggest prize in New Japan, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, when he defeated Tatsumi Fujinami. Just a month later, Chono would suffer a neck injury that would force him to relinquish the title. Chono would take time off to heal and get back up to be a hundred percent.

Chono eventually made his way back into NJPW in early '99, but upon his return he was not welcomed back into now Mutoh's nWo. This would start a feud between Chono and Mutoh that would see who owned nWo's name. Chono would round up Don Frye, Akira, and nWo Sting to create "Team 2000" to back him against Mutoh, Kojima, and his old partner Tenzan. These two factions would jump back and fourth with one win after another, but it would not be till early 2000 that Mutoh and Chono's feud would finally end when Chono won multiple decisive victories over Mutoh and his counterpart the Great Muta. Soon after beating Mutoh, Chono would gain another big win over Fujinami in an exhibition bout. In 2001, Chono and Tenzan would patch things up and they would have multiple matches against the newly returned Mutoh. Chono challenged for the IWGP Heavyweight Title against Mutoh, but Mutoh would end up the victor. On March 24th, 2002, Chono and Tenzan would defeat Nagata and Nakanishi in a tag tournament for the IWGP Tag Team Championship. Then on August 11th, 2002, Chono would once again win the G-1 Climax when he defeated Yoshihiro Takayama. In 2003, he wrestled for other promotions including multiple appearances in pro wrestling NOAH. One of these appearances created a match up between himself and Kenta Kobashi on May 2nd, 2003. On June 13, 2003, Chono and Tenzan would lose their tag titles to Yutaka Yoshie and Hiroshi Tanahashi. In 2004, Chono feuded with Choshu for most of the year as well as tagging with him at the end of the year against Yuji Nagata and Tenzan. Also at the end of the year Chono submitted Yuji Nagata on December 11.

2005 Recap:
Chono is one of New Japan's most popular wrestlers, and even though he is getting older he has stayed high on the cards.  Even though he was only 1-2 on Tokyo Dome Shows, Chono upset Fujita to win the G-1 Climax in the summer.  He therefore earned a title shot, but lost in a three way with Fujita and Lesnar.  For much of the year he was the leader of Black New Japan, but the group was disbanded when Choshu came into power.  Before Black New Japan was disbanded he had started teaming with his old friend Tenzan, and continued doing so after Black New Japan disintegrated.

2006 Recap:
It was an interesting year for Masahiro Chono. It started with him teaming with Tenzan to defeat Shiro Koshinaka and Takao Omori to defend the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship at the Tokyo Dome Show. For the first half of the year they held and defended the belts, and picked up victories against Manabu Nakanishi and Giant Bernard as well as against Yuji Nagata and Naofumi Yamamoto. Chono would get injured that spring, however, and would be out until late summer. During that time Tenzan started showing a mean streak, as Tenzan would go on to win the G1 Climax. When Chono came back he teamed with Tenzan again, but there was obvious tension between the two. They were stripped of the titles due to not being able to cooperate and they would face off on September 24th. Tenzan would defeat his old mentor Chono with his moonsault, but that did not end the feud. When Nakamura returned in time for the G1 Tag League, he would team with Chono and together they won the tournament. Stemming from their union, the two would form a stable that included Giant Bernard, Travis Tomko, Black Strong Machine, and Milano Collection AT. As the year ended, Chono's group was feuding with Tenzan's new heel group Great Bash Heel, a feud that is sure to last for many more months to come.

2007 Recap:
As he continues to wind down his career, Chono slowly phased out of big singles matches in 2007 and instead focused on leading BLACK against New Japan. At the Tokyo Dome on 1/4 Chono teamed with Mutoh in the main event to defeat Tenzan and Kojima. In the New Japan Cup, Chono defeated Choshu in the first round but lost to Nagata in the 2nd round. In the G1 Climax, Chono defeated Akebono and Nagata but came in last place in his bracket. After CTU disbanded on 8/26, Chono split with BLACK and formed a new faction called Legend-gun. For the rest of the year Chono teamed with his Legend-gun team mates (mostly Liger and Choshu) and had a good deal of success against New Japan. In the G1 Tag League Chono teamed with Akebono but they would barely miss the semi-finals. At the last show of the year he teamed with Liger to defeat Minoru and Goto, proving that Legend-gun is more then just a group of veterans but also a faction to be reckoned with in 2008.

2008 Recap:
In 2008 Chono continued cutting back on his matches as he only had one singles match in the entire year. He instead focused on teaming with his Legend team mates and later promoting his new brand, PREMIUM. Chono missed a few tours but in general participated in Legend vs. GBH or RISE matches, with Chono rarely getting pinned. On the debut PREMIUM event he teamed with Kohei Sato to defeat Shinjiro Otani and Daisuke Sekimoto. At the PREMIUM event on August 30th, Chono took on Otani in a singles match but the match went to a 30 minute draw. Chono helped promote the Wrestling Expo in the summer, which financially bombed terribly. He did not participate in the G1 Tag League for the first time since 1998.

2009 Recap:
Feeling the toll of wrestling for years with a variety of injuries, Chono continued cutting back on his in-ring time in 2009. He did not challenge for any titles but after missing last year's tournament he did participate in the G1 Tag League. He also didn't have any singles matches as he generally stayed in the upper mid-card teaming with his Legend team mates. He did have a big event in his honor on October 12th to celebrate his 25th Anniversary in wrestling in front of a sold out Sumo Hall audience. In the main event of the show, he teamed with his old friend Keiji Mutoh and Kenta Kobashi to defeat Manabu Nakanishi, Satoshi Kojima, and Jun Akiyama. In the G1 Tag League he teamed with AKIRA but the pair only picked up one win, over Jado and Gedo.

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