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Gran Hamada

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Hiroaki Hamada (November 27, 1950) better known by his ring name Gran Hamada, is a Japanese professional wrestler, the first to adopt the high-flying Mexican lucha libre style. He has wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling, the Universal Wrestling Federation, Michinoku Pro Wrestling, and All Japan Pro Wrestling, and was the founder of Universal Lucha Libre. He has also had stints with the World Wrestling Federation and Extreme Championship Wrestling in the United States. His daughters Xóchitl Hamada and Ayako Hamada are professional wrestlers.

Career

He was one of the first dojo trainees at New Japan Pro Wrestling, being known as Little Hamada in the beginning. Sent to Mexico's Universal Wrestling Association because of his lack of size, he found a lot of success there - so much that Mexican fans and promoters began calling him Gran Hamada (Great Hamada) and the name stuck. He also competed in Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre, which added El (The) to the front of his name: El Gran Hamada.

In 1984 he became a member of the initial roster of the original Japanese UWF, but found that his flamboyantly acrobatic style clashed with the martial arts-inspired style and focus on realism of the UWF, and soon left for All Japan Pro Wrestling. He eventually broke off from AJPW to form his own promotion in 1990: Universal Lucha Libre. However, wrestlers began to leave the ULL in 1993, and in 1995 Hamada closed the promotion to join Michinoku Pro, which had been formed by former ULL wrestlers.

In 2001 he began competing for All Japan again, this time as a free agent. He briefly was part of the "Love Machines" stable under a mask as "Mini Love Machine" with "Super Love Machine" (Junji Hirata of New Japan, reprising his old role as "Super Strong Machine") and "Love Machine Storm" (Arashi, whose stage name literally means "storm"). They used Morning Musume's hit song "Love Machine" as their entrance theme.

His daughters Xochitl and Ayako, who are half-Mexican, are also professional wrestlers.

He has apparently resurfaced in New Japan under the WRESTLE LAND brand at their second show on June 30, disguised as Masked Hurricane and teaming with Ray Cobra against Tiger Mask IV and Edo Samurai in a losing effort (Ray Cobra was pinned after a Tombstone Piledriver from Tiger Mask IV).

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