Kenzo Suzuki (July 25, 1974) is a Japanese professional wrestler. He is perhaps best known for his appearances with New Japan Pro Wrestling and in the United States with World Wrestling Entertainment. He is currently wrestling in the All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) promotion under the ring name KENSO.
Suzuki was a rugby union player, playing at the international level for Japan prior to his professional debut as a wrestler in January 2000.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2000-2003)
Suzuki debuted at New Japan Pro Wrestling's Wrestling World 2000 event at the Tokyo Dome, replacing Bill Goldberg and losing to Manabu Nakanishi. Later that year, Suzuki won New Japan's Young Lions Cup tournament, defeating Shinya Makabe. He also won Rookie of the Year honors from New Japan in the same year. In his years in New Japan, he was teamed with fellow rookie Hiroshi Tanahashi, who had debuted only four months before him. Their combination was known as The Kings of the Hills.
World Japan and Excursion (2003)
In 2003, Suzuki resigned from New Japan, choosing to follow his mentor and trainer, Riki Choshu, to Choshu's World Japan promotion. Later in the year, he left to wrestle in the United States. It is speculated that he was forced to resign because a wrestler he was helping to train, Giant Ochiai, died while training on his watch. The World Japan promotion had been embroiled in controversy up to that point and this news was something that the promotion did not need. This led to him being blackballed, thus venturing to wrestle in the United States. Suzuki wrestled for the Major League Wrestling (MLW) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) promotions in the United States during 2003. Nevertheless, citing lack of competition in the World Japan roster, he quit.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2004-2005)
In 2004, Suzuki debuted for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)'s SmackDown! brand, along with his geisha valet (and real-life wife) Hiroko, whose trademark phrase was "You cheer Kenzo Suzuki on to the victory!". Dan Madigan created a Hirohito gimmick for his WWE debut, but the idea was dropped and he debuted under his real name. He made his WWE TV debut on the June 10 episode of SmackDown!. His first opponent was Scotty 2 Hotty, followed by Spike Dudley and a short feud with Billy Gunn which ended with a match at the Great American Bash, which Suzuki won. Generally, he worked as a heel with two humorous gimmicks. One was convincing fans he was pro-American by poorly singing popular songs; the other was an obsession with busty wrestling divas such as Torrie Wilson (often earning Hiroko's great ire). Often at house shows and television tapings, the crowd would chant "USA! USA!", while Suzuki covered his ears and got down on one knee.
On the episode of SmackDown! airing September 9, Suzuki, along with Rene Dupree won the WWE Tag Team Championship, defeating Billy Kidman and Paul London. They lost the titles to Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio on the December 9 airing of SmackDown!. Van Dam and Mysterio retained the titles in a rematch at Armageddon. In singles action he briefly feuded with John Cena for the WWE United States Championship, at one point challenging him to a battle rap on the January 6, 2005 episode of SmackDown!.Suzuki failed to beat Cena.
He was soon injured with a collapsed lung and was moved over to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) immediately after his recovery, where he continued his training until he was ready to return to the main roster. Suzuki and Hiroko were traded to Raw on June 30, 2005 at the end of the Draft Lottery. On July 6, 2005, Suzuki was released from his WWE contract along with his wife Hiroko, before debuting on Raw.
Suzuki and his wife then returned to Japan, where he began competing for the off-beat Hustle promotion. In a match on December 25, 2005 both Suzuki and Hiroko were defeated by the team of Liosazer and Riser Glen. In one of his more humorous matches, he was defeated by Razor Ramon HG when he was pantsed during a Sunset Flip maneuver.
Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (2006)
After leaving the WWE, Suzuki got booked in Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) along with Mark Jindrak who went under the name of Marco Corleone who was doing an Italian gimmick. Instantly they were put in a feud with Shocker and Universo 2000. This led to a hairs match on June 12 which Corleone and Suzuki lost to the CMLL veterans. Suzuki was then used sparingly and eventually parted ways with the company.
Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (2007-2010)
On March 13, Suzuki was seen on Asistencia Asesoría y Administración after jumping from the rival CMLL. He is a part of the Legion Extranjera with Konnan as the ring leader. On July 7, Suzuki lost his hair in the main event of AAA's Triplemanía XV. Sean Waltman was also in the match with his fiancé, Alicia Webb. Suzuki has been an active member of Konnan's Legion Extranjera since his debut and he had an opportunity for the AAA World Heavyweight Championship against Cibernético. He has teamed up with the returning Electroshock who is also a member of the Legion Extranjera. They have feuded with La Parka and Octagón. As of Triplemania XVI he has received a mini who accompanied him to the ring for a six-man tag match teaming with Electroshock and Bobby Lashley to take on Chessman, La Parka, and the returning Silver King. Suzuki's team won in the end. Suzuki was part of the Rey de Reyes 2009 losing to La Parka on March 15.
After Triplemania XVII, Konnan's Legion Extranjera lost control of AAA; Konnan was suspended from Mexican wrestling for an indefinite time. At this time Legion Extranjera was dissolved leaving only Electroshock, Chessman, and Suzuki. Suzuki made an alliance with El Oriental and they formed their own team with Sugi San getting victories in their debut. They would lose to the Psycho Circus at Verano de Escandalo 2009. In December 2009 Suzuki re-joined La Legión Extranjera. He has not appeared for the promotion since June 2010.
Dragon Gate (2007)
On November 7, 2007, Suzuki made his debut in Dragon Gate as the surprise member of the Muscle Outlaw'z unit. He came out to Anthony W. Mori's entrance theme to trick the Typhoon unit into believing one of their own betrayed them. Suzuki competed in a six-man tag team match with new teammates Genki Horiguchi and Yasushi Kanda against CIMA, Dragon Kid, and Ryo Saito that resulted in a disqualification loss for his team after assaulting the referee. Afterward, he and the rest of the MO'z assaulted Dragon Kid and removed the ring ropes to be used against him. This set up a match between Suzuki and Dragon Kid at the big November 25 show in Osaka. He faced on November 18 Keni'chiro Arai in Fukuoka in his first match for the promotion.
All Japan Pro Wrestling (2010-Present)
On July 25, 2010, Suzuki, disguised under a La Parka mask, made his debut for All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), helping the Voodoo Murders put Keiji Mutoh through a table. Afterwards, Suzuki unmasked himself, adopted the ring name KENSO and joined the heel group, which also included his former tag team partner René Duprée. On November 20, 2010, KENSO entered the World's Strongest Tag Determination League, teaming with fellow Voodoo Murders member KONO. After winning six out of their eight round robin stage matches, KENSO and KONO finished first in the group and on December 7 defeated Ryota Hama and Suwama in the finals to win the 2010 World's Strongest Tag Determination League. KENSO and KONO received their shot at the AJPW Unified World Tag Team Championship on January 3, 2011, but were defeated by the defending champions, Akebono and Taiyō Kea. Shortly afterwards KENSO left the Voodoo Murders, turning face and on February 13, 2011, defeated KONO and Akebono in a three-way match to become the number one contender to the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, held by Suwama. On March 21 KENSO failed in his challenge for the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship. On June 19, KENSO and The Great Muta defeated Akebono and Ryota Hama to win the vacant AJPW Unified World Tag Team Championship. After losing the title to Dark Cuervo and Dark Ozz on October 23, Muta turned on KENSO.
Kenzo is the real-life husband of Hiroko.