Masahiro Chono (September 17, 1963) is an American born-Japanese professional wrestler. He primarily wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), but has also made appearances for the now defunct World Championship Wrestling, as a member of the New World Order. Chono was also known as Mister Black Jack when he first started as a villain. He is a former NWA World Champion and IWGP Heavyweight Champion. For those less familiar with wrestling, he has become well known for his appearances on the new year's specials of Downtown's Gaki no Tsukai No-Laughing batsu games. His ritual appearance always involves slapping Hōsei Tsukitei in the face.
Professional wrestling career
New Japan Pro Wrestling (1984–2010)
Early years (1984–1989)
Chōno debuted in 1984 against Keiji Mutoh at a New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) event in Saitama, Japan. In 1987, he defeated Shinya Hashimoto to win the Young Lions Cup. After winning the tournament, he went on an excursion that started in Europe, wrestling for Otto Wanz's Catch Wrestling Association.
After a while in Europe, Chono went on an excursion to North America, starting in the United States, where he wrestled in NWA territories in the Kansas City and Alabama areas. He would also later wrestle in the Canadian Maritimes and in Puerto Rico, where he, Hashimoto, and Mutoh formed The The Three Musketeers.
Chono returned to NJPW part-time in July 1988. In April 1989, he took part in the IWGP Heavyweight Championship tournament, held at New Japan's very first show at the Tokyo Dome; he lost to eventual winner of the tournament and new champion Big Van Vader in the quarterfinals. During this time, he would return to the United States and have a brief run in Australia.
Rise to superstardom (1989–1994)
Upon Chono's return to New Japan in October 1989, on February 10, 1990, he wrestled in the main-event of NJPW's second Tokyo Dome show, teaming with Shinya Hashimoto against Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi, on April 27 he won the IWGP Tag Team Championship with Mutoh, and on December 26 he defeated his mentor, wrestling legend Lou Thesz, when Thesz came out of retirement for one last match. The next year, Chono solidified his main-event status with an amazing performance in the first G1 Climax tournament, winning the tournament in a thirty-minute final over Mutoh.
He won the tournament again in 1992, winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in the process. Since then, he has won the tournament on three more occasions. On September 23, 1992, Chono suffered a serious neck injury while defending the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Steve Austin. On January 4, 1993, he lost the NWA World title to IWGP Heavyweight champion The Great Muta in a Title vs. Title match. Around 1993, he participated in his third G1 Climax tournament, but he did not win, like he did the last two years, losing to Hiroshi Hase in the semi-finals. In January 1994, he received a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Shinya Hashimoto; he would ultimately lose the match. In August 1994, he won his third G1 Climax tournament, defeating Power Warrior in the finals.
Heel turn, nWo, and Team 2000 (1994–2004)
A short time after winning his third G1 Climax, Chono underwent a change in attitude. Originally a clean-cut fan favorite during his NWA World title reign, he turned heel. Chono's partnering with Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Hiro Saito as "Team Wolf" provided a foundation to NJPW's nWo Japan. Establishing himself as leader of its Japanese sister stable, Chono joined the American nWo in December 1996 as it was gaining momentum in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He would also join its successor, Team 2000, which would eventually restructure again. In a match against WCW's Bill Goldberg, Chono supposedly "shot" the match (actually employing legitimate combat) and dislocated his shoulder.
Upon returning to Japan, Chono rejoined NJPW, where he achieved much success. He won the IWGP Tag Team Titles on six occasions and also won the very prestigious IWGP Heavyweight Title in 1998. In 2002, Chono won his fourth G1 Climax tournament. He also became a booker for NJPW around this time. In 2003, Chono briefly joined Pro Wrestling NOAH for a handful of matches and was defeated by GHC Champion Kenta Kobashi on May 2 of that year. On October 13, he lost to Hulk Hogan.
Black New Japan and ChoTen (2004–2007)
In early 2004, Chono became the leader of the Black New Japan stable, which was the most dominating heel stable in NJPW until it was disbanded by Riki Chōshū. As a reaction to this, Chono lead an "Anti-Chōshū Army" with Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Black Strong Machine. Chono won the 2005 G1 Climax tournament, thus having achieved a record-setting five G1 victories. His success in the G1 has given him the nickname Mr. August.
On October 30, 2005, Masahiro Chono and Tenzan defeated the team of Shinsuke Nakamura and Hiroshi Tanahashi to win their fifth IWGP Tag Team Championship. The team went on to rename themselves Cho-Ten, a portmanteau of the members' names. They were stripped of the titles in late 2006 after they split up, and refused to defend them together. Masahiro Chono formed a stable with Shinsuke Nakamura in 2006 called Chono and Nakamura-gun, which began feuding with Tenzan's new group, GBH.
Chono continued to wrestle full-time in 2007, but also began working as a promoter, with New Japan permitting him to set up cards in different areas of Japan. Following the 2007 G1 Climax, it appears that Chono may be breaking away from his BLACK faction and forming a legends stable, having asked in wrestlers such as Riki Chōshū, Jushin "Thunder" Liger, Shiro Koshinaka, and AKIRA.
Outside of wrestling, he has appeared on Gaki no Tsukai "No Laughing Batsu Game" as one of the attackers, usually giving Hosei Yamazaki a trademark slap to the face. He has since continued to appear in the yearly No Laughing Batsu games, and has not only slapped Hosei, but also comedians Tanaka Noike and Hamada Mashatoshi.
In January 2010 it was reported that Chono would be leaving New Japan and becoming a freelancer, after spending most of his career with the company.
In March 2010, Chono wrestled two matches since leaving New Japan, during a Samurai Festival. For the special occasion, Chono portrayed Nobunaga Oda. On both days, he wrestled AKIRA, who portrayed Mitsuhide Akechi. On the first day, he won, but lost the next day.
On July 31, 2010, Chono announced he is heading to All-Japan and wrestle in the Taiwan tour in November.
On August 15, 2010, Chono returned to New Japan to serve as the special ring announcer for the G1 Climax final match between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Satoshi Kojima.
On November 5 and 6, Chono appeared in All Japan's Taiwan shows. On November 5, Chono and Mutoh defeated the Voodoo Murders (TARU and Rene Dupree). The following day, Chono teamed with Mutoh and Masakatsu Funaki to defeat the Voodoo Murders (Dupree, KENSO, and Joe Doering).
In December 2010, Chono began working for Antonio Inoki's Inoki Genome Federation as a booker.
On March 6, 2011, Chono entered Pro Wrestling ZERO1 for their 10th Anniversary Show. There he defeated Daichi Hashimoto in his debut match.
On August 14, Chono will return to Osaka Pro, this time teaming with TAJIRI and Zeus against Kuuga, Orochi, and Tadasuke.
All Japan Pro Wrestling (2013–present)
In January 2013, Chono signed with All Japan Pro Wrestling as an advisor.
On December 28, 1991, Chono married his wife, Martina Carlsbad, whom he met while on an excursion in Germany in 1987. Together they have one son (born July 4, 2006) and one daughter (born August 2009).
In late-June 1995, Chono's father passed away. His death forced Chono to miss an IWGP Tag Team title defense and take a hiatus, which forced him and Hiroyoshi Tenzan to vacate the titles on July 7, 1995.
- Finishing moves
- Kenka Kick (Running arched big boot)
- Multiple STF variations
- Shining Kenka Kick (Single leg running front dropkick to the face of a kneeling opponent while using their knee for leverage)
- Signature moves
- With Hiroyoshi Tenzan
- "Mr. Black Jack"
- "Mr. G1"
- "Mr. August"
- Entrance themes
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- "Team 2000 Crash" (2013–present)
- Catch Wrestling Association
- "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC (1994)
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- "Soca & So On" by Paul Mauriat (1984–1989)
- "Fantastic City" (1989–1992)
- "Fantastic City '92" (1992–1994)
- "Main Eventer" (August 5, 1993)
- "Crash" (1994–1996)
- "nWo Crash" (1996–1999)
- "Team 2000 Crash" (1999–2010)
- Pro Wrestling NOAH
- "Hard Crush" (2003)
- World Championship Wrestling
- "Pacific Zone" (1991–1992)
- "1,000 Suns" (1995–1996, 2000)
- "Tear It Up" by J.Hart and H.Helm (1996–1997)
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
Championships and accomplishments
- Central States Wrestling / World Wrestling Alliance
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- IWGP Tag Team Championship (7 times) – with Keiji Mutoh (2), Hiroyoshi Tenzan (5)
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- G1 Climax (1991, 1992, 1994, 2002, 2005)
- G1 Tag League (2006) – with Shinsuke Nakamura
- Super Grade Tag League (1995) – with Hiroyoshi Tenzan
- Super Grade Tag League (1997) – with Keiji Mutoh
- Teisen Hall Six-Man Tournament (2002) – with Giant Singh and Giant Silva
- Japan/China Friendship Tournament (1990)
- Young Lion Cup (1987)
- Heavyweight MVP Award (2005)
- Singles Best Bout (2002) vs. Yuji Nagata on October 26
- Singles Best Bout (2005) vs. Kazuyuki Fujita on August 14
- Tag Team Best Bout (2002) with Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Manabu Nakanishi and Osamu Nishimura on June 5
- Tag Team Best Bout (2004) with Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Shinsuke Nakamura on October 24
- NJPW New Year Tag Team Tournament (1990) - with Shiro Koshinaka
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #28 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI 500 in 1997
- PWI ranked him #70 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003
- Tokyo Sports Grand Prix
- Fighting Spirit Award (1991, 2002)
- Performance Award (1992)
- Tag Team of the Year (1990)- with Keiji Mutoh
- Tag Team of the Year (1995)- with Hiroyoshi Tenzan
- Tag Team of the Year (1996)- with Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Hiro Saito
- Wrestler of the Year (1997)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
|NWA World Heavyweight Champions|
Orville Brown • Lou Thesz • Leo Nomellini • Whipper Billy Watson • Édouard Carpentier • Dick Hutton • Pat O'Connor • Buddy Rogers • Bobo Brazil • Gene Kiniski • Dory Funk, Jr. • Harley Race • Jack Brisco • Giant Baba • Terry Funk • Dusty Rhodes • Tommy Rich • Ric Flair • Kerry Von Erich • Ron Garvin • Ricky Steamboat • Sting • Tatsumi Fujinami • Masahiro Chono • The Great Muta • Barry Windham • Shane Douglas • Chris Candido • Dan Severn • Naoya Ogawa • Gary Steele • Mike Rapada • Sabu • Steve Corino • Shinya Hashimoto • Ken Shamrock • Ron Killings • Jeff Jarrett • A.J. Styles • Raven • Rhino • Christian Cage • Abyss • Adam Pearce • Brent Albright • Blue Demon, Jr. • Colt Cabana • The Sheik • Kahagas • Rob Conway (current)