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Satoshi Kojima

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Satoshi Kojima (September 4, 1970) is a Japanese professional wrestler and currently works as a freelancer in Japan. As a singles wrestler, he was the first wrestler to hold NJPW's IWGP Heavyweight Championship and AJPW's Triple Crown Championship simultaneously. As a team, he and Hiroyoshi Tenzan became the first team to won G1 Climax Tag League and World's Strongest Tag Team League on the same year. In New Japan Pro Wrestling, Kojima is the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion in his second reign.

Before Wrestling

Like many Japanese wrestlers, Kojima has a background in Judo, but he chose not to continue the sport when he went to college. He got his start loading trucks for New Japan Pro Wrestling & after some months of persuasion finally convinced head trainer Animal Hamaguchi to accept him into the dojo.

Career

New Japan Pro Wrestling (1991–2002)

Kojima entered the New Japan Pro Wrestling dojo in February 1991. He debuted as a wrestler on September 14 in a match against Hiroyoshi Yamamoto, who would later adopt the stage name of Hiroyoshi Tenzan. In 1994 he defeated Manabu Nakanishi in the Young Lions Cup finals, winning the tournament. In the end of that year he went to Europe, and returned to NJPW in January 1996. When he returned, he formed The Bull Powers with Nakanishi, who had returned from WCW. In May 1997 he defeated Riki Chōshū and Kensuke Sasaki with Nakanishi to become an IWGP Tag Team Champion for the first time. At the end of 1998 he joined nWo Japan, by Keiji Mutoh's leadership. Kojima and Tenzan (known together as Ten-Koji, a portemanteau of their last names) formed a tag team and ended up holding the IWGP Tag Team titles together two times.

All Japan Pro Wrestling (2002–2010)

In January 2002, in opposition to Antonio Inoki focusing the IWGP title on unreliable shoot style wrestlers such as Kazuyuki Fujita and Tadao Yasuda, Kojima left NJPW with his mentor Keiji Mutoh, and joined All Japan Pro Wrestling where he was finally able to receive the push of a top star. He held both of the company's tag team titles, the AJPW Double Cup Tag Team Championship twice. On February 16, 2005, he won the Triple Crown, AJPW's unified heavyweight championship from Toshiaki Kawada. Only four days later he won NJPW's heavyweight championship, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, from his former tag team partner Hiroyoshi Tenzan in a cross-promotional double title match. On May 14, 2005, Tenzan won the IWGP title back, but not the Triple Crown.

Upon joining AJPW, Kojima began to use the Great Koji (copying The Great Muta) and Great Kosuke (copying The Great Sasuke) personas for special matches.

On July 3, 2006 Kojima lost the Triple Crown to Taiyō Kea. Three days later it was revealed that Kojima would return to New Japan to compete in the 2006 G-1 Climax, where he would go to lose in the finals against former tag team partner and rival Hiroyoshi Tenzan.

In October 2006 it was announced that TenKoji would reform for the upcoming World's Strongest Tag Team League tournament. On December 2, 2006 the reformed TenKoji won the Real World Tag League defeating Kohei Suwama and RO'Z in the finals when Kojima used a lariat on RO'Z. The duo next faced Masahiro Chono and Keiji Muto at the NJPW/AJPW Wrestle Kingdom at the Tokyo Dome. They lost when Chono forced Tenzan to submit.

In July 2007, Kojima shocked the All-Japan Army when he betrayed them and joined the Voodoo Murders, where he was quickly made the group's co-leader along with TARU. Soon after joining, Kojima and TARU won the AJPW Unified World Tag Team Championships from Toshiaki Kawada and Taiyō Kea. Kojima left the group in 2008 after returning from injury to side with his sworn friend Hiroyoshi Tenzan and to feud with the alliance of Great Bash Heel (Tenzan's former group) and the VooDoo Murders.

In 2008, Tenzan and Kojima became the first tag team to ever win G1 Climax Tag League and Real World Tag League in the same year. Later he started his 1st stable named F4 (Friend Fight Fan and Future) with young proteges YAMATO and KAI. A 4th member in ZODIAC joined later in 2009. On September 26, 2009 a few days after his 39th birthday Kojima lifted the All-Japan Triple Crown off of Yoshihiro Takayama, returning the titles to All-Japan and winning them for the 2nd time. He lost the title on March 21, 2010 to Ryota Hama.

Kojima's AJPW page was taken down soon before he agreed to compete in New Japan Pro Wrestling's 20th annual G1 Climax. It's reported that he was plagued with an arm injury that required surgery and needed time off to heal. AJPW then refused to discuss resigning Kojima until he was healthy. It's been reported Kojima was not pleased with this and began entertaining other possibilities. It is however still unknown where he may end up.

Return to New Japan (2010)

Kojima returned to New Japan in August 2010 in order to take part in the 2010 G1 Climax tournament. His return match took place on August 6, 2010, when he teamed up with El Samurai in a tag team match, where they were defeated by Hirooki Goto and Ryusuke Taguchi. In the round robin stage of the tournament Kojima won five out his seven matches and won his block to advance to the finals, where, on August 15, he defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win G1 Climax. On October 11 Kojima defeated Togi Makabe to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the second time. On December 11 Kojima made his first successful defense of the title, defeating Shinsuke Nakamura.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

External links

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