Become The Wind... Jon Moxley & Minoru Suzuki Battle This Wednesday on AEW Dynamite
At fifty-three years of age, Minoru Suzuki is one of the most feared, and respected, men in professional wrestling across the board. That was the case on Sunday night when he surprised Jon Moxley, as well as the AEW fans, when he arrived at ALL OUT 2021 following Mox's victory over Satoshi Kojima, and it has been the case ever since Suzuki entered into professional wrestling on June 23, 1988 after training in the New Japan dojo.
First competing in amateur wrestling, thanks in part to inspiration from the legendary Antonio Inoki, Minoru Suzuki was a champion in freestyle wrestling, coming in second nationwide as an Olympic alternate. He even bested future pro wrestling rival, and recent Moxley foe, Yuji Nagata in high school as well as in the Japanese sectionals. It was a pedigree that had MiSu ripe for his pro wrestling battles in NJPW. A great majority of his early battles came against men such as Takayuki Iizuka, Osama Matsuda (the future El Samurai), and another future Puroesu legend in Kensuke Sasaki. Eventually, in March of 1989, Suzuki would even get to fight the very man who inspired his sojourn into wrestling many years prior when he battled Inoki one-on-one.
That fight would actually prove to be one of the last battles Minoru had in New Japan Pro Wrestling for fourteen years as he and Masakatsu Funaki joined mentor Yoshiaki Fujiwara in jumping to the Reborn UWF promotion to compete alongside men such as Akira Maeda, Kiyoshi Tamura, Nobuhiku Takada, Yoji Anjo, and Norman Smiley. It was style of pro wrestling dubbed “shoot-style” by many, and even after the Reborn UWF closed its doors in 1990, Suzuki, Fujiwara, and Funaki would continue the tradition on into Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi. It was a roster that consisted of those three individuals, as well as other familiar names like Sho Funkai, Ken Shamrock, Minoru Tanaka/HEAT, Jerry Flynn, and even Glen Jacobs (yes THAT Glen Jacobs).
Suzuki's involvement with Fujiwara Gumi produced tremendous fights against Ken Shamrock, Jerry Flynn, and other, but would only last until December 1992 when he and Matuskatsu Funaki departed to form the legendary PANCRASE: HYBRID WRESTLING promotion. In this MMA world, Minoru was a dominant force for a decade with a 30-19 record that included 22 submissions wins, as well as 3 KO/TKO victories, with bouts against the likes of Ken and Frank Shamrock, Vernon “Tiger” White, Bas Rutten, Guy Metzger, his own mentor Masakatsu Funaki, and even Jushin Liger. He even kicked off his run in the promotion with a seven fight win streak that was brought to an end by one of Bas' infamous liver shots. To this day, PANCRASE's familiar red-and-black X logo has been adopted by many around the world, demonstrating what kind of influence this company had on mixed martial arts, pro wrestling, and the general fighting world.
In 2003, Minoru Suzuki made his return to pro wrestling alongside Yusuke Fuke under the PANCRASE MISSION banner, and quickly made an impact on NJPW. Bouts against Koji Kanemoto, Yoshihiro Takayama, Katsuyori Shibata, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Yuji Nagata, as well as his oldest foe Iizuka, sent a message that Minoru was back in pro wrestling with a vengeance!
In Takayama, MiSo would find an ally who liked the violence of pro wrestling as much as he, and the two would unite to claim the IWGP Tag Team Titles in February 2004, the first pro wrestling title of Suzuki's career, and reign as champions until they were stripped of the titles in late '04 due to Takayama's injuries, and Minoru would fail to win the vacant titles with old foe Kensuke Sasaki as his partner.
During the course of that reign, 2004 would be a wild year for Minoru Suzuki as he and Takayama would defend the tag titles on four occasions, including in Pro Wrestling NOAH, and he would compete there as a solo wrestling as well against future partner Naomichi Marufuji. Minoru would battle a young Bryan Danielson, Shinsuke Nakamura, Hiroki Goto, and Rocky Romero that year. He would first battle old Reborn UWF mate Minoru Tanaka (then competing as HEAT) before taking him on as a partner, challenge both Kensuke Sasaki and Hiroshi Tenzan for the IWGP Heavyweight Title, and compete in the 2004 G1 Tournament! That was just within his first year back in pro wrestling after a decade removed from NJPW.
But Suzuki was not done yet as he started 2005 by challenging Kenta Kobashi for NOAH's GHC Heavyweight Title in January, would take on Marufuji as a partner alongside whom he would hold the GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Titles for 132 days, would return to NJPW for the G1 Climax, back to NOAH for a must-see clash with KENTA, back to NJPW, over to WRESTLE-1, drop in on KENSUKE OFFICE, fight Jun Akiyama for the GHC Heavyweight Title in early 2006, jump to All Japan Pro Wrestling for the Champion's Carnival, show up in K-DOJO, then say hello to Dragon Gate before going to RJPW for the 25th Anniversary Tiger Mask show and then appearing for BIG MOUTH LOUD. All that is just through June of 2006 so it is safe to say the picture has been painted for what a true freelance wrestler's life can look like, Minoru Suzuki could appear at anytime, absolutely anywhere, and be the scariest man in the building for any promotion. Or he could appear at UD: 60 to battle Mecha Mummy; the man can present in all forms and never lose that edge that makes all around him feel like violence could erupt at any moment.
But, for the next several years, despite all that traveling, Minoru Suzuki would settle into AJPW quite comfortably and claim his first singles titles on 9/3/06, the illustrious Triple Crown Title, and hold that championship for 357 days with defenses against Yuji Nagata, TAJIRI, and Keiji Muto. In All Japan, Suzuki would also form the first of his stables, GURENTAI, and begin a tradition that surround him to this day with SUZUKI-GUN. Alongside his stable member Nosawa Rongai, Suzuki would claim the reborn All Asia Tag Team titles in January 2009, adding them to the All Japan World Tag Team Titles he was holding at the moment with Taiyo Kea. The former he would reign with for 263 days while the latter would stay in his grasp for over 550 days! The dominance of Minoru Suzuki in professional wrestling was unquestionable, and he would continue to build it by traveling to Mexico for Toryumon Mexico and CMLL, as well as continue to tour into any promotion in Japan. Be it AJPW, OZ, MAKEHEN where he first encountered Lance Archer, Zero-1, or Michinoku Pro, if there was a fight to be fought, Minoru Suzuki would be there.
That desire for the fight would bring Suzuki victory in the 2009 and 2010 AJPW Champion Carnival against Kaz Hayashi in the former, and mentor Masakatsu Funkai in the latter. It would bring him success in the form of a second Triple Crown Title reign in 2010 that lasted just 119 days, and would bring him his accolades when SUZUKI-GUN would invade NJPW in 2011 and he would win the G1 Tag League alongside Lance Archer.
Even with this return to his home base, even with SUZUKI-GUN reeking havoc in NJPW, Suzuki did what he has always done and traversed the landscape of professional wrestling. Eventually those travels would bring he, Archer, and the rest of SG back to Pro Wrestling NOAH where MiSo would become the king of their mountain in March of 2015 by beating his former partner, Naomichi Marufuji! Eventually, on his third try in December of that year, Marufuji would wrest the championship back into his own hands, but in the interim, Minoru would best old friend Takayama, Takashi Suguira, and Taniguchi, before that defeat. Still, his success would continue, as “The King” would win NOAH's Global League in 2016 and set himself up for a GHC Title . shot against Katsuhiko Nakajima. MiSu may have lost, but he gave Nakajima the fight of his life on the way there.
Then, in 2017, SUZUKI-GUN returned to NJPW and brought their signature violence with them. Within a month, Suzuki was challenging Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Title, battled Shibata in the first round of the New Japan Cup a month after that, and claimed the NEVER Openweight Title a month after that by beating Goto. That title stayed in his death grip for 252 days when Goto took it back, but within a matter of weeks Minoru Suzuki had BOTH the RevPro British Tag Team Titles in his possession (with Zack Sabre Jr), as well as the IWGP Intercontinental Title! In 2018, Suzuki would also capture the RevPro British Heavyweight Title from Tomohiro Ishii; as always, as with every promotion in which Suzuki had competed, his impact was sudden and violent, and with the SUZUKI-GUN army at his back, it created utter chaos everywhere they went.
Be it the New Japan Cup, the World Tag League, or the G1 Climax tournament, “The King” was always there to bring the violence, and it would even bring him a second reign as NEVER Openweight Champion that created two epic clashes with Shingo Tagakai. Prior to those hard-hitting encounters though, early in 2020, Minoru inserted himself into the life of then-IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley:
- Suzuki attacks Moxley! Will the USA have a King?
- Jon Moxley lays out Minoru Suzuki at New Year Dash!
- The Kiss of Death from Moxley to Suzuki
- Two hour collection! Every Jon Moxley US Title Match
Now, with a thirst for vengeance and violence that can never be quelled, “The King” Minoru Suzuki decimated any remnants of The Forbidden Door and arrived here in All Elite Wrestling last Sunday night to lay out the former AEW World Champion with his signature Gotch-Style Piledriver (a move, mind you, that Mox himself as used on occasion)!
Now that the history lesson is over, the time for Minoru Suzuki and Jon Moxley to hurt one another is upon us! Be sure to join us on Wednesday night at 8pm EDT for DYNAMITE: ALL OUT FALLOUT, live on TNT or AEWPlus.com, to witness two practitioners of beautiful violence unleash hell upon one another!