Osamu Matsuda (松田 納 Matsuda Osamu) (born April 19, 1966) is a Japanese professional wrestler who is best known for his work in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and is better known by his stage name El Samurai.
Professional wrestling career
Early years (1986–1992)
Osamu Matsuda graduated from high school in 1985, and joined the NJPW Dojo. He debuted in July 1986 and spent a few years working at the bottom of the card, wrestling with the likes of Kensuke Sasaki, Kenichi Oya, and Takayuki Iizuka. In March 1991 he went on a learning excursion to Mexico, and while working for the UWA promotion, adopted a mask and the El Samurai stage name.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (1992–2008)
El Samurai returned to NJPW in March 1992. A month later, he made it to the finals of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, in which he lost to Jushin Thunder Liger. Two months later, he defeated Liger for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. He would lose the title to Ultimo Dragon in November 1992. During that time, he would constantly team with Takayuki Iizuka and Akira Nogami in multi-man tag team matches.
In April 1994, El Samurai took part in the Super J-Cup tournament; he defeated Masayoshi Motegi in the first round, before losing to The Great Sasuke in the quarterfinals. In December 1995, he entered into the second Super J-Cup tournament, but he didn't fare as well as the year before, as he lost to Dos Caras in the first round. In August 1996, he took part in a tournament to determine the first J-Crown champion. At the time, El Samurai was the WWF World Light Heavyweight Champion. He defeated Gran Hamada in the first round, before losing to eventual winner The Great Sasuke in the quarterfinals.
In 1997, El Samurai adopted a new attire and won the Best of the Super Junior tournament, defeating Koji Kanemoto in the final match, during which his mask was torn completely off his face. The match was later given five stars by Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer. One month later, he defeated Liger to win the J-Crown, which at that time consisted of seven unified junior heavyweight championships due to Liger losing one of the eight titles (the WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship) before the title match with El Samurai. In March 2001, he and Liger won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
In April 2004 El Samurai unmasked willingly for the first time since adopting the character, going by his real name, Osamu Matsuda, for a match against Osamu Nishimura, but it was for one night only. Up until at the end of January 2005, he was unmasked again in a MUGA-style match against Shinsuke Nakamura. Though El Samurai has not been a top contender in the NJPW Junior Heavyweight division for a few years, he still continues to be a veteran in it, recently winning a second IWGP Junior Heavyweight tag team title, this time with rookie Ryusuke Taguchi.
On February 1, 2008, NJPW agreed to let El Samurai leave the company after his contract expired, due to him suffering from by injuries that limited his appearances in late 2007 and early 2008.
On February 17, El Samurai appeared in All Japan Pro Wrestling, aiding Kaz Hayashi and Shuji Kondo by fending off Nosawa Rongai and MAZADA. On May 8, 2010, El Samurai returned to New Japan to take part in the tournament contested for the vacant IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. El Samurai and his partner, former rival Koji Kanemoto, advanced to the finals of the tournament, where they defeated the team of Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi to win the titles.
- Finishing moves
- Chickenwing armlock, sometimes with neckscissors)
- Samurai Bomb (Kneeling one shoulder powerbomb)
- Samurai Clutch (Reverse side roll cradle) – adopted from Osamu Kido
- Signature moves
- Cross armbreaker
- DDT, sometimes inverted
- Diving elbow drop
- Diving headbutt
- German suplex
- Kneeling reverse piledriver
- Suicide dive
- Tornado DDT
- Entrance themes
- "The Unforgiven" by Robert Tepper (1988–1992)
- "Terrible Gift" by Osamu Suzuki (1992–present)
Championships and accomplishments
- Michinoku Pro Wrestling
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Jushin Thunder Liger (1), Ryusuke Taguchi (1) and Koji Kanemoto (1)
- J-Crown (1 time)
- NWA World Welterweight Championship (1 time)
- UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- Best of the Super Juniors (1997)
- DREAM* Win Junior Tag Team Tournament (2002) – with Gedo
- G1 Climax Junior Heavyweight Tag League (2001) – Jushin Thunder Liger
- One Night's Captain's Fall Tournament (1994) – with Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada and Shinjiro Otani
- Super J Tag Tournament (2010) – with Koji Kanemoto
- Social Pro Wrestling Federation
- One Night Junior Heavyweight Tournament (1994)
- Universal Wrestling Association
- UWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- UWA World Middleweight Championship (1 time)
- WWF Light Heavyweight Championship (2 times)1
- Wrestle Association "R"
- WAR International Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Jushin Thunder Liger
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- 5 Star Match (1997) vs. Koji Kanemoto on June 5
- Most Improved Wrestler (1992)
1No reign prior to December 1997 is officially recognized by WWE.
- OWOW . Onlineworldofwrestling.