Hiro Matsuda
Professional wrestling career
Height 186 centimeters (6 ft. 1 in.)
Weight 105 kilograms (231 lbs.)
Debut 1957

  Yasuhiro Kojima (小島 泰弘, Kojima Yasuhiro), better known by his ring name Hiro Matsuda (July 22, 1937 – November 27, 1999), was a Japanese/American professional wrestler and trainer. He trained many professional wrestlers including Hulk Hogan, Keiji Mutoh, "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, Scott Hall, Lex Luger, "Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr, and Ron Simmons.

Professional wrestling careerEdit

Kojima adopted his Hiro Matsuda identity while competing in the southern United States, inspired by earlier wrestlers Sorakichi Matsuda and Matty Matsuda. As a trainer, Matsuda was famous for being very stiff with his trainees to toughen them up and teach them to respect the business. His most famous story involved him being very tough on a young Hulk Hogan in his first day of training and breaking his leg. After Hogan healed, he came right back to Matsuda's school, looking to continue his training. Matsuda was so impressed by his display of "guts" that he trained him properly from that day on.

He initially debuted under his real name at Rikidozan's Japanese Wrestling Association, but then left Japan to pursue wrestling in the Americas. Once in a while he would return to Japan, where he formed a tag team with Antonio Inoki that was only the outward reflection of the long-time friendship between the two men.

He came to work in Jim Crockett Promotions in 1987 as a heel to participate in a feud between Dusty Rhodes and Lex Luger. Matsuda was in Luger's corner. During the feud, he was billed as "The Master of the Japanese Sleeper," a sleeper hold. He famously locked Johnny Weaver, who was in Rhodes' corner, in the hold. The prolonged application of the hold caused Weaver to bleed profusely from the mouth.

He later on worked briefly for World Championship Wrestling acting as the manager in early 1989 for the Yamasaki Corporation (a renamed Four Horsemen) and then being involved in Terry Funk's stable, The J-Tex Corporation as their business agent from Japan. As was the case with Tojo Yamamoto, he was frequently made the manager or spokesman of Japanese wrestlers on excursion in the United States. In this role, he "introduced" The Great Muta (managed by Gary Hart) on a World Championship Wrestling episode.

Kojima died in 1999 in Tampa, Florida of prostate cancer.[1]

In wrestlingEdit

  • Finishing moves
    • Japanese Sleeper (Sleeper hold)
  • Wrestlers managed
    • Yamasaki Corporation (Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Kendall Windham, Michael Hayes, Butch Reed)
  • Nicknames
    • "The Master of the Japanese Sleeper"

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit


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