Mitsunobu Kikuzawa (菊澤 光信 Kikuzawa Mitsunobu), better known by his wrestling persona Kikutaro (菊タロー Kikutarō) and formerly Ebessan (えべっさん Ebessan), is a freelance Japanese professional wrestler primarily competing for Kensuke Office, Osaka Pro Wrestling and Wrestle-1. Though best known for wrestling under a mask, he also regularly works unmasked under the ring name Kikuzawa (stylized in all capital letters), representing Tokyo Gurentai. Kikuzawa has also made appearances in North America, competing in promotions such as Chikara, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) and Ring of Honor (ROH).
Career[edit | edit source]
Kikuzawa started his wrestling career in 1994, wrestling under his birth name for Japanese hardcore wrestling promotions including FMW and W*ING. He was only a jobber and never made much of a name for himself at this stage in his career. Kikuzawa eventually signed with Osaka Pro Wrestling and Dramatic Dream Team (DDT), where he continued to use his real name while competing for DDT, but began wearing a mask while wrestling for Osaka Pro as a character named Ebessan (based on Ebisu, the Japanese god of good fortune); using comedic spots to get over with the crowd, Kikuzawa was immediately accepted by the Osaka Pro crowd. Moving up the ranks quickly in the comedic promotion, he soon made Osaka Pro his full-time home in 2001. He became well known for his rivalry with Kuishinbo Kamen, the two having many fun and comedic matches. They even worked as a tag team from time to time.
In 2006, he began competing for All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he continues to work primarily to this day. He often wrestles in the opening match, but occasionally teams with Keiji Mutoh.
In 2009, he gave away his Ebessan character to a regular Osaka Pro wrestler. He now competes freelance as his sole character, Kikutaro.
Tribute[edit | edit source]
Kikuzawa has been known to do tributes to many wrestlers throughout his career, either through subtle imitations or by doing full imitations of their gimmick. He typically includes a tribute to Keiji Mutoh in his matches by performing Mutoh's signature elbow drop and Shining Wizard, as well as using Mutoh's "love" pose. Kikuzawa has also done many tributes to wrestlers in "borrowing" their gimmicks by dressing in similar attire and performing their signature moves. Kikuzawa has famously imitated Stan Hansen, Abdullah the Butcher, Jushin Thunder Liger, Keiji Mutoh, Triple H, Bret Hart, Cactus Jack, Bill Goldberg, Kurt Angle, Ric Flair and Yuji Nagata.
Championships and accomplishments[edit | edit source]
- Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship (12 times)
- El Mejor de Máscara Championship
- NOSAWA Bom-Ba-Ye
- NGF Heavyweight Championship (1 time, current)
- Ultimate Superstars Action
- USA World Tag Team Championship (1 time, current) – with Hulk Puchihogan