Kohei Sato (佐藤 耕平 Satō Kōhei, born September 21, 1977) is a Japanese professional wrestler and mixed martial artist. He best known for his work in Pro Wrestling Zero1 (Zero1), where he is a former seven-times NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Champion, a current and longest reigning and record breaking six-times World Heavyweight Champion, a former one-time NWA United National Heavyweight Champions and a former one-time ZERO1-MAX United States Openweight Champion and the winner of the 2004 and 2015 Fire Festival and 2008 Passion Cup Tag Tournament and the 2010 Furinkazan and he was also co-vice president of the promotion with Masato Tanaka.
Sato also competes for Big Japan Pro Wrestling, where he is a former BJW World Strong Heavyweight Champion while he is a fomer one-time Yokohama Shopping Street 6-Man Tag Team Champions, a former three-times BJW Tag Team Champion alongside different partners collectively known as the Twin Towers. In the past, Sato competed for All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he is a former All Asia Tag Team Champion.
- 1 Early Life
- 2 Professional Wrestling Career
- 3 In wrestling
- 4 Championships and accomplishments
- 5 References
From a background in judo, Sato made his transition to mixed martial arts after meeting Kazunari Murakami and Sanshu Tsubakichi. Kohei Sato got his start as part of Shooto in the late 90’s. He would even make it to the finals and win the All Japan Amateur Shooto Championship by defeating Takashi Okada in the heavyweight class and later turning professional and gaining two wins over Anthony Netzler and Katsuhisa Fujii. He then retired from MMA in order to start in professional wrestling carrer.
Professional Wrestling Career
Pro Wrestling ZERO1 (2001-2003)
In 2001 Sato joined Pro Wrestling ZERO1, making his professional wrestling debut on June 14 losing to Greg Beilfuss. In Sepember Sato took part of his Fire Festival, finishing the tournament with three wins and one loss, advancing to the finals. At the finals ,Sato ended up losing to Shinjiro Otani. At end of the year, Sato got his revenge on Greg Beilfuss defeating him in a rematch. In May 2002 Sato formed a stable with Hirotaka Yokoi and Ryoji Sai named ROWDY. In 2003, he would embark overseas to begin growing and learning even more as a pro-wrestler.
Pro Wrestling WORLD1 (2004)
After Sato embarked overseas he woul make his debut in Pro Wrestling WORLD1 losing to Steve Corino. He would in Pro Wrestling WORLD1 for only the month of April and then he returned to Pro Wrestling ZERO-ONE.
Return to Pro Wrestling ZERO-ONE/ZERO1-MAX (2004-2007)
He would return home with a significant weight increase as he would then go to win the Zero-One United States Heavyweight Championship and later he would win the 2004 Fire Festival defeating Takao Omori in the finals. ZERO-ONE would undergo a name chance to ZERO1-MAX and Kohei would help usher the new era with the Young MAX stable. On November 11 Sato lost the Zero-One United States Heavyweight Championship to Steve Corino. Sato then competed in a tournament to crown the number 1º contender for the AWA World Heavyweight Championship making into the finals of the tournament before losing to Takao Omori in a rematch. On March 27, 2015 Sato lost to CW Anderson in a decision match for the vacant NWA United National Heavyweight Championship. On April 14, 2005, Sato and Ryoji Sai defeated Masato Tanaka and Wataru Sakata to win NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship. They would manage three defenses before losing the titles to Ikuto Hidaka and Minoru Fujita on October 10. On February 26 Sato defeated Sai to win the vacant NWA United National Heavyweight Championship. On June 20 Sato and Sai defeated Steve Corino and Yutaka Yoshie to win NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship for the second time. With this Sato became a double crown champion in the process. Four days later Sato and Sai lost the titles to Real Wild Child (Manabu Nakanishi and Takao Omori). On November 11 Sato lost the NWA United National Heavyweight Championship to Sai. On March 8, 2007 Sato and Yoshihiro Takayama defeated Nakanishi and Omori to win the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship. They lost the titles to Minoru Fujita and Takuya Sugawara on October 26. Sato's last match in ZERO1-MAX was on December 24 losing to Takao Omori. Afterwards, he would leave the promotion at this time due to the name changes of the promotion and such as the mangement.
Despite being a freelancer Sato still competed at Pro Wrestling Zero1 and later started to compete in promotions such as New Japan Pro Wrestling, Big Japan Pro Wrestling and HUSTLE. In Zero1 on September 6, 2008 Sato and Ryoji Sai defeated Shinjiro Otani and Tatsuhito Takaiwa in the finals to win the Passion Cup Tag Tournament. In March 2009 Sato ended his days as a freelancer rejoining ZERO1 after ZERO1, it’s new permanent name, had become stable as a promotion.
Second return to Pro Wrestling ZERO1 (2009-Present)
After Sato rejoined the promotion, Sato and KAMIKAZE defeated Osamu Namiguchi and Ryouji Sai to win the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship. This led on August 8 Sato losing to Sai at the finals of the Fire Festival. On October 24 Sato and KAMIKAZE lost the titles to Ikuto Hidaka and Munenori Sawa. On April 11, 2010 Sato defeated Toshiaki Kawada to win the World Heavyweight Championship. He would manage a total of two defenses before losing the title to Bambi Killer on July 11. At the end on the year, Sato and KAMIKAZE defeated Daisuke Sekimoto and Masato Tanaka to win the 2010 Furinkazan Tag League and the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship. In August 2011 Sato made into the finals of the Fire Festival losing to Daisuke Sekimoto at the finals. On September 14 Sato and KAMIKAZE lost the titles to Masato Tanaka and Zeus. Sato then would reclaim the World Heavyweight Championship defeating The Sheik on November 6, 2011. He would then lose the title to his tag team partner KAMIKAZE on February 1, 2012. Later that year, Sato would appear in Pro Wrestling NOAH as he made it known that he wanted to be a shot for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Though his efforts were futile as Takeshi Morishima was to defend the title against Sato. On March 3, 2014 Sato defeated James Raideen to win the World Heavyweight Championship. On July 6 Sato lost the title to Masakatsu Funaki in a Wrestle-1 event. Sato regained the title from Funaki on September 9. On June 7, 2015 Sato and Daisuke Sekimoto defeated Dangan Yankees (Masato Tanaka and Takashi Sugiura) to win the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship, becoming a double crown champion in the process. Sato then defeated Sekimoto on August 2 to win the 2015 Fire Festival. On November 11 Sato lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Hideki Suzuki. Sato reign became the longest reign in the title history with 408 days as champion. Sato regained the title from Suzuki on March 27, 2016, winning the title for the fifth time. This led on May 6 Sato and Sekimoto losing the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship to Masato Tanaka and James Raideen. After three title defenses, Sato lost the title to Tanaka on March 26, 2017. On September 14, Sato and Hideki Suzuki defeated Shogun Okamoto and Yutaka Yoshie to win the vacant NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship. On January 1, 2018, Sato and Suzuki lost the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship to Okamoto and Yoshie. On it was announced that Sato and Tanaka would become the new vice presidents of the promotion after a management change. On July 2, 2020 Pro Wrestling ZERO announced that Sato, Ikuto Hidaka, and Tatsuhito Takaiwa would leave the promotion following the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the promotion.
Big Japan Pro Wrestling (2013-Present)
In 2013 Sato began regularly competing in Big Japan Pro Wrestling. On December 29 Sato unsuccessfully challenged Daisuke Sekimoto for the BJW World Strong Heavyweight Championship. The following year Sato began teaming with Shuji Ishikawa as the "Twin Towers" with much success, defeating the team of Yuko Miyamoto and Isami Kodaka on May 31, 2014, to win the BJW Tag Team Championship. Sato and Ishikawa successfully retained the championships for 516 days, until they were defeated by Yuji Okabayashi and Daisuke Sekimoto on October 29, 2015. Sato and Ishikawa once again captured the BJW Tag Team Championships on May 30, 2016, defeating Hideyoshi Kamitani and Ryota Hama. They lost titles to Daisuke Seikimoto and Yuji Okabayashi on January 2, 2017. On December 17 Sato, Daisuke Sekimoto and Hideoyoshi Kamitani defeated Yasufumi Nakanoue, Ryota Hama and Shogun Okamoto to win the Yokohama Shopping Street 6-Man Tag Team Championship. On April 21, 2018 They lost the titles to Hama, Nakanoue and Yoshihisa Uto. On August 25, Sato defeated Okabayashi to win the BJW World Strong Heavyweight Championship. On November 4, Sato lost the title to Daichi Hashimoto. On December 18, Sato and Daisuke Sekimoto defeated Ryuichi Kawakami and Kazumi Kikuta in a decision match to win the BJW Tag Team Champions. On August 10, 2020, Sato and Daisuke Sekimoto lost the BJW Tag Team Championships to Fuminori Abe and Takuya Nomura.
On September 8, 2013 at Wrestle-1's inaugural event Sato and Ryoji Sai align themselves with Masayuki Kono after helping him beating up Masakatsu Funaki. Sato would then be sidelined with an injury and later replaced by Kazma Sakamoto on forming the Desperado stable. Sato later in 2014 returned to Wrestle-1 this time not align with Desperado. Sato last match in Wrestle-1 was on June 14, 2015 defeating Yasufumi Nakanoue.
- Finishing moves
- Bridging German suplex
- Cross armbreaker
- Spike Piledriver
- Pole Star (Scoop brainbuster)
- Signature moves
- Gutwrench suplex
- Harai goshi
- Modified omoplata
- Multiple kick variations
- Jumping high
- Spinning wheel
- Northern Lights suplex
- Tokyo Tower
- Entrance themes
- "Viva!" by Bond (ZERO1)
- "Satrap" (ZERO1; 2011–present; used occasionally)
Championships and accomplishments
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- Big Japan Pro Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #150 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016
- PIW ranked #266 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2017
- Pro Wrestling Zero1
- NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship (7 times) - with Ryoji Sai (2), Yoshihiro Takayama (1), KAMIKAZE (2), Daisuke Sekimoto (1) and Hideki Suzuki (1)
- NWA United National Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- World Heavyweight Championship (6 times)
- ZERO1-MAX United States Openweight Championship (1 time)
- Fire Festival (2004, 2015)
- Furinkazan (2010) - with KAMIKAZE
- Furinkazan (2018) - with SUGI
- Passion Cup Tag Tournament (2008) - with Ryoji Sai
- World Entertainment Wrestling
- ja:Zero1「謹賀新年」 (in Japanese). Pro Wrestling Zero1. Retrieved on 2018-01-01.
- Pro Wrestling ZERO1-MAX roster . ZEROONEUSA.com. Retrieved on 2007-07-04.
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2016 . The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved on 2016-09-01.