Masato Tanaka (田中 正人, ring name: 田中 将斗 Tanaka Masato, born February 28, 1973) is a Japanese professional wrestler, best known for his appearances with Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling in Japan and in Extreme Championship Wrestling in the United States where he was a one-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion. He is currently working for Pro Wrestling ZERO1 where he is a former Zero1 World Heavyweight Champion and he's also co vice president of the promotion with Kohei Sato.
Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling (1993–1999)
Originally a trainee for George and Shunji Takano's Pro Wrestling Crusaders, Tanaka transferred to Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling and trained under Atsushi Onita, and debuted on July 23, 1993 in Saga City, facing Ricky Fuji. He quickly began moving up the card in FMW, widely regarded as the most hardcore professional wrestling promotion in Japan. Wrestling in matches featuring explosions and barbed wire, Tanaka earned a variety of scars, and the nickname "BuDangan", which he would often shout during his matches. By 1996 he was one of the promotion's major stars, and had feuded with such luminaries as Mr. Pogo, Mr. Gannosuke, Terry Funk and Mike Awesome. His feud with Awesome would eventually span ten years and two continents. In December 1999, he left FMW for ECW, after he and Tetsuhiro Kuroda lost to H and Mr. Gannosuke.
Return to Japan (2000–present)
Tanaka returned to FMW in the spring of 2000, briefly feuding with H, before joining forces with H (by now back under the Hayabusa persona) to feud with Team No Respect, until leaving in February 2001, allegedly as a result of animosity between him and the owner of FMW, Shoichi Arai, mostly over Kodo Fuyuki's role as booker. Before departing FMW, Tanaka formed the "Complete Players" stable with former Fuyuki protégés Gedo and Jado, as well as real-life sweetheart Kaori Nakayama. They would work on the Japanese independent circuit, making appearances for Pro Wrestling ZERO-ONE and All Japan Pro Wrestling. Tanaka wrestled Shinya Hashimoto on the March 2 ZERO-ONE anniversary show, impressing ZERO-ONE officials and earning himself a job.
In January 2002 Tanaka formed a tag team named "Emblem" with Shinjiro Otani, with whom he twice won the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championships. In February 2004, he turned heel and sided with the "Apache Army". In September 2004 he formed his own stable, "Team Erotics", continuing his feud with Otani. In late 2007, he was chosen to lead a new stable named "Sword Army", the name was chosen by fans in a contest. Takao Omori was also given a stable named "Axe Army" to compete against Tanaka.
In mid-2009 Tanaka returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling as an outsider. He reformed the Complete Players with Jado and Gedo, and he participated in the 2009 G1 Climax tournament, although he failed to advance past the block stages. In New Japan, he's an ally of the stable, CHAOS, especially Jado, Gedo and Yujiro Takahashi. On October 10, 2011, at Destruction '11, Tanaka defeated MVP to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, becoming only the second champion in the title's history. He would make his first successful title defense on November 12 at Power Struggle against Hirooki Goto. On December 4, Tanaka defeated MVP in a rematch, with help from Yujiro Takahashi, to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. On January 4, 2012, at Wrestle Kingdom VI in Tokyo Dome, where Tanaka and Takahashi were defeated by MVP and Shelton Benjamin in a tag team match. On February 12 at The New Beginning, Tanaka lost the IWGP Intercontinental Championship to Hirooki Goto in his fourth defense.
On November 15, 2012, Tanaka entered a tournament to determine the inaugural NEVER Openweight Champion. After wins over KUSHIDA, Taishi Takizawa and Tomohiro Ishii, Tanaka defeated Karl Anderson in the finals of the tournament on November 19 to become the inaugural NEVER Openweight Champion. Tanaka made his first successful title defense on January 4, 2013, at Wrestle Kingdom 7 in Tokyo Dome, where he defeated Shelton Benjamin. Tanaka's second successful title defense took place on February 3, when he defeated CHAOS stablemate Tomohiro Ishii. On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2013, Tanaka made his third successful title defense against Tomoaki Honma. On July 20, Tanaka made his fourth successful title defense against Tetsuya Naito. On September 29 at Destruction, Tanaka lost the NEVER Openweight Championship in a rematch with Naito, ending his reign at 314 days.
After forming the Dangan Yankies stable in Zero1, Tanaka began working for Pro Wrestling Noah in early 2014, teaming with stablemate Takashi Sugiura. On April 27, the two defeated Katsuhiko Nakajima and Naomichi Marufuji to win the 2014 Global Tag League. On May 6, Tanaka and Sugiura won the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship. On May 31, Tanaka and Sugiura became double champions, when they defeated Maybach Taniguchi and Takeshi Morishima for Noah's GHC Tag Team Championship. They lost the GHC Tag Team Championship to TMDK (Mikey Nicholls and Shane Haste) on January 10, 2015. On May 4, Tanaka and Sugiura won their second Global Tag League in a row. On February 19, 2017 at Pro Wrestling Zero1 Tanaka turned heel and joined Voodoo Murders and later left the stable.
- Finishing moves
- Complete Dust (Inverted sitout side powerslam)
- Dangan Bomb – Innovated
- Dangan Rolling Elbow / Roaring Elbow / Rolling Elbow (Discus elbow smash)
- Diamond Dust – Innovated
- Sliding D (Sliding forearm smash) – Innovated
- Thunder Fire Powerbomb (One shoulder powerbomb) – adopted from Atsushi Onita
- Tornado DDT, sometimes double underhook
- Signature moves
- Big boot
- Chair shot
- Dangan Elbow (Running elbow smash)
- Diamond Tornado (Fireman's carry spun out into a side slam) – rarely used
- Diving splash onto opponent lying on the table
- La Tapatia (Modified surfboard)
- Multiple suplex variations
- Niagara Driver (Sitout crucifix one shoulder powerbomb)
- Running Death Valley driver
- Running jumping chair shot
- Shotgun Stunner – Innovated
- Super Fly (Frog splash)
- Tanaka Blaster (Sitout powerbomb)
- "The Enforcer"
- "The King of E-Style Wrestling"
- "True Man of Summer"
- Entrance Themes
- "Dangan" by FMW Productions (FMW, ECW, ZERO1, NJPW; 1996–present)
Championships and accomplishments
- DDT Pro-Wrestling
- Chō Hanabi
- Bakuha-ō Championship (1 time)
- Bakuha-ō Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with TARU (1) and Hide Kubota (1)
- Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling
- FMW Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- FMW Brass Knuckles Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Hayabusa (1) and Tetsuhiro Kuroda (1)
- FMW Independent Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- FMW World Street Fight 6-Man Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Hayabusa & Hisakatsu Oya (1), Hayabusa & Koji Nakagawa (1), Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Koji Nakagawa (1), and Atsushi Onita & Hideki Hosaka (1)
- WEW 6-Man Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Gedo and Jado
- WEW Hardcore Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Gedo
- WEW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Premier Wrestling Federation
- Pro Wrestling Expo
- Pro Wrestling Noah
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #21 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2000
- PWI ranked him #352 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016
- PWI ranked him #271 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2017
- Pro Wrestling World-1
- World-1 Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Zero1
- AWA Superstars of Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship (8 times) – with Shinjiro Otani (2), Wataru Sakata (1), Zeus (1), Takashi Sugiura (1), James Raideen (1), Yuji Hino (1) and Takuya Sugawara (1)
- NWA United National Heavyweight Championship (1 time)1
- World Heavyweight Championship (5 times)
- Fire Festival (2006–2008, 2012, 2017)
- Furinkazan (2011) – with Fujita Hayato
- Furinkazan (2014) – with Takashi Sugiura
- Tenkaichi Jr. (2007)
- Best Bout (2011) vs. Daisuke Sekimoto on August 7
- Tokyo Sports
- Masato Tanaka profile . Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved on 2014-10-12.
- Profile at Puroresu Central . Puroresu Central. Retrieved on 2014-10-12.
- Destruction '11 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2011-10-10.
- Power Struggle (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2011-11-12.
- New Japan Alive 2011 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2011-12-04.
- NJPW 40th anniversary Tour. レッスルキングダムⅥ in 東京ドーム (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2012-01-04.
- The New Beginning (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2012-02-12.
- NEVER (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2012-11-19.
- NEVER (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2012-11-19.
- Wrestle Kingdom 7 ～Evolution～ in 東京ドーム (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2013-01-04.
- Road to The New Beginning (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2013-02-03.
- ja:レスリングどんたく 2013 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2013-05-03.
- 吉野家Presents Kizuna Road 2013 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2013-07-20.
- Destruction (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2013-09-29.
- ja:グローバル・タッグリーグ戦2014 (in Japanese). Pro Wrestling Noah. Retrieved on 2014-04-27.
- 【Zero1】耕平vs鈴木の世界ヘビー戦、大谷＆カミカゼvs田中＆杉浦のICタッグ戦 (in Japanese). Battle News (2014-05-06). Retrieved on 2014-05-06.
- Navig. with Breeze 2014 (in Japanese). Pro Wrestling Noah. Retrieved on 2014-05-31.
- New Year Navig. 2015 (in Japanese). Pro Wrestling Noah. Retrieved on 2015-01-10.
- ja: グローバル・タッグリーグ戦2015 (in Japanese). Pro Wrestling Noah. Retrieved on 2015-05-04.
- Wrestlers (in Japanese). Pro Wrestling Zero1. Retrieved on 2013-09-09.
- ja:田中 将斗 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Archived from the original on 2012-11-30. Retrieved on 2013-09-09.
- Independent Wrestling Results - November 2002 . onlineworldofwrestling.com. Retrieved on 2008-07-06.
- ja:「グローバル・リーグ戦 2014」各賞発表 (in Japanese). Pro Wrestling Noah (2014-11-09). Retrieved on 2014-11-09.
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 - 2000 . Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved on 2010-08-01.
- Pro Wrestling World-1 Heavyweight Championship . titlehistories.com. Retrieved on 2008-07-15.
- ja:12/24風林火山タッグトーナメント決勝戦・後楽園大会試合結果 (in Japanese). Pro Wrestling Zero1 (2014-12-24). Retrieved on 2014-12-25.
- ja:東京スポーツ プロレス大賞 (in Japanese). Tokyo Sports. Retrieved on 2014-01-20.
- 【プロレス大賞：最優秀タッグ賞】杉浦と田中の弾丸ヤンキースが海外進出宣言 (in Japanese). Tokyo Sports (2014-12-09). Retrieved on 2014-12-09.