Mitsuhiro Matsunaga (松永 光弘, Matsunaga Mitsuhiro, born March 24, 1966) is a Japanese professional wrestler[1] and martial artist best known for his infamous death match style in Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, Wrestling International New Generations (also known as W*ING Terrorist) and Big Japan Pro Wrestling. He is related to the infamous Matsunaga brothers who founded All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling and W*ING, and is the first quasi-shoot style wrestler to adopt a Deathmatch style.

Career[edit | edit source]

Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (1989–1991)[edit | edit source]

Matsunaga began his pro-wrestling career in early FMW where he was a student of Masashi Aoyagi in the martial arts division of FMW. On December 12, 1989, Matsunaga teamed up with Jerry Blayman to take on Atsushi Onita and Tarzan Goto in FMW's first ever barbwire match.

Wrestling International New Generations and Eastern Championship Wrestling (1991–1993)[edit | edit source]

In 1991, Matsunaga joined the upstart Wrestling International New Generations (W*ING) promotion. On February 9, 1992 in Tokyo Korakuen Hall, Matsunaga performed his infamous balcony dive, which resulted in lingering damage to his knees. At the Tokyo Korakuen Hall on March 3, 1992, Matsunaga faced Mr. Pogo (who would become his greatest nemesis) in a Scramble Bunkhouse Barbed Wire Baseball Bat Deathmatch, which the referee stopped after Pogo set Matsunaga's head on fire. Matsunaga was on the sidelines for several months after the match, as he also suffered a knee injury. Regardless, he sat in the front row during W*ING shows and was often attacked by Pogo. Following his recovery, Matsunaga gained revenge over Mr. Pogo in one of W*ING's first ever Fire Deathmatches on August 2, 1992. Following the match, Victor Quiñones (who was Pogo's manager at the time) slapped Pogo in disgust at his loss, to which Pogo knocked him out and effectively turn. On August 15, 1992, the newly united Pogo and Matsunaga faced The Headhunters, but the relationship eventually turned sour as Pogo turned on Matsunaga. On December 20, 1992, Matsunaga faced Leatherface in a Spike Nail Deathmatch, as Matsunaga bled buckets before being dumped on the nails.

In early 1993, Matsunaga went on an excursion to the United States, competing briefly in Eastern Championship Wrestling as Mr. Danger. He teamed with Miguel Perez, Jr., as they pursued the tag team championships and brawled with the Headhunters. On June 18, 1993, Matsunaga faced Freddy Kreuger in the first ever Lights Out Deathmatch where Matsunaga was defeated after being hung by a chain from the ceiling. Kreuger and Matsunaga had yet another Scramble Bunkhouse Barbed Wire Baseball Bat Deathmatch on May 9, 1993, which Matsunaga won.

Return to FMW (1993–1996)[edit | edit source]

On December 8, 1993 at the Tokyo International Trade Harumi Dome, Matsunaga was scheduled to face Atsushi Onita in a Wonder Crush (Glass Cage) Death Match, but the idea was rendered unsafe for the audience; as a result, they squared off in a No-Rope Exploding Barbwire and Exploding Corners Death Match, which Onita won. On August 1995, Matsunaga faced former friend W*ING Kanemura in a Scramble Barbwire Baseball Bat & Barbwire Boards Deathmatch, which Matsunaga emerged the victor of. On September 1995, Matsunaga faced Mr. Pogo in a rematch from their Fire Deathmatch in W*ING several years ago, but they had torches around the ring inside of the gas burners. Matsunaga would beat Pogo after hitting a bulldog onto his gi bottoms, which Pogo had set on fire. He would defect to Big Japan Pro Wrestling not long afterwards.

Big Japan Pro Wrestling (1996–2002)[edit | edit source]

In Yokohama on August 19, 1996, Big Japan would sanction the infamous Piranha Deathmatch, where Matsunaga had a chunk torn out of his stomach after being dumped in the tank by Kendo Nagasaki. After the match he argued with his then friend Shoji Nakamaki, which would result in them requesting a match against each other. On September 30, 1996, Matsunaga and Shoji Nakamaki faced off in BJW's first ever No-Rope Barbwire Scramble Bunkhouse Electrified Light Bulb Deathmatch, in which Matsunaga won following a bulldog into a barbwire board full of broken shards of glass from unscrewed light bulbs. Following the match, Nakamaki pled to the Great Kojika (the owner of Big Japan at the time) for a rematch. On November 17, 1996, Matsunaga would partake in a shoot-fight against Dan Severn, in which he lost via submission to an armlock. At the Korakuen Hall on November 20, 1996, Matsunaga would face Shoji Nakamaki in the infamous Scorpion & Cactus Desert Deathmatch; Matsunaga was dumped into the tank for a 10-count before being carted off to hospital, after suffering from several stings by the scorpions to his midsection.

In January 1997, Matsunaga would come up with the Barbwire Circus Net Deathmatch idea, where there was a scaffold in the ring and a net made out of barbwire would be attached to the bottom rope. He teamed with the Great Kojika to face Shoji Nakamaki and Seiji Yamakawa, and scored the victory over Yamakawa in a very spotty contest. On April 1, 1997, Matsunaga teamed with (former FMW and IWA Japan ace) Tarzan Goto to oppose Shoji Nakamaki and Seiji Yamakawa in an 8,000-volt Bug Zapper Deathmatch, which was won after Matsunaga powerbombed Yamakawa into a board of bug zappers. On June 3, 1997, Matsunaga faced Seiji Yamakawa (later known as Ryuji Yamakawa) in a No-Rope Barbwire Double Hell Fire Stones Deathmatch where Matsunaga went over victorious.

On April 5, 1998 in BJW, Matsunaga, Nakamaki, Jason The Terrible and Masked GK would face off against Mr. Pogo's Shadow Army of himself, Shadow WX, Shadow W*inger and Shadow VII in the infamous Big Japan W*ING Big Born Crisis Deathmatch ; the match had barbwire boards, a baseball bat wrapped in barbwire, cactus, beds of nails, light bulbs, scorpions, thumbtacks, a scaffold, a barbwire circus net, fire stones, dry ice and all of Pogo's weapons. Matsunaga pinned Shadow W*inger, following a second rope powerbomb onto a bed of nails with the cactus on it. On August 23, 1998 Matsunaga competed in the Big Japan Deathmatch Tournament to crown the first ever BJW Deathmatch Heavyweight Champion; he was victorious over Jason The Terrible (in a Barbwire Bat and Barbwire Boards Deathmatch) and Shadow Winger (in a No-Rope Barbwire Deathmatch), but was defeated by Mr. Pogo in a No-Rope Barbwire Fire, Glass & Coffin Deathmatch. A month later, Matsunaga would defeat Pogo in a rematch to become the new BJW Deathmatch Heavyweight Champion.

On August 2000, Matsunaga would team with Jun Kasai to face against John Zandig and Nick Gage in a Super Fire Road Deathmatch, which quickly became out of control as the ring was set on fire by the invading CZW wrestlers. Zandig would end up pinning Matsunaga for the win. Surprisingly, Matsunaga competed on a Pro Wrestling Noah show against 2 Cold Scorpio on June 2001.

On June 18, 2001, Matsunaga would face against Jun Kasai in the first ever Barefoot Thumbtacks Deathmatch, as Matsunaga emerged the victor. On August 2001, Matsunaga would face Mad Man Pondo in a Thumbtacks Deathmatch, which resulted in a real-life friendship between the two, as Matsunaga even gave Pondo a pair of his trademark "W*ING" wristbands. During that month, Matsunaga faced John Zandig in a 200 Light Bulbs, Thumbtacks and Plate Glass Deathmatch, where he captured the BJW Deathmatch Heavyweight Championship. On August 22, 2001 at the W*ING Reunion Show, Matsunaga would get his revenge on Freddy Kreuger by hanging him from the ceiling in a carbon copy of the Lights Out Deathmatch (renamed the Power Failure Darkness Deathmatch). On November 2001, Matsunaga faced John Zandig again in the first ever Tarantula Forrest Deathmatch, as the match was declared no-contest following interference from Van Hammer and Jun Kasai. On December 4, 2001, Matsunaga would face John Zandig for the final time in an Explosion-style Deathmatch; the idea was to place glass sheets in the corner and rig them to explosives set outside. The match was a one-sided affair, as Matsunaga landed very little offense and lost the Deathmatch Heavyweight Championship, after submitting to a Camel Clutch with a light bulb. Zandig would then announce that CZW would be taking the title back home and never returning to the promotion. Later in 2002 Matsunaga would left the promotion to become freelancer.

Freelance (2002–2009)[edit | edit source]

On March 2002, Matsunaga would make a surprise appearance on a Toryumon Japan show where he would defeat Stalker Ichikawa and cut him open with a knife. At an Onita FMW show on May 4, 2002, Matsunaga and Hido faced off in a 30,000 Thumbtack, Scorpions and Barbed wire Boards Deathmatch, which Hido won by accident after Matsunaga walked barefoot on a thumbtack-ridden barbwire board (with Hido in an Argentine Backbreaker) and quit. In WWS on May 29, 2002, Matsunaga defeated Hido in a return match after he executed a splash off the top rope on to Hido, sending him through a thumbtack covered table. At yet another Onita FMW show on July 30, 2002, Matsunaga faced Hido in a Thumbtack Canvas, Rose Thorn Board & Barbwire Bat Deathmatch, which Matsunaga won accidentally after Hido attempted a W*ING-style Sleeper, but Matsunaga fell backwards and pinned Hido's shoulders to the mat. In WEW in August 2002, Hido defeated Matsunaga in a brief 8 minute brawl at a house show. Matsunaga decided to join Gannosuke's WMF shortly thereafter, briefly feuding with Mammoth Sasaki.

In Rainbow Promotions on January 25, 2003, Matsunaga teamed up with BADBOY Hido, Mr. Gannosuke, Kazuya Yuasa and Command Bolshoi to defeat the team of Mr. Pogo, Shoichi Ichinomiya, Masao Orihara, GOEMON and Ofune. On May 5, 2003, Matsunaga teamed up with Jun Kasai to defeat BADBOY Hido and GOSAKU in a Spidernet Barbed Wire Boards and Bed of Nails Deathmatch. Matsunaga has kept a low profile over the past few years, but returned as part of the Ogashawara's "Karate force's", in an angle (similar to the "Stop the Sheik" campaign) called "Stop the Matsunaga" in the Pro Wrestling Zero1 promotion.

In his spare time, Matsunaga teaches Karate and avidly arm wrestles. He additionally owns a steak house in Tokyo.

In December 2009, Matsunaga announced he will retire from the ring at the end of the year. He wrestled his last match on December 23, losing to fellow Masashi Aoyagi student, former W*ING and current NOAH superstar Akitoshi Saito.

 Other media[edit | edit source]

Matsunaga, appears as a playable character in the video games Fire Pro Wrestling 2 and Fire Pro Wrestling Returns.

In wrestling[edit | edit source]

  • Finishing moves
    • One shoulder powerbomb
    • Scissors kick
  • Signature moves
    • Fireball
    • Roundhouse kick
    • W*ING Submission Special (Sharpshooter with a barbed wire baseball bat pressed against the opponent's legs)
    • W*ING Submission Special II (Rear naked choke with a barbed wire baseball bat pressed against the opponent's throat)
    • W*ING Submission Special III (STF with a barbed wire baseball bat pressed against the opponent's throat)
  • Nicknames
    • "Mr. Danger"

Championships and accomplishments[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Woodward, Buck (23 September 2009). "THIS DAY IN HISTORY: ANDRE KNOCKS OUT GORILLA, THE START OF THE MEGAPOWERS, ANGLE BEATS AUSTIN FOR THE WORLD TITLE AND MORE". PW Insider. Retrieved 26 April 2011.  Text "" ignored (help)
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