Masanori Morimura (森村 方則, Morimura Masanori)[1][2] is a Japanese professional wrestler, better known under his ring name Ricky Fuji (リッキー フジ).

Professional wrestling career[edit | edit source]

Masanori Morimura started training in the NJPW Dojo in 1984, but left the dojo because he was "young and dumb".[3] While at the NJPW Dojo, he wanted to be a UWF fighter instead. When he failed to join UWF, he realized he ruined his chances at beginning his career in Japan. He then left Japan in January 1987 for a training expedition in Canada, where he was trained in the Dungeon by Stu Hart and his right-hand man, Mr. Hito. During his time training in Calgary, he suffered a couple major injuries, including a brain hemorrhage, which he fully recovered from. During his training, he would befriend other Japanese stars like Hiroshi Hase and his former NJPW Dojo mates Keiichi Yamada and Shinya Hashimoto.[4]

Canada (1988–1990)[edit | edit source]

On June 28, 1988, Morimura made his professional wrestling debut in Stampede Wrestling against Hart's son, Ross, under the name Tiger Mask (not the same as Satoru Sayama), at a show in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.[1][3] After a couple of matches, he evolved into Black Tomcat. In August 1988, Black Tomcat was one of many wrestlers cut from Stampede, and joined the North Western Wrestling Federation and later won the promotion's Junior Heavyweight Championship, his first title, after defeating Steve Gillespie.[4]

In March 1989, Black Tomcat left the NWWF for the Canadian Independent Wrestling Federation, ran by Les Thornton. After losing a loser leaves town match to Kid Chaos in June 1989, he unmasked and started wrestling under the ring name Ricky Fuji and adopted a rock star gimmick. During his time in the CIWF, he was scouted by the World Wrestling Federation after Bruce Hart introduced him to his brother Bret, but no deal was ever finalized, as they didn't know how to bring him in.[5] Later that year, he would become the promotion's final Junior Heavyweight Champion, before the promotion folded by the end of 1989. In January 1990, Fuji returned to Japan and trained with former NJPW star Masanobu Kurisu and was offered a spot in Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling by Atsushi Onita, which he accepted.[3][4]

Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (1990–2002)[edit | edit source]

Upon debuting for FMW in May 1990, Fuji became over with the fans, particularly among female fans, due to his Shawn Michaels-inspired gimmick and promo skills.[3] In October 1990, Fuji participated in Japan's first intergender tag team match, teaming with Megumi Kudo in a loss to Tarzan Goto and his wife Despina Montagas. In May 1991, he won the AWA World Light Heavyweight Championship from Jimmy Backlund, which he held for three months before losing it to Mark Starr in August. In January 1993, he formed the stable Team Canada with The Gladiator (who would later join WCW's version of Team Canada, led by Lance Storm), Big Titan, and Dr. Luther, which feuded with Onita, Tarzan Goto, and Mr. Gannosuke, among others, until disbanding in 1994.

In April 1994, he took part in the Super J-Cup tournament, where he defeated Negro Casas in the first round, but lost to Jushin Thunder Liger in the quarterfinals. On December 20, 1994, he defeated The Great Sasuke to win his only Independent World Junior Heavyweight Championship, which he held for a couple of months before losing it to Hideki Hosaka on February 6, 1995.[6]

Soon after the title loss, Fuji formed a new faction called Lethal Weapon with Tarzan Goto and Hisakatsu Oya, although Goto would soon after leave FMW in April 1995. Fuji and Oya would later recruit The Gladiator, Mr. Pogo, and Horace Boulder into Lethal Weapon. Fuji then began teaming with Oya as The Love Guns, Lethal Weapon's resident tag team. With Oya, Fuji would go on to win the Brass Knuckles Tag Team Championship on May 5, 1995.[6] They lost the title four months later to Daisuke Ikeda and Yoshiaki Fujiwara on September 5.[6]

Following Lethal Weapon's disbandment in September 1996, Fuji aligned himself with Hayabusa, helping in his feuds with Mr. Gannosuke and Kodo Fuyuki. He balanced competing in singles, tag team, and six-man tag team matches, eventually winning the WEW 6-Man Tag Team Championship twice between November 1999 and May 2001, one reign of which came about after reuniting with Oya.

In 1998, Fuji wrestled two rare and special matches. On January 7, he wrestled under the name Morimura on a ZEN-produced show, defeating Sunao Gosaku (Mr. Pogo #2) and El Pandita (Flying Kid Ichihara) in a three-way dance. Seven months later on August 15, he resurrected his masked Black Tomcat persona from his days in Canada, for one night only on a Michinoku Pro Wrestling card, in which he lost to Super Delfin.

In April 2000, Fuji participated in his second Super J-Cup tournament. After defeating Sasuke The Great in the first round, he lost to Gran Hamada in the quarterfinals. He was also one of the few that helped Hayabusa when he suffered a career-ending neck injury in October 2001. He remained with FMW until its closure in February 2002, making him the longest tenured wrestler in the promotion's history.

Freelance (2002–2012)[edit | edit source]

Since FMW's closing, Fuji has been wrestling as a freelancer for various Japanese independent promotions, including Wrestling Marvelous Future, Apache Pro-Wrestling, and FREEDOMS.[3][7][8][9]

On September 17, 2011, Fuji teamed with Bambi and Yuji Hino to win the Chiba Six Man Tag Team Championship after defeating Little Galaxy (Hiro Tonai, Shiori Asahi and Yuki Sato).[9] The championship is Fuji's first in a major promotion since May 2001. On October 2, Fuji, Bambi and Hino were successful in their first title defense after defeating Daigoro Kashiwa, Marines Mask II and Tigers Mask.[9]

Kaientai Dojo (2012–present)[edit | edit source]

On January 4, 2012, Kaientai Dojo confirmed that they signed Ricky Fuji for one year. He had since stayed with K-DOJO.

On February 5, 2012, Fuji had a chance to win the Independent World Junior Heavyweight Championship at a FREEDOMS show against HIROKI, but failed. After the match, he got on the microphone and announced his goal of winning the belt by the end of the year, after looking at the "FMW" letters still engraved on the belt.

On January 26, 2013, after nearly a year after his announced his intentions, Fuji finally won the Independent World Junior Heavyweight title from HIROKI, ending his nearly 15-month reign. He would hold onto the title for nearly four months, before losing the title to Nanjyo Hayato. On June 16, Fuji and Daigoro Kashiwa defeated HIROKI and Yuji Hino to win the vacant Strongest-K Tag Team Championship. They lost the title to Kazma Sakamoto and Kengo Mashimo on September 16.

Return to FMW (2015–present)[edit | edit source]

On March 4, 2015, it was confirmed by Flying Kid Ichihara and Choden Senshi Battle Ranger that Ricky Fuji is confirmed as one of the seven FMW originals to rejoin FMW. On April 21, 2015, Fuji defeated Battle Ranger in the opening match of the promotion's first show in 13 years.

Outside of wrestling[edit | edit source]

Outside of wrestling, Fuji runs his own gym in Chiba called Endo's Gym, and also plays in two rock bands, Crazy Crew (which includes The Great Sasuke and Ken45°) and The Heavyweighters.

In wrestling[edit | edit source]

  • Finishing moves
    • 9999 (Double underhook DDT)[1]
    • Brainbuster[1]
    • Kamikaze (Rolling fireman's carry slam)[1]
  • Signature moves
    • Discus punch
    • Diving headbutt
    • German suplex
    • Hard Rock (Cross-legged STF)
    • Maximum Overdrive (Reverse piledriver)
    • Rolling Stone (Twisting brainbuster)
    • Tiger Driver (Sitout double underhook powerbomb)[3]
  • Entrance themes
    • "Runaway" by Bon Jovi (CIWF/FMW, 1989–1991)
    • "Monkey Business" by Skid Row (FMW, 1991–1993)
    • "Tonight You Belong To Me" by Paul Stanley (NJPW/FMW, 1993–1995)
    • "Sexy Storm" by FMW Productions (FMW/Freelance/K-DOJO, 1995–present)

Championships and accomplishments[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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