Shuji Kondo (近藤修司 Kondō Shūji) is a Japanese professional wrestler, currently signed by Dragon Gate (DG).
Prior to becoming a pro wrestler, he played rugby. After starting his career in Toryumon, Kondo eventually joined All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), where he became one of the promotion's top junior heavyweights, winning the World Junior Heavyweight Championship twice and the All Asia Tag Team Championship once. Upon leaving AJPW in 2013, Kondo joined Wrestle-1, where he became half of the inaugural Wrestle-1 Tag Team Champions. Kondo was the vice president of Wrestle-1 and also works as a trainer until the promotion closed in 2020.
- 1 Early Life
- 2 Professional wrestling Career
- 3 In wrestling
- 4 Championships and accomplishments
- 5 References
- 6 External links
After competing as a rugby player, Kondo was interested in becoming a professional wrestler since he had been a fan of Bill Goldberg for years.
Professional wrestling Career
Toryumon/Dragon Gate (2001-2004)
Kondo debuted in Toryumon Mexico on May 12, 2001, defeating Jun Ogawauchi. Unlike their colleagues, they specialize mainly in submissions. Kondo introduced a new style of fighting using his rugby training and his considerable physical strength to execute sweeping techniques capable of tilting even for fighters in higher weight categories. Shortly after his debut, he was in a rivalry with Takayuki Yagi who continued afterwards both were transfered with the entire Toryumon 2000 Project group. In T2P, Kondo joined Milano Collection A.T. and his heel stable Italian Connection (YASSINI, YOSSINO, Pescatore Yagi ,and Berlinetta Boxer), where he changed his name to Condotti Shuji wearing a new pair of tights and boots with straps and formed a team with Yagi.
Soon, the stable entered a rivalry with the main stable of Toryumon Japan, Crazy MAX (CIMA, SUWA, TARU, and Don Fujii) when Fujii attacked them and "kidnapped" Mikeru the invisible dog of Milano resulting in several attacks between both teams. In addition, the stable was in a rivalry with the Royal Brothers (Anthony W. Mori, Henry III Sugawara, and Phillip J. Fukumasa) that lasted the rest of the year. At the end of 2002 Kondo competed in the Young Dragons Cup but was defeated in the final by Taiji Ishimori. Once T2P was reabsorbed in Toryumon Japan, the Italian Connection became another major major group of Toryumon Japan at the height of M2K or Crazy MAX.
In June 2003, Kondo won the British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Championship in a match that included SUWA and Masaaki Mochizuki. However there was a split within the Italian Connection: while Milano and YOSSINO were slowly becoming face, Kondo and the rest remained heel. During the recovery of YASSINI from an injury he began to leave messages on his blog criticizing the face side of the Italian Connection in which Milano responded with anger. During a tag team match, the mascot of YOSSINO Venezia accidentally cost Shuji and YASSINI. After the match both attacked Venezia; Milano, tried to impose the order, but was attacked at the same time, and the group was in chaos that night. Kondo and Yassini and Toru Owashi established themselves in their own stable for Boxer and Yagi who were also expelled from the stable: Boxer was abandoned by his partners and was attacked a later, prompting him to declare that he was not leaving Toryumon and Yagi was betrayed by Shuji and YASSHI in Owashi's suggestion. The group was later called Hagure Gundam and managed to win the UWA World Trios Championship by defeating the Italian Connection.
In addition, after winning the tournament Rey de Parejas tournament, Berlinetta Boxer returned from retirement to attack Shuji and YASSHI but instead he took out his mask and revealed his real name ,Shogo Takagi. The group had many victories. In early 2004, Masaaki Mochizuki became the group leader by changing the team name to Aagan Iisou and adding a member Takuya Sugawara, who previously Shuji had offered a place in the group, but because of a plan Sugawara betrayed his partner Anthony W. Mori and joined them. However, over time Kondo and Mochizuki began to argue over who was the team leader after a fight between the two in the El Numero Uno leading to a match in which Mochizuki was expelled from the Aagan Iisou. After the departure of Ultimo Dragon in Toryumon Japan. Toryumon Japan renamed to Dragon Gate and hired many of Toryumon Japan's former wrestlers. However, at the end of 2004, all members of the Aagan Iisou (Kondo, YASSHI, Sugawara, Owashi ,and Shogo Takagi) were fired from Dragon Gate for unknown reasons although they officially clarified that one or more of their members had committed acts of conduct not appropriate during events.
In April 2005, the members of Aagan Iisou joined Noriaki Kawabata and a lot of unsatisfied wrestlers from Dragon Gate to create their own company named Dragondoor. In that Aagan Iisou were the heel stable of promotion, in opposition to Taiji Ishimori face stable; However, it was discovered that the Kondo and his group received support from the fans and Ishimori didn't receive support and ignored them so it was a little strange in Dragondoor. On July 24 Kondo and YASSHI won the Aquamarine Cup Tag Team Tournament. In their last match Aagan Iisou was defeated by a reunion of Italian Connection (Milano Collection A.T., Berlinetta Boxer and Ibushino).
All Japan Pro Wrestling (2005-2013)
In early 2005, Kondo and YASSHI were hired by All Japan Pro Wrestling, where they debuted as TARU teammates alongside Johnny Stamboli and Chuck Palumbo. Soon after, TARU formed a stable named Voodoo Murders with all of them and Giant Bernard with Kondo proclaimed as champion and TARU was the leader of the group. At that point, Voodoo Murders started a rivalry with RO&D. Thanks to the support of their teammates, Kondo and YASSHI won the vacant All Asia Tag Team Championship defeating Katsuhiko Nakajima and Tomoaki Honma. It would be a short reign, they would lost the title to Nakajima and Kensuke Sasaki. Despite the loss, Kondo had a great achievement in October when he defeated the RO&D leader TAKA Michinoku in a match for the World Junior Heavyweight Championship. Now, Kondo as champion, he reunited with YASSHI to participate in the AJPW Junior Tag League 2006 but were defeated in the finals to Tokyo Gurentai (MAZADA and NOSAWA Rongai).
Meanwhile, Kondo kept the title whole year until losing it in February of 2007 to Katsuhiko Nakajima. Kondo would take part in the AJPW Junior Heavyweight League 2007 but was defeated in the final this time by Chris Sabin. In 2008, Kondo made a team with new member of the Voodoo Murders Silver King to participate in the AJPW Junior Tag League of 2008 again being unable to win. At the end of the year, Kondo tried to win the World Junior Heavyweight Championship from Naomichi Marufuji and after that he left the Voodoo Murders.
Now as a face, Kondo made a team with Kohei Suwama another former member of the Voodoo Murders. The pair had some success and managed to reach the finals of World's Strongest Tag Determination League 2008, where they lost against the Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima). Despite this, they had an opportunity in 2009 for the World Tag Team Championship against the GURENTAI (Minoru Suzuki and Taiyo Kea) but suffered the same fate. Kondo spent the rest of the year competing against the Voodoo Murders alongside Kaz Hayashi and also won the AJPW Junior Heavyweight League 2009 by defeating Super Crazy in the finals. On March 4, 2013 Kondo joined Suwama and Joe Doering as a member of the Last Revolution stable.
El Dorado Wrestling (2006-2008)
After the closure of DragonDoor many wrestlers of the former DragonDoor took part in a company named El Dorado Wrestling, Kondo (now as face) was determined one of the aces of the promotion. At first Aagan Iisou entered into a rivalry with STONED (KAGETORA, Brahman Kei, Brahman Shu, and Manjimaru) since Takuya Sugawara started to make a team with KAGETORA and because of this both groups tried to gain Sugawara's loyalty but Sugawara betrayed Aagan Iisou and joined the members of STONED and expelled KAGETORA of the group and declared himself the leader of the stable and the remaining members of STONED renamed the stable to Hell Demons. With this action, Aagan Iisou separated and each member of Aagan Iisou formed their own stable then El Dorado was structured. Kondo founded his stable called SUKIYAKI due to his famous love of meat dishes. On December 27 Kondo and Dick Togo won the Treasure Hunters Tag Tournament. After his SUKIYAKI stablemate and fellow Dragon Gate exile Naoki Tanizaki abruptly left El Dorado and returned to Dragon Gate, on August 15, 2008, Kondo won the Greatest Golden League defeating Magnitude Kishiwada with the help of his teammates. Shortly after the match, Kondo announced his departure from El Dorado to focus on his career at AJPW.
On July 10, 2013, Kondo was announced as part of Keiji Mutoh's new Wrestle-1 promotion. During the promotion's inaugural event on September 8, Kondo teamed with Kaz Hayashi in a tag team match, where they were defeated by the Big Japan Pro Wrestling team of Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi. As part of a working relationship between Wrestle-1 and American promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Kondo and Hayashi earned a shot at the TNA World Tag Team Championship by defeating Desperado (Kazma Sakamoto and Masayuki Kono) on February 15, 2014. On March 2 at Kaisen: Outbreak, Kondo and Hayashi unsuccessfully challenged The Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards) for the TNA World Tag Team Championship in a three-way match, which also included The BroMans (Jessie Godderz and Robbie E), who went on to win the match and become the new champions. On September 22, Kondo entered the Wrestle-1 Championship tournament, defeating his tag team partner Hayashi in his first round match. The following day, he defeated Hiroshi Yamato to advance to the semifinals of the tournament. On October 8, Kondo was eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by Kai. Through Wrestle-1's relationship with Pro Wrestling Zero1, Kondo and Seiki Yoshioka won the NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Championship on November 7 by defeating "brother" Yasshi and Takuya Sugawara. In November, Kondo and Hayashi took part in the First Tag League Greatest tournament, set to determine the inaugural Wrestle-1 Tag Team Champions, where they finished second in their block with a record of three wins and one loss, advancing to the semifinals. On November 30, Kondo and Hayashi first defeated Kai and Ryota Hama in the semifinals and then Akira and Manabu Soya in the finals to win the tournament and become the inaugural Wrestle-1 Tag Team Champions. On March 1, 2015, Kondo and Yoshioka lost the NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Championship back to Yasshi and Sugawara. After seven successful title defenses, Kondo and Hayashi lost the Wrestle-1 Tag Team Championship to Jun Kasai and Manabu Soya on July 12, 2015.
On October 9, 2015, Kondo broke off his partnership with Hayashi and formed a new stable with Masayuki Kono and rookies Hiroki Murase and Shotaro Ashino. On October 31, the stable was named TriggeR. On November 27, Kondo and Kono won the Wrestle-1 Tag Team Championship. They lost the title to Kazma Sakamoto and Yuji Hino on March 6, 2016. On December 9 Kondo with Jun Kasai and Nosawa Rongai defeated Andy Wu, Daiki Inaba and Seiki Yoshioka to win the UWA World Trios Championship but on February 21, 2017 the titles were vacated due to Kasai being with influenza and being unable to attend a title defense. On February 22 Kondo, Rongai and this time Manabu Soya failed to capture the titles losing NEWERA (Daiki Inaba, Yusuke Kodama and Kohei Fujimura). On March 27, 2017, it was announced that Kondo would become Wrestle-1's new executive vice president on April 1, serving under new president Kaz Hayashi. On April 9 Kondo, Masayuki Kono and Kaz Hayashi defeated NEWERA (Daiki Inaba, Kohei Fujimura and Yusuke Kodama) to win the UWA World Trios Championship. On April 16 Kondo, Kono and Hayashi lost the UWA World Trios Championship to Koji Doi, Kumagoro and Andy Wu. On May 6 Kondo, Hayashi and Manabu Soya defeated NEWERA (Koji Doi, Kumagoro and Andy Wu) for the UWA World Trios Championship. On June 4 They lost the titles to Jiro Kuroshio, Kumagoro and Jay Freddie. TriggeR would split on August 11, 2017 when Kondo reformed his team with Kaz Hayashi. Later Kondo announced that he would change the name to Team 246 presidents. They lost the titles back to Doi and Kumagoro on November 19. On May 11, 2019 Kondo and Seigo Tachibana defeated Masayuki Kono and Alejandro to win the Wrestle-1 Tag Team Champions, they would later relinquish the titles after Tachibana suffered a neck injury. On February 29, Wrestle-1 president, Kaz Hayashi announced that all activities of the promotion would be suspended indefinitely after April 1 with all of the contracted wrestlers being released on March 31, leading Kondo to leave the promotion in April.
Return to All Japan Pro Wrestling (2018)
In February 2018 Kondo returned to AJPW after five years taking part in the Jr. Battle of Glory, finishing with a record of four wins and one loss, advancing to the finals. In the finals, Kondo defeated Koji Iwamoto to win the tournament. Afterwards, Kondo challenged reigning World Junior Heavyweight Champion Atsushi Aoki (who he defeated during the tournament) into a title match. On March 25, Kondo unsuccessfully challenged Aoki for the World Junior Heavyweight Championship. In August Kondo and Kotaro Suzuki took part in the Jr. Tag Battle of Glory, finishing the tournament with a record of three wins and three losses, failing to win the tournament. On September 22, Kondo defeated Koji Iwamoto to win the World Junior Heavyweight Champion, but lost it back to Iwamoto on November 29.
Return to Dragon Gate (2019–Present)
On January 16, 2019 after fourteen years of hiatus, Kondo returned to Dragon Gate, defeating Masaaki Mochizuki in a singles match part of the Dragon Gate 20th Anniversary Commemoration, at Mochizuki's 25th Anniversary Commemoration. In the following January, Masato Yoshino announced Kondo as the newest member of the Toryumon stable. On February 7, Kondo and Yoshino won their match against R.E.D members BxB Hulk and Eita, and Dragon Gate members KAI and YAMATO. Afterwards, General Manager Takayuki Yagi announced a six-way match between all wrestlers that took part in the match. However, the match ended up being canceled, because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On July 4, Kondo was revealed as the unknown member to team with Doi and Yoshino in a winning effort against R.E.D's Eita, H.Y.O, and Takashi Yoshida. The following day, it was announced that Kondo had signed a full-time contract with the promotion, rejoining Dragon Gate after sixteen years. On December 20, at Final Gate, Toryumon was forced to disband, after losing to R.E.D in No Disqualification Losing Unit Disbands match. On January 31, Kondo and Ben-K took part of the Open the Twin Gate #1 Contender's One Night Tournament, where they made into finals of the tournament, losing to Masaaki Mochizuki and Takashi Yoshida.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Cat's Cradle (Cross-legged over the shoulder Boston crab)
- Crucifix piledriver
- Hurricane Mixer (Spear to an oncoming opponent transitioned into a spinning side slam)
- Inverted suplex, sometimes from the second rope
- Lanzarse (Spear transitioned into a lifting side slam)
- The Original (Pop-up powerslam)
- The Original II (Standing iconoclasm, as a German suplex counter)
- Kubinage (Two-handed choke driver)
- Big boot
- Boston crab
- Crossface chickenwing with bodyscissors
- Crucifix sitout belly to back piledriver
- Diving moonsault
- Dragon screw
- Inverted suplex, sometimes from an elevated position
- Kneeling belly to belly piledriver
- Knee neckbreaker, sometimes from an upright position
- One-handed gorilla press drop
- Overdose (Overhead gutwrench sitout belly to back piledriver)
- Pop-up reverse piledriver
- Release German suplex
- Running powerslam
- Sitout crucifix powerbomb
- Sitout suplex slam
- Standing powerbomb, sometimes from an elevated position
- Super sunset flip DDT
- Swinging sleeper hold
- Short-range lariat
- Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker
- Two-handed chokeslam
- Vertical suplex powerslam
- Whale Hunt (Half nelson lifted and dropped into a bridging Olympic slam)
- Wheelbarrow abdominal stretch
- With "brother" YASSHI
- Double team finishing moves
- Big Boy (Powerbomb (Kondo) / Bad Boy (YASSHI) combination)
- Big Head Train (Aided headbutt)
- Babylon (Aided somersault senton)
- Double team finishing moves
- With Kaz Hayashi
- Entrance themes
- "Funky Shit" by The Prodigy
- "The Way of the Ring (Instrumental)" by Dale Oliver
Championships and accomplishments
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- Aquamarine Cup Tag Tournament (2005) – with "brother" YASSHI
- El Dorado Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #236 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2013
- Pro Wrestling Noah
- Pro Wrestling Zero1
- Tokyo Sports
- Toryumon Japan
- Wrestle-1 Tag Team Championship (5 times, inaugural) – with Kaz Hayashi (2, inaugural), Masayuki Kono (1), Koji Doi (1) and Seigo Tachibana (1)
- UWA World Trios Championship (3 times) – with Jun Kasai and Nosawa Rongai (1) and Kaz Hayashi and Masayuki Kono (1) and Kaz Hayashi and Manabu Soya (1)
- Tag League Greatest (2014) – with Kaz Hayashi
- Wrestle-1 Tag League (2018) – with Koji Doi
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