Junji Hirata (平田 淳嗣 Hirata Junji) is a retired Japanese professional wrestler who wrestled for the New Japan Pro Wrestling promotion, and was known primarily by his ring name Super Strong Machine (スーパー・ストロング・マシン Sūpā Sutorongu Mashin).
Career[edit | edit source]
Hirata made his debut in New Japan on August 26, 1978 against Yoshiaki Fujiwara. In November 1982, he left on an overseas training expedition to Mexico, and later Canada, where in Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling he would create the famous Super Strong Machine persona, as well as use a First Nations gimmick as Sonny Two Rivers. In April 1986, he left New Japan with Riki Choshu for rival wrestling promotion, All Japan Pro Wrestling. In June 1987, he returned to New Japan and would soon capture the IWGP Tag Team Championship on four separate occasions with George Takano, Hiro Saito, and Shinya Hashimoto as his tag team partners.
In the fall of 1986, the World Wrestling Federation introduced a stable of wrestlers called The Machines -- "The Giant Machine" (André the Giant), "Big Machine" (Blackjack Mulligan), and "Super Machine" (Bill Eadie) -- based on Junji Hirata's popular Super Strong Machine gimmick.
In December 1994, he finally unmasked, dropping the Super Strong Machine character and wrestling under his real name. He revived the Super Strong Machine persona for the first time in six years in October 2000, having a brief feud with T2000 Machine (Tatsutoshi Goto). In 2005, Hirata, as the masked persona of Black Strong Machine, became a regular fixture on New Japan shows as part of Masahiro Chono's Black New Japan. He also had a brief stint in AJPW as Super Love Machine, the leader of the Love Machines. Whatever role he plays, Junji Hirata is a very respected veteran and is well liked by wrestlers, officials, and fans alike.
In the late 2000s, Hirata was a founding member of the Legend and Seigigun stables. He wrestled his to date final match on April 2, 2014, at Wataru Inoue's retirement event. He now works as a trainer at the NJPW dojo. On April 12, 2018, it was announced that he was going to retire from active competition and his retirement ceremony would be held on June 19 at Korakuen Hall. On June 19, New Japan held an event commemorating his career, concluding with his retirement ceremony.
In wrestling[edit | edit source]
- Finishing moves
- Devil Windmill Suplex / Majin Fusha Gatame (Bridging hammerlock suplex)
- Machine DDT (Hammerlock snap DDT)
- Signature moves
- Diving headbutt
- Machine Lariat (Lariat)
- Sitout powerbomb
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments[edit | edit source]
- All Asia Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Ashura Hara
- National Wrestling Alliance
- NWA Polynesian Pacific Heavyweight Championship (1 Time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #105 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the year in the PWI 500 in 1997
- Stampede Wrestling
- Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Championship (1 time)