Chōno Masahiro

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Chōno Masahiro
Ring name(s) Chōno Masahiro
Real name Chōno Masahiro
Billed height 186 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Billed weight 108 kg (240 lb; 17.0 st) (in prime)
Born 1963/9/17 (1963-09-17) (age 54)
Seattle, Washington
grew up in Mitaka, Tōkyō
Shishō Antonio Inoki
Yamamoto Kotetsu
Lou Thesz
Debut 1984/10/5

Chōno Masahiro (蝶野 正洋?) is a Japanese professional wrestler, known for many years in New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

Along with his German wife Martina, Chōno also owns an apparel brand “ARISTRIST”.

Early Life

Chōno was born in Seattle, Washington, where his family lived temporarily because of his father's business. After returning to Japan when he was two years old, the family lived in Kawasaki, Shibuya-ward in Tōkyō, and finally Mitaka City, Tōkyō where he mainly grew up.[1]

During high school, Chōno spent most of his time with soccer and motorcycle gang. He finally entered college two years after graduating from high school. However, he joined New Japan Pro-Wrestling dōjō in 1984/4 and dropped out of college.[1]


New Japan Pro-Wrestling (1984 - 2010)

Early Years (1984 – 1989)

Chōno debuted in 1984/10 against Mutō Keiji, who was also debuting on the same day. In the spring of 1987, he won the 3rd Young Lions Cup, defeating Hashimoto Shin'ya in the final. In 1987/6, he was sent to Germany, where he would meet his future wife Martina. Chōno went to the United States in 1988/1 to start wrestling for WWA in Central States territory where he won the area's television and world heavyweight titles. Then, he moved to the Maritime provinces in Canada to wrestle for Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling in which he won the tag team title.[1]

In 1988/7, Chōno, Mutō, and Hashimoto gathered in Puerto Rico and formed Tōkon Sanjūshi. They returned to Japan just for one match on 1988/7/29 to face Fujinami Tatsumi, Kimura Kengo, & Koshinaka Shirō. After the card, he again returned to the United States and wrestled in Alabama and Tennessee. After briefly wrestling in Australia, Chōno went back to the United States again, this time to be trained by Lou Thesz, from whom he mastered the STF (step-over toe hold with face lock).[1]

As a Main Eventer (1989 – 1994)

He returned to Japan in 1989/10. Chōno & Hashimoto faced Antonio Inoki & Sakaguchi Seiji in the main event of a supercard on 1990/2/10 at Tōkyō Dome. On 1990/4/27, Chōno teamed Mutō to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship in Mutō's first match in Japan since returning from the United States. It was also the first Japanese title for Chōno.[1]

In 1991, New Japan held the first G1 Climax, which would be their annual event. On 8/11, Chōno defeated Mutō in the final. Also, Chōno married Martina that year.

Chōno won the G1 Climax again in 1992 for the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Championship, defeating Rick Rude in the final. Because of his consecutive G1 wins, he would be known as “Natsu Otoko” (Man of the Summer).

Heel turn and nWo Japan (1994 – 1999)

After winning G1 Climax in 1994, Chōno changed the color of his costume all to black and became a heel. In 1995, he formed a heel stable with Tenzan Hiroyoshi and Hiro Saitō.

In 1996/12, Chōno wrestled for World Championship Wrestling, with which New Japan had a working agreement. His stable joined nWo and nWo Japan was formed. After Chōno continuously scouted Mutō into the group, Great Muta finally became an nWo member in the summer of 1997. Just like it was its main group in the United States, the nWo brand became very popular in Japan as well, and Chōno won the Wrestler of the Year in the 1997 Puroresu Awards.

On 1998/8/8, Chōno wins IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the first time, defeating Fujinami at Ōsaka Dome. However, he was forced to vacate the title without defending it due to a neck injury. While he was out of action, Mutō took over as the leader of nWo Japan.

Team 2000 (1999 – 2002)

With no place in the nWo Japan, Chōno joined forces with AKIRA and Don Frye to form Team 2000 and started a feud with nWo Japan, now headede by Mutō. In 2000, the feuded ended with the victory for Team 2000. As the relationship between New Japan and WCW ended, nWo Japan was dissolved and merged into the Team 2000.

Chōno was appointed as the head booker of New Japan by Antonio Inoki in 2002. On 5/2, he had a 30-minute time limit draw against Pro-Wrestling NOAH's Misawa Mitsuharu at Tōkyō Dome. In August, Chōno won the G1 Climax for the fourth time.

Feuds with the outsiders (2002 – 2005)

After the G1 tournament in 2002, Team 2000 was dissolved quietly, as Chōno would join the main stable of New Japan to feud with the outsiders such as the Makai Club, Takayama Yoshihiro, and Fujita Kazuyuki.

He would also have some NOAH appearances in 2003. In his first NOAH match, Chōno teamed with Misawa to face Kobashi Kenta & Akira Taue. In 2003/5, Chōno lost to Kobashi in a GHC Heavyweight Championship match. During the bouth, Chōno received Kobashi's famous half-nelson suplex six times.

Black New Japan and Legend (2005 – 2010)

In 2005, Chōno formed another stable, “Black New Japan” (BNJ). In August, he won the G1 Climax for the fifth time in tribute to Hashimoto Shin'ya, who had passed away earlier that year. However, in 2005/10, Chōshū Riki returned to New Japan as the head booker and disbanded the BNJ. As a reaction to this, Chōno lead an "Anti-Chōshū Army" with Tenzan and Black Strong Machine.

In 2006, Chōno had a feud with New Japan president Simon Kelly Inoki.

Chōno failed to win the G1 Climax 2007 when he lost to Makabe Tōgi. After the match, he made a proposal to form a new stable, “Legend”, to other veterans including Chōshū, Koshinaka Shirō, Super Strong Machine, and Jūshin Thunder Liger.

On 2007/9/1 and 9/2, Chōno promoted interpromotional cards “Chōno Kingdom in Makuhari” with Chōshū's “Lock UP” group and Fujinami's Muga World Pro-Wrestling. Throughout 2008, he also promoted his own “PREMIUM” cards eight times at Kōrakuen Hall.

Chōno would continue to team with other legends in 2009. On 1/4, he teamed with Kevin Nash, Kurt Angle, and Chōshū at Tōkyō Dome. He participated in the Misawa Mitsuharu Tribute Card on 10/3 in Ōsaka, teaming with NOAH's Kobashi & Shiozaki Gō. On 10/12, he promoted his 25th anniversary card at Ryōgoku Kokugikan. In the main event, he teamed with Mutō & Kobashi.

On 2010/1/21, Chōno announced his departure from New Japan by the end of the month.


  1. ^ a b c d e The Wrestler Best 1000. Nippon Sports Publishing. 1996. 

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