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AKIRA

      

Real Name - Akira Nogami

Birthdate - 3/13/66

5'9" 220 lbs. - Narashino, Chiba, Japan


Athletic Background - n/a

Teacher(s) - [New Japan Dojo]

Professional Background - New Japan(`84-`04), Europe(`90), All Japan(`04-`07), New Japan(`07-`10), Smash(`10-`12), WNC(`12-)

AliasesAkira Nogami

Groups - Heisei Ishingun, Team 2000, Legend-Gun, Smash Seikigun, Synapse

Peak Years - `99-`05


Finisher(s) - 

- Musasabi Body Press (Flying Splash)

- Old Boy (Modified STF)

- Growing Up (STF into Cradle)


Favorites -

- Dragon Suplex

- Shining Enzugiri

- Figure-Four Leglock

- Dragon Screw Legwhip

- Dropkick


Ringwork Rating - 

 Move Set
 Science
 Aerial
 Power
 Strikes


Intangibles Rating - 

 Entertainment
 Selling
 Bumping
 Carrying
 Heat
 Legacy


Place in History - Following the boom of popularity that New Japan enjoyed in the early 1980s, their dojo was flooded with future legends.  Akira Nogami was one of many who battled through that brutal system and emerged as one of the youngest to debut at only 16 years of age.  Despite that fact, Nogami could be considered a late bloomer as it was not until the end of the 1990s that he really transformed into a top quality pro-wrestler.  After his learning excursion in Germany, Nogami returned to New Japan as their junior division was going through a monumental shift.  Jushin Liger was cementing himself as the top junior star, yet like Tiger Mask before him, he needed that key antagonist.  Nogami was among those who had the basics, but lacked that something special to stand out in the crowd.  Like Naoki Sano and Norio Honaga, he had some great matches teaming with and opposing Liger (even winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title from him), but he was clearly only a supporting character.  Nogami tried being a heavyweight, tried working tags with Takayuki Iizuka, but spent most of the 1990s toiling in the undercards and fighting injuries.  In 1999 and 2000, he transformed and finally found his place.  Repacked as simply AKIRA with black costuming and face paint, he finally gained traction.  Landing a recurring role on the show Kamen Rider Kuuga (itself a repacking of the popular brand the Showa period) gave him another level of appeal that he had never had.  AKIRA was at his in-ring best as he adopted a more Americanized style that stood out as he joined with Masahiro Chono’s Team 2000.  New Japan was in its decline, but AKIRA was producing the best work of his career as a junior heavyweight and partner in Team 2000 tags.  His acting career picked up, so he became a freelancer.  AKIRA continues to be very good into his forties.  Acting allowed him to be part-time, which limited his pushes, but extended his career.  AKIRA has now graduated into that stalwart position, where he is regarded as a star from New Japan’s glory days of old.  AKIRA has worked closely with Yoshihiro Tajiri’s SMASH and Wrestling New Classic promotions and continues to be a strong and entertaining performer.

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