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The Cobra

Real Name - Jyoji “George” Takano

Birthdate - 6/23/58

5'10" 254 lbs. - Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan

Athletic Background - Sumo (Jonidan)

Teacher(s) - [New Japan Dojo]

Professional Background - New Japan(`77-`90), CMLL(`82), UWA(`82-`83) Stampede(`83-`85), WWF(`84-`85), SWS(`90-`92), NOW(`92), PWC(`93-`94), FSR(`95-`97), Zero-One(`01-`02)

AliasesTakano, George Takano, Kenji Takano, Mr. X, Giant Dos Caras

Groups - Palestra

Peak Years - `80-`90

Finisher(s) - 

- Cradled Tombstone

- Moonsault

- Squadron Thunder

Favorites -

- Rito Romero Special into Cradle

- Counter Body Press from the 2nd Rope

- Lariat Flip

- Driving Kneedrop

- Dropkick

Ringwork Rating - 

 Move Set9

Intangibles Rating - 


Place in History - Amongst the best junior heavyweights of the 1980s, George Takano became a star as a masked wrestler known as "The Cobra."  Unfortunately, he entered into the New Japan scene in the aftermath of Tiger Mask’s departure and no one could fill that void.  George Takano was the son of US Navy boxer and a former sumo himself; he and his younger brother Shunji were natural athletes who had great potential for pro-wrestling.  He started in the New Japan Dojo in 1977 and did his learning excursion in Mexico in the early 1980s.  He returned to New Japan as The Cobra under a mask and immediately entered the fray with the British Bulldogs and Black Tiger.  The division was rocked by the loss of Tiger Mask and Cobra was positioned as his replacement.  George Takano was not all that different from Satoru Sayama, he had great look, impressive athleticism and a diverse arsenal of moves that got over with the fans.  He was also a bit sloppy and tended to be over-the-top with his bumping and selling.  The Cobra inherited Tiger Mask’s NWA Junior Heavyweight title and won the WWF Junior Heavyweight title as well, but he never quite reached the level of his legendary predecessor.  In 1986, he returned from some time overseas, shed his Cobra persona and graduated to the heavyweight division.  George Takano was even touted as being a future Antonio Inoki.  He formed a tag team with Super Strong Machine and they even toppled Riki Choshu and Masa Saito for the IWGP Tag titles.  While Takano seemed like he had all the tools to become an upper echelon star in New Japan, it was not meant to be.  In 1990, Takano was one of many that sought a new lease on life in the SWS.  He reunited with his brother, who had been in All Japan, and enjoyed the biggest push of his career.  The opportunity was short-lived.  SWS, despite having an impressive roster and ties to the WWF, lacked direction and was plagued with internal turmoil.  Following its closure in 1992, the Takanos went with Kendo Nagasaki and his NOW promotion for a time and then split off and formed their own group, Pro-Wrestling Crusaders, which had a brief existence as well.  George spent the rest of his career working on the independents under his real name or under the Cobra guise.  He was still talented, but the lack of exposure and the depreciated value of his name hamstrung his opportunities.  He has continued promoting, running the Hokkaido-based FSR (Fighting Spirit wRestling), which struggled in Japan’s rural northern island.  George Takano continued to pop up in independents before retiring in 2004.  The Cobra was a character who capable and yet could never fill in for Tiger Mask.  As George Takano, he had all the athletic ability and look that a star could ever want, and yet, Takano was unable to fulfill his potential.  Ultimately, the legacy of George “Cobra” Takano might be just that - unfulfilled potential.  A living example of how even if one has all the physical gifts needed to be a superstar, the conditions have the greatest influence.