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Masakatsu Funaki


Real Name - Masaharu Funaki
Birthdate - 3/13/69 
5'11" 212 lbs. - Aomori, Japan 

Athletic Background - Submission Wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai Kickboxing

Teacher(s) - Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Antonio Inoki (New Japan Dojo); Akira Maeda

Professional Background - New Japan(`84-`88), Europe(`88), UWF(`88-`90), PWFG(`91-`93), Pancrase(`93-`00), K-1/Dream(`07-`08), All Japan(`09-)

Aliases - Yuji Funaki, Masaharu Funaki, Masa Funaki

Groups - n/a

Peak Years - `89-`96

- Reverse Heel Hook 
- Heel Hook 
- Cross Armbreaker 
- Kneebar 
- Solebutt 
- Leg Kick

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Place in History - Masa Funaki was inspired by Bruce Lee and others to pursue martial arts and Tiger Mask to pursue pro-wrestling and interestingly enough his love of the two forms would lead to the creation of the first mainstream mixed martial arts company.  Funaki was only 15 when he started training in the New Japan Dojo and he immediately showed a gift for pro-wrestling. While he never really broke through in New Japan, Akira Maeda brought him into the second version of the UWF. After training personally under Maeda with fellow former New Japan youngster Minoru Suzuki, Funaki began the climb up the ranks. The company bottomed out before he reached the top, but he a Suzuki became the two became future aces for Yoshiaki Fujiwara's successor group. Fujiwara-gumi's young lions and Wayne (Ken) Shamrock aligned and walked out on the company and started Pancrase.  It was the first "real pro-wrestling" company of modern times and Funaki was its biggest and arguably its most talented star.  The Pancrase style and approach was incredible for producing top shooters, but the schedules and intensity burnt out many fighters quickly.  During that time, he worked successfully doing shoots every other month through 1999. Funaki's record includes wins over some highly regarded fighters.  His  "final" fight was a loss to the legendary Rickson Gracie in what was the longest and the last recorded bout of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu icon.  Masa Funaki was a mainstream celebrity by this time and branched out into acting.  A few years later, Funaki got the bug to fight again and had three fights and while he lost two, he showed incredible speed and heart.  Since that time, he re-entered pro-wrestling with All Japan.  Whlie he is banged up, Funaki is just over forty and has great know-how and could just live off his legacy if he wanted, but he still works hard.