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Gran Hamada

      

Real Name - Hiraoki Hamada
Birthdate - 11/27/50
5'4" 195 lbs. - Tokyo, Japan

Athletic Background - Judo (Chuo University)

Teacher(s) - [New Japan Dojo]

Professional Background - New Japan(`72-`83), UWF(`84), All Japan(`84), Free(`85-`90), UWA(`90-`94), Michinoku Pro(`96-), ECW(`97), All Japan(`01), BJW, New Japan(`07)

AliasesHiraoki Hamada, Little Hamada, El Gran Hamada, Mini Love Machine, Masked Hurricane

Groups - Michinoku Pro Seikigun, The Love Machines


Finisher(s) - 
- Hamachan Cutter (Super Ace Crusher)
- Flying Swinging DDT

Favorites -
- Top Rope Rana
- Flying Rana
- Plancha
- DDT
- Headbutt


Ringwork Rating - 

 Move Set
 Science
 Aerial
 Power
 Strikes


Intangibles Rating - 

 Entertainment
 Selling
 Bumping
 Carrying
 Heat
 Legacy


Place in History - Prior to the 1980s, junior heavyweights in Japan had it tough in that it was rare that any made much headway in the sport. Despite being a great athlete and one of the first graduates of the New Japan dojo, the five-foot-four Hiroki Hamada did not have much a future in his company. Thankfully, he was sent to Mexico, where he quickly honed his highflying skill and established himself there. Following this excursion, he returned to Japan and where he was relegated to the undercard. It was not until Tiger Mask hit in 1982 that junior heavyweights could be perceived as more than diminutive heavyweights. Gran Hamada, a ten year veteran at that point and perhaps at in physical prime, was one of the eventual beneficiaries. It was years later when the children who idolized Tiger Mask were the core demographic that junior heavyweight pro-wrestling in Japan became a viable genre.  In the late 1980s, the Japanese landscape was fertile for niche styles as the more realistic UWF and subsequent spin-offs on one end and the wild and bloody FMW on the other had proven. In 1990, Hamada helped bring the first lucha libre group to Japan. Aligning himself with former New Japan booker and Tiger Mask creator Hisashi Shinma and magazine writer Wally Yamaguchi and securing some the premier luchadors in Mexico, Universal Pro seemed to have real legs. While the company did not last, it paved the way for the numerous lucha-influenced groups that would make up Japan's independent scene over the next twenty-five years. One of these, Michinoku Pro, became Hamada's home after the UWA's collapsed. Gran Hamada, nearly fifty, was a seasoned worker who not only fit in with the youngsters wonderfully, but was an invaluable mentor. Michinoku Pro had its own rise and decline and Gran Hamada was a key player throughout. Although he never really reached the level of junior heavyweight legends like Tiger Mask, Jushin Liger or his disciples in Universal Pro like Yoshihiro Asai (Ultimo Dragon) or Masa Michinoku (Great Sasuke), the influence and importance of Gran Hamada in puroresu's history cannot be denied. He was a catalyst in the stylistic changes that have been seen not only in Japan, but abroad as well.
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