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|Ring name(s)||Hase Hiroshi|
Viet Cong Express #1
|Real name||Hase Hiroshi|
|Billed height||185 cm (6 ft 1 in)|
|Billed weight||106 kg (230 lb; 16.7 st)|
Oyabe, Toyama, Japan
Hase Hiroshi (馳 浩, born on 1961/5/5 in Oyabe, Toyama, Japan) is a retired Japanese professional wrestler who worked for New Japan Pro-Wrestling and All Japan Pro-Wrestling, prior to transitioning to a position in the Japanese parliament. He currently holds the position of chairman for the PWF, which is the governing body for all championships in All Japan Pro-Wrestling.
In amateur wrestling
1984 Summer Olympics
Hase started his career as an amateur wrestler, representing Japan at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He placed ninth in the Greco-Roman wrestling tournament, making him one of the Top 10 Olympic wrestlers that year.
Early years (1985–1987)
Hase joined Japan Pro-Wrestling in 1985/8. After few months of training in Japan, he was sent to World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico. He had his debut match against Miguel Perez Jr. on 1986/2/28 in Caguas, PR.
Hase then went to Calgary, where he was trained by Stu Hart and Mr. Hito and wrestled for Stampede Wrestling, under a mask, in a tag team known as the Viet Cong Express with Niikura Fumihiro. The team held the territory's International Tag Team Championship. By 1987, he started to wrestle under his name and unmasked in Stampede Wrestling.
New Japan Pro-Wrestling (1987–1996)
Hase returned to Japan in late 1987, and his first match back home, he won IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on 1987/12/27. He would win the title again on 1989/3/16. He is one of a handful of wrestlers, Japanese or American, to successfully graduate from the junior heavyweight to heavyweight class. In 1989/6, Hase and Iizuka Takayuki went to the Soviet Union to train in sambo. In the 1990s, Hase had many memorable encounters with famous Japanese talents first in New Japan, and later All Japan. Hase would form a successful tag team with Sasaki Kensuke in 1990/3, winning the IWGP Tag Team Championship twice between 1990/11/1 and 1991/3/6. Hase was involved in a classic 1992/12/14 encounter with The Great Muta, in which the "Muta Scale" was created among the English-speakins fans, due to the incredible amount of blood shed by Muta.
Hase and Mutō Keiji were also regular tag team partners; they won the IWGP Tag Team Championship twice between 1991/11/5 and 1994/11/25, including a victory over Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner, and won the Super Grade Tag League twice in 1993 and 1994. As Mutō became established as a singles wrestler through his holding of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, however, Hase was left behind, and was only able to hold the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship for eight days in 1994/3.
In 1995/7, Hase Hiroshi was elected into the Japanese House of Councillors as the Senior Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Hase is one of a number of professional wrestlers to transition into politics, other notables being predecessor Antonio Inoki, and later Ōnita Atsushi and The Great Sasuke.
The following year he had his last match in New Japan on 1996/1/4 against Sasaki Kensuke. Though he came out of retirement to wrestle for New Japan in July, he made a jump to the rival All Japan Pro-Wrestling in November.
One of the main reasons Hase left New Japan Pro-Wrestling, is said to be because in 1995, he recruited a young amateur wrestler named Gompei Hiromitsu into New Japan, after convincing his parents that they will watch for their son's safety. Sometime after an altercation with Sasaki Kensuke at the dōjō, Gompei passed away, forcing Hase to be the bearer of bad news to his parents. Hase claimed there was a giant cover-up in the young man's death.
All-Japan Pro-Wrestling (1996–2006)
After a brief hiatus, he made his return to the ring in All Japan Pro-Wrestling in 1996/11. In All Japan, Hase did not contend for titles again despite his name recognition, as he made politics his full-time job. In 2001 he was re-elected by his constituency in Ishikawa Prefecture. The same year he founded the multi-promotional Bad Ass Translate Trading stable with Mutō, Taiyō Kea and Shinzaki Jinsei; Hase and Mutō reformed their team to battle Akiyama Jun and Nagata Yūji on 2001/10/8, the rising stars of their respective promotions (NOAH and NJPW), and were defeated in a ceremonial passing of the torch match that highlighted the advancement of professional wrestling in Japan since it was permanently established in 1951.
When Mutō (along with Kojima Satoshi and Kendō Ka Shin) jumped to All Japan the following year, Hase was seen as having influenced them (if not Mutō at least) in their decision. Antonio Inoki, who had once preceded Hase to the Japanese Diet, blasted Hase and suggested that he resign his position in the Diet, but nothing came out of this.
Hase's final match occurred on 2006/8/27. He tagged with Kojima Satoshi & Nakajima Katsuhiko to face TARU, Suwama Kōhei, & "brother" YASSHI of the Voodoo Murderers. He pinned YASSHI with a Northern Lights Suplex for the victory, ending his in-ring career after 20 years.
On 2007/7/10, Hase took over the duty of the PWF chairman, after Stan Hansen (who held the position since 2000) voluntarily resigned from the position. In 2009/8, Hase once lost his seat in the Japanese Diet but regained it in a different block.
On 2013/3/17, Hase announced that after 2013/5/11, he will be stepping down as PWF chairman after nearly six years. His successor will be Kobashi Kenta.