Koshinaka Shirō

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Koshinaka Shirō
Ring name(s) Koshinaka Shirō
Samurai Shiro
Real name Koshinaka Shirō
Nickname(s) Samurai Senshi
Billed height 185 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Billed weight 105 kg (230 lb; 16.5 st)
Born 1958/9/4 (1958-09-04) (age 59)
Shishō Giant Baba
Haru Sonoda
Debut 1979/3/5

Koshinaka Shirō (越中 詩郎?) is a Japanese professional wrestler.


All Japan Pro-Wrestling (1978 - 1985)

After graduting from high school, Koshinaka worked for an electric power company for a year. Then, he joined All Japan Pro-Wrestling in 1978/7 and debuted against his trainer Sonoda Kazuharu on 1979/3/5. In his rookie days, he was a tsukibito for Giant Baba.[1]

Koshinaka won the Lou Thesz Cup League in 1983, defeating Misawa Mitsuharu in the final. In the following year, Koshinaka and Misawa were sent to Mexico, where they wrestled as "Samurai Shiro" and "Kamikaze Misawa" respectively.

However, Misawa was brought back to Japan as the second version of Tiger Mask. With the frustration, Koshinaka left All Japan in 1985/8 and joined the rival New Japan Pro-Wrestling.[2]

New Japan Pro-Wrestling (1985 - 2003)

Feud with Nobuhiko Takada

On 1986/2/6, Koshinaka won a league to become the first IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, defeating The Cobra, who had vacated the NWA World and WWF Junior Heavyweight Championships in the previous year.

Around the same time, New Japan had started an "interpromotional" feud against the group of the former UWF wrestlers. One of them was Takada Nobuhiko, a junior heavyweight who, ironically, was once a tsukibito for Antonio Inoki around the same time Koshinaka had similar role for Giant Baba. The two had a number of famous matches over the IWGP title. Koshinaka gained the popularity by receiving all the stiff kicks and submission holds from Takada.

Koshinaka also won IWGP Tag Team Championship on 1987/3/20 in Tōkyō, teaming with Mutō Keiji to defeat the UWF's Maeda Akira & Kido Osamu. They held the title until losing to Maeda & Takada on 1987/3/26 in Ōsaka.

Heisei Ishingun

Main article: Heisei Ishingun

Around the turn of the decade, Koshinaka moved up to the heavyweight division. After a brief stint as a member of Fujinami Tatsumi's Dragon Bombers between 1990/9 and mid-1991, Koshinaka and Kobayashi Kuniaki started a feud with Seishin Kaikan, a karate organization, mainly the president Aoyagi Masashi and Saitō Akitoshi.

Those fighters who were involved in the feud eventually joined forces together to form a stable, which later became Heisei Ishingun. The group also had several self-promoted cards. Koshinaka shaved his head to become a heel. The longtime midcarder now became one of the main eventers.

Koshinaka defeated Mutō during the annual G1 Climax in 1995. In 1998, Tenryū Gen'ichirō joined the group. Tenryū & Koshinaka won IWGP Tag Team Championship on 1998/7/15, defeating Chōno Masahiro & Tenzan Hiroyoshi.

Heisei Ishingun was disbanded in 1999.

Leaving New Japan

After the break-up of the Heisei Ishingun, Koshinaka returned to the main group of New Japan. On 1999/3/22, he won his third IWGP Tag Team Championship, this time teaming with Sasaki Kensuke to defeat Tenzan & Kojima Satoshi, who defeated Tenryū & Koshinaka for the title earlier in the year.

In 2000, All Japan suffered a massive departure of its roster and started working together with New Japan. This allowed Koshinaka to appear on his old promotion. He also participated in a tournament for the vacant Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.

Koshinaka left New Japan in 2003/1 and joined the Fighting of World Japan (WJ), formed by Chōshū Riki.

Freelance (2003 - present)

Just like other wrestlers in WJ, Koshinaka had a financial dispute with the management and left the promotion on 2003/10/31 to become a freelancer.

Koshinaka teamed with Ōmori Takao to defeat Ōtani Shinjirō & Tanaka Masato for the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship on 2004/2/19. Koshinaka also wrestled for Pro-Wrestling NOAH, where he teamed with his old partner, Saitō Akitoshi.

His unintended but big break came in 2007, when Kendō Kobayashi, a famous comedian, started doing impernation of Koshinaka. With his new popularity, he was selected as a challenger for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on 2007/5/2 for the first time in eleven years.

Koshinaka started appearing on the Hustle cards in 2008. On 2009/8/27, Hustle promoted a card to commemorate Koshinaka's thiry years in the puroresu career. Koshinaka teamed with New Japan's Nagata Yūji and Jūshin Thunder Liger to defeat Tenryū, Kawada Toshiaki, & TAJIRI in the main event.

Titles and Tournaments


Tournaments and Leagues


  1. ^ The Wrestler Best 1000. Nippon Sports Publishing. 1996. 
  2. ^ "NJPW Official Site Wrestler Profile". New Japan Pro-Wrestling. 

External Links