Minoru Suzuki goes wherever he wants, does whatever he wants and that´s the only truth you must face when the veteran of thousand battles comes to mind. Suzuki is a powerful figure in the big landscape of puroresu tradition. Be it for his current open weight championship run in New Japan Pro Wrestling, or be it the story where he ventures on the primal scene of the Mixed Martial Arts in Japan. Suzuki was mentored by puro legend Yoshiaki Fujiwara and Karl Gotch. He also trained in mixed martial arts alongside Masakatsu Funaki. Suzuki has been apart of legendary matches against Hiroshi Tanahashi, Naomichi Marufuji and AJ Styles just to mention a few.
Minoru Suzuki: The Badass Pilgrim
In 1993 Minoru Suzuki was one of the founders of Pancrase, which was an alternative to wrestling then known as “hybrid wrestling” style. It ended up being a forerunner to MMA as we now know it around the world. During ten years Suzuki faced the likes of Vernon White, Bas Rutten, and Ken Shamrock. Suzuki tended to develop techniques oscillating between martial arts and wrestling and that was the tendency the fighters had. Despite his size Suzuki was capable of bringing hell to his foes, becoming a name of respect among Pancrase fighters. His intense and crude style was rapidly adopted as the sign and firmness of the own promotion´s style. Sadly, by 2001, he was injured and manifested constant pain on his body, leading him to walk away from Pancrase.
Suzuki has been associated with many promotions on his wrestling career since his departure of Pancrase in 2003. One could say he was kind of a pilgrim, a freelancer walking through promotions, raising hell wherever he was and showing off his abilities. By the time he entered NOAH Pro Wrestling, he was some kind of a legend despite being in in his mid-thirties. His mat-work was praised and recognized in All Japan (he was Triple Crown Champion twice) and battled the biggest names every promotion has had during the last 15 years. The pilgrimage of making a statement in puro has been embodied by Minoru Suzuki through the decades.
He has to be a lonely warrior
Nevertheless, since 2011, Minoru Suzuki has been paired with such outlaws as Taichi, Taka Michinoku, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr., El Desperado, Takashi Iizuka and K.E.S. being the head of his own faction, Suzuki Gun (more info in our gang warfare series by managing editor Jamie Greer). His solo tenure has been one big deal in NJPW for the last year. While Suzuki Gun came to raise chaotic hell, Minoru has been dealing with rivalries with the likes of Hirooki Goto and current NJPW big champion Kuzuchika Okada and outside NJPW, with Cody and Matt Riddle. He combining deadly moves with pure wrestling, making him look amazing and threatening at the same time. Suzuki has taken part in awesome matches all around the world.
Suzuki is feared and hated due to his in-ring psychology. His match against Kenny Omega at the G1 Climax this summer was a good example of this. He is the baddest man in the world right now. He will take a tantrum, attacking Young Lions when matches go wrong. Suzuki is a psychological threat when walking to the ring. There is presence and power in the mere mention of his name. At Wrestle Kingdom XII he is going to face Hirooki Goto putting his hair and title on the line. And you can tell for sure he has a bag of tricks and holds to keep being the meanest guy over the squared circle. And if he´s not, some Young Lions may suffer.