#AllEliteWeek: Strong Hearts Invade Las Vegas

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Photo: AEW

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) is bringing a lot of new ideas to the table this Saturday with Double or Nothing in Las Vegas as well as shining light on some older ones that aren’t as well known in North America. Their women’s division is loaded with top joshi stars, they’ve got an all-inclusive roster featuring members of the LGBTQ+ community, and are offering opportunities to many of the emerging stars from around the world’s independent scene. But there are three men coming to Las Vegas from Japan that are legends in the Orient, who have only briefly passed through the US in past years. The unit known as Strong Hearts – featuring CIMA, T-Hawk & El Lindaman – are coming from China’s Oriental Wrestling Entertainment (OWE) to face SoCal Uncensored (SCU)‘s trio of Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio Sky.

Strong Hearts Invade Las Vegas: CIMA

Nobuhiko Oshima, better known by his ring name CIMA, was a graduate of the first class of Ultimo Dragon‘s Toryumon Dojo in Mexico, where he was trained by Ultimo Dragon and lucha legend Dos Caras in 1997. He began his career in Mexico before returning to Japan to work for Michinoku Pro Wrestling (MPW) in 1998. As Ultimo Dragon’s student, he also worked briefly for WCW in 1998, under the ring name Shiima Nobunaga, facing the likes of Perry Saturn, Ernest “The Cat” Miller, Disco Inferno and even Ultimo Dragon himself on WCW Monday Nitro, WCW Thunder and WCW Saturday Night.

While back home in Japan, he also wrestled for Toryumon Japan, it’s sister promotion. When Toryumon Japan separated from Toryumon Mexico in 2004 and rebranded as Dragon Gate, CIMA remained with the company becoming one of it’s biggest stars and greatest legends. In 2005, he founded the Blood Generation stable, that featured such US stars as Roderick Strong, Matt Sydal, and Jack Evans, as well as current NJPW star Shingo Takagi. In 2005, he made his US return, facing AJ Styles at the Ring of Honor Dragon Gate Invasion event, before working with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) the following year, when he entered the 2006 Battle of Los Angeles. He made the finals in his first year and returned in 2007 to win that year’s edition of the prestigious indie tournament. In February of 2009, he received a WWE dark match tryout against Jamie Noble prior to a taped edition of Friday Night SmackDown, but nothing more came of it.

He rebooted the Blood Generation stable (which dissolved in 2007) as Blood WARRIORS in 2012, with new stars like Brodie Lee (WWE’s Luke Harper), Ricochet, Uhaa Nation (WWE’s Apollo Crews), Akira Tozawa and BxB Hulk, as well as Strong Heart’s T-Hawk. In 2015, he started another huge army, the Over Generation, that featured another crop of stars, including current Strong Hearts team-mate El Lindman, as well as Eita, Gamma, Dragon Kid and more. In early 2018, he began working with OWE in China, acting as their trainer and President, and by the spring, announced that he was leaving Dragon Gate after 21 years to focus on OWE, that has since entered into partnerships with AEW (CIMA first brought the Young Bucks to Japan for the first time in Dragon Gate in 2008), Crash Lucha in Mexico, and Future Stars of Wrestling, also based in Las Vegas. CIMA left Dragon Gate as a 3x Open The Dream Gate (World Heavyweight) Champion, 5x Open The Twin Gate (Tag Team) Champion, and a 5x Open the Owari Gate (Comedy) Champion.

Strong Hearts Invade Las Vegas: T-Hawk

Takuya Onodera, more commonly known as T-Hawk, got his start training at Dragon Gate’s NEX Wrestling School in 2010. Initially billed as Takuya Tomakomai, he later became Tomahawk T.T., before it was ultimately shortened to just T-Hawk. A 6x Open The Twin Gate (Tag Team) Champion in Dragon Gate, he joined CIMA in OWE in 2018.

Strong Hearts Invade Las Vegas: El Lindman

El Lindaman is the younger of the trio, debuting in Dragon Gate in 2014. In his second year, he joined CIMA’s Over Generation stable and has allied with him ever since, where he’s a former Open The Triangle Gate (6-Man Tag Team) Champion.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.

Check out our other #AllEliteWeek articles for more AEW news heading into Double or Nothing this Saturday!

 

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