395. Masakatsu Funaki

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395. Masakatsu Funaki
One of the most natural adoptees to professional wrestling in New Japan history, Masakatsu Funaki eschewed being one of the best Japanese pro wrestlers to become a pioneer in Mixed Martial Arts.  Funaki would leave New Japan and later co-found Pancrase with Minoru Suzuki wherein the late 90's he was considered one of the greatest fighters in the world.  After a loss to Rickson Gracie in 2000, he retired from fighting but would come back and later return to pro wrestling after a long absence, and he became the All-Japan Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion.  In terms of MMA influence few are in his league but translating that to a WWE Hall of Fame induction is a hard sell.

The Bullet Points

  • Billed From: Japan
  • Key Championships Held:

    King of Pancrase (2)

    All-Japan World Strongest Tag Determination League w/Keiji Mutoh

    All-Japan World Tag Team w/Keiji Mutoh

    All-Japan Triple Crown Heavyweight

    Pro Wrestling Zero 1 Heavyweight
  • Why they will get in: This man is a legend.
  • Why they won't get in: He is a legend in MMA, not necessarily pro wrestling.
  • Five Greatest Matches/Moments:
    1. Beat Jason DeLucia becoming the King of Pancrase 12/15/96
    2. Lost to Rickson Gracie in one of the biggest matches in Japanese MMA history 3/26/00
    3. With Keiji Mutoh, won the All-Japan World Tag Team Titles 1/3/10
    4. Defeated Jun Akiyama for the All-Japan Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship 8/26/12
    5. Won the Pro Wrestling Zero 1 Heavyweight Title from Kohei Sato 7/6/14.

Should Masakatsu Funaki be in the Hall of Fame?

Definitely put him in! - 0%
Maybe, but others deserve it first. - 0%
Probably not, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. - 0%
No opinion. - 0%
No way! - 0%

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