MMA Hall of Fame: Masakatsu Funaki
Another professional wrestler made his way to Fighting Insider's MMA Hall of Fame! A round of applause to Pancrase co-founder and Master of Catch Wrestling -- Masakatsu Funaki.
Born on March 13, 1969, Masakatsu Funaki is a Japanese mixed martial artists and a professional wrestler who fought in New Japan Pro Wrestling, PFWG and UWF. He is also the co-founder of one of the first mixed martial arts organization and non-rehearsed shoot wrestling promotions, Pancrase.
A son of a movie theater owner, he was exposed to martial arts film at a young age. He idolized Bruce Lee above all others, and was also influenced by Sammo Hung and Sonny Chiba.
During his MMA days, Masakatsu Funaki was known as the Master of Catch Wrestling. However, the entertainment he provides during match backfired at him on at least one occasion. During a match versus Jason DeLucia, Masakatsu Funaki allowed his opponent to catch him in a knee bar in order to create drama. Unfortunately, his plan to make a rope escape once DeLucia locked in the submission did not work. Instead, Masakatsu Funaki was forced to tap out.
Following his win over Tony Petarra, Masakatsu Funaki retired from Pancrase in September 1999 due to accumulated injuries and being burnt out from the hectic Pancrase schedule. But be that as it may, Masakatsu Funaki is one of the most successful fighters of Pancrase. He scored submission victories over Ken Shamrock and Frank Shamrock, Guy Mezger, Yuki Kondo, Minoru Suzuki, and Bass Rutten. He is also the first MMA fighter to win the King of Pancrase title twice.
Mixed Martial Arts
Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling
King of Pancrase (2 Times)
1996 King of Pancrase Championship Tournament Winner
1994 King of Pancrase Championship Tournament Semifinalist
All Japan Pro Wrestling
World’s Strongest Tag Team League (2009) – with Keiji Mutoh
AJPW Unified World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Keiji Mutoh
Pro Wrestling Illustrated
PWI ranked him #115 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2010
Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 2006)