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Category: MMA

MMA Hall of Fame: Masakatsu Funaki

Written on April 02, 2011 by Markham Mencken

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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, 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.

Masakatsu Funaki’s career in began when he founded Pancrase with Minoru Suzuki. Pancrase became immensely popular, that other organizations made their way in Japan.

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[9]
1994 King of Pancrase Championship Tournament Semifinalist

Professional Wrestling

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 (Class of 2006)


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