Hiro Matsuda
(1937/07/22 - 1999/11/27)


Real Name: Yasuhiro Kojima
Birth: 1937/07/22 Yokohama
Debut: 1957
Death: 1999/11/27 Tampa, FL

JWA (57 - 60, 66)
free (60 - 66)
JWA (66)
IWE (66 - 67)
(after 67 )


Yasuhiro Kojima, who joined JWA in 1957, didn't get along with Rikidozan and left Japan on 1960/04/12 for Peru, where he was known as Ernesto Kojima. Later he wrestled in Mexico for a short period of time, and in '61, Kojima went to the U.S., where a promoter named him "Matsuda" after Sorakichi Matsuda (the first Japanese pro-wrestler who wrestled in the U.S. in 1880s) and Matty Matsuda (another Japanese legend in the U.S. from '20s).

Unlike other stereotypical salt-throwing Japanese heels, Matsuda was a good technical wrestler with his famous german suplex which he learned from the legendary Karl Gotch. Matsuda defeated Danny Hodge, of whom he was one of the biggest rivals, to become the first Japanese to win the World Junior Heavyweight title.

He was also well known for his traning camp. The wrestlers he trained include Hulk Hogan, Steve Keirn, Mike Graham, Brian Blair, Lex Luger, Scott Hall, Ron Simmons, Paul Orndorff, and Keiji Mutoh.

The legend, who was one of the most famous Japanese wrestlers in the U.S., passed away of cancer on 1999/11/27 in his second hometown of Tampa, Florida.

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