Photo Credit: Wrestling Inc and AEW
In my second article for this site, I made the claim that Nick Gage was the scariest man in professional wrestling today. Most of the comments I received either agreed with me, or told me I was wrong (with some selling financial services). Those who disagreed with my take mostly pointed at New Jack as the true claimant to that title. However, I wrote that article after New Jack’s passing, so the idea of “scariest man in wrestling today,” didn’t apply to him. The only other person who got multiple votes was a New Japan legend. In fact, you might even call him a King.
That’s right, in today’s article, I’ll be explaining the reasons why you, and everyone should fear Minoru Suzuki.
At 53 years of age, an outsider might think that Suzuki is a relic of a bygone era. However, this is far from the truth. Trained by the legendary Karl Gotch and the NJPW Dojo, Suzuki made his mark on Japanese wrestling by leaving. That might sound illogical, but Suzuki became known as one of the founding fathers of the Japanese MMA scene. His reputation as a shoot grappling specialist carried into his freelance work, both in Japan and around the world. Combine that with his legendarily stiff forearm shots and you begin to see why stepping into the ring with the King is still a scary prospect to this day.
We also need to address the almost mystic aura that Suzuki has surrounded himself with. The ultimate wrestling freelancer, Suzuki has appeared in America, the UK and Japan. Wherever he appears, people react in fear. On his return to New Japan, flanked by the army he stole from Kojima, he had the audience screaming in fear. That is the mystique of the Lonely Warrior, a wandering sadist, bringing terror wherever he goes.
If you don’t believe me, watch this promo. For context, Suzuki has just brutally dethroned Hiroshi Tanahashi as Intercontinental Champion. Mercilessly targeting the Ace’s knee and ankle, Suzuki forced a referee stoppage and claimed his second title in NJPW. The quiet aura of menace and grim laughter send shivers down my spine every time.
Loner No More
Finally, Suzuki no longer rides alone. Since the mid-2010s, he’s been accompanied by Suzuki-gun (Suzuki’s Army), a faction of sadistic warriors. Assembling the best talent from around the world, the Lonely Warrior has now evolved into a leader of men. This makes him even scarier, since even once Suzuki hangs up his boots, his creed will live on. El Desperado, Zack Sabre Junior and Taichi have all been cited as potential successors, meaning that the mantra Suzuki-gun is ICHIBAN! (Suzuki-gun is number one!) will continue.
So, there you have it. Hopefully I have now atoned for my own personal Suzuki Incident and given you a small flavour of why he’s so feared. With Suzuki currently touring around the USA, there’s never been a better time to embrace your fears and give him a watch!