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Gantetsu Matsuoka


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Gantetsu Matsuoka (松岡巌鉄)

matsuokavsbrazil.jpg.8bd02ae0e2010e01c4bcd6d8b14daee8.jpgProfession: Wrestler
Real name: Masao Matsuoka (松岡政雄)
Professional names: Seigozan, Gantetsu Matsuoka, The Great Ota, Masao Ota, Mr. Matsuoka
Life: 11/25/1938-unknown
Born: Wake (now Bizen), Okayama, Japan
Career: 1962-1974
Height/Weight: 178cm/103kg (5’10”/227lbs.)
Signature moves: Claw hold
Promotions: Japan Wrestling Association
Titles: NWA United States Tag Team [GCCW] (2x, w/Masio Koma), All Asia Tag Team [JWA] (1x, w/Great Kojika)

Gantetsu Matsuoka was a sumo transplant in the early 60s who earned some success abroad and in the JWA's death knell.

Masao Matsuoka entered the Oitekaze sumo stable in 1958, around the same time as his future tag partner Hiroshi Ueda. The following year, both men transferred under the wing of their trainer to the new Magaki stable. While Ueda transferred to pro wrestling in 1961 after a false start the year before, Matsuoka appears to have stuck with sumo through the end of 1961. Competing as Seigozan, he was promoted to the makushita division that year. Nevertheless, Matsuoka joined the Japan Wrestling Association in 1962, debuting that March with a loss to Katsurahama (Yonetaro Tanaka). He began wrestling under his birth name and adopted the ring name Gantetsu in 1963; although he experimented with his sumo shikona in 1964, Gantetsu Matsuoka would stick. According to the Great Kabuki, Matsuoka was a bully who relished in beating the JWA’s new apprentices; the fact that they would gang up on him and give him receipts during battle royals did not deter him. He also assisted Yusuf Turk in the hotel lobby assault upon the Great Togo in early 1968. In the summer of 1969, Matsuoka left on an excursion. First, he worked in Southeastern territories alongside his old friend Ueda. Notably, the two were part of the October 1970 match where Bobo Brazil broke the color barrier in Atlanta. As Ueda headed back home, Matsuoka worked for Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling in spring 1971, where he and Masio Koma won the NWA United States tag titles twice. Matsuoka left for Vancouver in late 1971; besides a handful of dates in Portland, this was where he spent the rest of his excursion.

603277f4.thumb.jpg.49e56503a60a0f13ed2d21608ced0a9a.jpgIn autumn 1972, Gantetsu was brought back to the JWA. He had begun crushing an apple with his hand, in the tradition of Danny Hodge, and Matsuoka got a shot at Hodge’s NWA World Junior Heavyweight title shortly after his return. After Michiaki Yoshimura retired in early 1973, Matsuoka teamed up with Great Kojika to win the All Asia Tag Team titles before the promotion folded that spring. He was one of the nine wrestlers left when the JWA was absorbed into All Japan Pro Wrestling, and like his friend Ueda, he was someone who Giant Baba particularly did not want to work with. When the ex-JWA transplants were brought onto AJPW cards that summer, Baba snubbed the pair by having them work alternate dates, which cut their pay in half. Ueda and Matsuoka stuck around long enough to work Oki Shikina’s retirement show on October 9 before both left for the United States. While Ueda would work in the States through early 1976 before laying the groundwork for his great heel run back in Japan, Matsuoka is only known to have wrestled in America through late 1974. His whereabouts afterward are completely unknown.

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