NJPW Spotlight is a series by Walter Yeates that highlights past and present members of the New Japan Pro Wrestling roster. This article highlights Minoru Suzuki. The previous article in the series on Will Ospreay is available here.
Despite being over 50-years-old Minoru Suzuki, now dubbed The King of Pro Wrestling, Suzuki is one of the most interesting figures in the world of professional wrestling. Suzuki is a New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) Noge Dojo trueborn, graduating during in what is unofficially the 2nd generation of Noge dojo students. Suzuki also sought training from catch wrestling legends Karl Gotch, Billy Robinson, and Yoshiaki Fujiwara — giving him a master class in professional and catch wrestling training.
Suzuki is a former RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion, All Asia Tag Team Champion (AJPW), GHC Tag Team Champion (Pro Wrestling NOAH), NEVER Openweight Champion, AJPW World Tag Team Champion, IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, IWGP Intercontinental Champion, GHC Heavyweight Champion, and 2x Triple Crown Champion (AJPW). The only major championship that has alluded Minoru Suzuki is the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Suzuki also won the 2016 Global League (now known as N-1 Victory) in NOAH along with the AJPW’s Champion Carnival in 2009 and 2010. Even more impressive than his championship and tournament accolades is his ability to draw fans into a venue across the world. Suzuki has shown to be a bankable draw in Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States.
While Suzuki moves between undercard, headline, and marquee positions in NJPW, his flexibility and strength of character allow him to always stay a relevant threat, no matter who he is up against. Since 2011, Suzuki has been a keep part during the international golden age of NJPW, including playing a key role in NOAH when NJPW had a stake in the company’s finance.
Suzuki has had both incredible mixed martial arts and pro wrestling careers. His legacy may not be as appreciated as others in the modern era of professional wrestling, but his longevity and ability to perform at a high level past 50 is only comparable to Chris Jericho and Yuji Nagata. However, Suzuki is deserving of a place in the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame.