Trademark Moves: Nagata Locks I (Reverse Figure Four Leglock), II (Crippler Crossface) and III (Regal Strech/Rings Of Saturn Combo), Exploder, Wrist Clutch Exploder and Thunder Death Driver
- IWGP Tag Team Titles (1, w/ Manabu Nakanishi)
- IWGP Heavyweight Title (1)
- AJPW Double Tag Team Title (current w/Kendo KaShin)
- GHC Tag Team Champion (1 w/ Hiroshi Tanahashi)
- G1 Climax 2001
- G1 Tag League 2000 (w/ Takashi Iizuka)
- WCW Tag Team Titles Contender Tournament 1998 (w/ Kensuke Sasaki)
- Naeba Tag Tournament 2001 (w/ Jushin Liger)
- Samurai TV! Openweight Tournament (2005 w/ Hirooki Goto)
Perhaps one of the most skilful and talented technical wrestlers in the world, current IWGP champion Yuji Nagata is known just as well for his trademark salute, as his exciting matches. You may have seen Nagata wrestle before in NJPW, NOAH, ZERO-ONE or even in the States, with WCW.
Aged 35, the former NK Gun and Fighting Club G-EGGS member made a name for himself at the 2001 G1 Climax, where he successfully defeated Minoru Tanaka, Tadao Yasuda, Tatsumi Fujinami, Masahiro Chono and the great Keiji Mutoh. Nagata even holds wins over Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi, as he teamed up with Jun Akiyama on NOAH’s 17th February 2002 to take on both men in a tag team match, coming up trumps.
Three months later, Nagata won the IWGP World Heavyweight title from Yasuda, cementing his status as one of the top wrestlers in New Japan. He went on to successfully defend the title 10 times, a new company record before falling to Takayama in a typically hard hitting bout.
Since then he has fought for the pride, history and glory of the NJPW in NOAH where he held the GHC tag team title and also in AJPW where he was tag team champion with old friend and young lion dojo classmate Kendo KaShin.
This came to an end when KaShin refused to defend the titles against the next designated challengers and the duo where stripped of the gold. KaShin has the original titles still in his possession and has refused to return them citing a court action that is still ongoing and which Nagata attends to hold his old friend.
This came during a barren spell in which the management stated that they wished for the ‘older generation’ like Nagata to become steps for the upcoming Nakamura and Hiroshi Tanahashi.
This caused Nagata to snap and vent his frustration on the younger super stars even dropping Tana on his head at one point with his own Dragon Suplex to insult them. He even formed an elite unit named Team JAPAN of him and old friends KaShin, Nakanishi and Fujita with the four aiming to return the strength to the company and rule over it.
This group disbanded with the return of Choshu and Fujita’s loss to Brock Lesnar which cost him the IWGP title. Since then Nagata has sided with Choshu against the likes of nemesis Chono and aims to rebuild himself as the ‘ace’ of NJPW once more and return the title from Brock although his initial non-title match against the former WWE Champion ended in defeat.
Still one of NJPW’s elite workers and taking the young stars under his wing Nagata is despite his age vital to the companies future success as both a potential champion and as a man who can help the younger generation to reach the next level.
Recommended Yuji Nagata Matches:
Yuji Nagata and Jun Akiyama Vs Mitsuhara Misawa and Kenta Kobashi- NOAH, 17/02/02
Yuji Nagata Vs Keiji Mutoh- NJPW, 12/08/01
Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi Vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima- NJPW G1 Tag League Finals 2001
(Last updated by Robert Heard on May 1st 2006)