Yuji Nagata is a Japanese professional wrestler, and former mixed martial artist and amateur wrestler currently signed to New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
65 Facts About Yuji Nagata
Yuji Nagata is the only wrestler to have won Japanese professional wrestling's three biggest singles tournaments; New Japan Pro-Wrestling's G1 Climax, All Japan Pro Wrestling's Champion Carnival and Pro Wrestling Noah's Global League, in addition to being one of only five men to have held all three major heavyweight championships in Japanese professional wrestling, the IWGP, GHC and Triple Crown heavyweight championships.
Yuji Nagata was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 2018.
Yuji Nagata met future professional wrestling rival Minoru Suzuki in the amateur wrestling circles.
Yuji Nagata joined New Japan Pro-Wrestling in April 1992 and trained in the NJPW Dojo.
Yuji Nagata increased in stature during the 1995 inter-promotional angle pitting NJPW loyalists against UWF International wrestlers.
Yuji Nagata joined the American World Championship Wrestling promotion in February 1997 as an arrogant villain.
Yuji Nagata was managed by Sonny Onoo, who acted as his translator.
Yuji Nagata began feuding with Ultimo Dragon, with Nagata repeatedly injuring Dragon's shoulder.
Yuji Nagata was able to pin Dragon following a distraction by Onoo, thus ending their feud.
In 1998, Yuji Nagata teamed with Kensuke Sasaki and entered a tournament for the number one contendership for the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
Yuji Nagata left WCW in August 1998 and returned to New Japan.
On September 23,1998, Yuji Nagata fought Scott Norton for the vacant title in Yokohama, but was defeated.
On January 4,2000, his mentor Kazuo Yamazaki retired and Yuji Nagata served as his final opponent, winning the match.
In March 2000, Yuji Nagata formed an ill-fated stable known as Fighting Club G-EGGS, with all the stable member having legitimate sporting backgrounds.
Johnston's participation in the group was largely limited after he suffered a stroke, and Yuji Nagata eventually disbanded G-EGGS on June 16,2001.
Yuji Nagata had entered the tournament twice before, but was eliminated in semi-final matches on both instances.
Yuji Nagata challenged for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship after it was vacated by the injured Kazuyuki Fujita on January 4,2002, but lost to Tadao Yasuda on February 16,2002, in a tournament final.
Yuji Nagata defeated Yasuda for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on April 5,2002, in the Nippon Budokan.
Immediately following his victory, Yuji Nagata was attacked by Pro Wrestling Noah mainstay Yoshihiro Takayama.
Yuji Nagata held the title for thirteen months before losing to Takayama on May 2,2003, in the Tokyo Dome.
On December 11,2005, Yuji Nagata challenged Brock Lesnar for his IWGP 3rd Belt Championship but was defeated.
On June 28,2006, Yuji Nagata was announced as a participant in the 2006 G1 Climax, his eighth appearance in the tournament.
Yuji Nagata did not submit, but was knocked-out by the hold.
In January 2008 Yuji Nagata faced Kurt Angle for the IGF version of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and lost by submission.
Yuji Nagata returned from an undisclosed injury in the Summer of 2008 to lead New Japan against Zero1 as New Japan's ace.
Yuji Nagata recently defended the belt successfully against Kohei Sato.
At the event, Yuji Nagata again overcame Tanaka to make his third defense of the title in 11:41 after a Backdrop Suplex Hold.
Yuji Nagata would make his way to the semifinals of the tournament, before losing to Hirooki Goto.
On January 4,2011, at Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome, Yuji Nagata defeated Suzuki in a grudge match.
On March 13, Yuji Nagata entered the 2011 New Japan Cup, defeating Giant Bernard in his first round match.
On March 19 Yuji Nagata defeated Masato Tanaka in the semifinals of the tournament and finally, on March 20, Shinsuke Nakamura in the finals to win the 2011 New Japan Cup and become the number one contender to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
On January 4,2013, at Wrestle Kingdom 7 in Tokyo Dome, Yuji Nagata defeated Minoru Suzuki in another chapter of their long rivalry.
Yuji Nagata took part in the 2014 G1 Climax, where he scored four wins and six losses in what is the largest field in the history of the G1 with 22 participants.
Yuji Nagata's wins came over Tomoaki Honma, Davey Boy Smith Jr.
Yuji Nagata started his 2015 without a match on the January 4 Tokyo Dome show, but he won the pre-show's New Japan Rumble, pinning Yoshi-Hashi with a Backdrop Driver to win.
The next night, Yuji Nagata again pinned Yoshi-Hashi in a six-man tag team match featuring IWGP Intercontinental Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura.
On February 14,2015, Yuji Nagata returned to the singles title picture in his home promotion, when he unsuccessfully challenged Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship at The New Beginning in Sendai.
Yuji Nagata took part in the 2014 New Japan Cup, losing in the first round to Hirooki Goto after a 'Shouten-Kai'.
From July 23 to August 15, Yuji Nagata took part in the 2015 G1 Climax.
Yuji Nagata was again in the New Japan Rumble on Wrestle Kingdom 10 in Tokyo Dome's pre-show, but he was unsuccessful this time, being eliminated by King Haku.
Yuji Nagata participated in the 2016 New Japan Cup, being eliminated in the first round by Hirooki Goto, this time with the 'Goto Shiki' pin.
On May 3,2016, at Wrestling Dontaku 2016, Yuji Nagata won his first NJPW singles title in nine years, when he defeated Katsuyori Shibata for the NEVER Openweight Championship.
From July 22 to August 13, Yuji Nagata took part in the 2016 G1 Climax, where he finished with a record of three wins and six losses.
Yuji Nagata won his first three matches, the most notable, his first one against recent IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tetsuya Naito.
In 2017, Yuji Nagata again wrestled on the Wrestle Kingdom pre-show.
Yuji Nagata was again unsuccessful in the New Japan Rumble as he was eliminated by NJPW legend Hiro Saito.
Yuji Nagata participated in the 2017 New Japan Cup replacing a severely injured Tomoaki Honma.
Yuji Nagata defeated Tanga Loa with a Backdrop Driver in the first round before losing to Evil.
Around this time, Yuji Nagata transitioned into a much smaller role, focusing on his mentoring and training of New Japan's young prospects.
Yuji Nagata took part in his final G1 Climax, where he finished with a record of one win and eight losses.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter wrote that Yuji Nagata had "probably his best in-ring tournament even though he was booked to lose eight of his nine matches", adding that many had him as the tournament MVP.
Yuji Nagata reformed his team with Nakanishi to participate in the 2017 World Tag League, scoring two wins and five losses.
Yuji Nagata scored a win over former tag team partner Takashi Iizuka with a Backdrop Driver, while Nakanishi scored a submission victory over Yuji Nagata's trainee Fale's team when he submitted Chase Owens with an Argentine Backbreaker.
At Wrestle Kingdom 13's pre-show, Yuji Nagata replaced Michael Elgin in a gauntlet match to determine number one contenders to the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championships teaming with Jeff Cobb and David Finlay, but were unsuccessful.
In December 2019, Yuji Nagata announced his contract renewal with NJPW to confirm he would continue wrestling in 2020.
At Wrestle Kingdom 14 in Tokyo Dome, Yuji Nagata was again on the pre-show, this time in a tag team match alongside Nakanishi to take on Tencozy, which they lost.
In June 2020, Yuji Nagata entered the 2020 New Japan Cup, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, defeating long time rival Minoru Suzuki in round one, before losing to Kazuchika Okada in the second round.
At Wrestle Kingdom 15 in Tokyo Dome in January 2021, Yuji Nagata wrestled on the pre-show.
Yuji Nagata entered the New Japan Rambo, where he and Suzuki, who were brawling, were eliminated over the top rope simultaneously by Toa Henare.
In November 2012, Yuji Nagata took part in Pro Wrestling Noah's 2012 Global League, where he won four out of his six matches, with a loss to GHC Heavyweight Champion Takeshi Morishima on the final day, costing him a spot in the finals.
From late October 2013 to early November, Yuji Nagata took part in Pro Wrestling Noah's 2013 Global League, defeating Takeshi Morishima in the finals on November 10 to win the tournament and become the first wrestler to have won the G1 Climax, the Champion Carnival and the Global League.
Yuji Nagata received another shot at the title on February 8,2014, and defeated Takeshi Morishima to become the new champion.
Yuji Nagata is married to a woman named Chieko, with whom he has a son named Yusei, who trains in amateur wrestling.