Earlier this morning Satoshi Kojima defeated Rob Conway to become the NWA World Heavyweight Champion in front of 40,000 people in the Tokyo Dome in Japan. Some fans in the US may not know a lot about Kojimo or how this match came about so here is a quick rundown.
Kojima was trained in Judo but after working as a loader for New Japan Pro Wrestling was able to talk Animal Hamaguchi into training him. He debuted in September of 1991 against a wrestler who would end up becoming his tag team partner, Hiroyoshi Tenzan. The two would go on to win the IWGP tag title on five different occasions, including a six month reign just last year. He would also be part of the New Japan NWO angle in the late 90s.
In addition to New Japan he spent several year in All Japan Pro Wrestling where he held several titles including the AJPW Triple Crown on two occasions. During his first reign as champion in 2005 he would also win the IWGP from partner Tenzan thus holding Japans two top titles. After leaving All Japan to return to New Japan, Kojima would win the IWGP title for a second time in October 2010.
Kojima’s pursuit of the NWA World Heavyweight title began in March of last year when he answered the challenge of NWA President Bruce Tharpe, who had announce he was bringing newly crowned NWA World Champion, Ironman Rob Conway to Japan to prove they were the best in the world. On April 7, 2013 at the NJPW Invasion Attack, Conway was able to pin him to retain the title. Conway would defend the title a couple of more times in Japan and Kojima would be sideline for a couple of months with an injured shoulder. However at the end of November in the World Tag League tag team tournament, he would pin Conway in a tag match that would lead to him issuing a new challenge for the title.
That rematch was this morning and the rest, as they say, is history.