Minoru Tanaka (November 29, 1972) is a Japanese professional wrestler and shootboxer.


Minoru Tanaka was originally a shootboxer. He started his career as a wrestler in Fujiwara Gumi, trained by its owner, Yoshiaki Fujiwara. In late 1995 Tanaka and everyone else in the promotion abandoned Fujiwara and formed their own promotion, BattlARTS, led by Yuki Ishikawa. Despite being a simulated shoot style professional wrestling promotion, BattlARTS, like its predecessor, often cooperated with other federations and styles, such as RINGS, Kingdom, Michinoku Pro and Big Japan Pro Wrestling. Tanaka's first championship, the UWA World middleweight title (originally based in Mexico and introduced in Japan through Universal Lucha Libre and Michinoku), came in 1996. He later won FMW's Independent junior heavyweight title (which was outsourced to Battlarts after Hiromichi Fuyuki abolished all previous FMW titles and replaced them with WEW titles).

In 2000 Tanaka joined New Japan Pro Wrestling. His natural talent enabled him to immediately rise in the junior heavyweight ranks and win the IWGP junior tag team title in July with Koji Kanemoto, who used a similar but more ground-oriented style. The Kanemoto-Tanaka combination was reminiscent of the old Akira Maeda-Nobuhiko Takada combination in 1987. In October, Tanaka won the IWGP junior heavyweight title - thus becoming the first man to hold both junior titles at the same time.

In 2002 Tanaka began wearing a mask and calling himself "HEAT" after the GBA video game Toukon Heat. Like the game, the HEAT character often floundered, and could only attain success after turning heel and joining Jushin Liger's new faction, Control Terrorism Unit (C.T.U.) Earlier in the year he married recently retired female wrestler Yumi Fukawa.

In 2005, after losing his third IWGP junior heavyweight title to new rival Tiger Mask IV, HEAT unmasked but dropped his surname and began calling himself simply Minoru. With new CTU recruit Hirooki Goto he won the IWGP junior tag team titles for a third time.

In 2006, Minoru joined the American Total Nonstop Action Wrestling promotion as a member of Team Japan (consisting of Hirooki Goto, Jushin "Thunder" Liger, Black Tiger IV and Minoru), one of the four teams competing in the TNA 2006 World X-Cup Tournament. He debuted in TNA on April 23, 2006 at TNA Lockdown 2006, where he teamed with Hirooki Goto against Team USA members Sonjay Dutt, Jay Lethal and Alex Shelley. Team Japan defeated USA when Black Tiger pinned Lethal. On the April 27, 2006 episode of TNA iMPACT!, Goto and Minoru lost to Dutt and Shelley, giving a first round victory and two points to Team USA.

Later that year, Tanaka won the Best of the Super Junior XIII tournament, defeating Tiger Mask IV in the final.

In WRESTLE LAND, Minoru and Tanaka are separate, rival characters.

On December 24, 2006, Minoru defeated old partner and rival Kanemoto to become IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion for the fourth time.

In late 2007, Minoru joined the stable Shinsuke Nakamura's stable RISE.

Unhappy with his status in the company & unable to come to terms on a new contract. Minoru left New Japan after nearly a decade with the company January 31, 2008. In a shocking move, He quickly signed with rival promotion All Japan Pro Wrestling in late February & made his presence felt by joining the hated "VooDoo Murders" stable, replacing the recently retired brother YASSHI in the group.

Personal life

In 2002, Tanaka married Yumi Fukawa soon after her retirement.

In wrestling

  • As Minoru Tanaka
  • Finishing moves
  • Signature moves
  • As HEAT
  • Finishing moves

Championships and accomplishments

  • PWI ranked him #12 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2002

External links

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