Seiya Sanada (January 28, 1988) is a Japanese professional wrestler best known for his work in All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he was the first Gaora TV Champion when he won a tournament, a two-time All Asia Tag Team Champion, and a one-time World Tag Team Champion after winning the 2011 World's Strongest Tag Determination League. Sanada is also known for his time in the Japanese Wrestle-1 and American Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) promotions, performing in the latter as The Great Sanada and becoming a one-time TNA X Division Champion. He currently wrestles in New Japan Pro Wrestling where he is a member of Los Ingobernables de Japón. In NJPW, he is one-half of the current IWGP Tag Team Champions in his second reign with teammate EVIL.
Professional wrestling career
All Japan Pro Wrestling (2007–2013)
Sanada was trained by AJPW dojo and turned pro on March 13, 2007 in a losing effort teaming with Ryuji Hijikata against Katsuhiko Nakajima and Y28. Within a few months into his career, Sanada won his first honor when he teamed with Kensuke Sasaki and Nakajima to win the Samurai! TV Triple Arrow Tournament on May 29, 2007. Following the tournament victory, Sanada spent the next two years in opening match wrestling other up-and-comers and began teaming with Manabu Soya. By 2009, Sanada began moving up the card as he took part in his first Champion Carnival but finished last with no points. Later in the year, Sanada broke up with Soya and briefly teamed up with Osamu Nishimura with the two entering the 2009 World's Strongest Tag Determination League with Sanada even getting a pinfall victory over the tag team champions: Taiyo Kea and Minoru Suzuki but the team's run ended when Sanada suffered the flu and had to withdraw from the tournament.
In 2010, Sanada once again entered the Champion Carnival but the results were the same as he finished last in his block with no points. By the spring, Sanada helped form the New Generation Force stable with Suwama, Masayuki Kono, Ryota Hama, and Manabu Soya. On August 29, 2010 at Pro Wrestling LOVE in Ryogoku Vol. 10, Sanada and Soya defeated TARU and Big Daddy Voodoo to win the AJPW All Asia Tag Team Championship. Sanada and Soya entered the 2010 World's Strongest Tag Determination League in the fall where they finished in 6th place with 7 Points. Sanada and Soya would lose the AJPW All Asia Tag Team Championship to Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi on March 21, 2011. During the year 2011, Sanada reached his full potential by reaching the finals against Yuji Nagata, but loss to him in the finals. He also entered in 2011 World's Strongest Tag Determination League with KAI and won the tournament by defeating Masayuki Kono and Masakatsu Funaki in the Finals. They then challenged the All Japan World Tag Team Champions Dark Cuervo and Dark Ozz for a title shot but came up short. They then faced each other in a singles match, which led to Sanada winning that match. After the match they both had an interview and Sanada decided that they should part ways and move on with their Tag Team which KAI also agreed on. In 2012 he then challenged All Japan Ace Suwama to a 60-minute match but also fell short in that match. He then challenged his former trainer Satoshi Kojima to match but also fell short after a Lariat by Kojima, during the Match he sustained a right knee injury but still wrestled and took a little time off to heal his knee. He then participated in 2012's Champion Carnival and lost to his former tag partner Manabu Soya. But he then won his first match against Manabu Soya's brother Takumi Soya and debuted a new finisher called "THIS IS IT" (Guillotine Dragon Sleeper). On May 20, 2012, Sanada and Joe Doering defeated Soya and Takao Omori to win the AJPW Unified World Tag Team Championship. Sanada and Doering lost the title back to Soya and Ōmori on June 17. On October 7, 2012, Sanada defeated Yasufumi Nakanoueno in a tournament final to become the inaugural AJPW Gaora TV Champion. After reaching the semifinals of the 2013 Champion Carnival, All Japan announced on May 1, 2013, that Sanada would be leaving on a learning excursion to Moncton, Canada, where he would train under Emile Duprée. During the excursion, Sanada lost the Gaora TV Championship to René Dupree on May 27.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2011-2012)
Sanada debuted in NJPW as early as August 27, 2011 at All Together. There, he teamed with Shuhei Taniguchi & Tetsuya Naito in defeating Manabu Soya, Mohammed Yone & Yujiro Takahashi. He returned the following year on February 19 for the 2012 All Together event during which he teamed with Go Shiozaki & Tetsuya Naito. He wrestled his final match October 28 at the NJPW/AJPW New Japan & All Japan 40th Anniversary event, where he teamed with KENSO & Ryota Hama in a tag match lost to team Get Wild (Manabu Soya & Takao Omori) & Suwama
On July 1, while still in Canada, Sanada announced his resignation from All Japan, taking part in a mass exodus caused by Nobuo Shiraishi becoming the promotion's new president. Following his resignation, Sanada traveled to Mexico on his own expense to continue his training. Though Sanada was not announced as part of Keiji Mutoh's splinter promotion Wrestle-1, he did make a surprise appearance at the promotion's inaugural event on September 8, losing to Kai in a singles match. Sanada and Kai had a rematch in the main event of Wrestle-1's second show on September 15; this time Sanada was victorious. On September 24, Wrestle-1 announced that Sanada had signed a contract with the promotion. Sanada wrestled his first match under a Wrestle-1 contract on October 6, losing to Kai in the main event of the promotion's first event in Korakuen Hall. As a result, Kai won the series between him and Sanada 3-2. On November 16, Sanada unsuccessfully challenged visiting American wrestler A.J. Styles for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
In early 2014, Sanada was offered an opportunity to earn another shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but he instead opted to go for the TNA X Division Championship. On February 15, Sanada defeated nineteen other men in a battle royal to become the number one contender to the title. On March 2 at Kaisen: Outbreak, Sanada defeated Austin Aries to become the new TNA X Division Champion. The following day, Wrestle-1 announced Sanada would be leaving Japan to work for TNA indefinitely. Sanada continued making sporadic appearances for Wrestle-1, defending his X Division Championship against Seiki Yoshioka on March 22 and against Christopher Daniels on April 17, while also losing to The Great Muta in the main event of Wrestle-1's second Ryōgoku Kokugikan event, Shōgeki: Impact, on July 6. The following day, Wrestle-1 and Sanada held a press conference to announce that he had signed a contract with TNA, giving him a dual contract between Wrestle-1 and the American promotion.
Sanada returned to working for Wrestle-1 full-time in October 2014, when TNA went inactive for the rest of the year. The following month, Sanada teamed up with Hiroshi Yamato for the First Tag League Greatest tournament, set to determine the inaugural Wrestle-1 Tag Team Champions. The team finished their block with a record of one win, two draws and one loss, narrowly missing advancement to the semifinals. On December 22, Sanada unsuccessfully challenged Keiji Mutoh for the Wrestle-1 Championship. On May 13, 2015, Sanada held a press conference in Japan, where he announced that he was leaving Wrestle-1 once his contract expired two days later, so he could continue working in the United States full-time as a freelancer.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2014–2015)
Sanada made his TNA debut on March 9 at Lockdown, where he, working under just his family name, teamed with The Great Muta and Yasu to defeat Chris Sabin, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian in a six-man tag team steel cage match. Four days later, Sanada made his Impact Wrestling debut, teaming with Tigre Uno to defeat TNA World Tag Team Champions, The BroMans (Jessie Godderz and Robbie E), in a non-title match. As a result, the two received a shot at the TNA World Tag Team Championship the following week, but were defeated in a three-way match, which also included The Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards). Sanada and Tigre Uno were then put against each other in a "best of three" match series for the TNA X Division Championship. On April 27 at Sacrifice, Sanada defeated Uno to win the series 2–1 and retain the X Division Championship. On June 15 at Slammiversary XII, Sanada defeated Crazzy Steve, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Manik and Tigre Uno in a six-way ladder match to retain the X Division Championship. At the June 20 Impact Wrestling tapings, Sanada lost the X Division Championship back to Austin Aries.
During the June 25 tapings, Sanada took part in an angle, where he turned on his mentor Great Muta, hitting him with a steel chair and a moonsault, after initially saving him from James Storm. The following day at Destination X, Storm introduced Sanada as his new protégé, before he defeated Brian Cage and Crazzy Steve to advance to the finals of a tournament for the vacant X Division Championship. At the June 27 Impact Wrestling tapings, Sanada was defeated by Samoa Joe in the finals of the tournament, which also included Low Ki. After signing a one-year contract with TNA, Sanada debuted the new ring name "The Great Sanada" and a look inspired by The Great Muta on the August 27 Impact Wrestling, defeating Austin Aries with help from Storm. Sanada and Storm were eventually joined by Abyss and Manik to form a stable named The Revolution. On October 12, Sanada main evented TNA's Bound for Glory event in Tokyo, teaming with Storm in a tag team match, where they were defeated by The Great Muta and Tajiri. On the April 10, 2015, Impact Wrestling, Storm dismissed Sanada from The Revolution, stating that Sanada had let him down one too many times. Sanada's departure from TNA was confirmed by the promotion on April 16.
Global Force Wrestling (2015)
On May 6, 2015, Global Force Wrestling (GFW) announced Sanada as part of their roster. On July 10, he joined the GFW Grand Slam Tour, teaming with PJ Black in a match won by BULLET CLUB (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson). The next night, Sanada teamed with Takaaki Watanabe in a rematch won by the BULLET CLUB. On July 24 at GFW One Night Only: Amped Anthology, Sanada joined the first round of the GFW NEXGEN Championship Tournament where he was eliminated by PJ Black. On August 28 at , Sanada teamed with Ali Akbar in a Two-On-One Handicap match won by Doc Gallows. On August 29 Sanada faced Akbar and Gallows in a three-way match won by Gallows. On October 23 during the fourth installment of the GFW One Night Only: Amped Anthology, Sanada entered a No. 1 Contendership match for the GFW NEXGEN title but was defeated by Sonjay Dutt.
Canadian promotions (2015)
Debuting in 2015, Sanada wrestled for Border City Wrestling on January 20 at BCW Campus Combat teaming with A1 to defeat Joe Coleman & Joe Doering. On October 17 at BCW Excellence, Sanada returned to team with WWE alumni Shane Helms to defeat Brad Martin & Tyson Dux. On February 7, Sanada debuted in Smash Wrestling at Smash Battle Lines in a match won by Josh Alexander. Sanada made his Superkick'D debut on October 10 at Superkick'D Dropkick City in a match won by Phil Atlas.
American independent circuit (2014–2015, 2017)
On September 20, 2014, Sanada, using his villainous Great Sanada persona, made his debut for American independent promotion Chikara, entering the annual Rey de Voladores tournament. After defeating Amasis, AR Fox and Orlando Christopher in his opening four-way elimination match, Sanada was defeated in the finals of the tournament the following day by Shynron. After leaving TNA in April 2015, Sanada began working more regularly on the American independent circuit. Sanada debuted in DREAMWAVE Wrestling on October 23 at DREAMWAVE No Escape in a title match against AR Fox for the DREAMWAVE Alternative Championship, but did not succeed in winning the title.
Ring Of Honor (2017-2018)
Sanada made his ROH debut on February 26 during its joint shows with New Japan Pro Wrestling. He teamed with BUSHI and EVIL under the team name Los Ingobernables de Japon to successfully defend the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship against Delirious, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask. On May 10 during the second night of the 2017 ROH-NJPW War Of The Worlds tour, Sanada and Los Ingobernables de Japon challenged Bully Ray & The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship but did not succeed in winning the titles. During the second night of the RevPro-NJPW-ROH-CMLL War Of The Worlds UK event tour, Sanada challenged Cody for the ROH World Championship but did not succeed in winning the title. On May 26, 2018 at ROH Honor United, Sanada competed in a Four Corner Survival match against Hiroshi Tanahashi and Punishment Martinez and the defending ROH World Television Champion Silas Young but neither Sanada or the two other challengers succeeded in defeating Young for the title. On June 29 at ROH Best In The World, Sanada and team Los Ingobernables de Japon challenged The Kingdom for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship but did not succeed in winning the titles. Sanada wrestled his final ROH match on November 11 during the fourth night of the 2018 ROH/NJPW Global Wars event, where team Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) lost a tag match to The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe).
Return to New Japan Pro Wrestling (2016-present)
Marking his second tenure in NJPW in four years, Sanada returned to join the group named Los Ingobernables de Japon. With members BUSHI, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito in their first tag match together defeating team CHAOS (Gedo, Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii). Sanada and team Los Ingobernables de Japon finished the year at second night of the 2017 NJPW Road To Tokyo Dome event, where they lost a tag match to team TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima), David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA.
Returning after the new year, Sanada and team Los Ingobernables de Japon competed on January 4, 2017 at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11, in a Four-Way Gauntlet title match for the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship. At Wrestle Kingdom 11, Los Ingobernables de Japon won the Openweight Six-Man Tag Team titles for the first time. The following night on January 5 at NJPW New Year Dash, Sanada and Los Ingobernables de Japon lost the Openweight Tag Team titles to the team of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi & Ryusuke Taguchi. The following month on February 11 at The New Beginning, Sanada and Los Ingobernables won the Openweight Six-Man Tag Team titles in a rematch against Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi & Ryusuke Taguchi. This marked their second reign until two months later on April 4 at eighth night of the 2017 Road To Sakura Genesis event, where they lost the titles to the team of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi. Through the months, Sanada and Los Ingobernables de Japon embarked on a rivalry against Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, Ricochet, Ryusuke Taguchi & Yoshitatsu in a succession tag matches. Sanada and Los Ingobernables de Japon on May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku, where they won the Openweight Six-Man Tag Team titles from Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi, marking a third reign. On May 10, Sanada and Los Ingobernables de Japon appeared during the second night for the 2017 ROH-NJPW War Of The Worlds event, where they challenged the reigning champions Bully Ray & The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship but did not succeed in winning the ROH Tag Team titles. During the second night of the RevPro-NJPW-ROH-CMLL War Of The Worlds UK event, Sanada challenged reigning champion Cody for the ROH World Championship, but did not succeed in becoming ROH World Champion. Throughout the remainder of the year, Sanada and Los Ingobernables de Japon competed in tag matches as well as in tournaments. During the first night of the 2018 Road To Tokyo Dome event, where Sanada and Los Ingobernables de Japon lost the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship to team BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa).
During the course of 2018, Sanada and Los Ingobernables de Japon competed in tag matches including a tag title match on January 4 at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12, where they defeated the reigning champions Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship for the first time. They later lost the IWGP Tag Team titles on June 9 at Dominion 6.9 to the Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson). For the remainder of the year, Sanada and Los Ingobernables de Japon spent their ring-time in non-title tag matches. They finished their year on December 15 during the second night, with a tag match won by Sanada and Los Ingobernables de Japon member EVIL against Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi.
Sanada and Los Ingobernables de Japon teammate EVIL returned on January 4, 2019 at Wrestle Kingdom 13, competing in a three-way tag match against the Young Bucks and reigning champions Guerrillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) for the IWGP Tag Team titles. The match concluded with Sanada & EVIL winning the three-way to become the IWGP Tag Team Champions, for the second time.
- Finishing moves
- Bridging Tiger Suplex
- Moonsault Press (AJPW) / Rounding Body Press (NJPW/W-1)
- Skull End (NJPW) / This Is It (AJPW/W-1) (Dragon sleeper with bodyscissors) – 2012–present
- Superkick to a kneeling opponent (TNA)
- Signature moves
- Bridging dragon suplex
- German suplex
- Green mist – TNA
- Japanese leg roll clutch
- Missile dropkick, sometimes while springboarding
- Paradise Lock (Over-rotated Delfin Clutch) – 2017–present; adopted from Milano Collection A.T.
- Rolling cradle
- Saito suplex
- Standing moonsault
- TKO (Fireman's carry cutter)
- With EVIL
- Double-team finishing moves
- Magic Killer (Aided snap swinging neckbreaker)
- Double-team finishing moves
- "Saint Seiya"
- "Shining Star"
- "Youth Hurricane"
- "Cold Skull"
- Entrance themes
- Teams and stables
Championships and accomplishments
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- AJPW All Asia Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Manabu Soya
- AJPW Gaora TV Championship (1 time)
- AJPW Unified World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Joe Doering
- Gaora TV Championship Tournament (2012)
- Samurai! TV Cup Triple Arrow Tournament (2007) – with Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima
- World's Strongest Tag Determination League (2011) – with Kai
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #62 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2018
- Total Nonstop Action Wrestling/Wrestle-1
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
|Alex Coughlin • Bad Luck Fale • BUSHI • Chase Owens • Chris Jericho • Clark Connors • Davey Boy Smith Jr. David Finlay • Dragon Lee • El Desperado • El Phantasmo • EVIL • Gedo • HIKULEO • Hirai Kawato • Hiromu Takahashi • Hirooki Goto • Hiroshi Tanahashi • Hiroyoshi Tenzan • Jado • Jay White • Jeff Cobb • Juice Robinson • Jushin Thunder Liger • Karl Fredricks • Kazuchika Okada • Kota Ibushi • Lance Archer • Manabu Nakanishi • Marty Scurll • Mikey Nicholls • Minoru Suzuki • Ren Narita • Robbie Eagles • Rocky Romero • Ryusuke Taguchi • SANADA • Satoshi Kojima • Shingo Takagi • SHO • Shota Umino • Taichi • Taiji Ishimori • TAKA Michinoku • Tama Tonga • Tanga Loa • Tetsuya Naito • Tiger Mask • Toa Henare • Togi Makabe • Tomohiro Ishii • Tomoyuki Oka • Toru Yano • Volador Jr. • Will Ospreay • YOH • YOSHI-HASHI • Yoshinobu Kanemaru • Yota Tsuji • Yuji Nagata • Yujiro Takahashi • Yuya Uemura • Zack Sabre Jr.|