Funaki

Posted: January 8, 2012 in 2010, April
Tags: , , , , , ,

Funaki debuted in WWE in March 1998, as part of Kaientai, along with Mens Teioh and Dick Togo. They initially feuded Taka Michinoku at Over the Edge with his tag team partner Justin Bradshaw and then at King of the Ring when he team with The Headbangers.

During the summer of 1998, Michinoku turned heel and joined the group. Shortly afterwards Togo and Teioh were given their releases from the company and the stable became a tag team.

Although they remained a heel tag team, they became comedic, miming to pre-recorded English voiceovers. Funaki would end every promo by miming the word ‘indeed’.

Funaki made his Wrestlemania debut in 2000, taking part in a 15-minute hardcore battle royal for the Hardcore Title which was won by Hardcore Holly. He competed in the same match at Unforgiven, but was unsuccessful as the match was won by Steve Blackman.

Kaientai mostly became jobbers in dark matches before PPV’s until Michinoku left the WWE due to shoulder injuries.

Funaki then got a new non-wrestling gimmicks in which he became primarily an interviewer and he called himself ‘Smackdown’s number one announcer’.

He drifted into obscurity during the invasion storyline and the next few years, during which he was drafted to Smackdown! in the inaugural draft in 2001.

In 2003, Funaki started competing in the Cruiserweight division in matches againstthe likes of Billy Kidman, Jamie Noble, Ultimo Dragon, Tajiri and Rey Mysterio. This led to a Cruiserweight Open at Wrestlemania XX which Funaki lost as he was pinned by Noble.

Funaki got his big break when he won an over-the-top rope number one contenders match for the Cruiserweight Title. He then defeated Spike Dudley at Armageddon to win the title for the first time. He went on to defend the title against Spike Dudley, Akio, Nunzio and Chavo Guerrero.

He later formed a tag team with Scotty 2 Hotty, where they drifted between Smackdown! and Velocity, where they mainly jobbed to new tag teams.

Between 2007-2008, he fell in and out of the Cruiserweight Championship picture losing to his main rivals Gregory Helms, Kid Kash, Chavo Guerrero and even Hornswoggle. When he wasn’t losing to his peers he was being put in squash matches against Mark Henry and Edge.

In October 2008, he was repackaged as ‘Kung Fu Naki’ with a Kung Fu gimmick. This led to a strong push at first, with him scoring pin fall victories over MVP and Shelton Benjamin, until a loss to Edge which ended it abruptly.

His final major appearance for the company was at Wrestlemania XXVI when he competed in a battle royal which was won by Yoshi Tatsu.

He was released by the company on April 22, 2010, after 12 years with the WWE.

While wrestling in Japan he still works for WWE as an overseas talent scout and official ambassador for WWE.

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