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Takashi Iizuka to retire next month

Takashi Iizuka will wrap up his career next month.

NJPW Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi announced during a press conference tonight that Iizuka is retiring, and will be holding his retirement ceremony on February 21 during a New Japan Road event at Korakuen Hall. It isn’t known what his final match will be.

Iizuka trained at the NJPW dojo and had his first match for the promotion on November 2, 1986, facing Akira Nogami. He would go on to win the IWGP tag team championship three times: first with Riki Choshu in 1989, a second time with Kazuo Yamazaki in 1996 and a third with Toru Yano in 2012, who he also held the GHC tag team championships with.

Iizuka underwent a gimmick transformation when he turned on then stablemate Hiroyoshi Tenzan  in 2008, shaving his head and adopting a wildman persona, running through the crowd during entrances and ignoring rules, often using his iron fingers of death for DQ finshes. He first aligned himself with the CHAOS stable upon the transformation, then turned on them to join Suzuki-gun in 2014. 

Since Suzuki-gun returned from NOAH in 2017, he has mostly wrestled in tag team matches in the undercard.