Masaki Sumitani : biography
Masaki Sumitani was born December 18, 1975 in Harima, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. After graduating from Hyogo Prefectural Kakogawa Higashi High School, he entered Doshisha University and majored in Commerce.
Professional wrestling career
While at college he picked up wrestling as a hobby and soon joined the Doshisha Professional Wrestling Alliance (DWA). Under his performing name "GiveUp Sumitani," he won the heavy class Kyoto pro-wrestling championship co-hosted by DWA and the Ritsumeikan Wrestling Alliance (RWA) of nearby Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. Former IWGP Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi was also a participant of these events.
Sumitani continued his wrestling aspirations in late 2005, working in the comedically off-beat HUSTLE promotion and defeating Yinling the Erotic Terrorist in his debut match; he has since gone to team with Naoya Ogawa and Yoshihiro Tajiri in leading the HUSTLE Army against Generalissimo Takada’s Monster Army. In early 2006, he started working with manzai partner Makoto Izubuchi again, with Izubuchi taking the name Razor Ramon RG ("RG" meaning "Real Gay"). Izubuchi’s character was not nearly as well received as Sumitani’s, but is still an active wrestler in HUSTLE, recently teaming up with The Great Muta. Sumitani's character is that of an underdog face that has a never say die attitude and uses his quickness to defeat his larger opponents. Daily Sports in Japan reported that Razor Ramon HG retired from pro wrestling after Hustle Mania, which took place November 23, 2006 at Yokohama Arena with Sumitani being defeated by The Esperanza. However, as with most retirements in wrestling, Sumitani returned to action, wrestling at Hustle 21 on March 18 and Hustle 22 on April 21.http://www.prowrestlinghistory.com/supercards/japan/misc/hustle.html
Hard Gay rose up to become one of the top faces of the HUSTLE promotion, but his wrestling career came to an abrupt end in July 2009 when he shattered his left foot while diving from the ring during an event at Korakuen Hall. He needed 12 bolts to put his foot back together. Upon his recovery, he hoped to return to TV comedy.
It was through wrestling in their college years, that Sumitani met Makoto Izubuchi, with whom he would later form the comedy duo "Razor Ramon", the name inspired by the character portrayed by professional wrestler Scott Hall, in 1997. During their college years, Razor Ramon won the Fukuwarai award in the Imamiya Kids’ Ebisu Manzai Contest and gained experience on the stage through the audition live performance SABUKI at 2chome-gekijo, an Osaka comedy club opened by the Yoshimoto Kogyo comedy troupe at which many comedians from the Kansai area start their career.
After completing his degree at the prestigious Doshisha University, Sumitani got a job at CO-OP KOBE, as a grocery delivery man. His desire to pursue a career as a professional comedian led him to quit his job after four months, when he joined Yoshimoto Kogyo with his partner Makoto Izubuchi. Razor Ramon made their TV debut in 1999 and won the Judges Special Award in the ABC Owarai (Comedy) Grand-Prix in 2000. Both Sumitani and Izubuchi joined the Yoshimoto Kogyo-produced program Yoshimoto Shin-kigeki in 2001, often playing yakuza, salaryman, udon restaurant owners, construction workers, and others.
A character (introduced in 2002) developed and portrayed by Sumitani is . The term "Hādo Gei" is a Japanese reference to American gay subculture in similar fashion to, say, "punk". In Japan, gender subculture with distinct dress style are in fact transgender or drag, which in Japan is referred to as "Gei ゲイ". In turn, the term "hard gay" became the reference to more masculine oriented "drag" seen to be prevalent in America. The fact that Hard Gay does not portray any Japanese gay subculture also explains why the sketch was allowed to be aired on Japanese TV, which has its own code of political correctness.
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