VIEW FROM THE RISING SUN
by Masanori Horie

Taiyo Kea

All Japan Pro Wrestling's Maunakea Mossman, known by his wrestling name of "Taiyo Kea," became the youngest (25 years 2 months old) World Tag Team champion after beating Toshiaki Kawada and Masanobu Fuchi at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo on January 14, 2001.


Kea & Smith
Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith (January 14, 2001---Korakuen Hall)

Kea was one of the most underrated young wrestlers, but he stayed in Mrs. Motoko Baba's All Japan Pro Wrestling when Mitsuharu Misawa and 24 other wrestlers and 18 office workers left in July 2000. Finally, he got a capital chance to be a passionate young main eventer, though he hasn't wrestled in the United States except for the Gary Albright Memorial show on April 19, 2000. He changed his wrestling name to "Taiyo Kea" in August 2000. "Taiyo" means "SUN" in Japanese language.

Taiyo Kea with Masanori
Taiyo Kea (January 1, 2001)

Kea was born in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii on November 18, 1975. His real uncle, "King" Curtis Iaukea (a.k.a. "Prince" Iaukea and Curtis "The Bull" Iaukea, but NO relation to TAFKA Prince Iaukea), was one of the toughest bad guys in wrestling history, whose wrestling style influenced Bruiser Brody. Lord James Blears, who lives in Waianae, Oahu, has been a president of the PWF (Pacific Wrestling Federation), which sanctions All Japan Pro Wrestling's various championship belts, since 1973. And, the late Shohei "Giant" Baba owned a condominium in Honolulu. Then, Kea entered Baba's All Japan Pro Wrestling in June, 1994, after having conditioned his body as an amateur wrestler and football player at Kaimuki High School in Honolulu.

Kaimuki H.S.
Kaimuki High School

Kea lived in All Japan Pro Wrestling's Dojo in Yokohama, Kanagawa, and Giant Baba, Dory Funk Jr., Masanobu Fuchi, and Kenta Kobashi trained him with other young Dojo boys. "Dojo" is the Japanese wrestling training system and all-living facility, as its purpose is the training of young wrestlers into main eventers while inculcating them with the strict etiquette, discipline, and special values of wrestling. Kea also had to perform routine duties, regulate the crowd as a second, and take care of main eventers, as did Chris Benoit, Darrell Peterson (Maxx Pain / Man Mountain Rock), Brian Adams (Crush), Richard Slinger, 2 Cold Scorpio, Madusa, and Tori (Terri Power), who all trained in Japanese Dojo. Kea could break barriers of language, lifestyle, human relations, and wrestling style.

He debuted as a professional wrestler against Kentaro Shiga at Tsu City Gym in Mie Prefecture on November 26, 1994. All Japan Pro Wrestling had appealed to fans through their famous hard and tough competitions featuring Mitsuharu Misawa, Toshiaki Kawada, Akira Taue, Kenta Kobashi, and Jun Akiyama. Baba started to put him into the main event matches in July 1996. He got really improved with them, as an opponent and tag team partner.



Tokyo Dome poster
Kea will face Keiji Muto at Tokyo Dome on January 28, 2001. He learned a lot about pro wrestling from both Giant Baba and Stan Hansen.


August 22, 1997---Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
World Junior Heavyweight title match
Maunakea Mossman beat Yoshinari Ogawa (16:10)
---Mossman became the 18th champion
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Masanori with Maunukea Mossman
Maunakea Mossman (August 23, 1997---Korakuen Hall)

September 28, 1997---3:00 Kawasaki Baseball Stadium (FMW)
Kenta Kobashi & Maunukea Mossman beat Hayabusa (Eiji Ezaki/"H") & Jinsei Shinzaki (21:46 Kobashi beat Hayabusa)

October 10, 1997---Hiroshima SunPlaza
World Junior Heavyweight title match
Maunakea Mossman beat Rex King (Timothy Well) (18:40 Jumping DDT)
---Mossman kept the title

January 25, 1998---Yokohama Bunka Gym, Kanagawa
World Junior Heavyweight title match
Maunakea Mossman beat Ricky Santana (22:12 Hawaiian Crusher)
---Mossman kept the title

The Hawaiian Crusher is Kea's finishing hold via fireman's carry into a stunner.

May 1, 1998---Tokyo Dome
All Japan Pro Wrestling 25th Anniversary Show
Maunakea Mossman beat Daisuke Ikeda (10:50 Hawaiian Crusher)

June 12, 1998---Nippon Budokan, Tokyo
World Junior Heavyweight title match
Maunakea Mossman beat Satoru Asako (10:12 Hawaiian Crusher)
---Mossman kept the title

Kea held up the title in order to move up to the heavyweight division.


Maunakea Mossman's Heavyweight Challenge Series (3-4):
(1) August 22, 1998---Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Akira Taue beat Maunakea Mossman (8:32 Choke Slam)

(2) August 23, 1998---Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Maunakea Mossman beat Wolf Hawkfield (Jim Steele) (16:10 Hawaiian Crusher)

(3) August 30, 1998---Hakata StarLanes, Fukuoka
Toshiaki Kawada beat Maunakea Mossman (12:31 Jumping High Kick)

(4) September 1, 1998---Yonago Industrial Gym, Tottori
Maunakea Mossman beat Giant Kimala (Ben Peacock) (12:14 Northern Light Suplex)

(5) September 6, 1998---Daigo GranDome, Kyoto
Kenta Kobashi beat Maunakea Mossman (11:04 Lariat)

(6) September 8, 1998---Kamagaya Civic Gym, Chiba
Maunakea Mossman beat Johnny Smith (12:53 Hawaiian Crusher)

(7) September 11, 1998---Nippon Budokan, Tokyo
Mitsuharu Misawa beat Maunakea Mossman (7:34 Running Elbow)



Giant Baba ceremony
Shohei "Giant" Baba, 61, died of liver trouble from intestinal cancer on January 31, 1999.

May 2, 1999---Tokyo Dome
Giant Baba's Memorial Retirement Show
Maunakea Mossman, Yoshinari Ogawa, & Masahito Kakihara drew Hayabusa, The Great Sasuke, & Tiger Mask (#4) (30 minutes time up)


Mossman and Masanori
Maunakea Mossman (May 2, 1999)

All Asian Tag Team Championship Tournament:
(1) October 9, 1999---Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Maunakea Mossman & Johnny Smith beat Tamon Honda & Masao Inoue (30 minutes time up)

(2) October 19, 1999---Nagano Sports Park Gym
Jun Izumida & Satoru Asako beat Maunakea Mossman & Johnny Smith (23:59 Izumida beat Mossman)

(3) October 22, 1999---Chiba Park Gym
Maunakea Mossman & Johnny Smith beat Masahito Kakihara & Daisuke Ikeda (23:54 Smith beat Ikeda via British Fall)

(4) October 24, 1999---Kashima City Gym, Ibaraki
Maunakea Mossman & Johnny Smith beat Jinsei Shinzaki & Kentaro Shiga (23:04 Mossman beat Shiga via Hawaiian Crusher)

(5) October 25, 1999---Nagaoka Welfare Hall, Niigata
Tamon Honda & Masao Inoue beat Maunakea Mossman & Johnny Smith (26:18 Honda beat
Mossman)
----Honda & Inoue became the 68th champions


Gary Albright, 38, passed away due to heart attack during a match in Pennsylvania on January 7, 2000. Kea and Johnny Smith were always close friends with Gary.


Masanori and Johnny Smith
Johnny Smith (January 2, 2001---Korakuen Hall)

April 15, 2000---Nippon Budokan, Tokyo
Johnny Ace & Mike Barton (Bart Gunn) beat Jun Akiyama & Maunakea Mossman (12:30 Barton beat Mossman)

April 19, 2000---Allentown, Pennsylvania
Gary Albright Memorial Show
Maunakea Mossman (w/ Nicole Bass) beat Johnny Smith via Hawaiian Crusher


Jumbo Tsuruta, 49, passed away due to failure of a liver transplant surgery in Manila, Philippines on May 13, 2000.


June 9, 2000---Nippon Budokan, Tokyo
Jun Akiyama & Maunakea Mossman beat Kenta Kobashi & Kentaro Shiga (17:14 Akiyama beat Shiga)

Kea became a regular tag team partner for Jun Akiyama, however, Misawa and 24 other wrestlers and 18 office workers left All Japan Pro Wrestling in July 2000.

July 23, 2000---Nippon Budokan, Tokyo
Gen-ichiro Tenryu & Toshiaki Kawada beat Stan Hansen & Maunakea Mossman (23:12 Kawada beat Mossman)

September 16, 2000---Aichi Prefecture Gym, Nagoya (New Japan)
Taiyo Kea & Masanobu Fuchi beat Masahiro Chono & Tatsutoshi Goto (2:18 Kea beat Goto via Hawaiian Smasher)


New Japan poster
New Japan Poster (September 16, 2000)

Toshiaki Kawada beat New Japan Pro Wrestling's Kensuke Sasaki at Tokyo Dome on October 9, 2000. Kea was scheduled to face Yutaka Yoshie, but he was unable to wrestle because of a hernia.


Real World Tag Team League Tournament (November 19 - December 9, 2000)
(1) November 19, 2000---Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Taiyo Kea (Maunakea Mossman) & Johnny Smith drew Toshiaki Kawada & Masanobu Fuchi (30 minutes time up)

(2) November 20, 2000---Minato Dome, Himeji, Hyogo
Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith drew Mike Barton & Jim Steele (Wolf Hawkfield) (30 minutes time up)

(3) November 25, 2000---Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith beat Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Danny Kroffat (Phil Lafon) (15:25 Kea beat Kroffat via Face Buster)

(4) November 27, 2000---Niigata City Gym
Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith beat Masahito Kakihara & Mitsuya Nagai (14:37 Smith beat Kakihara via British Fall)

(5) November 30, 2000---Yamoto Town Gym, Miyagi
Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith beat Barry & Kendall Windham (18:46 Smith beat Barry via British Fall)

(6) December 2, 2000---Miyagi Prefecture Sports Center, Sendai
Gen-ichiro Tenryu & Nobutaka Araya beat Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith (19:36 Araya beat Smith via Moonsault Press)

(7) December 6, 2000---Hokkaido Prefecture Sports Center, Sapporo
Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith beat Steve Williams & Mike Rotundo (17:40 Kea beat Rotundo via Hawaiian Smasher)

(8) December 9, 2000---Nippon Budokan, Tokyo
Steve Williams & Mike Rotundo beat Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith (8:20 Williams beat Smith via Backdrop Suplex)


January 14, 2001---Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
World Tag Team title match
Taiyo Kea & Johnny Smith beat Toshiaki Kawada & Masanobu Fuchi (23:54 Kea beat Fuchi via Hawaiian Smasher)
---Kea & Smith became the 43rd Worldd Tag Team champions

Kea & Smith

Year of 2000 was one of the biggest turning points in Kea's life. He didn't go with Misawa's NOAH group and he stayed with Mrs. Baba's All Japan Pro Wrestling. Then, he got one of the biggest chances in his life. It's not so easy to get success in foreign countries at all. However, "professional wrestler" is a very unique occupation to be able to get success rather than ours, if there is aspiration, ability (speed, stamina, technique), individuality, charisma, and being in the right place at the right time.


Kea's uncle, "King" Curtis Iaukea, had challenged the International Tag Team title (the World Tag Team title's origin) several times in the 1970s.


King Curtis Iaukea
"King" Curtis Iaukea

March 7, 1970---Taito Ward Gym, Tokyo
International Tag Team title match
Giant Baba & Antonio Inoki beat Fritz Von Erich & "Prince" Iaukea (2-1)
(1) Fritz beat Inoki (16:50) (2) Inoki beat Fritz (8:54) (3) Baba beat Iaukea (2:20)
---Baba & Inoki kept the title

January 11, 1978---Kagoshima Prefecture Gym
International Tag Team title match
Kintaro Ohki (Kim ILL) & Kim Duk (Tiger Toguchi/Tiger Chang Lee) drew The Tycoons ("King" Iaukea & "Apache" Bull Ramos) (1-1)
(1) Iaukea beat Duk (8:32) (2) Ohki beat Iaukea (1:51) (3) 4:40 double countout
---Ohki & Duk kept the title

>

January 22, 1978---Hakodate Civic Gym, Hokkaido
International Tag Team title match
Kintaro Ohki & Kim Duk beat The Tycoons ("King" Iaukea & "Apache" Bull Ramos) (2-1)
(1) Iaukea beat Duk (9:07) (2) Ohki beat Iaukea (3:10) (3) Duk beat Ramos (5:52)
---Ohki & Duk kept the title

>

January 3, 1979---Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
International Tag Team title match
Giant Baba & Jumbo Tsuruta beat "King" Iaukea & Baron Von Raschke
(1) Tsuruta beat Raschke (12:20) (2) Raschke beat Tsuruta (5:07) (3) Tsuruta beat Iaukea (2:35)
---Baba & Tsuruta kept the title



February tour poster
February Tour Poster (February 18 - March 3, 2001)

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