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Don Frye
Frye
Birth name Donald Frye
Born November 23 1965 (1965-11-23) (age 51)
Sierra Vista, Arizona, United States
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Don Frye
The Predator
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 242 lb (110 kg)
Billed from Sierra Vista, Arizona
Trained By Curt Hennig
Brad Rheingans
Debut August 2, 1997
Retired 2013

  Donald "Don" Frye (born November 23, 1965) is an American former mixed martial artist, amateur and professional wrestler, UFC Hall of Famer and actor. In MMA he was one of the sport's earliest well-rounded fighters and he had instant success, winning the UFC 8 and Ultimate Ultimate 96 tournaments and finishing as runner-up UFC 10 in his first year of competition. Despite his accomplishments, he retired from MMA in 1997 to pursue a career in professional wrestling with New Japan Pro Wrestling and quickly became one of the company's leading heels. After spending four years as one of Japan's top gaijin wrestlers, Frye returned to MMA with the Pride Fighting Championships in September 2001, much more muscle-bound and sporting an American patriot persona in response to the September 11 attacks. After developing a reputation for toughness and fighting spirit, mostly due to his legendary bouts with Ken Shamrock and Yoshihiro Takayama during his two-year stint in Pride, Frye departed the promotion to compete in K-1 and Hero's in 2004 but returned for the final Pride event in 2007. Frye was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2016.

CareerEdit

New Japan Pro Wrestling (1997–2001)Edit

After leaving the UFC, Frye went into professional wrestling and was trained by Brad Rheingans and Curt Hennig.[1] He debuted for New Japan Pro Wrestling in August 1997, defeating Kazuyuki Fujita in his first match. By 1998, Frye began to rise in the ranks as he quickly became one of the company's lead heels. On April 4, 1998, Frye won the Antonio Final Opponent tournament and earned the right to wrestle NJPW founder and wrestling legend Antonio Inoki in his retirement match, which took place later that night. Frye lost that fight. After a brief feud with Kensuke Sasaki at the end of that year, Frye joined Masahiro Chono's new stable, Team 2000, in early 1999. After joining, Frye would spend most of 1999 and early 2000 feuding with Scott Norton over the unofficial title of Gaijin Ace, took part in the G1 Tag League in 1999 with Chono, and make two challenges for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship but was unsuccessful in each attempt.[2] He lost out to Keiji Mutoh in his first title shot in April 1999 and was defeated by Kensuke Sasaki in his second in February 2000.

After being in Team 2000 for two years, Frye left the group and joined Keiji Mutoh's new stable, BATT, where he made a third attempt at the IWGP title in July 2001 but came up short again, falling to Kazayuki Fukita.[2] In September 2001, Frye won the G1 World Climax tournament (a tournament similar to New Japan's G1 Climax only for gaijins). After the tournament win, Frye left New Japan and returned to MMA.

Later career and sporadic comebacks (2002-2013)Edit

During his brief MMA hiatus, Frye made a one-off appearance as a pro wrestler in Inoki Genome Federation, losing to Josh Barnett via keylock submission on September 8, 2007.[3] In October 2008, Frye wrestled at the Pro Wrestling Expo shows, teaming with Yoshihiro Takayama in a losing effort to Masahiro Chono and Scott Norton on the first day, then losing a six-man tag on the third day and Frye returned to a professional wrestling ring on March 17, 2013, at an event held by All Japan Pro Wrestling in Tokyo. After teaming with Keiji Mutoh to defeat Masayuki Kono and Yoshihiro Takayama in a tag team match, Frye engaged in a post-match brawl with Takayama, playing off their Pride 21 bout from 2002.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Frye is married and the couple have two daughters.[5]

Championships and accomplishments Edit

  • New Japan Pro Wrestling
    • Antonio Inoki Final Opponent Tournament Winner (1998) [6]
    • G-1 World League (2001)[7]
    • Greatest Gaijin Grapple Section (2002)[8]
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • PWI ranked him #175 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the year in the PWI 500 in 1999 [9]
    • PWI ranked him #247 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Meltzer, Dave (2001). Wrestling Observer's Tributes: Remembering Some of the World's Greatest Wrestlers. Winding Stair Press, 52. ISBN 1553660854. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.purolove.com/njpw/history/iwgphwdefenses.php#43
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named cagematch
  4. (in Japanese) Sports Navi. Yahoo!. March 18, 2013. http://sportsnavi.yahoo.co.jp/sports/fight/headlines/article/20130318-00000001-spnavi. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
  5. "Don "The Predator" Frye". Sportsbore.com. 2010-02-17. http://sportsbore.com/videos/don-the-predator-frye/. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. http://www.100megsfree4.com/wiawrestling/pages/newjap/njother.htm
  7. http://prowrestlinghistory.com/supercards/japan/newjapan/njindex.html
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named puroresufan.com
  9. http://www.100megsfree4.com/wiawrestling/pages/pwi/pwi50099.htm
  10. http://www.100megsfree4.com/wiawrestling/pages/pwi/pwi500yr.htm

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