|The Three Musketeers|
(left to right) Masahiro Chono, Keiji Mutoh and Shinya Hashimoto
Toukon Sanjushi (闘魂三銃士 Tōkon Sanjūshi?) was a trio consisting of Shinya Hashimoto, Masahiro Chono, and Keiji Mutoh. The Japanese name of the trio literally translates to "Fighting Spirit Three Musketeers", but in English they are commonly known simply as The Three Musketeers.
Shinya Hashimoto, Masahiro Chono, and Keiji Mutoh were part of the Class of 1984 of the New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo, which included Jushin Thunder Liger and Akira Nogami. Hashimoto would be the first to make his debut in September 1984, while Chono and Mutoh face each other in their debuts a month later.
In 1988, while on an excursion in Puerto Rico, the three formed Toukon Sanjushi or The Three Musketeers. They had one match in NJPW as a team together on July 29 against Tatsumi Fujinami, Kengo Kimura, and Shiro Koshinaka, before Mutoh returned to North America for more seasoning. Hashimoto and Chono would remain a tag team for a couple years, with their most notable match against Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi in February 1990 at the Tokyo Dome.
In 1991, Toukon Sanjushi solidified their status as the next generation of NJPW, at the first-ever G1 Climax tournament. A year later, the trio would begin to have more success, as Chono won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, and Mutoh, as The Great Muta, won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. It temporarily left Hashimoto out in the cold, until he won the IWGP title from Muta in September 1993.
In August 1994, Toukon Sanjushi disbanded as a team, as Chono turned heel shortly after the G1 Climax.
Between 2001 and 2005, the three would reunite on special occasions, mainly press conferences, occasionally with Mitsuharu Misawa.
Tragedy struck the group when Shinya Hashimoto died on July 11, 2005, from a brain anerysm, at the young age of 40. Hashimoto's death dashed hopes for Hashimoto's return to New Japan Pro Wrestling and the upcoming Tokon Sanjushi reunion on July 26. Chono and Mutoh were deeply affected by the loss of Hashimoto.
In January 2007, after defeating Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima at the Tokyo Dome, Chono and Mutoh paid tribute to Hashimoto by wearing his trademark white headband and exiting the ring to Hashimoto's theme music.
In March 2011, Shinya's son Daichi debuted, and Chono and Mutoh served as his first opponents.
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
- Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship - Mutoh (3) and Hashimoto (1)
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship - Mutoh (4), Hashimoto (3), and Chono (1)
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship - Chono (1), Mutoh (1), and Hashimoto (1)
- G1 Climax - Chono (1991, 1992, 1994, 2002, 2005), Mutoh (1995), and Hashimoto (1998)
- Young Lion Cup - Chono (1987)