Acrylic on 24″ x 24″ wood
Shinya Hashimoto was on of the most famous Japanese wrestlers of all time. Born in 1965 Toki City, Japan, Hashimoto joined the New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo in 1984, graduating in the same class as Masahiro Chono, Keiji ‘The Great Muta’ Mutoh, Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger and Akira Nogami. He debuted later that year for New Japan, before traveling to the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico to further season his skills. During his time in the States he developed a huge admiration for Elvis Presley, leading to his signature sideburns and often dressing like Elvis, leading to him jokingly being known as ‘Fat Japanese Elvis’. In 1988 in Puerto Rico, he formed The Three Musketeers, or Tokon Sanjushi with Chono and Muta, a dominant stable of possibly the three most famous Japanese wrestlers ever, and without a doubt of their time.
In late 1988 he returned to New Japan, becoming a part of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship title scene as well as a mainstay in the tag division. In 1991 the Three Musketeers cemented their place at the top of the card when they surpassed Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami and Riki Choshu during the G1 Climax. In 1993 Shinya defeated Muta to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and held it for the next seven months, ultimately losing it to Tatsumi Fujinami, but then regaining it shortly after and holding it for over a year. He would go on to win tag gold again and remain in the main event picture for years while also competing in several of New Japan’s worked MMA ‘Different Style Fights’. In 1997 he began a brutal feud with Judo champion Naoya Ogawa, leading to his temporary retirement, although he returned the next year.
After leaving New Japan he formed Pro Wrestling ZERO-ONE in 2001. Later that year, he challenged Steve Corino for the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship, first leading to the title being held up, and then ultimately winning it in the return match. He held the title for a few months before losing it to Dan Severn. Following this he returned his attention to ZERO-ONE, teaming with former rival Ogawa to win the NWA Intercontinental Tag-Team Titles. In 2003 Hashimoto defeated the Great Muta to win the AJPW Triple Crown Championship, making him only the second man to have won the New Japan, All-Japan and NWA World Titles, behind Muta. Shinya Hashimoto passed away in 2005 at the age of 40 due to a brain aneurysm caused by untreated high blood pressure. His son Daichi Hashimoto debuted for ZERO-ONE in 2011 against Masahiro Chono, where he still competes.
About the piece: Except for the white, this was all done with house paint and sponge brushes. I thought the dual lighting made this such an iconic shot that I didn’t really need to do anything extra fancy with it, and even further limited the color palette. Of course when limiting something so much, that means that I have to really make sure every brush stroke is done just right as there’s nothing to cover it up with.