Birthdate: June 15th, 1961
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship:
IWGP World Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with Tony Halme:
IWGP World Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with Hercules Hernandez:
Scott Norton Through the Years:
Other Signature Moves:
For a person that at first wasn't even interested in professional wrestling, Scott Norton ended up having one of the greatest careers of any gaijin in the history of New Japan Pro Wrestling. A world-class arm wrestler, Norton won multiple arm wrestling championships in the United States and was respected as one of the top arm wrestlers in the world. Arm wrestling is where he got the nickname "Flash," as he was able to defeat his opponents very quickly. After deciding to get into pro wrestling, Norton was trained by Brad Rheingans, who also trained Vader, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry Lynn, and many others. After wrestling in the AWA and the Pacific Northwest, Scott Norton joined New Japan Pro Wrestling in the winter of 1990.
Norton almost immediately got a monster push. The fans of New Japan knew power when they saw it, and even though Norton was still a little rough around the edges he reminded fans of Vader and Bigelow..... big wrestlers with power but also agility and speed. In the spring of 1991 he scored his first big pinfall victory, over the young and popular Keiji Mutoh. Not only did he beat him, but he defeated Mutoh in under 10 minutes. Norton participated in the first G1 Climax in 1991, but even though he beat Mutoh again he wasn't able to reach the finals. In December, Norton got his first shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship but came up short. Still, it is very rare in New Japan for a wrestler within two years of debuting to get a title shot, which shows just how impressed New Japan was with Norton's ability in the ring.
Over the next few years Norton wrestled almost exclusively in New Japan and became the top gaijin when Vader left the promotion. He won his first IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with Tony Halme on November 22nd, 1992 when they defeated The Steiner Brothers. After losing the belts to The Hellraisers, Norton found a new partner in Hercules Hernandez and together they formed the Jurassic Powers. The Jurassic Powers would challenge The Hellraisers and win the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship on August 5th, 1993. This would be a longer reign for Norton as they would have three successful defenses before dropping the titles back to The Hellraisers on January 4th, 1994. Soon after this Hernandez would leave New Japan and Norton would go back to focusing on the singles division.
From 1992 to 1995 Scott Norton had four shots at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship but each time came up short even as he seemed to be getting closer and closer. His last two defeats would be to Shinya Hashimoto, who proved to be Norton's ultimate road block to gaining the top title in the promotion (ironically, Norton and Hashimoto reluctantly teamed for the Super Grade Tag League in 1996.... and ended up winning). In fact, Norton never pinned Hashimoto in a singles match in his career, as the New Japan trueborn was too much for Norton to overcome. Norton also had title loses to Great Muta and Riki Choshu.
Starting in the mid-90s, Norton began wrestling in WCW more as well, as he split time between the two promotions. One of the biggest outcomes of this was that Norton joined the nWo in WCW and also was a part of the faction in New Japan as well. The New Japan version of nWo was lead by Masahiro Chono but also included (at various times) Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Keiji Mutoh, Great Muta, Satoshi Kojima, Hiro Saito, and also some of the American nWo members that would come to Japan with Norton. As he was in WCW, Norton was the muscle of the group in New Japan as well but he was more successful in the ring. With his nWo friends having his back and reaching the peak of his in-ring ability, Norton again challenged for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in 1998.
On August 8th, 1998 Masahiro Chono won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the first time in his career. What was a happy moment quickly turned disappointing as he was injured and forced to vacate the title. On September 23rd, 1998 a decision match to crown a new IWGP Heavyweight Champion was held between Scott Norton and Yuji Nagata. Nagata fought valiantly but he could not match Norton's power and Norton finally won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on his fifth try. In his first defense he finally defeated Hashimoto (although it was by Count Out) and he also beat Manabu Nakanishi. His reign however would end on January 4th, 1999 when he fought Keiji Mutoh in the main event of the Tokyo Dome in front of over 60,000 fans. Keiji Mutoh would win with his figure four leg lock, and Mutoh would go on to hold the title for a full year.
Norton was not done in New Japan however. In fact, the same year that Keiji Mutoh defeated Scott Norton for the title the two would team up to win the G1 Tag League, the second time that Norton won the annual tag team tournament. By this time the nWo had split but Norton stayed in the nWo as they feuded with Team 2000 (Masahiro Chono's group). The feud would last for all of 1999, but it ended on January 4th, 2000 when Chono defeated Mutoh and forced him to break up the nWo. Always the opportunist, Norton joined Team 2000 after the nWo went under and stayed with them until the group disbanded.
As 2001 started, Norton had been in New Japan for a decade and the constant grind was beginning to show. Even though he was no longer as agile as he once was and didn't have the stamina he had possessed in the mid-90s, he was still a powerhouse that was a threat to everyone in the promotion. On March 17th, in the middle of the Hyper Battle Tour, Norton got another chance at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Kensuke Sasaki. Sasaki was on a great run as he had just defeated Satoshi Kojima, Masahiro Chono, and Toshiaki Kawada all in one night just two months earlier to win the title. Everyone thought this would just be a standard defense, but Norton shocked the world when he pinned Sasaki after a jumping lariat to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the second time. This reign would be much shorter then his last as he lost to Kazuyuki Fujita the next month, but the win solidified Norton as one of the top gaijin wrestlers in New Japan history.
Norton laid low for the next several years, participating in less tours then he had in the past. But when he was in New Japan he still made an impact as he was always difficult to pin to the mat and most wrestlers still were unable to defeat him. He got his last shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship on March 13th, 2005 when he tagged with Nakanishi (as the "new" Jurassic Powers) to take on Shinsuke Nakamura and Hiroshi Tanahashi, but Norton would fall to Tanahashi's Shining Wizard. After losing to Hiroyoshi Tenzan on April 22nd, 2006 in the New Japan Cup, Norton would not return to New Japan after the tour was over, ending over 15 years wrestling for the promotion.
Not done yet, Norton wrestled for UWAI STATION towards the end of 2006 on two cards before joining HUSTLE. With HUSTLE being a more sports entertainment oriented promotion, it allowed Norton to take it a bit easier in the ring while still entertaining the crowds. Norton wrestled for HUSTLE for all of 2007, and a had singles match against Wataru Sakata on the big HUSTLE AID show. He had his last match in Hustle on December 31st, 2007 when he teamed with Giant Silva to take on Wataru Sakata and HG in the main event. After leaving HUSTLE, Norton returned to Japan in October of 2008 to participate in the Pro Wrestling Expo.
One of the most respected gaijins ever to step foot in Japan, Scott Norton did more in Japan then just his championship wins illustrate. For well over a decade Norton was the solid wall that blocked the entry way to the main event in New Japan. Every wrestler had to go through him, and as the top gaijin not all wrestlers could pass the test. But once they did, you knew that they were ready to become a top star in New Japan. As agile and tough as he was big and strong, Scott Norton will always be known as one of the top wrestlers in New Japan history.