That open palm belongs to Japanese wrestler Akihito Sawafuji (aka Akihito Terui), better known by his ring name Milano Collection A.T. Today the Blog of Funny Name salutes him!
For many of us, “Milano” reminds us of an indulgent dessert cookie. Do you remember? Pepperidge Farm sure does. They make the chocolatey goodness (otherwise known as “Monacos” in Canada because socialism). Now that’s what I call a real Milano Collection.
But not in Japan, my friends. In Japan, a Milano Collection is a wrestler. Debuting at the turn of the century, Milano Collection A.T. soon adopted the shtick of an Italian fashion aficionado and supermodel, wearing lavish coats, which he would then discard. Supermodel, work!
Those Italian wristbands, though.
In another case of nominative determinism, the Fuji (while a mountain or a camera film to you) in Sawafuji’s name means “man of status.” And that he was. Why else would he be known for walking into the ring with an invisible dog named Mikeru? Yes, friends, he walked a fake dog while he fake fought, and soon became the ace of Toryumon’s T2P class.
In February of 2005 (as part of Team Toryumon X), he defeated Beef Wellington & The Bear at CHIKARA Tag World Grand Prix ’05. Milanos, Beef Wellington, and Bears–oh, my! Are you hungry yet? Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? Hopefully not undercooked bear meat, which can cause trichinosis and subsequently stop a wrestling career in its tracks. Spare the bear.
In mid-2006, Sawafuji crossed the sea to the home of the Alamo to begin training at the Texas Wrestling Academy in San Antonio under Rudy Boy Gonzalez. Ru-dy! Ru-dy! During his tenure in the TWA, he held the Television Championship (a title defended in 15 minute matches that came with a schmancy gold belt) for eight months solid. While in the States, he wrestled for other American federations, including East Coast Wrestling Association, Ring of Honor, NWA Anarchy, Chikara and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
The next year, Sawafuji said sayonara to the States and and returned to Japan to work for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), as a part of the R.I.S.E. faction. He achieved great victory that year, winning New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament, defeating Wataru Inoue in the final.
In 2008, he took part in the World X Cup as part of Team Japan, winning his first and only singles match for Total Nonstop Action against Curry Man, aka the Fallen Angel.
However, fortune stopped smiling on him when fellow Japanese wrestler, Gedo, clocked him upside the head with an excessively strong thrust kick to the eye. Following failed eye surgeries, Sawafuji was diagnosed with inferior oblique muscle palsy and retired on January 18, 2010.
But he wouldn’t remain out of the spotlight. Sawafuji soon began work with New Japan Pro-Wrestling as a color commentator, explaining the difference between chartreuse and lime green to the ignorant masses. Actually, a color commentator is a sports commentator who provides expert analysis and background information, such as statistics, strategy, and injury reports. Who knew? He maintains the position to this day.