Wearing a mask with the design of crab, and doing mannerisms that imitated the very same crustacean, Gran Naniwa entertained many fans during his pro-wrestling career, with a ring-style that was a mix of comedy and technical. Naniwa’s fans liked his charisma and the effort that Naniwa put into his matches. Sadly, his career came to end when he passed away on October 6, 2010, due to a heart attack.
However, although Gran Naniwa’s life came to an end, his fans keep his spirit alive. One of those fans comes in the form of a new startup clothing brand named, “Legendary Crab“.
Opening for business in December of last year, Legendary Crab produces shirts that pay tribute to Gran Naniwa.
Note that the shirts feature the design of a crab, as opposed to a likeness of Gran Naniwa.
“Naniwa’s likeness is not used on merchandise out of respect,” a representative of Legendary Crab explained. “and won’t be until we get his family’s blessing.”
According to the representative of Legendary Crab, they desire to get in contact with Gran Naniwa’s family.
“a long-term goal would be to be in touch with Naniwa’s family to provide proceeds of sales to them.”
Gran Naniwa’s career highlights
Gran Naniwa was heavily involved in Michinoku Pro Wrestling during the early part of his career, which began at age 16 in 1993. Naniwa participated in a highlight match at Michinoku Pro 3rd Anniversary event in October 1996, when he teamed with Gran Hamada, Masato Yakushiji, Super Delfin, and Tiger Mask to battle Kaientai Deluxe (in the form of Dick Togo, Mens Teioh, and Shoichi Funaki), a major rulebreaker faction in Michinoku Pro at the time.
Gran Naniwa also ventured to other promotions. In 1997, he teamed with The Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada, and Masato Yakushiji to feud with Dick Togo, TAKA Michinoku, and Mens Teioh in ECW. Togo, Michinoku, and Teioh were Kaientai Deluxe members in Michinoku Pro, but in ECW they were representatives of the Japan branch of the Blue World Order faction.
That same year, Gran Naniwa was a participant in NJPW Best Of The Super Junior IV, where he defeated Tatsuhito Takaiwa, former British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Champion Doc Dean, and former CMLL World Light Heavyweight Champion Dr. Wagner Jr.
In 1998, Gran Naniwa teamed with Super Delfin for AJPW Summer Action Series II, where they defeated Naomichi Marufuji & Yoshinobu Kanemaru in multiple tag team matches.
In 2000, Gran Naniwa began putting more focus on AJPW, a highlight that year being gaining a win over former AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion Ryuji Hijikata.
In 2001, Gran Naniwa returned to NJPW for more tournament action. He participated in Best Of The Super Junior VIII where he picked up wins against Wataru Inoue and former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion El Samurai, and he also participated in the G1 Junior Tag League 2001, where he teamed with former All Asia Tag Team Champion Masahito Kakihara to defeat Katsuyori Shibata & Wataru Inoue, and Masayuki Naruse & former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Minoru Tanaka.
In 2002, Gran Naniwa saw more singles and tag team tournament action. He participated in AJPW’s Giant Baba Cup where he defeated former BJW Death Match Heavyweight Champion Tomoaki Honma and Yasu Urano, and their Real World Jr. Tag League tournament, where he teamed with former WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champion Dark Guerrera and defeated former UWA World Tag Team Champion Gran Hamada & former AWA Southern Tag Team Champion Masanobu Fuchi.