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Former WWE Star -- Cleared to Kick Ass in Japan

1/31/2011 9:46 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Ex-WWE U.S. champion MVP -- previously barred from Japan because of his 9-year stint in U.S. federal prison -- has not only been given clearance to enter the country ... he just signed a deal to wrestle there.

Montel Vontavious Porter Japan
According to sources close to the wrestler, Montel Vontavious Porter -- real name Alvin Burke, Jr. -- inked the deal over the weekend to compete for New Japan Pro Wrestling ... a contract that involved TONS of red tape because of Burke's criminal past.

Burke -- who spent over nine years behind bars after being convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery when he was just 16 -- had to fight tooth and nail to get the requisite visa given Japan's anti-felon policy ... but was eventually successful.

We're told MVP will compete in Japan for at least a year -- and his first match is in February.

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