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  Aaron Henry (born 5 August 1992) is an New Zealander professional wrestler and promoter who is currently signed to Japanese promotion New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), performing under the ring name Aaron Henare, where he is part of the United Empire stable.

Henry began his career in the New Zealand independent circuit in September 2012. During several years, he worked on several independent promotions, most notably Impact Pro Wrestling (IPW), before starting to work for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) in September 2016, under the ringname "Henare". Afterwards, he began worked as a "Young Lion", before graduating from his status in January 2018, renaming himself to "Toa Henare". Despite not being a Young Lion, Henare kept his midcard status, usually spending most of his matches losing to other, more experienced wrestlers, before turning heel in April 2021, renaming himself to "Aaron Henare", while also joining the United Empire stable.

Early life[]

Henry was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and competed in both amateur wrestling and mixed martial arts prior to becoming a professional wrestler.[5] He is of Cook Islander/Māori descent with Ngāpuhi and Ngāi Takoto links.[6] His uncle is former professional rugby league player Richie Barnett, who captained New Zealand at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup.

Professional wrestling career[]

Early Career (2010–2016)[]

In 2010, Henry decided to train for a career in professional wrestling, and formed his own wrestling promotion Warrior Wrestling Academy and a training school, purchasing his own wrestling ring to train himself and other future wrestlers, before making his in-ring debut in September 2012. Over the following years, Henry worked on the New Zealand indepedent circuit working for promotions such as Impact Pro Wrestling, before signing with Japanese professional wrestling promotion New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) in 2016.

New Japan Pro Wrestling (2016–Present)[]

Young Lion and midcard status (2016–2021)[]

After being signed with the promotion, Henry made his debut on September 1, competing under the ring name "Henare" facing Pro Wrestling Noah's Quiet Storm in a losing effort.[7] Henare competed as one of NJPW's "young lions", spending most of his matches losing to other, more experienced wrestlers, which would help put over other wrestlers while at the same time give Henare some in-ring, televised, experience. On September 8, Henare got his first victory in NJPW, defeating fellow young lion Hirai Kawato.[8] From November 18 until December 10, Henare and Manabu Nakanishi took part in the 2016 World Tag League, losing all of their qualifying matches of the tournament. On February 21, 2017, during a match against Tomoyuki Oka, Henare suffered an achilles tendon injury, forcing the match to be stopped. Henare made his return in November, teaming with Togi Makabe to take part in the 2017 World Tag League.[9] Henare and Makabe finished the tournament with a record of one win and six losses, failling to advance to the finals of the tournament.[10]

On January 4, 2018, at Wrestle Kingdom 12, Henare renamed himself to "Toa Henare", graduating from his status as a young lion.[3] At the event, Henare took part in the New Japan Rumble, failling to win the match. On January 27 at the New Beginning in Sapporo, Henare received his first title shot, teaming with Ryusuke Taguchi and Togi Makabe to unsucessfully challenge Bullet Club (Bad Luck FaleTama Tonga and Tanga Loa for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship. From November 16 until December 8, Henare and Hiroshi Tanahashi took part in the 2019 World Tag League, failling to win the tournament, after finishing it with a record of three wins and twelve losses. In the following year's World Tag League, Henare and Tanahashi finished the tournament with a worse record, winning one of their nine qualifying matches.

United Empire (2021–Present)[]

In March 2021, Henare took part in the 2021 New Japan Cup, losing to Jay White in the first round on March 10. Over the following weeks, Henare began developing a losing streak. Following a frustating loss on March 21, Henare turned heel on April 4 at Sakura Gensis, being revealed as the newest member of the United Empire, renaming himself to "Aaron Henare", adopting a more strike based style. In his match, Henare and his stablemates Jeff Cobb and Great O-Khan defeated Los Ingobernables de Japón (SANADA, Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito), with Henare pinning SANADA for the win for his team.

In wrestling[]

  • Fnishing moves
    • Blackout (Jumping Superman punch)
    • Toa Bottom (Falling side slam) – 2018–2021
    • Streets of Rage (Backbreaker rack transitioned into a Death Valley driver) – 2021–present
  • Signature moves
    • Berserker Bomb (Sidewalk slam spun out into a modified sitout powerbomb)
    • Boston crab
    • Diving shoulder block
    • Dropkick
    • Falling chop
    • Hammerhead (No-touch headbutt)
    • Lariat
    • Lifting rugby tackle
    • Rampage (Spear transitioned into a lifting side slam)
    • Samoan drop
    • Spinning spinebuster
    • Tap 'n' Snap (Keylock)
    • Thrust kick
  • Nicknames
    • "Ultimate Weapon"

Championships and accomplishments[]

  • Impact Pro Wrestling
    • IPW New Zealand Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Jakob Cross
    • Armageddon Cup (2014)
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • Ranked No. 250 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2018

References[]

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New Japan Pro Wrestling
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Wrestlers
Heavyweight Aaron HenareBad Luck FaleChase OwensDavid FinlayEVILFred RosserGreat-O-KhanHirooki GotoHiroshi TanahashiHiroyoshi TenzanHiroyoshi TenzanJeff CobbJuice RobinsonJay WhiteJon MoxleyKazuchika OkadaKENTAKota IbushiKarl FredericksLance ArcherMinoru SuzukiSANADASatoshi KojimaShingo TakagiTama TongaTanga LoaTetsuya NaitoTogi MakabeTomoaki HonmaTomohiro IshiiToru YanoTaichiTom LawlorWill OspreayYoshi-HashiYuji NagataYujiro TakahashiZack Sabre Jr.
Junior heavyweight Alex CoughlinBUSHIClark ConnorsEl DesperadoEl PhantasmoGedoHiromu TakahashiJadoKevin KnightMaster WatoRobbie EaglesRocky RomeroRyu LeeRyusuke TaguchiShota UminoShoTaka MichinokuTiger MaskTaiji IshimoriThe DKCYoshinobu KanemaruYohYota TsujiYuya Uemura
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Staff
Red Shoes UnnoHiro SaitoKazuo YamazakiKuniaki KobayashiKatsuyori ShibataMilano Collection A.T.Seiji SakaguchiSuper Strong MachineTakaaki KidaniWataru Inoue
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Championships
Active IWGP World HeavyweightNEVER OpenweightIWGP United States HeavyweightIWGP Tag TeamIWGP Junior HeavyweightIWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag TeamNEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag TeamKOPWStrong Openweight
Inactive Asia HeavyweightAsia Tag TeamIWGP HeavyweightIWGP IntercontinentalIWGP Provisional Tag TeamIWGP U-30 OpenweightJ-CrownNWA North American Tag TeamNWA International Junior HeavyweightNWF HeavyweightNWF North American HeavyweightThe Greatest 18 Club
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Tournaments
Current G1 ClimaxWorld Tag LeagueNew Japan CupBest of the Super JuniorsSuper Jr. Tag Tournament
Defuncted World LeagueMSG LeagueIWGP LeagueWorld Cup TournamentTop of the Super JuniorsSuper J CupMSG Tag LeagueJapan Cup Tag LeagueSuper Grade Tag LeagueG1 Tag LeagueJ Sports Crown Openweight 6 Man Tag TournamentG2 U-30 ClimaxKarl Gotch CupYoung Lion Cup
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Events
Wrestle KingdomFantastica ManiaThe New BeginningSakura GenesisWrestling HinokuniWrestling DontakuDominionDestructionKing of Pro-WrestlingPower Struggle