Atsushi Aoki (青木 篤志, Aoki Atsushi, September 25, 1977 – June 3, 2019) is a Japanese professional wrestler who worked for All Japan Pro Wrestling as both a wrestler and head trainer at their dojo.

Aoki began his career in Pro Wrestling NOAH in 2005, where he went he became a two time winner of the NTV G+ Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League and he hold the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship twice during his 7 year run with the promotion. Aoki jumped to All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) in December 2012 following a backlash with the promotion after refusing to re-sign Kenta Kobashi in which he became the top star of the junior heavyweight division, winning the World Junior Heavyweight Championship four times and the All Asia Tag Team Championship 3 times.

Aoki died in a motorcycle accident on June 3, 2019 at the age of 41. At the time of his death, he was the reigning World Junior Heavyweight Champion.

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Aoki began wrestling in high school, winning the 69 kg (152 lb) weight division in 2000.[1]

Professional wrestling career[edit | edit source]

Pro Wrestling NOAH (2005-2012)[edit | edit source]

Aoki began training under Jun Akiyama in the Pro Wrestling NOAH Dojo in May 2005.[1] His professional wrestling debut came on December 24, 2005 during NOAH's NOAHful Gift in Differ '05 teaming up with Yoshiniro Ota, losing to NOAH founder Mitsuharu Misawa and Japanese wrestling legend Akira Taue.[1] Aoki spent most of 2006 gaining hard earned experience in the ring, mostly on the losing side of matches. He would also make appearances for other Japanese promotions such as Zero-1 MAX and Dragon Gate.[2][3] A month later Aoki undertook a "learning excursion" to Europe where he wrestled for such promotions as Real Quality Wrestling and International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom in the United Kingdom and westside Xtreme Wrestling in Germany for the two months the excursion lasted.[1] Following his return to NOAH he teamed up with American Rocky Romero to participate in the 2007 Nippon TV Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League. The team ended up with just two points, winning only one match out of five when the team defeated Bryan Danielson and Davey Richards.[4] On September 3, 2007 Aoki teamed up with Ippei Ota for a match at an Asistencia Asesoría y Administración / Pro Wrestling Noah co-promoted show called TripleSEM. The team wrestled in the third match of the night and lost to AAA representatives Real Fuerza Aerea (Laredo Kid and Super Fly) in 08:15.[5] In November, 2007 Aoki took part in NOAH's Mauritius Cup tournament, earning 8 points in total by defeating Ippei Ota, Tsutomu Hirayanagi and Akihiko Ito while wrestling to a draw against Shuhei Taniguchi and Taiji Ishimori. Despite not losing a single match in the tournament Shuhei Taniguchi managed to score 9 points to take the Mauritius Cup.[6]

Aoki teamed up with Akihiko Ito to participate in the 2008 Nippon TV Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League. The team earned only three points, one point more than Aoki's previous Nippon TV Cup league as the team only managed to defeat Kento Miyahara and Naomichi Marufuji and wrestle to a time-limit draw against Eddie Edwards and Ricky Marvin.[7] He was invited to be part of New Japan Pro Wrestling's (NJPW) 2009 Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Aoki earned eight points, ending in second place in "Block A" with victories over AKIRA, Black Tiger V, Jado and Milano Collection A.T. and only losing to "Block A" winner Prince Devitt (Block winner) and Tiger Mask IV. In the semi final of the tournament he was defeated by eventual tournament winner Koji Kanemoto.[8] Unlike the 2007 and 2008 version of the Nippon TV Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League Aoki's 2009 participating alongside Kota Ibushi was much more successful as the team won all three round robin matches, defeating the teams of KENTA and Taiji Ishimori, Genba Hirayanagi and Kikutaro and the team of Bryan Danielson and Roderick Strong. In the semi-final match they defeated Eddie Edwards and Ricky Marvin but lost to Kotaro Suzuki and Yoshinobu Kanemaru in the finals of the tournament.[9] In December, 2009 NJPW invited Aoki back, this time to compete in the 2009 Super J-Cup. Aoki did not make it past the first round as he was defeated by Prince Devitt.[10]

On December 23, 2007, Aoki took on a "10 match challenge" designed to push him to the limit and earn experience against very experienced wrestlers. The first match was against his mentor Jun Akiyama which he lost. The match series was called the "Shining Magic 10 Match Series" and would stretch out over the next two and a half years.[1] In his second match he defeated Davey Richards, but went on to lose against Kenta, Bryan Danielson, Yoshinari Ogawa and Kaz Hayashi.[1] The Seventh match in the series took place on November 14, 2008 and saw Aoki lose to Yoshinobu Kanemaru.[11] In his eight Shining Magic 10 Match Aoki lost to Junior Heavyweight legend Jushin Thunder Liger.[12] In his penultimate Sining Magic match Atsushi Aoki lost to Naomich Marufuji on December 6, 2009 almost two years after the 10 Match series begun.[13] His tenth and final match in the Shining Magic 10 Match series took place on February 28, 2010 which saw Aoki lose to Minoru Suzuki ending the series with one victory and nine defeats.[14]

On October 30, 2010, Aoki and KENTA defeated Roderick Strong and Eddie Edwards in the finals of a tournament to win the 2010 Nippon TV Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League.[15] As a result, Aoki and Kenta received a shot at the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, but were defeated by the champions, New Japan Pro Wrestling representatives Koji Kanemoto and Tiger Mask IV, on November 23, 2010.[16] On December 24, 2010, Aoki and Naomichi Marufuji defeated Kanemoto and Tiger Mask IV to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, Aoki's first title in Noah.[17] Aoki and Marufuji were stripped of the title on April 29, 2011, after Marufuji suffered an injury. On July 30, Aoki and Kotaro Suzuki defeated Kenta and Yoshinobu Kanemaru to win the 2011 NTV G+ Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League, making both of them two-time winners of the tournament. On October 16, 2011, Aoki and Suzuki defeated Kenta and Kanemaru to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. They lost the title to Ricky Marvin and Super Crazy on July 22, 2012. On December 19, Noah announced that Aoki would be leaving the promotion, after refusing to re-sign following the firing of Kenta Kobashi.[18][19][20] In his final match for the promotion on December 24, Aoki was defeated by Mr. Christmas, portrayed by his trainer Jun Akiyama.[21][22]

Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (2010)[edit | edit source]

On May 23, 2010, Aoki teamed up with Go Shiozaki to defeat the team of Takeshi Morishima and Taiji Ishimori to win the AAA World Tag Team Championship, which was Aoki's first wrestling title.[23][Note 1] At Triplemanía XVIII, Aoki and Shiozaki defended the championship against Beer Money, Inc. (Robert Roode and James Storm), La Hermandad 187 (Nicho el Millonario and Joe Lider) and Los Maniacos (Silver King and Último Gladiador) in a four-way elimination match; they were the first team eliminated when Lider pinned Shiozaki, which meant that they lost the AAA Tag Team championship 14 days after winning it. Los Maniacos (Silver Cain and Último Gladiador) won the match and the championship.[24]

All Japan Pro Wrestling (2013-2019)[edit | edit source]

On January 26, 2013, Aoki, Go Shiozaki, Jun Akiyama, Kotaro Suzuki and Yoshinobu Kanemaru, all of whom had quit Noah at the same time, announced that they had joined All Japan Pro Wrestling, forming the "Burning" stable.[25] Aoki and Suzuki received their first shot at the All Asia Tag Team Championship on March 17, but were defeated by the defending champions, Koji Kanemoto and Minoru Tanaka.[26] On April 7, Aoki and Suzuki defeated Hikaru Sato and Hiroshi Yamato to win the 2013 Junior Hyper Tag League and earn another shot at Kanemoto and Tanaka.[27] On April 25, Aoki and Suzuki defeated Kanemoto and Tanaka in a rematch to become the new All Asia Tag Team Champions.[28] On May 11, Aoki made a one night return to Noah to take part in Kenta Kobashi's retirement event, during which he and Suzuki defeated Kentaro Shiga and Tamon Honda in a tag team match.[29] On July 5, following a mass exodus led by Keiji Mutoh, it was announced that Aoki, along with the rest of Burning, had signed an exclusive contract with All Japan.[30] On October 29, Aoki and Suzuki quit Burning in order for Suzuki to challenge Kanemaru for the World Junior Heavyweight Championship.[31][32] On November 21, Aoki and Suzuki, along with Kento Miyahara, joined Go Shiozaki's new Xceed stable.[33] On January 26, 2014, Aoki and Suzuki lost the All Asia Tag Team Championship to former Burning stablemates Jun Akiyama and Yoshinobu Kanemaru.[34] On February 5, Aoki announced he was quitting Xceed to go solo.[35] On May 29, Aoki defeated Último Dragón to become the new World Junior Heavyweight Champion.[36] On July 27, Aoki joined the Evolution stable, after a successful title defense against one of its members, Hikaru Sato.[37] In October, Aoki and Sato won the 2014 Jr. Tag Battle of Glory.[38] On March 27, 2015, Aoki lost the World Junior Heavyweight Championship to Kotaro Suzuki.[39] On October 23, Aoki and Hikaru Sato won their second Jr. Tag Battle of Glory in a row by winning the round-robin tournament with a record of three wins and one loss.[40][41] On January 1, 2016, Aoki was appointed the president of talent relations.[42] On February 21, 2016, Aoki defeated tag team partner Hikaru Sato in the finals to win the 2016 Jr. Battle of Glory and the vacant World Junior Heavyweight Championship.[43] He went on to lose the title to Sato on June 19.[44] On July 24, Aoki and Sato defeated Isami Kodaka and Yuko Miyamoto to win the All Asia Tag Team Championship.[45] On November 17, Aoki and Sato won their third Jr. Tag Battle of Glory in a row by defeating Soma Takao and Yuma Aoyagi in a playoff match. On November 27 he and Sato lost All Asia Tag Team Champions to Masanobu Fuchi and Atsushi Onita. Aoki and Sato regained the title from Onita and Fuchi on June 20, 2017. They lost the title to Black Tiger VII and Taka Michinoku on August 27. On February 3, 2018, Aoki defeated Tajiri to win the World Junior Heavyweight Championship. In August, Aoki and Sato took part of their fourth Jr. Tag Battle of Glory, finishing the tournament with a record of three wins and three losses, failing to win the tournament. Shortly after, Aoki lost the World Junior Heavyweight Championship to Koji Iwamoto on August 26. On May 20, 2019, Aoki defeated Koji Iwamoto to win the World Junior Heavyweight Championship for the fourth time. His last match was on June 2, 2019 teaming with Hikaru Sato and Yusuke Okada in a loss to Jake Lee, Iwamoto, and Nobe Bryant. He was scheduled to defend his title against Hikaru Sato on June 18, until his motorcycle accident ended that his life.

Death[edit | edit source]

On June 3, 2019, Aoki was killed in a motorcycle accident when he failed to curve his bike that collided with the side wall around the expressway of Kitanomaru Park in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo and was 41 years old.

In wrestling[edit | edit source]

  • Finishing moves
    • Assault Point (Snap bridging leg clutch belly-to-back suplex, sometimes while applying a wrist-clutch)[46][47]
    • Cross armbreaker[1]
    • Spiral Poseidon (Single-arm cut-throat scoop brainbuster)[1]
    • Trap Over (Cross armbreaker, while grapevining the arm)[48]

Championships and accomplishments[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. The AAA Tag team championship is primarily promoted in Mexico but Morishima and Ishimori won the titles during a tour of Mexico and were allowed to defend them in NOAH as well.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Aoki Atsushi . Pro Wrestling Noah. Retrieved on 2010-05-26.
  2. ZERO1-MAX MAX Satisfaction – Tag 1: Ex-Impact (in German). (2007-03-08). Retrieved on 2010-05-25.
  3. Dragon Gate Memorial Gate 2007 (in German). (2007-03-25). Retrieved on 2010-05-25.
  4. NTV Junior Heavyweight Tag Team League 2007 . Pro Wrestling History ("July 1–27, 2007" is not a valid date.). Retrieved on 2010-05-26.
  5. Yoav 2007-09-03. Super Luchas desde Japón: Resultados TripleSEM en el Differ Ariake de Tokio (3 SEP 07) (in Spanish). SuperLuchas. Retrieved on 2009-09-12.
  6. Mauritius Cup (in German). ("November 15–28, 2007" is not a valid date.). Retrieved on 2010-05-25.
  7. NTV Junior Heavyweight Tag Team League 2008 . Pro Wrestling History ("August 23 – September 6, 2008" is not a valid date.). Retrieved on 2010-05-25.
  8. Best of the Super Juniors 2009 . Pro Wrestling History ("May 30 – June 14, 2009" is not a valid date.). Retrieved on 2012-04-16.
  9. NTV Junior Heavyweight Tag Team League 2009 . Pro Wrestling History ("July 12–25, 2009" is not a valid date.). Retrieved on 2010-05-25.
  10. Super J Cup: 5th Stage . Pro Wrestling History ("December 22–23, 2009" is not a valid date.). Retrieved on 2010-05-26.
  11. NOAH Winter Navigation '08 – Tag 1 (in German). (2008-11-14). Retrieved on 2010-05-25.
  12. NOAH Southern Navigation '09 – Tag 11 (in German). (2009-06-22). Retrieved on 2010-05-25.
  13. NOAH Winter Navigation '09 – Tag 10 (in German). (2009-12-06). Retrieved on 2010-05-25.
  14. NOAH The Second Navigation 2010 – Tag 9 (in German). (2010-02-28). Retrieved on 2010-05-25.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Results from 10/30 Korakuen Hall Show! . Noah-USA. Archived from the original on 2010-11-03. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
  16. (Results) New Japan, 11/23/10 & Kanemoto and Tiger retain GHC Jr. Tag Title . Strong Style Spirit (2010-11-23). Retrieved on 2010-11-23.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Kanemoto & Tiger Mask lose GHC Jr. Tag Title . Strong Style Spirit (2010-12-24). Retrieved on 2010-12-26.
  18. ja:ノア激震!小橋解雇、秋山ら退団 (in Japanese). Tokyo Sports (2012-12-04). Archived from the original on 2012-12-10. Retrieved on 2012-12-19.
  19. ノ小橋、9日両国大会でフリー宣言へ!秋山ら5選手もノア退団申し入れ . Sports Navi. Yahoo!language=Japanese (2012-12-05). Archived from the original on 2012-12-08. Retrieved on 2012-12-19.
  20. ja:秋山らノア退団正式決定 (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports (2012-12-19). Retrieved on 2012-12-19.
  21. ~Noahful Gift in Differ 2012 vol.2~ (in Japanese). Pro Wrestling Noah. Retrieved on 2012-12-24.
  22. Meltzer, Dave 2012-12-24. Mon. update: Raw tonight, wrestlers bid farewell to Noah, Leben talks his issues . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2012-12-25.
  23. 23.0 23.1 De última hora: En Japón los cinturones AAA cambian de manos, los nuevos campeones vienen a Triplemania 18 (in Spanish). SuperLuchas Magazine (2010-05-23). Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved on 2010-05-24.
  24. Triplemania XVIII: Fiesta de Fiestas (in Spanish). Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (2010-06-07). Archived from the original on 2010-08-15. Retrieved on 2010-06-08.
  25. ja:秋山、潮崎らノア退団5選手が全日本プロレスに参戦 (in Japanese). Sports Navi. Yahoo! (2013-01-27). Archived from the original on 2013-01-30. Retrieved on 2013-01-26.
  26. 2013 プロレスLove in 両国~Basic&Dynamic~ (in Japanese). All Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2013-04-07.
  27. 27.0 27.1 2013 Junior Hyper Tag League (in Japanese). All Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2013-04-07.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Gaora Special 2013 チャンピオン・カーニバル (in Japanese). All Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2013-04-25.
  29. ja:2013年5月11日(土) (in Japanese). Pro Wrestling Noah. Retrieved on 2013-05-11.
  30. ja:秋山13年ぶり!電撃"王道"復帰「全日本の名前の下に頑張りたい」 (in Japanese). Sports Navi. Yahoo! (2013-07-06). Archived from the original on 2013-07-23. Retrieved on 2013-07-14.
  31. ja:鼓太郎がバーニング正式脱退で金丸に挑戦 (in Japanese). Tokyo Sports (2013-10-29). Retrieved on 2013-11-18.
  32. 潮﨑選手が新ユニット「Xceed」結成を宣言!! (in Japanese). All Japan Pro Wrestling (2013-11-18). Retrieved on 2013-11-18.
  33. Xcced初陣でKensoがいきなり潮崎を裏切り、全日本に反旗!前哨戦で三冠王者と世界ジュニア王者が揃って挑戦者に完敗! (in Japanese). Battle News (2013-11-22). Retrieved on 2013-11-21.
  34. ニューイヤープレゼント in 神戸 (in Japanese). All Japan Pro Wrestling. Archived from the original on 2014-02-01. Retrieved on 2014-01-26.
  35. Takagi, Hiromi 2014-02-06. ja:ドラゲー望月が金丸撃破で全勝優勝宣言 潮崎が曙の巨体を持ち上げ前哨戦制す (in Japanese). Sports Navi. Yahoo!. Retrieved on 2014-02-07.
  36. 36.0 36.1 2014 スーパーパワーシリーズ 東京・後楽園ホール【最終戦】 (in Japanese). All Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2014-05-29.
  37. 【全日本プロレス】諏訪魔vsドーリングの三冠戦、青木vs光留の世界Jr戦 (in Japanese). Battle News (2014-07-28). Retrieved on 2014-07-27.
  38. 38.0 38.1 ja:【10.22】復活!2014 ジャイアント・シリーズ 【最終戦】 ~全日本プロレス旗揚げ記念大会~ (in Japanese). All Japan Pro Wrestling (2014-10-22). Retrieved on 2014-10-22.
  39. ja:【3.27】 2015 ドリームパワーシリーズ 最終戦・後楽園大会 (in Japanese). All Japan Pro Wrestling (2015-03-27). Retrieved on 2015-03-28.
  40. 40.0 40.1 優勝決定戦・後楽/ ja:【10.23】 2015 ジャイアントシリーズ 優勝決定戦・後楽園大会 (in Japanese). All Japan Pro Wrestling (2015-10-24). Retrieved on 2015-10-24.
  41. ja:全日本10.23後楽園大会 Jr.Tag Battle of Glory/青木&光留vs.ヤンキー二丁拳銃、鼓太郎&中島vs.舎人一家、諏訪魔vs.宮原vs.ゼウス (in Japanese). Battle News (2015-10-24). Retrieved on 2015-10-24.
  42. 大森隆男選手取締役就任及び選手会会長に青木篤志選手就任のお知らせ (in Japanese). All Japan Pro Wrestling (2016-01-12). Retrieved on 2016-01-12.
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 ja:【全日】Jrリーグは青木篤志が制覇 (in Japanese). Tokyo Sports (2016-02-22). Retrieved on 2016-02-22.
  44. ja:【2016 ダイナマイトシリーズ】 北海道・東京ドームホテル札幌 ピアリッジホール [観衆]631人(超満員) (in Japanese). All Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2016-06-19.
  45. 45.0 45.1 ja:大日本プロレス「両極譚~Ryogokutan~」 (in Japanese). Sports Navi. Yahoo! (2016-07-24). Retrieved on 2016-07-24.
  49. ja:ハードヒット〜決戦は金曜日〜 (in Japanese). Dramatic Dream Team. Retrieved on 2014-02-28.
  50. Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2016 . The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved on 2016-09-01.
  53. Meltzer, Dave (2007-01-22), "2006 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards", Wrestling Observer Newsletter (Campbell, CA): 1–12, ISSN 1083-9593{{#if:|
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