Tomoaki Honma (本間朋晃 Honma Tomoaki, born November 18, 1976) is a Japanese professional wrestler. He is currently working for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). He is a former one-time IWGP Tag Team Champion.
Early career (1999–2006)
Honma trained in the Big Japan Pro Wrestling (BJW) dojo before debuting for the promotion in May, 1997. He spent many years wrestling low-profile matches on the opening card until he was granted the chance to participate in Big Japan's infamous Death Match division. He is the first person to ever use a lightube in a match. He became one of the most talked-about wrestlers on the independent scene as well as Big Japan's top young star during 1999 and 2000, participating in some of the promotion's most gruesome death matches, the scars from which can still be seen on his body. However, he left Big Japan in October, 2000, after disagreements with company management.
After touring various independent leagues such as IWA Japan, Onita Pro, Complete Players and Rainbow Pro, Honma debuted in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) on November 24, 2001, against Nobukazu Hirai. He proceeded to sign a full-time contract with the company in March, 2002. Determined to get rid of his Death Match reputation, Honma proved that he can be a solid worker as he struggled to gain recognition within AJPW. In February, 2003, he formed Turmeric Storm with Kazushi Miyamoto, but the team later disbanded on April 20, 2004, after losing a trial series.
In 2005, Honma joined Kensuke Sasaki's Kensuke Office faction in an effort to further improve his career. A severe neck injury kept him out of action throughout much of early 2006, but he returned in March. Honma announced his departure from AJPW on April 28, 2006, and is currently a freelancer. He will also work dates for Pro Wrestling Zero1-Max and King's Road, where he will reunite with old Turmeric Storm teammate, Kazushi Miyamoto. There has also been talk that he has appeared in New Japan Pro Wrestling's (NJPW) Wrestle Land brand as a masked member of the Makai Club faction known as "Makai Masked Canadian". On September 24, 2006, Tomoaki Honma and Jun Kasai won the WEW Tag Team Championship from Takashi Sasaki and Badboy Hido.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2007–present)
Honma participated in NJPW's New Japan Cup tournament, falling to veteran Takashi Iizuka in his first match. He had priorly expressed interest in joining Hiroyoshi Tenzan's GBH faction, and was allowed to join after making a positive impression on Tenzan; however, Tenzan became disenchanted with Honma's difficulty at gaining victories in the NJPW ring, so Honma had to pass through a trial series to prove that he belongs in GBH. He failed his trial series, but was allowed to remain in the group, after Togi Makabe took over its leadership. In April 2009, Honma showed his loyalty to Makabe by remaining by his side, when the rest of GBH turned on him and left the group to form CHAOS with Shinsuke Nakamura. Though Honma and Makabe still officially carried the GBH banner, the group effectively dissolved as they rarely teamed together as Makabe was a main eventer, while Honma enjoyed only mixed results in the ring.
On December 23, 2011, Honma received a rare opportunity to shine, when he challenged for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship in the main event of a NJPW show at Korakuen Hall, losing to champion Masato Tanaka at the end of the 23 minute bout. On March 28, 2012, New Japan announced that the promotion had released Honma from his contract due to a "personal problem". On April 24, Honma returned to Pro Wrestling Zero1.
On March 23, 2013, Honma returned to NJPW, saving Togi Makabe from Chaos. The reunited GBH had their first match back together on April 7 at Invasion Attack, where they were defeated by Masato Tanaka and Yujiro Takahashi in a tag team match. On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2013, Honma unsuccessfully challenged Tanaka for the NEVER Openweight Championship. Honma received another shot at the title a year later at Wrestling Dontaku 2014, but was again defeated by the defending champion, Tomohiro Ishii. From July 21 to August 8, 2014, Honma took part in his first G1 Climax as a late replacement for an injured Kota Ibushi, losing all ten of his matches and finishing last in his block. Honma's struggle in the tournament made him one of the most popular wrestlers in all of NJPW, creating a movement called "Honmania". In November, Honma took part in the 2014 World Tag League, alongside Togi Makabe. The two finished last in their block with a record of three wins and four losses. The series of losses built to a big win on January 4, 2015, at Wrestle Kingdom 9 in Tokyo Dome, where Honma, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima defeated Bullet Club's Bad Luck Fale, Jeff Jarrett and Yujiro Takahashi, with Honma pinning Takahashi for the win. On February 14 at The New Beginning in Sendai, Honma replaced an ill Togi Makabe in a match for the now vacant NEVER Openweight Championship, but was defeated by Tomohiro Ishii. During July and August, Honma took part in the 2015 G1 Climax. After losing his first seven matches in the tournament, Honma finally picked up his first ever win in the tournament over Tomohiro Ishii on August 12. After losing his final match against Yujiro Takahashi, Honma again finished last in his block with a record of one win and eight losses. Honma's win over Ishii led to him unsuccessfully challenging Ishii for the NEVER Openweight Championship on November 7 at Power Struggle. In December, Honma and Makabe won their block in the 2015 World Tag League with a record of four wins and two losses, advancing to the finals of the tournament.
On December 9, Honma and Makabe defeated Los Ingobernables de Japón (EVIL and Tetsuya Naito) in the finals to win the 2015 World Tag League. On January 4, 2016, at Wrestle Kingdom 10 in Tokyo Dome, Honma won his first title in NJPW, when he and Makabe defeated Bullet Club's Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson for the IWGP Tag Team Championship. They made their first successful title defense on February 14 at The New Beginning in Niigata in a rematch against Gallows and Anderson. The following week, Honma took part in the NJPW and Ring of Honor (ROH) co-produced Honor Rising: Japan 2016 event, unsuccessfully challenging Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship in the main event of the second show on February 20. Honma and Makabe lost the IWGP Tag Team Championship to Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa) on April 10 at Invasion Attack 2016. On July 3, Honma unsuccessfully challenged Katsuyori Shibata for the NEVER Openweight Championship. From July 22 to August 13, Honma took part in the 2016 G1 Climax, where he finished with a record of three wins and six losses. In December, Makabe and Honma advanced to the finals of the 2016 World Tag League by winning their block with a record of five wins and two losses. On December 10, Makabe and Honma defeated the Guerrillas of Destiny to win their second World Tag League in a row. On January 4, 2017, at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome, Honma and Makabe took part in a three-way match for the IWGP Tag Team Championship, which was won by Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano.
On March 3, Honma was injured during a match, while taking a rope-hung DDT from Jado. Following the move, Honma could not get up and the match was immediately stopped, before he was taken backstage on a stretcher. Reportedly, Honma was able to speak and move his head, but not his arms or legs. The following day, NJPW announced that Honma had injured his cervical vertebrae. On March 6 it was announced that Honma had regained movement in his lower extremities and could grasp objects with his hands. Honma vowed to recover from the injury and return to the ring. On March 31, Honma announced he had successfully undergone surgery on his spinal canal. The following month, Honma stated he was looking to return to the ring in the fall of 2017. He was discharged in June after spending three and a half months in the hospital. On June 3, 2018, it was announced that Honma would make his return to the ring on the June 23 Kizuna Road event. Honma made his return match on June 23 teaming with Ryusuke Taguchi, Toa Henare, Togi Makabe, and Hiroshi Tanahashi in a winning effort against Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi, and BUSHI). From November 16 until December 8, 2019, Honma and Makabe took part in the 2019 World Tag League, failing to win the tournament with a record of four wins and eleven losses In June, Honma took part in the 2020 New Japan Cup, being eliminated from the tournament by IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi in the second round.
United Kingdom (2016)
Honma debuted on UK-based promotion, Revolution Pro Wrestling, on Revolution Pro & NJPW two-day event, Global Wars UK 2016 where he defeated Sha Samuels on the first night, but lost to Josh Bodom on the second night.
Honma's characteristically hoarse voice is the result of crushed vocal cords, a problem also suffered by Shachihoko Boy, Kohei Sato and Genichiro Tenryu. In November 2015, Honma's girlfriend of 18 years, fellow professional wrestler Kiyoko Ichiki, accused him of domestic violence over the past four years. Honma denied the accusation, instead claiming that he was abused by her and stating that he was seeking legal action against her for trying to damage his career.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
- Big Japan Pro Wrestling
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #260 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2015
- PWI ranked him #276 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016
- PWI ranked him #232 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016 and 2017
- Tokyo Sports
- Technique Award (2015)
- Tomoaki Honma (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2011-12-31.
- Road to Kingdom 1st. (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2011-12-31.
- ja:【新日本プロレスからのお知らせ】本間朋晃選手との契約を解除致しました (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling (2012-03-28). Retrieved on 2012-03-28.
- New Japan Cup 2013 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2013-03-23.
- Invasion Attack (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2013-04-07.
- ja:レスリングどんたく 2013 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2013-05-03.
- ja:レスリングどんたく 2014 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2014-05-03.
- 【G124】飯伏幸太の代替選手として、本間朋晃の『G1 Climax』初出場が決定 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling (2014-07-19). Retrieved on 2014-08-08.
- バディファイトPresents G1 Climax 24 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2014-08-08.
- Macklin, Matthew 2015-07-10. Complete preview & guide to 2015 New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax tournament . Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved on 2015-07-10.
- Radican, Sean 2015-01-05. Radican's NJPW "Wrestling Kingdom 9" PPV report 1/4 - Nakamura-Ibushi & Okada-Tanahashi blowaway MOTYC's, excellent undercard featuring Styles-Naito, Makabe-Ishii . Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved on 2015-07-10.
- 『World Tag League 2014』出場チーム＆公式戦が決定！ 棚橋はヨシタツとタッグ結成！ 桜庭、AJ、柴田、ROH、NWAも参戦! (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling (2014-11-11). Retrieved on 2014-12-05.
- World Tag League 2014 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2014-12-05.
- Caldwell, James 2015-01-04. Caldwell's NJPW Tokyo Dome show results 1/4: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Wrestle Kingdom PPV - Tanahashi vs. Okada, Bullet Club, Nakamura, Jim Ross, more . Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved on 2015-01-05.
- The New Beginning in Sendai (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2015-02-14.
- Rose, Bryan 2015-08-12. NJPW G1 Climax Tournament 8-12 live coverage: Ishii vs. Honma, Okada vs. Nagata . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2015-08-12.
- 【新日Ｇ１】こけし本間 奇跡の１勝 ワースト連敗記録「１７」でストップ . Tokyo Sports (2015-08-13). Retrieved on 2015-08-13.
- バディファイトPresents G1 Climax 25 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2015-08-15.
- Power Struggle (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2015-11-07.
- NJPW World Tag League Results & Standings . Pro Wrestling Torch. Archived from the original on 2015-12-09. Retrieved on 2015-12-06.
- World Tag League 2015 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2015-12-09.
- ja:Wrestle Kingdom 10 in 東京ドーム (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2016-01-04.
- Meltzer, Dave 2016-01-03. Wrestle Kingdom 10 live results: Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2016-01-04.
- The New Beginning in Niigata (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2016-02-14.
- Honor Rising:Japan 2016 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2016-02-20.
- Meltzer, Dave 2016-04-09. NJPW Invasion Attack live results: Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Championship . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2016-04-10.
- Meltzer, Dave 2016-07-02. NJPW Kizuna Road 2016 live results: Katsuyori Shibata defends NEVER title, Young Bucks, Kenny Omega . Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved on 2016-07-03.
- 2016 New Japan G1 Climax Results . Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved on 2016-08-13.
- NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 live results: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega . Wrestling Observer Newsletter (2017-01-03). Retrieved on 2017-01-04.
- Macklin, Matthew 2016-11-10. Shibata wins gold at RevPro in UK . Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved on 2016-11-11.
- 11/11 Global Wars UK 2016, Night Two: Shibata vs. Hero, Ospreay vs. Liger, Nagata vs. Seven, Iishi vs. Dunne, plus Galloway . PWTorch. Retrieved on 2016-11-20.
- DV疑惑の本間朋晃が電話で釈明「仕事の邪魔をされている」 (in Japanese). Jprime. Retrieved on 2015-12-01.
- Crockett, Paul 2015-12-01. New Japan star accused of domestic abuse, fires back with accusations of his own . Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved on 2015-12-01.
- Tomoaki Honma . Puroresu Spirit. WordPress. Retrieved on 2014-11-22.
- ２００３サマーアクション・シリーズ (in Japanese). Nikkan Sports. Retrieved on 2015-03-08.
- バディファイトPresents G1 Climax 24 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
- Road to Power Struggle (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
- バディファイトPresents G1 Climax 25 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
- バディファイトPresents G1 Climax 25 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling. Retrieved on 2015-08-09.
- 【G125】今年の『G1 Climax 25』出場メンバーが決定!! AJ、飯伏、本間も参戦! ROHからマイケル・エルガンがエントリー! (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling (2015-06-07). Retrieved on 2015-06-07.
- Kitamura, Yonosuke. Prowrestle theme music list (in Japanese). RMLabel. Retrieved on 2015-07-07.
- 新日本プロレスリングテーマ曲集CD『NJPWグレイテストミュージックIV (Vol.4)』が発売決定！1.4東京ドームでの先行販売を実施！ (in Japanese). New Japan Pro Wrestling (2015-12-10). Retrieved on 2016-01-08.
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2015 . The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved on 2015-10-06.
- ja:【プロレス大賞】本間朋晃まさかの“こけし”で技能賞 (in Japanese). Tokyo Sports (2015-12-08). Retrieved on 2015-12-08.
- Meltzer, Dave (February 23, 2015). "Feb. 23, 2015 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: UFC announces new drug testing plans, WWE Q4 2014 report, Samoa Joe leaves TNA, deaths of Tony Charles & Willem Ruska, major show reports, and more". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California: 8. ISSN 1083-9593.