Yoshinobu Kanemaru (金丸義信 Kanemaru Yoshinobu, born September 23, 1976) is a Japanese professional wrestler, currently working for New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he is a current four-times IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion and also works for the company as a producer.
Kanemaru started his career in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), before moving to Pro Wrestling Noah (Noah), where he would become a six-time GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion and a four-time GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion and won 2009 Junior Heavyweight League and Nippon TV Cup Jr. Heavyweight Tag League tournaments. He would remain in the promotion until the end of 2012.
In January 2013, Kanemaru joined All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), where he held a one-time the All Asia Tag Team and World Junior Heavyweight Championship's, before resigning from the promotion in November 2015. Afterwards, he returned to Noah, where, in January 2016, and he joined the Suzuki-gun stable later that month. He would win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship for a record setting seventh time and held it until September 2016. In December 2016, Kanemaru and the rest of the Suzuki-gun stable returned to New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), after concluding the invasion storyline with Noah.
Professional Wrestling Career[edit | edit source]
All Japan Pro Wrestling (1996-2000)[edit | edit source]
Kanemaru debuted in 1996 for All Japan Pro Wrestling, in the last years of owner Giant Baba's regime, which had isolated the promotion from outsider wrestlers at the expense of the younger, lighter-weight talent. His first high-profile match in 1997 saw him team with New Japan Pro Wrestling's Koji Kanemoto (Tiger Mask III) to battle freelancer Satoru Sayama, the original Tiger Mask, and his disciple, Michinoku Pro Wrestling's Tiger Mask. (As Mitsuharu Misawa, who once portrayed Tiger Mask II, was now a heavyweight and fully focused on the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, Kanemaru had to substitute for him in this interpromotional bout.
Despite Baba's death in 1999, Kanemaru rarely had further opportunities to go into other promotions. It was only in 2000, after Misawa broke with AJPW to create Noah that his experience began widening. In a brief promotional alliance with FMW, Kanemaru was able to win his first championship, the WEW Tag Team Championship, with heavyweight Masao Inoue.
Pro Wrestling Noah (2001-2013)[edit | edit source]
In 2001, Kanemaru underwent a transformation. His simple Bermuda shorts and boots were changed for tights and shinguards, and he began executing more high-risk maneuvers proper for a junior heavyweight. This paid off well for Kanemaru, as he plowed through a field of unlikely but talented competitors to win a tournament for the first-ever GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship. He would go on to win the title twice more, including a win over NJPW's long time junior ace, Jushin Thunder Liger. In tag teams his experience widened as well, teaming with Tsuyoshi Kikuchi to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, and with Takashi Sugiura to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship twice. His win of the NJPW title served as a catalyst for the creation of the equivalent Noah title.
In 2008, Kanemaru showed a serious shift in his attitude after the "SugiKane" team of himself and Takashi Sugiura went their separate ways after Sugiura moved to the heavyweight division. Kanemaru began using heel tactics in his matches. And in the summer convinced Kotaro Suzuki to betray his friend & tag team partner Ricky Marvin and attacked the reigning Jr. Heavyweights champions KENTA and Taiji Ishimori. The new team would defeat the champions for their titles two weeks later after Kanemaru pinned KENTA after using his "Touch-Out" brainbuster.
On October 31, 2009, he defeated Jushin Thunder Liger in the finals of the 2009 Junior Heavyweight League to win the vacant GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship for a fifth time.
On 28 March 2010,he retained his title against Taiji Ishimori, on 25 April 2010 he beat Delirious and on his third defense on 10 July he kept his title after a victory on Naomichi Marufuji.
On September 2, 2010 in Xtreme Wrestling Entertainment defeat José Vargas Jr., to win the XWE Cruiserweight Championship for fthe irst time. On December 5, 2010, Kanemaru lost the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship to Kotaro Suzuki, ending his reign at 400 days, the longest in the title's history. On May 9, 2012, Kanemaru defeated Katsuhiko Nakajima to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship for the sixth time. He lost the title to All Japan Pro Wrestling's Shuji Kondo on September 29, 2012. On December 19, 2012, Noah announced that Kanemaru would be leaving the promotion, after refusing to re-sign following the firing of Kenta Kobashi. Kanemaru wrestled his final Noah match on December 24, teaming with Akitoshi Saito in a tag team match, where they were defeated by Naomichi Marufuji and Takashi Sugiura.
Return to All Japan Pro Wrestling (2013-2015)[edit | edit source]
On January 26, 2013, Kanemaru, Atsushi Aoki, Go Shiozaki, Jun Akiyama and Kotaro Suzuki, all of whom had quit Noah at the same time, announced that they had joined All Japan Pro Wrestling, forming the "Burning" stable. On February 23, Kanemaru brought Burning its first title, when he defeated Shuji Kondo for the World Junior Heavyweight Championship which he was denied in his first AJPW stint. On May 11, Kanemaru made a one-night return to Noah to take part in Kenta Kobashi's retirement match, where he, Go Shiozaki, Kenta and Maybach Taniguchi were defeated by Kobashi, Jun Akiyama, Keiji Mutoh and Kensuke Sasaki, with Kobashi pinning Kanemaru for the win. On July 5, following a mass exodus led by Keiji Mutoh, it was announced that Kanemaru, along with the rest of Burning, had signed an exclusive contract with All Japan. On December 15, Kanemaru lost the World Junior Heavyweight Championship to Último Dragón. On January 26, 2014, Kanemaru and Akiyama defeated former Burning stablemates Atsushi Aoki and Kotaro Suzuki to win the All Asia Tag Team Championship. They lost the title to Keisuke Ishii and Shigehiro Irie at a Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) event on April 29. Kanemaru regained the title from Mitsuya Nagai and Takeshi Minamino on March 22, 2015, now teaming with Último Dragón. They vacated the title on October 14. On November 20, Kanemaru announced he would be leaving All Japan and becoming a freelancer following December 15.
Suzuki-gun (2016-present)[edit | edit source]
In January 2016, Kanemaru returned to Pro Wrestling Noah, initially forming a partnership with Go Shiozaki, before turning on him on January 31 and joining Suzuki-gun. On February 24, Kanemaru defeated Taiji Ishimori to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship for the seventh time. On June 24 at a show produced by Kanemaru's Suzuki-gun stablemates Taichi and Taka Michinoku, Kanemaru was one of two winners of a four-man round-robin tournament to earn a spot in the 2016 Super J-Cup. On July 20, Kanemaru defeated BUSHI in his first round match in the tournament. On August 21, Kanemaru defeated Ryusuke Taguchi in the second round and Matt Sydal in the semifinals, before losing to reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA in the finals of the tournament.
On September 23 he lost the GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion to Atsushi Kotoge. Kanemaru had a chance to regain the GHC Junior title when he faced Kotoge at Great Voyage in Yokohama vol. 2 on October 23, but failed. Suzuki-gun's Noah invasion storyline concluded in December 2016. On January 5, 2017, Suzuki-gun, Kanemaru included, returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling. On March 6, Kanemaru and Taichi defeated Roppongi Vice to become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. They lost the title back to Roppongi Vice in their second defense on April 27. Kanemaru then entered the 2017 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, where he finished with a record of four wins and three losses, failing to advance to the finals.
On March 6, Kanemaru and El Desperado won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship defeating Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) and Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI and Hiromu Takahashi) in a three-way match. In May, Kanemaru entered 2018 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, finishing the tournament with a record of three wins and four losses, failing to advance to the finals of the tournament, finishing almost in the last place. From October 16 until November 1, Kanemaru and Desperado took part in the Super Jr. Tag League, finishing the tournament with a record of five wins and two losses, advancing to the finals of the tournament. On November 3 at Power Struggle, Kanemaru and Desperado were defeated in the finals by Sho and Yoh in a three-way match also BUSHI and Shingo Takagi. On January 4, 2019, at Wrestle Kingdom 13 in Tokyo Dome, Kanemaru and Desperado lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship to BUSHI and Takagi in a second three-way match also involving Sho and Yoh, ending their reign at 304 days. From October 16 until November 1, Kanemaru and Desperado took part in the 2019 Super Jr. Tag League, finishing the tournament with a record of five wins and two losses, advancing to the finals of the tournament. On November 3 at Power Struggle, Kanemaru and Desperado were defeated in the finals by Sho and Yoh. In June 2020, Kanemaru took part in the 2020 New Japan Cup, being eliminated from the tournament by Taiji Ishimori in the second round.
On September 11, 2020 at New Japan Road, Kanemaru and Desperado won a tournament to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship by last defeating the team of BUSHI and Hiromu Takahashi. Kanemaru signed a full-time contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling, that would see him continue to perform as a wrestler, as well as becoming a producer for the company.
In wrestling[edit | edit source]
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Camel clutch
- Frog splash
- Guillotine leg drop to an opponent hanging on a guardrail
- Hollywood Star Press (Springboard Somersault Splash)
- Rope hung DDT
- Running delayed low-angle running dropkick to an opponent in the tree of woe position
- Tilt-a-whirl DDT
- Triple rolling brainbuster
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments[edit | edit source]
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #161 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2013
- Pro Wrestling Noah
- GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship (7 times)
- GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Takashi Sugiura (2), Kotaro Suzuki (1) and KENTA (1)
- Junior Heavyweight League (2009)
- Nippon TV Cup Jr. Heavyweight Tag League (2009) – with Kotaro Suzuki
- One Night Junior Heavyweight Six Man Tag Team Tournament (2003) – with Makoto Hashi and Takashi Sugiura
- One Night Tag Tournament Winner (2001) - with Kentaro Shiga
- One Day Jr. Heavyweight Six Man Tag Tournament (2008) - with Kotaro Suzuki and Genba Hirayanagi
- Xtreme Wrestling Entertainment
- XWE Cruiserweight Championship (1 time)
References[edit | edit source]
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