It’s never easy writing an obituary for anyone, but today is the day for one. Today we found out that 41-year-old and current AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion Atsushi Aoki has passed away in a motorcycle accident. The only thing we know right now is that his bike failed to curve and crashed into a wall. Despite how you feel about certain wrestlers, any death is tragic, and nobody wishes to see a human life taken away so suddenly. I want to talk a little bit about the life and career of Atsushi Aoki.
Atsushi Aoki was born on September 25th, 1977, in Tokyo, Japan. He began wrestling in high school and won a championship in 200 for his weight class of 152 pounds. Sometime in May of 2005, he would enter the world of professional wrestling as he joined Pro Wrestling NOAH as Jun Akiyama would train him. He would make his debut on Christmas Eve that year to team up with Yoshiniro Ota. They lost in a tag match against Akira Taue and Mitsuharu Misawa.
Aoki would win his first title in 2010 when he and Go Shiozaki would defeat Takashi Morishima and Taiji Ishimori to win the AAA Tag Team Championships. They would hold them for about two weeks. He also won a few junior tag tournaments, such as the VolcanoxSEM Tag Team Tournament in 2008 with Akihiko Ito, Nippon TV Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League in 2010 with KENTA, and the NTV G+ Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League in 2011 with Kotaro Suzuki. During his last couple of years in Pro Wrestling NOAH, he would finally win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships twice. Once with Naomichi Marufuji and then the other with Kotaro Suzuki.
On January 26th, 2013, he would leave the promotion and then sign a contract with All Japan Pro Wrestling. In the same year, he would win All Japan’s Junior Hyper Tag League with his old partner, Kotaro Suzuki, and they would also win the All Asia Tag Team Championship on April 25th of that year, holding it for 276 days. 2014 would be different for him as he starts to go for a solo run instead of tag teams. On May 29th, he defeated the legendary Ultimo Dragon to win the World Junior Heavyweight Championship, having a total of 5 successful title defenses in 302 days. He also won the Junior Tag Battle of Glory three years straight from 2014 to 2016 with his partner, Hikaru Sato. He also finally joined a faction called Evolution, which Suwama and Joe Doering formed in 2014.
In 2016, he would take a couple of cracks at the heavyweight division as he participated in the Champion Carnival and the Royal Road Tournament. He has failed to win them even tried again recently at this year’s Champion Carnival but would also fail to win there. Aoki won the All Asia Tag Team Championships two more times with his partner, Hikaru Sato, in 2016 and 2017. He was also considered an ace of their junior division as he won it a total of four times, with his last one being recently on May 20th, 2019.
His Last Match During the Super Powers Series
On June 2nd, 2019, he wrestled his last match during the Super Power Series Tour in a six-man tag match, and on June 3rd (4th in Japan), we find out he has tragically died in a motorcycle accident. I gotta admit, it really was heartbreaking to find out about him passing away, especially when you’ve just recently watched him wrestle in that ring not too long ago. Another upsetting thing is that he just won that title back, too, in a great match against Koji Iwamoto. Below are past matches for readers that haven’t seen him or some that people want to remember. My condolences to his family and loved ones during this difficult time. He’ll be missed in the world of professional wrestling as everyone mourns for him. Thank you, Atsushi Aoki, and may you rest in peace.