There are plenty of promotions in Japan, just like in the United States and the United Kingdom where people go straight to the bigger promotions or some have their beginnings in something rather smaller promotions and there is one who has wrestled for four years and is already considered for greatness. We are talking about the Master of Suplex himself, Shotaro Ashino.
Shotaro was born on May 25th, 1990, in Nishi-Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan. In 2014, he graduated from the Nippon Sports Science University and was even recommended to go to wrestling school by Hiroshi Hase. He would take his offer and wrestle at the Wrestle-1 Dojo where he would be trained by legends such as the companies president, Kaz Hayashi, and Wrestle-1’s founder, Keiji Mutoh or Great Muta for some other people. He would only be trained at the dojo for about six months until he made his debut as a rookie where he won his first match on February 13th, 2015 against Kumagoro.
His first rivalry wouldn’t take place until September 22nd, 2015 when he would team up with Hiroki Murase as they would take on Shuji Kondo and Kaz Hayashi, who was known as Team 246. Team 246 won the first match and they would have a rematch on October 9th, where Shuji would betray Kaz in the match to give Shotaro the victory and was later on joined by Masayuki Kono. They would then be known as the unit, TriggeR and talked about how their goal would be to reshape Wrestle-1.
In 2016, however, he wouldn’t be able to have much success in Wrestle-1 when he would fail to capture the UWA World Trios Championship as the first disappointment during their units run. On June 8th, 2016 he would go for the Wrestle-1 Championship against KAI but would come short-handed once again. More bad news would come when he fought Shuji Kondo during the W-1 on July 1st as the match didn’t last long when he suffered an injury on his leg. The injury didn’t turn out to be as serious as he would make his return on November 11th as they would defeat NEWERA, leading to having a small rivalry with Jiro Kuroshio and even defeated him in the process.
2017 would start looking much brighter for Shotaro as he challenged Kono for the Wrestle-1 Championship and he would fight him on March 23rd and would win his first championship after being with the company for two years. He would then be challenged by Shuji Kondo, who was his fellow TriggeR stablemate and Shuji would not only defeat Shuji, he would leave his own faction right after. He later declared that he would no longer align himself with weak people and on August 11th, he would form a new stable with Yusuke Kodama and Seigo Tachibana as they would be now known as Enfants Terribles. While he was Wrestle-1 Champion, they would even capture the UUWA World Trios Championship this time around on October 21st when they defeated NEWERA to win them. While the UWA reign was short-lived, Shotaro was proving he was the future ace of the company and breaking records for the short time he was there.
His first title reign was so successful that PWI listed him in the Top 500 Wrestlers of 2017, ranked at #299. He was also known as the longest reigning Wrestle-1 Champion and even holds the record for most title defenses for a total of seven before he dropped in on March 14h, 2018 to Manabu Soya. For 2017, he was also known as the companies wrestler of the year and even had match of the year with them when he defended his title against Jiro Kuroshio and that was the first time I saw him wrestled myself and I knew that he was something special when I finished watching this match. It even made it on my Top 25 list of 2017 too and I was hooked in following both of these men. Despite losing the title, he would eventually win the Wrestle-1 Tag Team Championships with their newest member, Kuma Arashi when they defeated Manabu Soya and AKIRA in revenge when Manabu took the title from him. On July 18th, he would win the Wrestle-1 Grand Prix when he defeated Koji Doi and went to defeat Manabu on September 2nd to win back his Wrestle-1 Championship for the second time.
He currently lost the belt on January 5th, 2019 when he fought against STRONG HEARTS member, T-Hawk, and Shotaro now seeks to try and climb back to the top to eventually get what is rightfully his.
I may have only followed him for less than two years but I can tell you that at the time that I’ve watched him, he was something that fans could get behind. He reminds me a bit of Kurt Angle with how technical he is in the ring and how quick he can move as well, he even does the Ankle Lock as his finisher. Ashino is also a big fan of Metallica and his theme song is “Fuel for Fire” as well. Below are some matches that you should check out for yourself to see what the man is all about, his title defenses were very unique and again, someone to keep an eye on. He recently said in an interview that he would like to wrestle in the United States, so I think we should make that happen since he would be a treat for the American fans.
Shotaro Ashino vs. T-Hawk
Shotaro Ashino vs. Jiro Kuroshio
Shotaro Ashino vs. Koji Doi
Shotaro Ashino vs. KAI