On Monday June 3, AJPW wrestler Atsushi Aoki was tragically involved in a fatal motorcycle accident. He was 41.
Aoki wrestled in high school before becoming a national amateur wrestling champion at 96kg in 2000. This paved a way for Aoki to join the professional ranks, and he debuted for Pro Wrestling NOAH in 2005.
In 2009, he entered the Best of the Super Juniors. Placing second in his block to Prince Devitt, Aoki reached the semi finals before being eliminated by Koji Kanemoto. One year later he wrestled Devitt again when he challenged for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Aoki joined All Japan Pro Wrestling in 2013, where he would become a four time World Junior Heavyweight Champion and three time All Asia Tag Champion.
Aoki was deeply respected by his peers, and those he trained during his work with NOAH and AJPW’s dojos. Tributes have poured in, many from NJPW wrestlers whose lives Aoki touched.
Yuji Nagata: ‘The whole wrestling world has been sent into mourning’
Hiroshi Tanahashi: ‘I pray for Atsushi Aoki’s happiness in the next world’
New Japan Pro Wrestling’s sincerest sympathies are with Atsushi Aoki’s friends, family and fans.