All Japan star Atsushi Aoki killed in motorcycle accident

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Several outlets, including Nikkan Sports, have reported that All Japan wrestler Atsushi Aoki has died after a motorcycle accident in Tokyo.

The outlet reports that there was an accident at the tunnel of the capital expressway of Kitanomaru Park 1 in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. They are stating that Aoki was unable to turn properly, which led to the accident and he died at the hospital.

Aoki debuted in December 2005 for Pro Wrestling NOAH after training for seven months at the NOAH Dojo and would be voted the Rookie of the Year by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. His debut match was a tag team match with Yoshinori Ota against NOAH founder Mitsuharu Misawa and Akira Taue.

In 2009, he was an outsider sent to compete in New Japan’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament. After the round robin matches, he was tied with Prince Devitt atop the A Block and lost to Koji Kanemoto in the semi-finals of the tournament, which was won by Koji Kanemoto.

In December 2010, exactly five years to the day of his debut, he won the GHC junior heavyweight tag titles with Naomichi Marufuji in Tokyo from Koji Kanemoto and Tiger Mask. The duo was forced to vacate the titles when Marufuji suffered an injury, but Aoki won them again in October 2011 with partner Kotaro Suzuki.

Aoki joined Jun Akiyama, Kotaro Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and Go Shiozaki in leaving NOAH at the end of 2012 due to the handling of Kenta Kobashi’s retirement by NOAH. The group joined All Japan Pro Wrestling and formed the faction “Burning”.

Aoki won the All Asia tag titles with Suzuki in April 2013 from Koji Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka and held the titles for the rest of 2013 until dropping them to Akiyama & Kanemaru. Later, he teamed with Hikaru Sato and won the titles twice more in July 2016 and again in June 2017, dropping them the final time to Black Tiger VII & Taka Michinoku.

After his tag title reigns, he focused his career as a junior heavyweight singles standout, becoming All Japan junior heavyweight champion in May 2014 when he defeated Ultimo Dragon in Tokyo. He would lose the title to former partner Kotaro Suzuki in March 2015, who later vacated the title when he left All Japan. In the tournament for the vacant title, Aoki defeated his other former tag title partner Sato to win the title back.

Aoki won the title a third time in February 2018 from Yoshihiro Tajiri and lost it to Koji Iwamoto later that year.

He had just won the title for a fourth time last month by defeating Iwamoto at Korakuen Hall.

Aoki was 41 years old and had also been serving as the head trainer at All Japan’s Dojo.