Atsushi Aoki, AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion, Passes Away

He was 41...

Atsushi Aoki, a 13-plus year veteran who reigned as the current All Japan Pro Wrestling World Junior Heavyweight champion, passed away Monday night in Tokyo, due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

Aoki was only 41 years old.

Making his wrestling debut in late-2005, Aoki spent seven years as a member of the Pro Wrestling NOAH roster. A protege of Jun Akiyama, Aoki twice held the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, with partners Kotaro Suzuki and Naomichi Marifuji.

He also won the 2010 Nippon TV Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League with KENTA (Hideo Itami) and the 2011 NTV G+ Cup Junior Heavyweight Tag League with Suzuki.

In January 2013, Aoki crossed over to All Japan, along with Suzuki, Akiyama, Go Shiozaki, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. With the promotion, he held the All Asia Tag Team titles three times (once with Suzuki, twice with Hikaru Sato), and the World Junior Heavyweight title three times.

Aoki defeated Koji Iwamoto on May 20 in Tokyo to begin his third reign, and was scheduled to defend the title on June 18 against partner Sato at Korakuen Hall.

Aoki's last match took place Sunday, where he, Sato, and Yusuke Okada lost to Iwamoto, Jake Lee, and Nobe Bryant at Kobe Sanbo Hall, as part of All Japan's Super Power Series.

We here at Cultaholic offer our condolences to Mr. Aoki's family and friends.

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Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.