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|Ring name(s)||Shoichi Arai|
|Born||December 19, 1965|
|Died||May 16, 2002
Shoichi Arai (荒井 昌一 Arai Shōichi) (December 19, 1965 – May 16, 2002) was a Japanese professional wrestling promoter who ran Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling from 1995 until its demise in 2002. He entered the circuit as the company's ring announcer in the early days and was best known for his high-pitched voice that ran down countdowns during various death-matches.
Arai took over ownership after Atsushi Onita sold the company to him in April 1995 and took a sabbatical from wrestling. During his reign, he began toning down the amount of death-matches in favour of a more entertainment based product, similar to Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation. When Onita returned in 1997, he was displeased with the company's new direction. Eventually, he put an end to death-matches entirely and this resulted in Onita leaving FMW for good in November 1998. From that point on, FMW would suffer a decline. With poor attendance figures and little revenue, the company was slowly becoming a shadow of its former self.
Things got much worse in October 2001, when their number one star, Hayabusa, suffered a broken neck in a match against Mammoth Sasaki. Attempting an Asai Moonsault, Hayabusa's foot slipped off the rope, resulting in him landing directly on his head, paralyzing him instantly. Arai, who was doing commentary on the match, would then rush down to the ring to try to aid his major star and friend. Hayabusa was one of only a few in the FMW roster to consider Arai as a friend. Having lost their top star, interest in the company waned, forcing Shoichi Arai to declare bankruptcy for FMW on February 15, 2002. Arai was not only three million dollars in debt because of FMW, but he also owed the Yakuza another million dollars that he was unable to pay back.
Arai went into hiding from the Yakuza, as Kodo Fuyuki would take the dates that were stilled booked by FMW over. While in hiding, he had planned to write a book about his experiences of running FMW. Arai criticized Atsushi Onita for his ego and womanizing throughout his career, as well as reveal details of many other former FMW wrestlers. The book was meant to attempt to make as much money as possible to pay back the Yakuza. Around this time, his wife left him. In conversations with Hayabusa, Arai brought up plans to kill himself, because his life insurance would pay his former wife and child enough money to no longer be in debt and have to worry about the Yakuza.
On the morning of May 16 2002, Arai committed suicide in Mizumoto Park in the Katsushika Ward of Tokyo, hanging himself using the neck-tie of his business suit. He was found by a jogger at 6:20 AM. Arai's death led to an insurance payment to his ex-wife and child. However, the life insurance that Arai's ex-wife and child received was still not enough, and years later the Arai family was still paying back the money owed to the Yakuza.