Toru Yano

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Toru Yano
Toru Yano March 2014.JPG
Yano in March 2014.
Birth name Toru Yano[1]
Born (1978-05-18) May 18, 1978 (age 36)[2]
Arakawa, Tokyo[2]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Toru Yano
Billed height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)[2]
Billed weight 115 kg (254 lb)[2]
Trained by NJPW Dojo[3]
Debut May 18, 2002[2]

Toru Yano (矢野 通 Yano Tōru?, born May 18, 1978),[2] is a Japanese professional wrestler, trained by and currently signed to New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), where he is a former two-time IWGP Tag Team Champion.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

New Japan Pro Wrestling (2001–present)[edit]

Toru Yano was a decorated Greco-Roman wrestler, while studying in Nihon University, winning several amateur titles.[2] In April 2001 Yano entered New Japan Pro Wrestling's amateur wrestling section, the Toukon Club, in order to become a professional wrestler.[4] He formally joined New Japan in January 2002 and began training full-time for his debut.[4] He would make his debut on May 18, 2002, coincidentally on his 24th birthday, in a match, where he was defeated by his classmate Blue Wolf.[4] On August 31, 2003, Yano ventured into the world of mixed martial arts, when he competed in a match for Pancrase.[2] Yano lost his to date only MMA fight to Osami Shibuya via submission to an armbar in the second round.[5]

After steadily climbing the ranks in New Japan for nearly two years, Yano turned heel in early 2004 and changed his look by dying his hair blonde.[4] From April to July 2004, Yano went on a long streak of losing matches via disqualification.[4] After a learning excursion to the United States in early 2005, Yano joined Masahiro Chono's Black New Japan stable and formed a tag team with Tomohiro Ishii.[4] In June Yano made it to the finals of a tournament for the vacant IWGP U-30 Openweight Championship, but was defeated by Hiroshi Tanahashi.[6] After a disappointing performance in the 2005 G1 Climax, Yano traveled to Germany in October 2005 to compete for European Wrestling Promotion, where he would win his first professional wrestling championship, the EWP Tag Team Championship, teaming with Kendo Kashin.[6] When Yano returned to Japan the following month, he was a changed man, becoming a more serious competitor no longer seeking to break rules.[6] However, when this change failed to bring him any success, Yano reverted to his cheating ways in early 2005 and, together with Ishii, Togi Makabe, Shiro Koshinaka and Tomoaki Honma joined Hiroyoshi Tenzan to form the Great Bash Heel (GBH) stable in December.[6]

In the summer of 2006 Yano took part in New Japan's invasion of Apache Pro-Wrestling Army and on July 29, he defeated Kintaro Kanemura to win the promotion's main title, the WEW Heavyweight Championship, his first title in Japan.[6] The following month Yano took part in the 2007 G1 Climax, this time picking up victories over Manabu Nakanishi and Shiro Koshinaka, but missed the finals of the tournament by a single point after drawing with Hiroshi Tanahashi.[6] After the tournament Yano lost the WEW Heavyweight Championship to Mammoth Sasaki on September 23, 2007. In October Yano entered the 2007 G1 Tag League, teaming with Togi Makabe, who had overthrown Tenzan as the leader of GBH, instead of regular tag team partner Ishii.[6] The two of them would go on to win four out of their seven matches in the round robin stage of the tournament and thus made it to the semifinals, where they would be defeated by the eventual winners of the entire tournament, Giant Bernard and Travis Tomko.[6] After the tournament Yano and Makabe remained together as a tag team, naming their team The Most Violent Players.

On January 4, 2008, at Wrestle Kingdom II in Tokyo Dome, Yano and Makabe were defeated by Team 3D (Brother Devon and Brother Ray), representing American promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA).[6] However, Yano and Makabe bounced back quickly and on February 17 they defeated Giant Bernard and Travis Tomko to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship for the first time.[6] They would successfully defend the titles against the teams of Giant Bernard and Shinsuke Nakamura, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Takashi Iizuka, Giant Bernard and Rick Fuller, Shinsuke Nakamura and Hirooki Goto and Manabu Nakanishi and Yutaka Yoshie, before entering the 2008 G1 Tag League in October.[6] After four victories out of five in the round robin stage, Yano and Makabe advanced to the semifinals, where they defeated the team of Shinsuke Nakamura and Hirooki Goto. However, on November 5, Yano and Makabe were defeated in the final match by Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan.[6] Yano and Makabe's IWGP title reign of 322 days came to an end on January 4, 2009, when they were defeated by Team 3D for the second year in a row at Wrestle Kingdom III in Tokyo Dome.[6]

In April 2009 Yano turned on Makabe and together with the rest of GBH, excluding Tomoaki Honma, left the stable to join Shinsuke Nakamura and form the new heel stable CHAOS, with Nakamura as the leader.[6] When Makabe returned from his injury, suffered at the hands of Yano, he was looking for revenge on his former tag team partner. After several tag team matches, Yano and Makabe were finally booked in a singles match on June 20, where Yano would come out victorious.[6] In the 2010 G1 Tag League Yano teamed up with Shinsuke Nakamura and together the two of them would make it to the semifinals before suffering an upset loss against the Junior Heavyweight tag team Apollo 55 (Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi).[6] In early 2010 Yano began feuding with Hiroshi Tanahashi, starting on January 30, when he pinned Tanahashi in tag team match.[7] Tanahashi would avenge his loss in a singles match on February 14, but was after the match jumped by Yano and Masato Tanaka, who then proceeded to cut off some of his hair.[8] On May 3 Yano took arguably the biggest victory of his career by defeating the former four–time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tanahashi in a singles match, after which the two of them were booked in a final Hair vs. Hair match for June 19.[9][10] On June 19 at Dominion 6.19, Tanahashi defeated Yano, but despite his loss, Yano and his CHAOS ally Takashi Iizuka attacked Tanahashi after the match and went to cut his hair, before being stopped by TAJIRI, who took care of Iizuka and helped Tanahashi shave Yano's hair to end their feud.[11] Yano then moved on to feuding with TAJIRI. TAJIRI, KUSHIDA and Tanahashi eliminated Yano and his CHAOS partners Iizuka and Gedo from the J Sports Crown Openweight 6 Man Tag Tournament on June 28, 2010, but on July 19 Yano defeated TAJIRI via submission in a singles match in less than six minutes to seemingly end their feud.[12][13] The following month Yano entered the 2010 G1 Climax and managed to win four out of his seven round robin stage matches, including a major victory over the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Togi Makabe, but finished fourth in his block, thus missing the finals of the tournament.[14][15][16][17] On September 3 TAJIRI returned to New Japan and attacked Yano after his match, showing that they were not done with each other.[18] On October 11 at Destruction '10, TAJIRI defeated Yano in a singles match.[19] On January 4, 2011, at Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome, Yano faced TNA performer Rob Van Dam in a hardcore match in losing effort.[20][21] Yano has since adopted Van Dam's signature finger point taunt as his own.[22][23]

In May 2011 Yano took part in New Japan's Invasion Tour 2011, the promotion's first tour of the United States. On May 13 in Rahway, New Jersey, he entered the tournament to determine the first ever IWGP Intercontinental Champion, defeating Dan Maff in his first round match.[24] The following day in New York City, Yano defeated his CHAOS stablemate Yujiro Takahashi to advance to the finals of the tournament.[25] On the third and final day of the tour in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Yano was defeated by MVP in the finals of the tournament.[26] Yano would also fail to win the title in two rematches, first on June 18 in Osaka and then on July 18 in Sapporo.[27][28][29] In August, Yano took part in the 2011 G1 Climax, where he managed to win five out of his nine matches, which included a big win over IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi. Ultimately, a loss against Giant Bernard on the final day of the tournament eliminated from the running for a spot in the finals.[30] On September 19, Yano started a new rivalry with Yuji Nagata by attacking him after he had defeated his CHAOS stablemate Hideo Saito in a grudge match.[31] The two faced each other on October 10 at Destruction '11, where Nagata was able to pick up a pinfall win.[32] Later that same event, Yano attacked Hiroshi Tanahashi, after he had successfully defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Tetsuya Naito and then accepted Nagata as his next challenger, and stole his championship belt, renaming it the "YWGP Heavyweight Championship".[32][33] After Yano was named the number one contender to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, he went to team with Shinsuke Nakamura as the "CHAOS Top Team" in the 2011 G1 Tag League, scoring a pinfall victory over Tanahashi in the team's opening match against the team of Tanahashi and Hirooki Goto.[34][35][36] The CHAOS Top Team ended up winning all five of their group stage matches, with Yano also picking up a pinfall victory over Togi Makabe in the process, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament with a clean sheet.[37][38] On November 6, Yano and Nakamura were eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by the team of Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer.[39] On November 12 at Power Struggle, Yano failed to capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Tanahashi.[40] On January 4, 2012, at Wrestle Kingdom VI in Tokyo Dome, Yano teamed with Shinsuke Nakamura in a tag team match, where they were defeated by Pro Wrestling Noah representatives Go Shiozaki and Naomichi Marufuji.[41]

Yano in September 2013.

On March 4, 2012, at New Japan's 40th anniversary event, Yano and Takashi Iizuka defeated IWGP Tag Team Champions, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima, in a non-title match, with Yano pinning Kojima for the win.[42] On March 18, Yano and Iizuka attacked Tenzan and Kojima, after they had successfully defended their title against Lance Archer and Yoshihiro Takayama, and stole their championship belts.[43] On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2012, Yano and Iizuka defeated Tenzan and Kojima to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship, starting Yano's second reign with the title.[44] On June 16 at Dominion 6.16, Yano's and Iizuka's first title defense, a rematch against Tenzan and Kojima, ended in a no contest.[45] As a result, four days later Yano and Iizuka were stripped of the IWGP Tag Team Championship.[46] On July 22, Yano and Iizuka were defeated by Tenzan and Kojima in a decision match for the vacant title.[47] Through the second half of 2012, Yano feuded with the returning Manabu Nakanishi,[48] which built to a match on January 4, 2013, at Wrestle Kingdom 7 in Tokyo Dome, where Yano, Bob Sapp, Takashi Iizuka and Yujiro Takahashi were defeated in an eight man tag team match by Nakanishi, Akebono, MVP and Strong Man.[49][50] On February 9, Yano and Iizuka made an appearance for Pro Wrestling Noah, wrestling Maybach Taniguchi and Maybach Taniguchi, Jr. to a double disqualification.[51] Later, Yano and Iizuka attacked No Mercy leader Kenta after the main event, which led to Maybach Taniguchi coming out to seemingly save his stablemate, however, he ended up hitting Kenta with a chair. Yano then grabbed Naomichi Marufuji's and Takashi Sugiura's GHC Tag Team Championship belts from ringside, before handing Taniguchi Kenta's GHC Heavyweight Championship belt.[51] The following day, Yano and Iizuka were named the number one contenders to the GHC Tag Team Championship.[52] On March 10, Yano and Iizuka defeated Marufuji and Sugiura to become the new GHC Tag Team Champions.[53] Back in New Japan, Yano became involved in Chaos' rivalry with the promotion's other villainous stable, Suzukigun. From March 11 to March 23, Yano took part in the 2013 New Japan Cup, which saw him reach the semifinals following an upset win over Suzukigun leader Minoru Suzuki, before losing to Chaos stablemate Kazuchika Okada.[54][55][56] In April, Yano and Iizuka took part in Noah's 2013 Global Tag League, where they finished with a record of two wins and two losses, failing to advance to the finals.[57] Yano and Iizuka made their first successful defense of the GHC Tag Team Championship on May 12 against TMDK (Mikey Nicholls and Shane Haste), who had defeated them during the Global Tag League.[58] Post-match, Yano named himself the number one contender to the GHC Heavyweight Championship. His status as the next challenger for Kenta's title was made official the following day.[59] Yano received his title shot on June 2, but was defeated by Kenta.[60][61] This led to a GHC Tag Team Championship match on June 8, where Yano and Iizuka successfully defended their title against Kenta and Yoshihiro Takayama, with Yano pinning the GHC Heavyweight Champion for the win.[62] Back in New Japan on June 22 at Dominion 6.22, a special three-way match took place for the IWGP Tag Team Championship, held by Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima, which also included Yano and Iizuka, the GHC Tag Team Champions, and the NWA World Tag Team Champions, Davey Boy Smith, Jr. and Lance Archer. After Tenzan and Kojima had managed to win the match and retain their title, Yano once again stole their championship belts.[63] On July 7, Yano and Iizuka lost the GHC Tag Team Championship to TMDK in their third defense.[64] On July 20, Yano and Iizuka were defeated by Tenzan and Kojima in another IWGP Tag Team Championship match between the two teams.[65][66] From August 1 to 11, Yano took part in the 2013 G1 Climax.[67] Though finishing near the bottom of his block with a record of four wins and five losses, Yano ended his tournament on a high note, defeating Minoru Suzuki and costing him a spot in the finals.[68][69] This led to a feud between Yano and Suzuki.[70] In the rematch on September 29 at Destruction, Yano was again victorious, after handcuffing Suzuki to a ringside guard rail, which led to him being counted out.[71] This led to another match between the two on October 14 at King of Pro-Wrestling, where Suzuki was victorious.[72] From November 24 to December 7, Yano and Iizuka took part in the 2013 World Tag League.[73] Though they finished last in their block with a record of two wins and four losses, Yano once again got to play the spoiler Suzuki, when he and Iizuka defeated Suzuki and Shelton X Benjamin on the final day, costing them a spot in the semifinals.[74] The rivalry between Yano and Suzuki led to a match on January 4, 2014, at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome, where Yano and The Great Muta defeated Suzuki and Benjamin, with Yano pinning his rival for the win, after ducking away from Muta's green mist, which instead blinded Suzuki.[75][76] Yano and Suzuki again faced off on March 15 in the first round of the 2014 New Japan Cup, where Suzuki was victorious.[77] On May 25 at Back to the Yokohama Arena, Yano and Iizuka faced off against Suzuki and Benjamin in a tag team match, during which Iizuka turned on Yano and Chaos, helping Suzuki pin him for the win and joining Suzukigun.[78][79] From July 21 to August 8, Yano took part in the 2014 G1 Climax, where he finished with a record of four wins and six losses, which included a win over Suzuki.[80][81][82]

In wrestling[edit]

Yano in June 2014.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • European Wrestling Promotion
    • EWP Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Kendo Kashin[4][84]
    • EWP Tag Team Title Tournament (2005) – with Kendo Kashin[4][84]

Lucha de Apuesta record[edit]

Wager Winner Loser Location Date Notes
Hair Hiroshi Tanahashi Toru Yano Osaka, Japan June 19, 2010 [11]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 0-1 Osami Shibuya Pancrase: 10th Anniversary Show Submission (armbar) August 31, 2003 2 2:35 Tokyo, Japan

References[edit]

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