Shinya Aoki (青木 真也 Aoki Shin'ya, born May 9, 1983) is a Japanese professional wrestler and mixed martial artist, currently working on DDT Pro-Wrestling (DDT), where he is the current DDT Extreme Division Champion in his first reign.
Aoki turned professional wrestler in 2014 and competed in Inoki Genome Federation (IGF) and later on its sub-brand called Next Exciting Wrestling (NEW), but the project ceased operation after nine months due to ongoing disputes and issues between management, leading to Aoki and many other wrestlers quitting IGF. Aoki would start to work on DDT in August 2018.
Training in judo since childhood, Aoki became a successful judoka and competed in national and international championships. However, interested in modalities like kosen judo which were away from him due to the Kodokan competition rules, he moved to other combat sports, until landing in mixed martial arts. Aoki initially joined the judo-based RJJ gym before moving to Team Roken along with his longtime friend Masakazu Imanari, though he later moved to Paraestra Shooto Gym, where he trained under former kosen representative Yuki Nakai. He earned both his A-class Shoot wrestler's rank (better known in the West as Catch wrestling) as well as his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Nakai, and became one of the team's main teachers.
Professional wrestling careerEdit
Inoki Genome Federation (2014–2017)Edit
On April 27, 2014, Aoki made his professional wrestling debut at Inoki Genome Federation in an exhibition match against veteran Atsushi Sawada in a time limit draw at IGF's Pakistan - Japan Friendship Festival. On May 20, 2015, at Antonio Inoki 72nd Birthday Night ~ Genome 32, Aoki would face another Kendo Kashin in a losing effort. On October 28, 2016, Aoki was announced as part of the roster of IGF's sub-brand Next Exciting Wrestling (NEW), with the goal of focussing on regional and smaller venues that never get to witness the larger scale IGF events. The project would be short lived, due to ongoing disputes and issues between management, leading to Aoki and many other wrestlers quitting IGF.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2016)Edit
On June 19, 2016, at NJPW's Dominion 6.19 in Osaka-jo Hall, Aoki would witness the event with NJPW President Takaaki Kidani. Kidani would make remarks of not being impress by Aoki and that his decision was final.
DDT Pro-Wrestling (2018–Present)Edit
On August 28, 2018, Aoki made his debut in DDT at 15th episode of DDT Live! Maji Manji, defeating Gota Ihashi. Following the match, Kota Umeda came to the ring and challenged Aoki to be his last opponent as part of Umeda’s "Mad Dog" trial series. The two would agree to face each other on September 11 at the 17th episode DDT Live! Maji Manji. In the episode, Aoki would defeat Umeda in the last match of his trial series. After the match, Aoki said he wanted to challenge HARASHIMA for his DDT Extreme Division Championship. HARASHIMA accepted the challenge and asked him to later say to him the stipulation for the match and the match was set to be on October 28. On October 28 at DDT Live! Maji Manji Korakuen Hall Special, Aoki defeated HARASHIMA to win the DDT Extreme Division Championship under a wrestling rules match. He would dedicate his victory to Kendo Kashin who his also a former DDT Extreme Division Champion.
Nicknamed "Tobikan Judan" ("The Grand Master of Flying Submissions") due to his spectacular submissions, Aoki is considered an unusual fighter for his heavy specialization in grappling at the expense of other areas of the MMA game. Therefore, virtually all of his stand-up game is focused on taking his opponent to the ground, utilizing chain combinations of wrestling and judo techniques from the clinch to secure his goal, as well as the more dramatic guard pulling. Once on the mat, Aoki is an eclectic grappler, drawing strength from his expertise in many different disciplines like Shooto's style of shoot wrestling, judo, jiu-jitsu and Eddie Bravo's 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu system. He is an active guard player, favouring especially the rubber guard thanks to his flexibility, and is famous for his creative approach to submissions, excelling not only in armlocks and leglocks, but also in neck cranks and more exotic joint locks.