Player Profile

Tomohiro Ishii

Tomohiro Ishii

Nationality :Japanese
Date Of Birth :December 10, 1975
Height :5' 7" (170 cm)
Weight :220 lbs (100 kg)

Tomohiro Ishii: A Brief Biography

Tomohiro Ishii born December 10, 1975, is a Japanese professional wrestler who is a member of the current NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions in their third reign and is currently signed to New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW). Further appearances for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) are also made by him. He is also well-known for his work as the chairman of the independent Fighting World of Japan Pro Wrestling (Riki Pro) promotion.

Ishii developed a cult following despite being forced to compete as an undercarder for the majority of his career and going without any major championship victories. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter referred to Ishii as “probably [one of the] most underrated guys in the business” in February 2013. Early in 2013, Ishii’s standing in NJPW started to improve, and by February 2014, he had won the NEVER Openweight Championship, a title he would go on to win a record six times. He later won the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship three times as well as the IWGP Tag Team Championship once.

He has also won the ROH World Television Championship once and is a two-time Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion thanks to NJPW’s collaboration with the American Ring of Honor (ROH) and the British Revolution Pro Wrestling (RPW) promotions.

Titles

  • Apache Pro-Wrestling Army
    • WEW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Fighting World of Japan Pro Wrestling
    • Young Magma Tournament (2003)
  • New Japan Pro-Wrestling
    • IWGP Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Toru Yano
    • NEVER Openweight Championship (6 times)
    • NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship (3 times, current) – with Beretta and Toru Yano (1), Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi (1), and Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada (1)
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • Ranked No. 37 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016
  • Pro Wrestling Zero1-Max
    • NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Tatsuhito Takaiwa
  • Revolution Pro Wrestling
    • British Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
  • Ring of Honor
    • ROH World Television Championship (1 time)
  • SoCal Uncensored
    • Match of the Year (2017) vs. Kenny Omega (NJPW, July 2)
  • Tenryu Project
    • Tenryu Project Six-Man Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Arashi and Suwama (1), and Arashi and Genichiro Tenryu (1)
  • Tokyo Sports
    • Outstanding Performance Award (2014)
  • Wrestle Association “R”
    • WAR International Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Yuji Yasuraoka
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter
    • Best Brawler (2014–2019)
    • Best Brawler of the Decade (2010s)

Height of Tomohiro Ishii, Weight, and Body Stats

 Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight100 kg (220 lb)

All-time Career of Tomohiro Ishii

Early career (1996–2005)

Ishii made his professional wrestling debut at the age of twenty on November 2, 1996, facing Choden Senshi Battle Ranger Z at an event held by Genichiro Tenryu’s Wrestle Association “R” (WAR) promotion in Kushiro, Hokkaido. For the next years, Ishii remained affiliated with WAR, winning his first title on October 12, 1997, when he and Yuji Yasuraoka defeated Gokuaku Umibouzu and Masashi Aoyagi for the WAR International Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Ishii and Yasuraoka won the title once more on March 1, 1999, eventually becoming the final champions in the title’s initial history due to Yasuraoka’s retirement in June 1999 and WAR going out of business in 2000. Being forced to become a freelancer, Ishii went on to work for several promotions during the following years, including Toryumon Japan, World Entertainment Wrestling (WEW), and Fighting World of Japan Pro Wrestling (Riki Pro), which he entered as the promotion’s founder Riki Choshu’s apprentice, later being appointed the chairman of the promotion. In August 2003, Ishii won Riki Pro’s Young Magma Tournament. In 2004, Ishii also made appearances for Pro Wrestling Zero1-Max, where he and Tatsuhito Takaiwa won the NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Championship. Due to his short stature, Ishii had started his career as a junior heavyweight, but in 2005 Choshu recognized his strength and approved his transition into the heavyweight division.

New Japan Pro Wrestling (2004–present)

Ishii made sporadic appearances for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) in 2004 and 2005 but only began working regularly for the promotion in 2006. In June of that year, Ishii formed the “Heisei no Gokudo Combi” tag team with Toru Yano, and together the two took part in the 2006 G1 Tag League. On October 16, Ishii and Yano joined Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Togi Makabe as the newest members of the villainous Great Bash Heel (GBH) stable. From 2006 onwards, several GBH members, including Ishii, Makabe, and Yano, also made sporadic appearances for the Apache Pro-Wrestling Army promotion, where Ishii won the WEW Heavyweight Championship on July 12, 2008. Back in NJPW, Ishii worked as one of the lowest-ranked members of GBH until April 2009, when he, along with Yano, Gedo, Giant Bernard, Jado, Karl Anderson, and Takashi Iizuka turned on then-GBH leader Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma and went on to form the new Chaos stable under the leadership of Shinsuke Nakamura. While Chaos as a unit was involved in a storyline rivalry with Makabe, Honma, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Ishii mainly remained outside of the top matches in the rivalry, continuing to work undercard matches, starting his own rivalry with Wataru Inoue. In October 2009, Ishii received some exposure in North America, when he was featured in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling’s (TNA) Global Impact 2 program on Spike TV, working in an eight-man tag team main event, where he, Giant Bernard, Karl Anderson, and Takashi Iizuka was defeated by Kevin Nash, Kurt Angle, Masahiro Chono, and Riki Choshu. The match had been taped during NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom III in Tokyo Dome show the previous January. On January 4, 2010, Ishii was involved in another big eight-man tag team match at Wrestle Kingdom IV in Tokyo Dome, where he, Takashi Iizuka, Toru Yano, and Abdullah the Butcher were defeated by Manabu Nakanishi, Masahiro Chono, Riki Choshu, and Terry Funk.

Ishii began a storyline rivalry with the masked wrestler Tiger Mask in late 2010 by repeatedly pursuing his mask. This culminated in a match on January 23, 2011, at the first Fantastica Mania weekend, in which Tiger Mask triumphed over Ishii in a Lucha de Apuestas Mask vs. Hair match, forcing Ishii to get his head shaved. Ishii continued his rivalry with Tiger Mask at the following NJPW event three days later while donning the mask of Black Tiger, a recurring foe of the various Tiger Masks that have appeared in NJPW over the years. The rivalry reached its climax on February 20 at The New Beginning when Tiger Mask triumphed over Ishii in a Mask vs. Mask match, taking away his mask and putting an end to it.

Ishii, who had spent eight years working for NJPW, was given his first title opportunity on May 20, 2012, when he challenged Hirooki Goto for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship in the main event of a show in Osaka. In November of that same year, Ishii competed in a contest to crown the first-ever NEVER Openweight Champion. Ishii competed in the 2012 World Tag League with Chaos leader Shinsuke Nakamura, where they picked up three wins out of their six matches but failed to advance from their round-robin block. After victories over Daisuke Sasaki and Yoshi-Hashi, Ishii was defeated by Chaos stablemate Masato Tanaka in the semifinals of the tournament, who went on to win the entire tournament. Despite having the audience noticeably behind him, Ishii was again defeated by Tanaka, who, as a result, retained his title. The match was later praised by sports journalist Dave Meltzer, though he also expressed concern for the health of both Ishii and Tanaka following the hard-hitting match. For his fan following, Ishii earned himself the nickname “New Mr. Korakuen”. On March 11, Ishii picked up his biggest singles win in his NJPW career when he defeated multi-time IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Tag Team Champion Satoshi Kojima in the first round of the 2013 New Japan Cup. Six days later, Ishii was defeated in his second-round match in the tournament by Hirooki Goto. In early 2013, Ishii also became involved in Chaos’ rivalry with Suzuki-gun, NJPW’s other major villainous stable, leading to Chaos and Ishii being positioned in a more sympathetic role than usual. On March 23, Ishii teamed with Jado and Shinsuke Nakamura to defeat Suzuki-gun representatives Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, and Taka Michinoku in a six-man tag team match by pinning Michinoku for the win. After the match, Ishii was chosen by Nakamura to compete with Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr. for the IWGP Tag Team Championship. Ishii and Nakamura received their title shot on April 5 but lost to Archer and Smith. Ishii then engaged in a contentious rivalry with Suzuki-gun leader Minoru Suzuki. This led to a singles match between the

“Ishii is the ultimate example of a man who amassed a cult following in Tokyo, which spread to the rest of the country and led to him getting a push,” said one observer. “He was destined to just be a decent worker on the undercard.”

As a sign of his rising status in NJPW, on August 1, Ishii entered the 2013 G1 Climax, his first-ever entry into the promotion’s premier tournament. Ishii’s main event was the second night of the tournament in Korakuen Hall, where he picked up a major win over six-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi. On the fourth night of the tournament, Ishii defeated Katsuyori Shibata in a match that received widespread acclaim, including a five-star rating from Dave Meltzer. Ishii’s only other win in the tournament came via forfeit over the injured Hirooki Goto, a result that left him at the bottom of block A. Following the tournament, NJPW announced that Ishii would embark on his first tour with Mexican promotion Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) starting September 8. Ishii made his CMLL debut on September 13 at the 80th Anniversary Show in Mexico City, teaming with compatriots Namajague and Okumura to defeat Fuego, Rey Cometa, and Stuka Jr. in a six-man tag team match. Ishii remained in CMLL until October 1, working undercard six-man tag team matches. Ishii wrestled his NJPW return match on October 14 at King of Pro-Wrestling, when he was defeated by Katsuyori Shibata in a rematch of their highly acclaimed G1 Climax match. From November 23 to December 7, Ishii and Shinsuke Nakamura took part in the 2013 World Tag League, where they finished with a record of three wins and three losses, with a loss against Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma on the final day costing them a spot in the semifinals.

On January 5, 2014, Ishii started a new storyline rivalry with Tetsuya Naito, announcing his intention of becoming the next NEVER Openweight Champion. The title match between the two took place on February 11 at The New Beginning in Osaka and saw Ishii become the third NEVER Openweight Champion, winning his first title in NJPW. After Naito eliminated Ishii from the 2014 New Japan Cup in their first-round match, a rematch for the NEVER Openweight Championship between the two was set for the April 6 Invasion Attack 2014 event, where Ishii made his first successful title defense. Ishii’s second successful title defense took place just six days later during NJPW’s trip to Taiwan when he defeated Kushida. On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2014, Ishii made his third successful title defense against Tomoaki Honma and was afterward challenged by IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kota Ibushi, with whom he had had sporadic heated encounters since the past year’s G1 Climax. The match between the two took place on May 25 at Back to the Yokohama Arena and saw Ishii make his fourth successful title defense. Ishii was drawn into the conflict between Chaos and Bullet Club after the match when he was attacked by Yujiro Takahashi, a former stablemate who had announced himself as the next challenger. On June 29, Ishii lost the NEVER Openweight Championship to Takahashi in his fifth defense as a result of outside interference from Bullet Club. From July 21 to August 8, Ishii competed in the 2014 G1

On October 13 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Ishii regained the NEVER Openweight Championship from Yujiro Takahashi, becoming the first two-time holder of the title. Ishii made his first successful title defense on November 8 at Power Struggle against Hirooki Goto. From November 23 to December 5, Ishii took part in the 2014 World Tag League, alongside Shinsuke Nakamura. The team finished second in their block with a record of four wins and three losses, narrowly missing the finals of the tournament due to losing to Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata on the final day. On January 4, 2015, at Wrestle Kingdom 9 in Tokyo Dome, Ishii lost the NEVER Openweight Championship to Togi Makabe in his second defense. On February 14 at The New Beginning in Sendai, Ishii defeated Tomoaki Honma, a late replacement for an ill Togi Makabe, to win the now-vacant NEVER Openweight Championship for the third time. Ishii once again lost the title to Makabe in his first defense on April 29 at Wrestling Hinokuni. The two faced off in another title match on July 5 at Dominion 7.5 in Osaka-jo Hall, where Makabe was once again victorious. From July 23 to August 15, Ishii took part in the 2015 G1 Climax, where he finished in the middle of his block with a record of five wins and four losses. On October 12 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Ishii defeated Makabe to win the NEVER Openweight Championship for the fourth time. Ishii made his first successful title defense on November 7 at Power Struggle against Tomoaki Honma. Ishii’s reign ended in his next defense when he was defeated by Katsuyori Shibata on January 4, 2016, at Wrestle Kingdom 10 in Tokyo Dome. Ishii received a rematch for the title on February 11 at The New Beginning in Osaka but was again defeated by Shibata. On February 19, Ishii took part in the NJPW and Ring of Honor (ROH) co-produced Honor Rising: Japan 2016 event, defeating Roderick Strong for the ROH World Television Championship in the main event. A week later, Ishii made his debut for ROH at their 14th Anniversary Show, successfully defending his title in a three-way match against Strong and Bobby Fish. At the following day’s Ring of Honor Wrestling tapings, Ishii successfully defended the title against Cedric Alexander to return to Japan as the reigning champion.

In early 2016, Chaos entered a rivalry with the Los Ingobernables de Japón (L.I.J.) stable. During March’s New Japan Cup, Ishii faced two L.I.J. members, first defeating EVIL in the round and then losing to the stable’s leader Tetsuya Naito in the quarterfinals, after which he was attacked by Evil. This led to a match on March 20, where Ishii made his third successful defense of the ROH World Television Championship against Evil. When Naito, after winning the 2016 New Japan Cup, defeated Ishii’s Chaos stablemate Kazuchika Okada to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, Ishii confronted the new champion, which led to NJPW granting him his first-ever shot at the promotion’s top title. Ishii received his title shot on May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2016 but was defeated by Naito. Five days later, Ishii lost the ROH World Television Championship to Bobby Fish at the NJPW, and ROH co-produced the Global Wars show. From July 18 to August 12, Ishii took part in the 2016 G1 Climax, where he finished with a record of four wins and five losses. One of Ishii’s wins was over CHAOS stablemate and reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. At the end of the year, Ishii took part in the 2016 World Tag League, teaming with Chaos stablemate Hirooki Goto. The two finished the tournament with a record of four wins and three losses, failing to advance to the finals due to losing to block winners Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma in their final round-robin match.

On January 4, 2017, at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome, Ishii, and Toru Yano defeated Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa) and G.B.H. (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma) in a three-way match to become the new IWGP Tag Team Champions. They lost the title to Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima on March 6 at NJPW’s 45th-anniversary event. Ishii competed in the 2017 New Japan Cup later that month and advanced to the semifinals before falling to Katsuyori Shibata.

Ishii competed in an eight-man tournament to determine the first IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion over the weekend of July 1 and 2 at G1 Special in the United States, reaching the finals before falling to Kenny Omega. Later that month, Ishii competed in the 2017 G1 Climax, where he finished with a record of four wins and five losses. On January 4, 2018, Ishii, Beretta, and Toru Yano won a five-team Ishii won the British Heavyweight Championship by defeating Zack Sabre Jr. on April 6 at Revolution Pro Wrestling’s WrestleCon event. On July 1 at Strong Style Evolved UK, he was defeated for the title by Minoru Suzuki, and on August 4 at the 2018 G1 Climax, Ishii triumphed over Kenny Omega, the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, handing him his first singles loss since winning the title. With a record of five wins and four losses, Ishii went on to place fifth in his block. Ishii defeated Minoru Suzuki on October 14 at Global Wars UK to reclaim the British Heavyweight Championship. Ishii and Yano competed in the 2018 World Tag League from November 17 through December 7. They finished the competition with a record of nine wins and four losses but were unable to advance to the finals after losing to Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa in their final round-robin match.

Ishii was defeated by Zack Sabre Jr. for the British Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 13 on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome. Due to losing to him in the second round of the 2019 New Japan Cup, Taichi challenged Ishii to a match for the NEVER Openweight Championship on May 4 during the second night of Wrestling Dontaku. Ishii defeated Taichi on June 9 at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall to take home the NEVER Openweight Championship for a record-breaking fifth time. Ishii competed in the 2019 G1 Climax from July 13 to August 11 and finished the competition with a record of four wins and five losses, missing out on the tournament’s championship match. After KENTA turned against Ishii and Yoshi-Hashi to join the Bullet Club, Ishii teamed up with Yoshi-Hashi and KENTA in a losing effort against the Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, and Tanga Loa) on August 12. Ishii then vowed to exact revenge on KENTA. On August 31 at Royal Quest, the two would square off, and Ishii would lose the NEVER Openweight Championship to KENTA as a result of interference from his Bullet Club stablemates. Ishii and Yoshi-Hashi competed in the 2019 World Tag League from November 16 through December 8 and finished last with a record of twelve wins and four losses. Ishii competed in the 2020 New Japan Cup from June 16 until July 2, losing to IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi in the quarterfinals on July 2. Ishii, Hiroki Goto, and Yoshi-Hashi won the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship on August 9 by defeating fellow CHAOS stablemates Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, and Sho in the competition’s final match. Ishii competed in the 2020 G1 Climax from September 19 through October 16, finishing the competition with a record of four wins and five losses and failing to reach the tournament’s finals. Ishii and Toru Yano competed in the 2020 World Tag League from November 15 through December 6; they finished the competition with a record of five victories and four defeats, failing to advance to the tournament’s finals. Ishii competed in the 2021 New Japan Cup in March of that year, but he was defeated by SANADA in the opening round. Ishii competed in the 2021 G1 Climax from September 18 to October 18, finishing with a record of five wins and four losses and failing to advance to the tournament’s finals. Before losing the titles to House of Torture (EVIL, Sho, and Yujiro Takahashi) on November 6 at Power Stuggle, Ishii, Goto, and Yoshi-Hashi would set records for the longest reign as champions (454 days) and the most successful title defenses (9 defenses). Ishii defeated Jay White on November 13 at Battle in the Valley to win the NEVER Openwight Championship for a record-breaking sixth time. Ishii couldn’t have challenged for the NEVER Openweight Championship if he had fallen short. Ishii lost the championship to EVIL on the opening night of Wrestle Kingdom 16 on January 4, 2022. He lost to EVIL on February 13 during the New Years Golden Series tour in the rematch for the NEVER Openweight Championship, which featured lumberjacks from Chaos and House of Torture. Ishii competed in the 2022 New Japan Cup in March but was defeated by Shingo Takagi in the opening round. In order to compete in a four-way match for the first-ever AEW All-Atlantic Championship at AEWNJPW: Forbidden Door, Ishii was announced as a participant in the NJPW bracket. To qualify for the match at the event, he defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru in the first qualifier and Clark Connors in the last qualifier. Ishii was initially cleared to compete at Forbidden Door, but it was later revealed that he had injured his left knee. As a result, Connors replaced Ishii in the four-way match, but he was unsuccessful. Ishii competed in the 2022 G1 Climax from July 17 to August 16, finishing the competition with a record of two wins and four losses and failing to reach the semifinals.

The NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship was won by Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Kazuchika Okada on May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku by defeating Strong Style (El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki, and Ren Narita).