Toru Yano: A Brief Biography
Japanese professional wrestler Toru Yano born May 18, 1978, was trained by and is currently signed to New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he was the KOPW 2020 and the KOPW 2021. He has won the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team title four times. He has also won the GHC Tag Team Championship twice and the IWGP Tag Team Championship three times.
He is best known for being a comic relief wrestler who frequently cheats in an effort to win matches quickly. Yano has developed a reputation as a spoiler despite frequently being placed below NJPW’s top wrestlers, occasionally defeating more well-known competitors, and engaging in rivalries with other top competitors.
- Apache Pro-Wrestling Army
- WEW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- European Wrestling Promotion
- EWP Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Kendo Kashin
- EWP Tag Team Title Tournament (2005) – with Kendo Kashin
- New Japan Pro-Wrestling
- IWGP Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Togi Makabe (1), Takashi Iizuka (1) and Tomohiro Ishii (1)
- NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe (2), Beretta and Tomohiro Ishii (1), and Ryusuke Taguchi and Togi Makabe (1)
- KOPW (2020, 2021)
- Provisional KOPW (4 times)
- New Japan Rambo (2021)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Ranked No. 139 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2011
- Pro Wrestling Noah
- GHC Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Takashi Iizuka (1) and Naomichi Marufuji (1)
- Global Tag League (2016) – with Naomichi Marufuji
- Tokyo Sports
- Best Bout Award (2011) with Takashi Iizuka vs. Keiji Mutoh and Kenta Kobashi, All Together, August 27
- Best Tag Team Award (2007) with Togi Makabe
Height of Toru Yano, Weight, and Body Stats
|1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
|115 kg (254 lb)
All-time Career of Toru Yano
New Japan Pro-Wrestling
Early Career and G.B.H. (2001–2009)
While attending Nihon University, Yano was an accomplished Greco-Roman wrestler who won numerous amateur championships. In April 2001, Yano joined New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s amateur wrestling division, the Toukon Club, in an effort to become a professional wrestler. He formally joined New Japan in January 2002 and started training full-time for his debut. He made his debut on May 18, 2002, which was also his 24th birthday, in a match, where
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. From April to July 2004, Yano went on a long streak of losing matches via disqualification. 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. 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. 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. When Yano returned to Japan the following month, he was a changed man, becoming a more serious competitor no longer seeking to break rules. However, when this change failed to bring him any success, Yano reverted to his cheating ways in early 2006 and, together with Ishii, Togi Makabe, Shiro Koshinaka, and Tomoaki Honma joined Hiroyoshi Tenzan to form the Great Bash Heel (G.B.H.) stable in December.
Yano participated in New Japan’s invasion of the Apache Pro-Wrestling Army in the summer of 2006, and on July 29, he defeated Kintaro Kanemura to win the promotion’s main title, the WEW Heavyweight Championship, which was his first title in Japan. The following month, Yano competed in the 2007 G1 Climax, winning matches against Manabu Nakanishi and Shiro Koshinaka, but missing the tournament’s finals by one point after drawing In October, Yano joined Togi Makabe in the 2007 G1 Tag League, replacing regular tag team partner Ishii as the G.B.H. leader. The two of them went on to win four of their seven matches in the round-robin stage of the competition and advanced to the semifinals, where they were defeated by the tournament’s eventual winners, Giant Bernard, and Travis Tomko. After the competition, Yano and Makabe remained together.
The American promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) defeated Yano and Makabe on January 4, 2008, at Wrestle Kingdom II in the Tokyo Dome. However, Yano and Makabe quickly recovered and on February 17 they defeated Giant Bernard and Travis Tomko to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship for the first time. They would successfully defend the titles against the teams of Giant Bernard and Shinsuke Nakamura, Giant Bernard and Travis Tomko, 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. Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Yano and Makabe in the championship match on November 5.
Forming Chaos (2009–2016)
In April 2009, Yano betrayed Makabe, and the rest of G.B.H., with the exception of Tomoaki Honma, left the stable to team up with Shinsuke Nakamura and form the new heel stable Chaos, with Nakamura serving as the head. When Makabe recovered from the injury Yano had inflicted on him, he was out for vengeance 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. 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). In early 2010 Yano began feuding with Hiroshi Tanahashi, starting on January 30, when he pinned Tanahashi in a tag team match. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. On September 3, Tajiri returned to New Japan and attacked Yano after his match, showing that they were not done with each other. On October 11 at Destruction ’10, Tajiri defeated Yano in a singles match. On January 4, 2011, at Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome, Yano faced TNA performer Rob Van Dam in a hardcore match in a losing effort. Afterward, Yano adopted Van Dam’s signature thumb point taunt as his own, exchanging the letters “RVD” with “YTR”.
Yano participated in the New Japan’s Invasion Tour 2011, which was the promotion’s first trip to the US, in May 2011. He entered the competition to crown the first-ever IWGP Intercontinental Champion on May 13 in Rahway, New Jersey, defeating Dan Maff in the opening round. The following day in New York City, Yano defeated fellow Chaos stablemate Yujiro Takahashi to advance to the finals of the competition. On the third and final day of the tour in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Yano was defeated by MVP in the finals of the competition. Yano would also fail Ultimately, a loss against Giant Bernard on the final day of the tournament was eliminated from the running for a spot in the finals. 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. The two faced each other on October 10 at Destruction ’11, where Nagata was able to pick up a pinfall win. 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”. After Yano was named the number one contender to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, he went to the 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. 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. On November 6, Yano and Nakamura were eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by the team of Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer. On November 12 at Power Struggle, Yano failed to capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Tanahashi. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. As a result, four days later Yano and Iizuka were stripped of the IWGP Tag Team Championship. On July 22, Yano and Iizuka were defeated by Tenzan and Kojima in a decision match for the vacant title. Through the second half of 2012, Yano feuded with the returning Manabu Nakanishi, 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. On February 9, Yano and Iizuka made an appearance for Pro Wrestling Noah, wrestling Maybach Taniguchi and Maybach Taniguchi Jr. to a double disqualification. 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. After that, Yano took the GHC Tag Team Championship and GHC Heavyweight Championship belts from Naomichi Marufuji and Takashi Sugiura and handed them to Taniguchi Kenta. The next day, Yano and Iizuka were announced as the top contenders for the GHC Tag Team Championship. On March 10, Yano and Iizuka defeated Marufuji and Sugiura to win the GHC Tag Team Championship.
Yano got involved in Chaos’ conflict with Suzuki-gun, another villainous stable from the promotion, when she returned to New Japan. Yano competed in Noah’s 2013 Global Tag League from March 11 to March 23, finishing with a record of two wins and two losses and failing to advance to the finals. Yano and Iizuka made their first successful defense of the GHC Tag Team Champion. Yano competed in the 2013 New Japan Cup from March 11 to March 23, reaching the semifinals after an upset victory over Suzuki-gun leader Minoru Suzuki. The following day, he was officially announced as Kenta’s next title challenger. On June 2, Yano was given a title shot, but he was defeated by Kenta. This prompted 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 Takayama for the victory. Finally, on June 22 at Dominion On July 7, Yano and Iizuka lost the GHC Tag Team Championship to TMDK in their third defense. On July 20, Yano and Iizuka lost to Tenzan and Kojima in another IWGP Tag Team Championship match between the two teams. After Tenzan and Kojima managed to win the match and retain their title, Yano once more stole their championship belts.
From August 1 to 11, Yano took part in the 2013 G1 Climax. 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. This led to a feud between Yano and Suzuki. 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. This led to another match between them on October 14 at King of Pro-Wrestling, where Suzuki was victorious. From November 24 to December 7, Yano and Iizuka took part in the 2013 World Tag League. 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 semi-finals. 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. Yano and Suzuki again faced off on March 15 in the first round of the 2014 New Japan Cup, where Suzuki was victorious. 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 Suzuki-gun. 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. Yano then formed a partnership with Kazushi Sakuraba and transitioned over to feuding with former tag team partner Takashi Iizuka, while Sakuraba took over his feud with Suzuki. In November, Yano and Sakuraba took part in the 2014 World Tag League, finishing in the middle of their block with a record of three wins, one draw, and three losses. Yano’s rivalry with Iizuka and the rest of Suzuki-gun culminated on January 4, 2015, at Wrestle Kingdom 9 in Tokyo Dome, where he and Pro Wrestling Noah’s Naomichi Marufuji, Mikey Nicholls, and Shane Haste defeated Iizuka, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer, and Shelton X Benjamin in an eight-man tag team match. On February 22, the same day he ran the Tokyo Marathon (with a time of 6:47:02), Yano returned to Noah to return the favor and help Marufuji in his new rivalry with Suzuki-gun. Yano returned to NJPW and rekindled his old rivalry with Hiroshi Tanahashi, after cheating his way to a win over Tanahashi in the opening round of the 2015 New Japan Cup. The rivalry culminated on July 5 at Dominion 7.5 in Osaka-jo Hall, where Yano was defeated by Tanahashi. From July 20 to August 14, Yano participated in the 2015 G1 Climax.
Tag team championship reigns and KOPW (2016–present)
On January 4, 2016, at Wrestle Kingdom 10 in Tokyo Dome, Yano teamed with the Ring of Honor (ROH) tag team of Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe to defeat Bullet Club’s Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, and Yujiro Takahashi to become the inaugural NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions. The three made their first successful title defense the following day against another Bullet Club trio of Fale, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson. On February 11 at The New Beginning in Osaka, Yano and the Briscoes lost the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship to Fale, Tonga, and Takahashi in their second defense. Yano and the Briscoes regained the title three days later at The New Beginning in Niigata. On February 20 at the NJPW and ROH co-produced Honor Rising: Japan 2016 event, Yano and the Briscoes lost the title to Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson. From April 21 to May 4, Yano took part in Pro Wrestling Noah’s 2016 Global Tag League, where he teamed with Naomichi Marufuji. The two finished second in the single round-robin block, advancing to the finals, where they defeated the reigning GHC Tag Team Champions, Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer, to win the tournament. On May 28, Yano and Marufuji defeated Smith and Archer in a rematch to become the new GHC Tag Team Champions. On June 12, Yano and Marufuji defeated Smith and Archer for the third time in a row to make their first successful title defense and followed that up by defeating another Suzuki-gun team of Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka on July 5 for their second successful defense. On July 16, Yano and Marufuji made their third successful title defense against The Aggression (Katsuhiko Nakajima and Masa Kitamiya). From July 22 to August 13, Yano took part in the 2016 G1 Climax, where he finished tied third in his block with a record of five wins and four losses, failing to advance to the finals. Through NJPW’s relationship with ROH, Yano made his debut for the American promotion on August 19 at Death Before Dishonor XIV, where he and his Chaos stablemates Beretta and Rocky Romero defeated the Bullet Club trio of Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, and Yujiro Takahashi. On October 8, Yano and Marufuji made their fifth successful defense of the GHC Tag Team Championship against Yano’s Chaos stablemates Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi-Hashi. They also made their sixth defense against a team from NJPW, defeating Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma on October 23. The following month, Yano took part in Noah’s 2016 Global League. On November 23, Yano and Marufuji lost the GHC Tag Team Championship back to Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer in their seventh defense. Despite defeating opponents like Minoru Suzuki and the current GHC Heavyweight Champion Katsuhiko Nakajima, Yano was unable to advance to the finals because he was defeated by former tag team partner Takashi Iizuka in his final round-robin match.
On December 16, Yano returned to NJPW from his extended stay in Noah, requesting to be added to the IWGP Tag Team Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome with Tomohiro Ishii as his partner. The request was granted after Yano stole the IWGP Tag Team Championship belts, which led to him and Ishii defeating defending champions Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) and G.B.H. (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma) in a three-way match on January 4, 2017, to become the new IWGP Tag Team Champions. Yano and Ishii made their first successful title defense on February 5 at The New Beginning in Sapporo in a three-way match against G.B.H. and K.E.S. Six days later at The New Beginning in Osaka, Yano and Ishii successfully defended the title in another three-way match against G.B.H. and the team of Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Takashi Iizuka. They lost the title to Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima on March 6 at NJPW’s 45th-anniversary event. During the summer, Yano took part in the 2017 G1 Climax, where he finished with a record of four wins and five losses. Yano’s most notable victory came in his final match against longtime foe Minoru Suzuki, who he had a 4-0 record against in G1 Climax matches. Subsequently, Yano continued his rivalry with Suzuki by stealing his NEVER Openweight Championship belt on October 9 at King of Pro-Wrestling. This prompted Yano to challenge Suzuki for the title in vain on November 5 at Power Struggle in a bull rope deathmatch.
The NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions were Yano, Beretta, and Tomohiro Ishii when they triumphed in a five-team gauntlet match at Wrestle Kingdom 12 in the Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2018. However, they lost the titles back to the Bullet Club the following day at New Year’s Dash! 2019. In the first round of the 2018 New Japan Cup, Yano would humiliate Davey Boy Smith Jr. by forcing him to lose by count out, but Sanada would win easily. Smith would seek retribution at Yano after Yano & Ishii were defeated by K.E.S. in the final night. With only three victories in his nine matches, Yano’s G1 Climax 28 campaign was a failure. Despite beating the IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega at the time, Yano was never allowed to challenge for the title. Late in 2019, Bullet Club was posing such a threat to Chaos and the Main Unit that Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi joined forces with other teams to take them on. As a result of Makabe saving Yano from an attack, Yano and Togi Makabe were able to finally come to terms. The Yano and Ishii team competed in Yano’s 2018 World Tag League once more, winning 9 out of 13 matches and narrowly missing the championship round.
At the Wrestle Kingdom, 13 pre-show in Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2019, Yano, Makabe, and Ryusuke Taguchi defeated five other teams in a gauntlet match to advance as the top contenders for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions. The NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship was won by Makabe, Taguchi, and Yano on January 30, 2019, by defeating Bullet Club. The Most Violent Players reunited in a losing effort against G.O.D at The New Beginning in Osaka (2019), but they are still cooperating as a part of the ongoing Chaos/Main Unit alliance. On February 21, 2019, Yano participated in Takashi Iizuka’s retirement match, in which he, Okada, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan won over Iizuka, Minoru Suzuki, and Taichi. Yano began his 2019 New Japan Cup campaign in a similar way to last year’s, humiliating Davey Boy Smith Jr. in a five minutes and thirty-second loss. He was defeated by fellow trickster Colt Cabana, with whom he had previously collaborated at NJPW/ROH Honor Rising: Japan 2019, in the second round as well. In their second defense of the 6-man title, Yano faced Bullet Club, but this time Fale from the Guerrillas of Destiny was replaced by Hikuleo, and they were successful in retaining the title. Yano then competed in the G1 Climax 29 tournament after earning another match with G.O.D, this time for the IWGP Tag Team Championships at Wrestling Hinokuni, though they once again lost. Yano teamed up with Colt Cabana once again for the World Tag League, finishing with 18 points, failing to advance to the finals. Yano, Taguchi, and Makabe lost the 6-man championships to Los Ingobernables de Japon in a gauntlet match on Night 2 of Wrestle Kingdom 14; however, by defeating Jon Moxley, he became the first NJPW wrestler to defeat Moxley in
Yano competed in the New Japan Cup in May 2022, defeating Jado to advance to the second round before losing to Hiromu Takahashi. After Evil betrayed Los Ingobernables de Japon and the titles were vacated, NJPW held a tournament in August to determine the new NEVER Openweight 6-man tag-team champions. Yano competed in the competition with Sho and Kazuchika Okada, both members of the Chaos stable. To get to the championship round, they defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon and Bullet Club. Yano, Sho, and Okada were defeated in the finals by Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, and Yoshi-Hashi, who are also members of the Chaos stable.
Kazuchika Okada hinted at a “controversial announcement” on July 25. Three days later, at a press conference, Okada and NJPW Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi jointly announced the establishment of the KOPW Championship. Okada then introduced the title and its concept and announced KOPW 2021 for the following year. In a four-way match that also featured Sanada and El Desperado, Yano shockingly pinned Okada in the Summer Struggle final in Jingu to win the title of first provisional 2020 champion.
In September, Yano participated in the G1 Climax 30 tournament as a member of the B Block; he earned 6 points in the competition. Yano and Tomohiro Ishii competed in the World Tag League; they earned 10 points overall but were unable to reach the finals. On the Road to Tokyo Dome, Yano defeated Bad Luck Fale to win the title of 2020 KOPW Champion. On Night 1 of Wrestle Kingdom 15, Yano made Chase Owens win the provisional KOPW Championship at Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome after last eliminating Yano in a New Japan Rambo with handcuffs match. At Wrestle Grand Slam in MetLife Dome, Yano reclaimed the title by defeating Owens in a No disqualification “I quit” match. Soon after, Yano competed in the G1 Climax 31 tournament as a member of the A Block. In the World Tag League, Yano teamed with Hiroshi Tanahashi, where they scored 14 points, failing to advance to the finals. They finished with a combined score of 10 points, failing to make it to the finals. On December 24, Yano defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru in an End Year Party Rules match to become the 2021 KOPW Champion. On Night 1 of Wrestle Kingdom 16, Yano, Chase Owens, Minoru Suzuki, and Cima placed in the final four of the New Japan Rambo match. On Night 2, Suzuki won the four-way match and was crowned the provisional KOPW Champion. On Night 3, Yano defeated Suzuki-Gun with the help of Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Kazushi Sakuraba and Takashi Sugiura. On Night 4, Yano teamed with
At Hyper Battle, Taichi won the provisional KOPW Championship by defeating Yano in a No-rope ring-out match. In July, Yano competed in the A Block of the G1 Climax 32 tournament. Yano finished his G1 campaign with just 2 points, finishing last in his division. In March, Yano entered the New Japan Cup but was defeated in the first round by Taichi, starting a feud between the two.