Yoshinobu Kanemaru (September 23, 1976) is a Japanese professional wrestler, currently working for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). Kanemaru holds the record for the most reigns of Pro Wrestling Noah's GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Kanemaru debuted in 1996 for All Japan Pro Wrestling, in the last years of owner Giant Baba's regime, which had isolated the promotion from outsider wrestlers at the expense of the younger, lighter-weight talent. His first high-profile match in 1997 saw him team with New Japan Pro Wrestling's Koji Kanemoto (Tiger Mask III) to battle freelancer Satoru Sayama, the original Tiger Mask, and his disciple, Michinoku Pro Wrestling's Tiger Mask IV. (As Mitsuharu Misawa, who once portrayed Tiger Mask II, was now a heavyweight and fully focused on the AJPW Triple Crown Championship, Kanemaru had to substitute for him in this interpromotional bout.)
Despite Baba's death in 1999, Kanemaru rarely had further opportunities to go into other promotions. It was only in 2000, after Misawa broke with AJPW to create Noah that his experience began widening. In a brief promotional alliance with FMW, Kanemaru was able to win his first championship, the WEW tag team title, with heavyweight Masao Inoue.
In 2001, Kanemaru underwent a transformation. His simple Bermuda shorts and boots were changed for tights and shinguards, and he began executing more high-risk maneuvers proper for a junior heavyweight. This paid off well for Kanemaru, as he plowed through a field of unlikely but talented competitors to win a tournament for the first-ever GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship. He would go on to win the title twice more, including a win over NJPW's long time junior ace, Jushin Liger. In tag teams his experience widened as well, teaming with Tsuyoshi Kikuchi to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, and with Takashi Sugiura to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship twice. His win of the NJPW title served as a catalyst for the creation of the equivalent Noah title.
In 2008, Kanemaru showed a serious shift in his attitude after the "SugiKane" team of himself and Takashi Sugiura went their separate ways after Sugiura moved to the heavyweight division. Kanemaru began using heel tactics in his matches. And in the summer convinced Kotaro Suzuki to betray his friend & tag team partner Ricky Marvin and attacked the reigning Jr. Heavyweights champions KENTA and Taiji Ishimori. The new team would defeat the champions for their titles two weeks later after Kanemaru pinned KENTA after using his "Touch-Out" brainbuster.
Long overlooked in AJPW, Kanemaru has steadily built himself as one of the top junior heavyweight fighters in Japan for the foreseeable future.
On 28 March 2010,he retained his title against Taiji Ishimori, on 25 April 2010 he beat Delirious and on his third defense on 10 July he kept his title after a victory on Naomichi Marufuji.
On September 2, 2010 in Xtreme Wrestling Entertainment defeat José Vargas Jr., to win the XWE Cruiserweight Championship for first time. On December 5, 2010, Kanemaru lost the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship to Kotaro Suzuki, ending his reign at 400 days, the longest in the title's history. On May 9, 2012, Kanemaru defeated Katsuhiko Nakajima to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship for the sixth time. He lost the title to All Japan Pro Wrestling's Shuji Kondo on September 29, 2012.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- "Jigen Bakudan" (Japanese for "Time Bomb")
- "Heel Master"
- Entrance themes
- "Maximum 2.1"
- "Slyboots" by Yonosuke Kitamura (February 2017-present)
Championships and accomplishments
- Asunaro Cup (2000)
- January 3 Korakuen Hall Junior Heavyweight Battle Royal (1999)
- PWI ranked him #168 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2011
- XWE Cruiserweight Championship (1 time)
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