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Shinya Makabe

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Shinya Makabe (September 29, 1972), better known by his ring name Togi Makabe is a Japanese professional wrestler, trained by and currently performing for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), where he is a former IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Tag Team Champion.

Debuting in 1997, Makabe originally wrestled under his birthname as a junior heavyweight (220 lbs (100 kg)), before gaining several kilograms during a global excursion in 2001 and 2002. He changed his given name to "Togi" during the 2004 G1 Climax tournament. His status in New Japan rose significantly in 2007, making it to the finals of the New Japan Cup and the semifinals of the G1 Climax, and challenging Yuji Nagata for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. After a number of unsuccessful challenges at the title, Makabe finally won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on May 3, 2010, by defeating Shinsuke Nakamura.

Makabe's wrestling style and character is heavily influenced by the late Bruiser Brody. Known as the "Unchained Gorilla", Makabe is known for his violent, bloody style, often illegally employing steel chairs and chains into his offense, including a lariat with a chain wrapped around his arm (like Brody). He also uses Brody's All Japan Pro Wrestling theme "Immigrant Song" (albeit a cover made by Tomoyasu Hotei) as his own.

Career

New Japan Pro Wrestling (1997-present)

1997–2000

Pursuing judo while enrolled in Tokyo's Teikyo University, Shinya Makabe passed an NJPW admission test in February 1996 and enrolled in the New Japan dojo in April of that year, training there for ten months. He made his debut the following year, losing to Shinjiro Otani on February 15, 1997. Makabe began wrestling in the undercard, obtaining his first victory 20 months after his debut by defeating Yutaka Yoshie on October 15, 1998. Makabe continued to wrestle in lesser matches through 1999 against other young wrestlers such as Wataru Inoue and Katsuyori Shibata, and defeating future IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi in his debut match on October 10, 1999.

In April 2000, Makabe entered the Super J Cup, a 16-man single-elimination tournament held in Michinoku Pro, involving junior heavyweights from a number of different promotions; he was eliminated in the first round by Gran Hamada. Later that month, Makabe also participated in NJPW's Young Lion Cup, a six-man round-robin tournament exclusive to young wrestlers; he finished in first place for the group stage, defeating all of his opponents (Kenzo Suzuki, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Wataru Inoue, Katsuyori Shibata and Masakazu Fukuda by forfeit), though he lost to second-place finisher Kenzo Suzuki in the final. Shinya continued his tournament participation in May and June, entering New Japan's Best of the Super Juniors (BOSJ) round-robin tournament to decide the company's top junior heavyweight wrestler. Makabe finished in last place out of six in Block A, scoring two points by defeating Dr. Wagner, Jr. He later defeated Minoru Fujita, who finished in last place for Block B to determine the tournament's 11th place finisher, leaving Fujita at #12.Makabe received the first title shot of his career on September 12, 2000, teaming with Jushin Liger to unsuccessfully challenge Koji Kanemoto and Minoru Tanaka for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.

2001–2002

Makabe made his debut in the Tokyo Dome, one of the largest venues in Japan, during NJPW's annual event there on January 4, 2001, teaming with Tatsuhito Takaiwa in a loss to Koji Kanemoto and Minoru Tanaka. For the following few months, Makabe began competing amongst heavyweights, even teaming with Riki Chōshū to challenge Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan for the IWGP World Tag Team Championship, falling to a Kojima lariat. However, he returned to the Best of the Super Juniors tournament in June, finishing in fifth place out of six in his block, earning 4 points by defeating Katsuyori Shibata and AKIRA.

On June 8, 2001, as part of a series of interpromotional matches, Makabe and Yuji Nagata entered All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) to challenge for the vacant AJPW All Asia Tag Team Championship, losing to Masahito Kakihara and Mitsuya Nagai. In August 2001, Makabe announced that he would be leaving Japan indefinitely to wrestle overseas in Canada, Great Britain and Puerto Rico. He wrestled his farewell match on August 12, 2001, in a tag team loss with Yutaka Yoshie against Riki Chōshū and Kenzo Suzuki. Makabe wrestled in the aforementioned countries for the following 14 months, gaining a considerable amount of muscle and returning to New Japan on October 14, 2002 in the Tokyo Dome as a heavyweight, teaming with Minoru Fujita to defeat Kenzo Suzuki and Hiroshi Tanahashi; he continued to team with Fujita and his fellow Kaientai Dojo member TAKA Michinoku over the next few tours.

2003–2004

In January 2003, Makabe suspended his contract with NJPW, wrestling under his own terms. Makabe once again wrestled at NJPW's annual Tokyo Dome event on January 4, 2003, competing in the four-man Young Generation Cup tournament, losing in the first round to Yutaka Yoshie. Shinya once again teamed with Minoru Fujita in February 2003, competing in an 8-team tournament to decide the #1 contenders to the IWGP Tag Team Championship; they were eliminated in the first round by Tatsutoshi Goto and Hiro Saito. Regardless, Makabe challenged for the belts with a different partner, Yoshihiro Takayama, on March 9, 2003, losing to champions Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Around the same time, Makabe participated in the G2 U-30 Climax, a round-robin tournament featuring only wrestlers under the age of 30 to decide the first IWGP U-30 Champion. Makabe finished in first place out of five in Block A, defeating Hiroshi Tanahashi, Masahito Kakihara and Dan Devine, and losing to Makai #2. He would go on to defeat Blue Wolf in the semifinals before losing to Hiroshi Tanahashi in the final on April 23, 2003.

On July 1, 2003, Makabe travelled to Pro Wrestling Noah, teaming with Yoshihiro Takayama and NOAH's Takashi Sugiura to defeat Jun Akiyama, Akitoshi Saito and Makoto Hashi. He and Takayama would go on to challenge Kenta Kobashi and Tamon Honda for the GHC Tag Team Championship, Makabe getting pinned after a Kobashi lariat. Makabe continued to wrestle mid- and uppercard wrestlers in NJPW throughout 2003 and much of 2004, before making his first appearance in New Japan's annual G1 Climax heavyweight tournament, changing his name to Togi Makabe and defeating Mitsuya Nagai on August 7, 2004 to gain entrance into the competition. Makabe finished in seventh out of eight in his block with four points, defeating Osamu Nishimura by pinfall and Yoshihiro Takayama by forfeit.

2005–2006

Makabe again participated in the G1 Climax in August 2005, though he was in only two matches before tearing his achilles tendon in a match against Shinsuke Nakamura. Makabe was forced to forfeit the rest of his matches due to the injury, finishing with zero points and taking him out of action for five months. He returned on January 8, 2006, teaming with Toru Yano in a losing effort against Osamu Nishimura and Naofumi Yamamoto. Makabe entered the second annual New Japan Cup in April 2006, defeating Tatsutoshi Goto in the first round before losing to Yuji Nagata in the quarterfinals.

On July 2, 2006, Makabe teamed with Shiro Koshinaka in a one-night tournament to crown the provisional holders of the IWGP Tag Team Championship, after primary champions Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan became inactive. The duo defeated the teams of Yuji Nagata and Naofumi Yamamoto and Giant Bernard and Travis Tomko to win the provisional title; the reign would be short-lived however, as Koshinaka and Makabe would lose the honor to Manabu Nakanishi and Takao Ōmori just 15 days later.

Makabe entered the 2006 G1 Climax in August, finishing with three points in his block with a win over Naofumi Yamamoto and a double count out against Yuji Nagata. On September 24, 2006, Makabe entered Apache Pro Wrestling, defeating Kintaro Kanemura on their third anniversary show to revive the WEW Heavyweight Championship, the first official Japanese title of his career. On October 2, 2006, Hiroyoshi Tenzan announced a new faction featuring himself, Makabe and Shiro Koshinaka, naming it Great Bash Heel (GBH) shortly afterward; Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii, who had been feuding with Makabe and Koshinaka, also joined the group. Makabe teamed with Koshinaka in the G1 Tag League later that month, finishing in last place in their block out of five, ending with two points via a victory over eventual winners Masahiro Chono and Shinsuke Nakamura.

Makabe entered another tag team tournament in November, the National Area Tag League, in which teams were organized by home region; Makabe teamed with Gedo, representing the Kantō region. They lost both of their matches in Block D, falling to Hiroshi Tanahashi and Naofumi Yamamoto of Kansai as well as Milano Collection AT and Prince Devitt, representing Hokkaidō. On November 18, 2006, Makabe made his first defense of the WEW title on New Japan's LOCK UP brand, defeating Kintaro Kanemura in a rematch. Makabe and Koshinaka teamed once again on December 10, 2006, unsuccessfully challenging the interpromotional team of Manabu Nakanishi and Pro Wrestling Zero1's Takao Ōmori for the official IWGP Tag Team title after losing the provisional belts in July.

2007–2008

Makabe teamed with GBH allies Yano and Ishii on January 4, 2007 at Wrestle Kingdom in Tokyo Dome, defeating Travis Tomko and AJPW's D'Lo Brown and Buchanan. Four days later, Makabe retained the WEW title against Tetsuhiro Kuroda at an event co-produced by Apache Pro and Takashi Sasaki; he would defend the championship for a third time on February 4, 2007 at LOCK UP's first show in Korakuen Hall, defeating Mammoth Sasaki in a cage death match. On February 18, 2007, Makabe faced and lost to Shinsuke Nakamura in a match pitting GBH against Nakamura and Masahiro Chono's BLACK faction, subtitled "SANCTIONS". Makabe again entered the New Japan Cup in March 2007, making it to the finals with victories over Travis Tomko and Takashi Iizuka by pinfall and Hiroyoshi Tenzan by disqualification, before losing to Yuji Nagata in the final. On April 8, 2007, Makabe faced Nakamura in a rematch of their February contest, defeating Shinsuke in a chain death match. Makabe made his fourth defense of the WEW title on April 15, 2007 in Apache Pro, again defeating Mammoth Sasaki. Makabe battled Nakamura for a third time on May 3, 2007 in a match dubbed "Reality or Revenge", winning once more.

On May 20, 2007, GBH battled a BLACK and NJPW sekigun alliance of Yuji Nagata, Riki Chōshū, Masahiro Chono, Shinsuke Nakamura and Naofumi Yamamoto; Makabe and Hiroyoshi Tenzan survived, Makabe last eliminating IWGP Heavyweight champion Nagata by pinfall. On June 24, 2007, Makabe lost the WEW Heavyweight Championship in Apache Pro to Kintaro Kanemura in their third meeting. Makabe followed up his pinfall over Nagata in May with a challenge to Nagata's title, his first singles title shot in New Japan, on July 6, 2007 in front of a sold out Korakuen Hall; Nagata won with a backdrop in just under 20 minutes.

Makabe had his strongest showing to date in the G1 Climax in August, finishing first place in his block with six points with pinfall victories over Giant Bernard, Yuji Nagata, and Masahiro Chono before losing in the semifinals to eventual winner Hiroshi Tanahashi. Makabe also made it to the semifinals in the G1 Tag League in November, scoring 8 points with Toru Yano in the tournament's single block by defeating the teams of Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi, Akebono and Masahiro Chono, and Gedo and Jado, as well as Giant Bernard in a handicap match when his partner Travis Tomko no-showed the event; Bernard and Tomko, the eventual winners, would defeat Makabe and Yano in the semifinals. On December 9, 2007, Makabe and Shinsuke Nakamura faced off in their fourth and final match of the year, this time with the winner receiving a shot at Hiroshi Tanahashi's IWGP Heavyweight title at the Tokyo Dome in January; Nakamura was victorious, tying their series at 2-2.

On January 4, 2008 at Wrestle Kingdom II in Tokyo Dome, fresh off of winning Tokyo Sports' Tag Team of the Year award for 2007, Makabe and Toru Yano were defeated by Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's (TNA) Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) as part of an interpromotional card between TNA and NJPW. Makabe and Yano would later defeat Giant Bernard and Travis Tomko for the IWGP Tag Team Championship on February 17, 2008. Earlier in the night, GBH leader Hiroyoshi Tenzan was betrayed and attacked by fellow GBH members Tomohiro Ishii, Jado and Gedo, kicking him out of the faction.

Makabe and Yano made their first title defense on March 9, 2008, retaining over Giant Bernard and Shinsuke Nakamura when interference from both teams' respective factions led to a no contest; as a result the match was stricken from the record, and is not considered an official defense. Later that month, Makabe participated in the New Japan Cup for the third straight year, defeating Takashi Iizuka and ousted GBH leader Hiroyoshi Tenzan in the first two rounds, before falling to eventual winner Hiroshi Tanahashi in the semifinal. Makabe and Tenzan battled the following week in a non-title tag team match, Tenzan and Takashi Iizuka defeating Makabe and Yano when Tenzan pinned Makabe. The two teams battled again, this time for the championship, on April 27, 2008; Makabe and Yano came out on top in their first official defense after Iizuka betrayed Tenzan and allowed the champions to retain, seemingly joining GBH. In August Makabe once again finished first in his block of the G1 Climax tournament and advanced to the finals, where he was defeated by Hirooki Goto, despite interference from Makabe's GBH team mates.

2009–present

On January 4, 2009, Makabe and Yano were scheduled to defend the IWGP Tag Team Championship at Wrestle Kingdom III in Tokyo Dome in a three way dance against Team 3D of TNA Wrestling and Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan, but an injury to Tenzan turned it into a match between Makabe & Yano and 3D, which 3D won. 3D also won the subsequent rematch a month later. This failure inevitably lead to the Makabe/Yano team dissolving when Yano cost Makabe a match against Shinsuke Nakamura in early April. While Makabe was out due to a head injury suffered at the hands of Yano, most of GBH, Yano included, went on to form CHAOS with Shinsuke Nakamura, leaving Makabe and Tomoaki Honma on their own. In August 2009 Makabe finished first in his block of the G1 Climax tournament for the third year in a row and then defeated Takashi Sugiura and Shinsuke Nakamura to win the entire tournament. After Hiroshi Tanahashi was forced to vacate the IWGP Heavyweight Championship due to an injury, Makabe and Nakamura were booked in a rematch to determine the new champion. Nakamura defeated Makabe with the Boma Ye to become the 53rd champion. At Wrestle Kingdom IV in Tokyo Dome Makabe defeated Mohammed Yone in an interpromotional match between New Japan and Pro Wrestling Noah.

In January Makabe along with his ally Honma, would compete on Noah's Global Tag League. They only won one match, but Makabe left a huge mark by pinning GHC Heavyweight Champion Takashi Sugiura in a non-tournament tag team match. On February 28, Makabe failed to claim the GHC Heavyweight Championship from Takashi Sugiura at Budokan Hall. In March 2010 Makabe entered the 2010 New Japan Cup and defeated Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano and Tetsuya Naitō to advance to the finals, where he was once again defeated by Hirooki Goto in a rematch of their 2008 G1 Climax final match. After Goto failed in his title match against the IWGP Heavyweight Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, Makabe laid a challenge for the belt and on May 3, 2010, at Wrestling Dontaku 2010, defeated Nakamura to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. On June 19 Makabe made his first successful title defense, defeating Pro Wrestling Noah's Go Shiozaki. On July 19 Makabe successfully defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against previous champion Shinsuke Nakamura. The following month Makabe entered the 2010 G1 Climax tournament. After a rocky start, which included losses to Tetsuya Naitō and former tag team partner Toru Yano, Makabe came back with a four match winning streak, only to lose to Hiroshi Tanahashi on the final day of the tournament and thus miss advancing to the finals. On October 11 Makabe lost the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to G1 Climax winner, Satoshi Kojima. During the 2010 G1 Climax Tag League, where he teamed with Tomoaki Honma, Makabe suffered a neck injury in a match against Masato Tanaka and Tomohiro Ishii that would sideline him indefinitely. Makabe and Tanaka would settle their grudge on January 4, 2011, at Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome, in a match, where Makabe was victorious. On May 3, Makabe formed a new partnership with Satoshi Kojima, after their match against each other, when the rest of Kojima Army, aided by the returning Minoru Suzuki, turned on their leader. Later that same month, Makabe took part in New Japan's first ever tour of the United States, during which he feuded with Rhino. Makabe and Rhino main evented the final day of the tour on May 15 at the Asylum Arena, where Makabe was victorious in a South Philadelphia Street Fight. Makabe continued his rivalry with the Kojima Army by scoring victories over Taichi, Taka Michinoku and Lance Archer, before being defeated by the group's leader Minoru Suzuki in a grudge match on October 10. In the 2011 G1 Climax Tag League, Makabe teamed with Satoshi Kojima as the "Beast Combination". After picking up three wins and one loss in their first four matches, Makabe and Kojima were defeated by the Billion Powers (Hirooki Goto and Hiroshi Tanahashi) on November 4, causing them to narrowly miss advancing to the semifinals of the tournament. In late 2010, Makabe shifted from feuding with Minoru Suzuki to his partner Yoshihiro Takayama, which built to a match on January 4, 2012, at Wrestle Kingdom VI in Tokyo Dome, where Makabe defeated Takayama in a singles match.

In wrestling

  • Finishing moves
  • Signature moves
  • "The Unchained Gorilla"
  • Immigrant Song (Remix) by Tomoyasu Hotei

Championships and accomplishments

  • Tokyo Sports Grand Prix
    • Tag Team of the Year (2007) with Toru Yano
    • Fighting Spirit Award (2009)

External links

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