Pro Wrestling Journeyman Masashi Aoyagi Passes Away

Japanese Freelance Pro Wrestler Dies

Pro Wrestling Journeyman Masashi Aoyagi Passes Away

Masashi Aoyagi has died at the age of 65.

Aoyagi came to the world of pro wrestling in 1989 with a background in karate. He was actually the reason why Atsushi Onita created FMW in the first place. The two had a pro wrestling vs. karate bout on 7/2/89 for the World Karate Association at Korakuen Hall. Aoyagi won by Disqualification after Onita bloodied him badly and then threw the referee out of the ring when the referee tried to stop the carnage.

Onita demanded a rematch against Aoyagi with a different setting and rules. It took place at the first FMW show on 10/6/22 in Nagoya. Aoyagi defeated him by referee stoppage after an onslaught of kicks. They had another match on 10/10/89 in Tokyo with Onita winning by Knock Out after a powerbomb.

In 1990, Aoyagi moved on to New Japan Pro Wrestling for a few years along with making appearances for various other Japanese groups.

He appeared for the WWF on their Japanese tour in 1994. He lost to Owen Hart by Sharpshooter submission on 5/7/94 in Yokohama. He pinned Bob Backlund with an inside cradle on 5/8/94 in Nagoya. He was part of the OsakaMania main event Royal Rumble which The Undertaker won by eliminating Bam Bam Bigelow on 5/9/94. Bam Bam Bigelow pinned Aoyagi after the flying headbutt on 5/11/94 in Sapporo on the final night of the tour.

Aoyagi returned to FMW in 1994 to battle The Original Sheik and Sabu.

In 1997, he won the WAR International Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles with Gokuaku Umibozu by defeating Battle Ranger and Masaaki Mochizuki. They would lose them to Tomohiro Ishii and Yuji Yasuraoka in October 1997.

From 2000 to 2015 he mostly appeared for NOAH but also worked some events for All Japan Pro Wrestling, ZERO-1, and several indies in the 2010's.

He retired in 2015 then came back in 2018 to do a few dates a year for special event shows as well as for NOAH and places like Big Japan Pro Wrestling and PURE-J.

In a case of poetic irony, his last match took place in Atsushi Onita's FMW-E on 8/15/21 at the FMW-E "Burn Out" event. It was an explosion death match with Aoyagi, Mr. Pogo, and Isami Kodaka defeating Onita, HASEGAWA, and Tsuyoshi Okada when Pogo got the fall on Onita.