Jiro Kuroshio
黒潮二郎.jpg
Kuroshio in 2017
Birth nameSōjirō Higuchi
Born (1992-09-19) September 19, 1992 (age 30)
Adachi, Tokyo, Japan
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)
  • Bu Saiku[1]
  • Ikemen Jiro
  • Jiro "Ikemen" Kuroshio
  • Jiro Kuroshio
  • Sōjirō Higuchi[2]
Billed height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Billed weight176 lb (80 kg)
Billed fromJapan
Trained byYoshihiro Tajiri[3]
DebutDecember 30, 2011

Sōjirō Higuchi (樋口 壮士朗, Higuchi Sōjirō, born September 19, 1992)[4] is a Japanese professional wrestler, better known by the ring name Jiro "Ikemen" Kuroshio (黒潮"イケメン"二郎, Kuroshio "Ikemen" Jirō). He is perhaps best known for his work in the Wrestle-1 promotion, where he was a former two-time UWA World Trios Championship holder before leaving the promotion in January 2019. He is currently signed to WWE, performing for the NXT brand under the ring name Ikemen Jiro.

Higuchi portrays an ikemen character, reflected in his ring name, ring attire and mannerisms.

Early life

Higuchi was born in Adachi, Tokyo.[4] When he was young, he often attended professional wrestling events with his father, who was a fan. His father became friends with the elder brother of Yoshihiro Tajiri, which in turn led to a friendship with Tajiri himself. He started training with Tajiri's Hustle promotion when he was 14. However, without a definite plan towards making a professional debut plus other commitments beyond wrestling such as school, Higuchi's interest in wrestling waned and at one time he moved away from the sport. He eventually returned to wrestling by joining the Smash promotion's training camp.

Professional wrestling career

Early career

Using the ring name Jiro Kuroshio, Higuchi made his professional wrestling debut on December 30, 2011 against fellow camp attendee Koji Doi at the "Smash 24" event. He adopted the name "Kuroshio" from the name of the nabemono restaurant operated by his parents, "Nabeya Kuroshio". The Smash promotion folded in March 2012 and on April 5, 2012 Kuroshio, along with Tajiri and all other wrestlers, referees and trainees, moved to the spin-off Wrestling New Classic promotion.

At WNC Before the Dawn, Kuroshio wrestled the very first match for Wrestling New Classic, losing to Josh O'Brien. At an event at Korakuen Hall on August 30, 2012, after defeating Koji Doi, Kuroshio announced he had become an apprentice of Hajime Ohara and joined Ohara's unit "DQN". On July 16, Kuroshio, Lin Byron and Tsubasa defeated The Bodyguard, Mio Shirai and Takuya Kito in the finals of a one night six person tournament to win the 2012 Kito Cup, with Byron pinning the tournament's creator Kito for the win.[5] He also participated in 2012's Dave Finlay Cup, losing to Koji Doi in the semi final. In 2013 he changed his ring name to "Jiro Ikemen Kuroshiro" and adopted an "ikemen" character. Like the year before, he participated in the Dave Finlay Cup, losing to Kaji Tomato. On July 1, 2014 Kuroshio moved to the Wrestle-1.

Wrestle-1 (2014–2020)

Making his Wrestle-1 debut in April 2014, Kuroshio became an official member of the roster on July 1, when Kuroshio along with Tajiri, Akira, Yusuke Kodama, Koji Doi and Rionne Fujiwara left WNC.[6] Kuroshio quickly formed the stable Novus with fellow WNC alumni Kodama, Doi and Fujiwara. In August, he defeated Andy Wu in a qualification bout, earning the right to enter the inaugural Wrestle-1 Championship tournament, he would go on to lose to Masayuki Kono in the first round. In November, he formed the "Ikemen Samurai" tag-team partnership with Masakatsu Funaki and competed in the inaugural Wrestle-1 Tag-Team Championship tournament. With Kuroshio teaming with Funaki and Doi joining Desperado, Novus quietly disbanded. On May 30, 2015, Kuroshio would win the "Road to Keiji Mutoh Tournament" earning the right to face Keiji Mutoh in a one-on-one match, he would lose to Mutoh on June 18. Also in June, Ikemen Samurai would come to an end with Funaki leaving the promotion. Kuroshio would make it to the semi finals of the 2015 Wrestle-1 Grand Prix before losing to the eventual winner Manabu Soya but gained impressive wins over his former mentor Tajiri and former Wrestle-1 Champion Kai.

Following the tournament, Kuroshio formed the stable Jackets with Yasufumi Nakanoue and Seiki Yoshioka. On October 9, the trio defeated New Wild Order (Akira, Jun Kasai and Kumagoro) to win the vacant UWA World Trios Championship.[7] On November 3, they lost the titles to Real Desperado (Kazma Sakamoto, Koji Doi and Nosawa Rongai) but would regain the belts on November 27.[8][9] On January 7, 2016, Jackets would vacate the titles due to Yoshioka being sidelined following cecum surgery and being unable to attend a title defence set for January 10.[10] On January 31, Jackets lost to Kaz Hayashi, Minoru Tanaka and Tajiri for the vacant title.[11] In mid 2016 Jackets disbanded when Nakanoue left Wrestle-1.

On November 27, 2016, Kuroshio defeated Yohei Nakajima for Gaora TV Championship winning his first singles championship. On December 7 Kuroshio, Andy Wu, Daiki Inaba, Yusuke Kodama, Seiki Yoshioka, Koji Doi, Kumagoro and Kohei Fujimura formed a stable named New Era.[citation needed] Kuroshio suffered a posterior cruciate ligament injury during a match against Shotaro Ashino on January 8, 2017,[12] forcing him to vacate the Gaora TV Championship in February as he was unable to make the mandatory title defence.[13]

On March 23, 2019, Kuroshio announced his departure from Wrestle-1, with his last match under contract scheduled to take place on April 3 in Korakuen Hall. Kuroshio made his American debut a month later on April 5, at an independent card in New York City, defeating Rich Swann. Kuroshio periodically returned to Wrestle-1 as a freelancer and participated in a battle royal on the promotion's last card on April 1, 2020.

WWE (2020–present)

In December 2020, WWE announced Kuroshiro as a recruit to the WWE Performance Center.[14] On May 7, 2021, Kuroshio debuted on 205 Live under the name Ikemen Jiro, teaming with August Grey to defeat Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari. Jiro would then continue to team with Grey on 205 Live until June when Grey was released from WWE. On July 6, Jiro was announced to be a part of the 2021 NXT Breakout Tournament. On the July 13 episode of NXT, Jiro was eliminated in the first round by Duke Hudson. Soon after, Jiro would form a tag team called Jacket Time with Kushida and the pair would feud with The Diamond Mine. In January 2022, Jacket Time would compete in the 2022 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic but were eliminated in the first round by 2021 winners MSK (Nash Carter and Wes Lee), on the January 25 episode of NXT 2.0. On April 18, Kushida would depart WWE thus disbanding Jacket Time.

Championships and accomplishments

  • Ranked No. 228 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2018[16]

References

  1. ^ "魔界からムタのパートナー降臨!7.1東京・後楽園ホール大会追加対戦カード決定のお知らせ". Wrestle-1 (in Japanese). June 21, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "【W―1】黒潮が憧れのデルフィンに激勝". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). November 22, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  3. ^ "Tajiri >> Entourage >> Wrestlers trained". CageMatch. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "黒潮"イケメン"二郎 KUROSHIO IKEMEN JIRO - W-1 Official Website". Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  5. ^ a b 7・16大阪世界館大会 全試合結果. Wrestling New Classic (in Japanese). July 17, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2012.[dead link]
  6. ^ "TAJIRI、児玉らW‐1所属に" [Tajiri, Kodama, et al. moving to Wrestle-1] (in Japanese). June 18, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  7. ^ "W-1 WRESTLE-1 Tour 2015 Fan Appreciation Day". cagematch.net. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  8. ^ "「Wrestle-1 Tour 2015 Autumn Bout」". Wrestle-1 (in Japanese). November 3, 2015. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  9. ^ "Wrestle-1 Tour 2015 Autumn Bout". Wrestle-1 (in Japanese). November 27, 2015. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
  10. ^ "吉岡欠場によりJacketsがUWA世界6人タッグ返上!王座決定戦は1.31大阪に!―2016.1.7記者会見". Wrestle-1 (in Japanese). January 7, 2016. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  11. ^ "『WRESTLE-1 TOUR 2015 SUNRISE』1.31大阪・港区民センター大会". Wrestle-1 (in Japanese). Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  12. ^ "2/15【全日本】黒潮がGAORA王座返上、秋山がまさかの名乗り「俺が赤ベルトを回していく」…|プロレス格闘技DX". dx-sp.gsj.bz. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  13. ^ "全日本プロレス". www.all-japan.co.jp. Retrieved April 23, 2022.
  14. ^ "Dezmond Xavier, Zachary Wentz, Alex Zayne among new recruits reporting to WWE Performance Center". WWE.com.
  15. ^ "11.27東京・両国国技館大会試合結果②". All Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). November 27, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  16. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2018". cagematch.net. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  17. ^ "「Wrestle-1 Tour 2017 Outbreak」". Wrestle-1 (in Japanese). June 18, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017.