|Born||September 23, 1976|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Masked Burning #2|
|Billed height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|Billed weight||85 kg (187 lb)|
|Trained by||All Japan Pro Wrestling dojo|
|Debut||July 6, 1996|
Yoshinobu Kanemaru (金丸義信, Kanemaru Yoshinobu, born September 23, 1976) is a Japanese professional wrestler, currently signed to New Japan Pro-Wrestling, where he also works as a backstage producer. Kanemaru is best known for his work in Pro Wrestling Noah, where he holds the records for the most reigns with the 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 Yoshihiro Yamazaki (who would go on to become Tiger Mask IV), in a battle of Tiger Masks (as Mitsuharu Misawa, who once portrayed Tiger Mask II, was now a heavyweight and fully focused on the Triple Crown Heavyweight 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 Championship, 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, Jyushin Thunder 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. Heavyweight tag 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.
On October 31, 2009, he defeated Jyushin Thunder Liger in the finals of the Junior Heavyweight League to win the vacant GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship for a fifth time.
On March 28, 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. On December 19, 2012, Noah announced that Kanemaru would be leaving the promotion, after refusing to re-sign following the firing of Kenta Kobashi. Kanemaru wrestled his final Noah match on December 24, teaming with Akitoshi Saito in a tag team match, where they were defeated by Naomichi Marufuji and Takashi Sugiura.
On January 26, 2013, Kanemaru, Atsushi Aoki, Go Shiozaki, Jun Akiyama and Kotaro Suzuki, all of whom had quit Noah at the same time, announced that they had joined All Japan Pro Wrestling, forming the "Burning" stable. On February 23, Kanemaru brought Burning its first title, when he defeated Shuji Kondo for the World Junior Heavyweight Championship which he was denied in his first AJPW stint. On May 11, Kanemaru made a one-night return to Noah to take part in Kenta Kobashi's retirement match at Final Burning in Budokan, where he, Go Shiozaki, Kenta and Maybach Taniguchi were defeated by Kobashi, Jun Akiyama, Keiji Mutoh and Kensuke Sasaki, with Kobashi pinning Kanemaru for the win. On July 5, following a mass exodus led by Keiji Mutoh, it was announced that Kanemaru, along with the rest of Burning, had signed an exclusive contract with All Japan. On December 15, Kanemaru lost the World Junior Heavyweight Championship to Último Dragón. On January 26, 2014, Kanemaru and Akiyama defeated former Burning stablemates Atsushi Aoki and Kotaro Suzuki to win the All Asia Tag Team Championship. They lost the title to Keisuke Ishii and Shigehiro Irie at a Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) event on April 29. Kanemaru regained the title from Mitsuya Nagai and Takeshi Minamino on March 22, 2015, now teaming with Último Dragón. They vacated the title on October 14. On November 20, Kanemaru announced he would be leaving All Japan and becoming a freelancer following December 15.
In January 2016, Kanemaru returned to Pro Wrestling Noah, initially forming a partnership with Go Shiozaki, before turning on him on January 31 and joining Suzuki-gun. On February 24, Kanemaru defeated Taiji Ishimori to win the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship for the seventh time. On June 24 at a show produced by Kanemaru's Suzuki-gun stablemates Taichi and Taka Michinoku, Kanemaru was one of two winners of a four-man round-robin tournament to earn a spot in the 2016 Super J-Cup. On July 20, Kanemaru defeated Bushi in his first round match in the tournament. On August 21, Kanemaru defeated Ryusuke Taguchi in the second round and Matt Sydal in the semifinals, before losing to reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kushida in the finals of the tournament. On September 23, Kanemaru lost the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship to Atsushi Kotoge. Kanemaru had a chance to regain the GHC Junior title when he faced Kotoge at Great Voyage in Yokohama vol. 2 on October 23, but failed. Suzuki-gun's Noah invasion storyline concluded in December 2016.
On January 5, 2017, Suzuki-gun, Kanemaru included, returned to New Japan Pro-Wrestling. On March 6, Kanemaru and Taichi defeated Roppongi Vice to become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. They lost the title back to Roppongi Vice in their second defense on April 27. Kanemaru then entered the 2017 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, where he finished with a record of four wins and three losses, failing to advance to the finals. On NJPW's 46th Anniversary Show on March 6, 2018, Kanemaru, along with El Desperado won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships in a three-way tag team match that involved Roppongi 3K and Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi. In May, he entered the 2018 Best of the Super Juniors tournament. He finished the tournament with 3 wins and 4 losses, failing to advance to the finals. Between October and November, he and Desperado took part in the Super Junior Tag League, advancing to the finals thanks to a record of five wins and two losses. After months of reigning, they fought against Roppongi 3K and the team of Bushi and Shingo Takagi, a match won by the latter on January 4, 2019, at Wrestle Kingdom 13, in a triple threat tag team match, ending their reign at 304 days. Kanemaru would enter the 2019 Best of the Super Juniors, ending with a record of 3 wins and 6 losses, including wins over SHO and long time rival Taiji Ishimori, however failing to advance from the block.
In June 2020, Kanemaru would enter the New Japan Cup tournament for the first time in his career, defeating Yuya Uemura in the first round, before losing to Taiji Ishimori in the second. On September 11, 2020, Kanemaru and Desperado won a tournament to win the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship by last defeating the team of Bushi and Hiromu Takahashi. Kanemaru signed a full-time contract with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, that would see him continue to perform as a wrestler, as well as becoming a producer for the company.
While Kanemaru and Desperado lost the titles against Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo) on January 23, 2021, they regained them one month later.
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