What does it mean to be the ace of a wrestling promotion in Japan? It means that you are the company’s top star. You are the one carrying the banner for the promotion as its biggest representative. It is a difficult role that comes with a lot of responsibility especially when you take on that role at a very young age. However, industry icons like NJPW’s Hiroshi Tanahashi and Rainmaker Kazuchika Okada have proven that it can be done.
Another star who has been a great example of this is Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Kaito Kiyomiya. At just twenty-four, he has already taken up that mantle with a talent and maturity beyond his years. At the age of twenty-two, Kiyomiya made history by becoming the youngest ever GHC Heavyweight Champion and became one of Pro Wrestling NOAH’S most popular performers. He is truly making his mark in the wrestling world, and NOAH fans are happily coming along for the ride.
Dubbed the ‘Young Ace’, Kaito Kiyomiya made his debut at the age of nineteen and quickly became known for his passion and embodying the fighting spirit Pro Wrestling NOAH is so closely associated with. Along the way, he has won the hearts of fans – quickly becoming the star Pro Wrestling NOAH is hedging their bets on as they look toward the future. Growing up, Kiyomiya was heavily influenced by the legendary Mitsuharu Misawa. For a while he even incorporated Misawa’s signature color, green, into his wrestling gear.
He began training at the age of seventeen under Atsushi Kotoge and Daisuke Harada. As a rookie, Kiyomiya also got to work with some of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s young lions, including Hirai Kawato and former young lion, Teruaki Kanemitsu. Throughout his career he would forge a close bond with his mentor, Go Shiozaki. In June of 2017 he began his learning excursion in Canada that would last until December of that year.
His return from excursion would see Kiyomiya be put right into the main event picture when he confronted Kenoh after he’d defeated the GHC Heavyweight Champion, Eddie Edwards. He would also begin a rivalry with Takashi Sugiura. In 2018, Kiyomia would also work with the likes of Katsuhiko Nakajima and Naomichi Marufuji. December 16th was the night he made history and began his first run as GHC Heavyweight Champion. That title run would last a record setting 384 days.
It ended at NOAH: Reboot when he was defeated by his mentor, Go Shiozaki. His reign was also the longest first title reign since that of KENTA which lasted 343 days beginning in 2013. His star will no doubt continue to rise as his career progresses, with a passion and love of pro wrestling that will definitely contribute to his future success. Kaito Kiyomiya is NOAH through and through. It will be something truly special to watch his continued rise from ‘Young Ace’ to future legend.