World Junior Heavyweight Champion, 2008
|Ring name(s)||Gorō Kuroki, Tiger GAO II|
|Billed height||5 ft. 8 in. (1.7m)|
|Billed weight||185 lbs. (84.1 kg)|
|Born||June 21, 1980 (age 29)|
Koutou-ku, Tokyo, Japan
|Billed from||Tokyo, Japan|
|Trained by||AAPW Dojo
|Debut||May 12, 2002|
Gorō Kuroki (born June 21, 1980), better known by his ring name Raijin Narukami. is a Japanese professional wrestler, currently signed to All Asia Pro Wrestling (AAPW) as a star in the organization's Juniors division. He also competes internationally for the Professional Grappling Association per the conditions of a talent exchange agreement with AAPW. Raijin (雷神, raijin) is the name of a god of thunder and lightning in Japanese mythology. Kuroki takes his nickname "Demon Drum" from this god, who is typically depicted as a demon beating drum to create thunder, usually with the symbol tomoe drawn on the drums. The god is also known by the name "Narukami" (鳴神 naru kami).
Kuroki competed for AAPW as the second generation Tiger GAO from 2003-2005. He is the head trainer at the AAPW dojo and has personally trained many of the organization's young Junior stars, including MAKOTO (Tiger GAO III), SEGATA (Segata Tsubaba), and Johnny GO.
Prior to wrestling professionally, Kuroki had a variety of athletic backgrounds, practicing baseball and kickboxing; the latter came to be a strong foundation in his wrestling style. In 1998, he began training at the AAPW Dojo at the age of 18, working on crew to assemble and disassmeble the rings and performing the duties of a ring boy. He graduated at the top of his class in early 2002.
All Asia Pro Wrestling (2002-2005)Edit
In May of 2002, Gorō Kuroki made his professional wrestling debut for All Asia Pro Wrestling against the Dirt Bike Kid. Kuroki became enraged at the Dirt Bike Kid's unprofessionalism during the match and began shooting on his opponent, winning the match with a guillotine choke. This act earned Kuroki the respect of AAPW's veterans.
In late 2002, Kuroki was taken under the wing of legendary AAPW wrestler Otomo Okada (Tiger GAO), famous for his exciting matches and encyclopedic cartoon-based backstory. GAO named Kuroki the successor to the mask. Kuroki redubted in early 2003 as Tiger GAO II, adopting the silver mask and purple tights of his predecessor and utilizing many of the same signature moves.
Tiger GAO II found great success all around the world, competing and winning titles in Japan, Mexico, and in sections of Western Africa. The character of Tiger GAO II was written into the Tiger GAO cartoon series as a bumbling but well-meaning sidekick who is always hungry.
Mixed Martial Arts (2005-2006)Edit
In 2005, Kuroki became an assistant trainer at the AAPW Dojo, where he discovered an aptitude for mixed martial arts. Looking to try something new, Tiger GAO II respectfully unmasked with permission from AAPW and Otomo Okada to embark upon an amateur MMA career.
From December 2005 until August 2006, he competed respectibly in lower-level Japanese shootfighting circuits, amassing a record of 3-4.
Return to AAPW (2006-)Edit
Kuroki returned to professional wrestling in September 2006, accepting a head trainer position at the AAPW Dojo and redebuting for All Asia Pro Wrestling under the name Raijin Narukami. Three weeks after returning, he defeated Kyohei Mikami for the AAPW Junior Championship.
During his first year as trainer, he developed a personal and professional relationship with one of his students, Makoto Onodera. Their bond was so strong that in the spring of 2007, Kuroki officially named Onodera the newest successor to the Tiger GAO mask. Onodera became known as Tiger GAO III. In July 2007, Raijin Narukami and Tiger GAO III captured the AAPW Junior Tag Team Championships.
Kuroki had become one of AAPW's most respected workers and biggest stars. In 2007, he recorded an album entitled, "DO PLEASURE." The album sold 90,000 copies. Its only single, "Somebody 812/An Opening," reached number three on the Japanese dance pop charts.
Kuroki's defining moment in professional wrestling came in February of 2008, when sixty-four wrestling organizations from around the world came together to unify the major Junior, Junior Heavyweight, and Cruiserweight Championships. He competed in and won the sixty-four man tournament, defeating Ryusuke Taguchi in the finals. Kuroki was named the first World Junior Heavyweight Champion. He would hold the title for 445 days.
Pro Graps Association (2009-)Edit
Kuroki made his US debut on the April 1, 2009 edition of PGA Primetime Wednesday! to respond to the challenge of championship challenger Brutal Chambers. He announced that Chambers was not worthy of a shot at the World Junior Heavyweight Championship, and Chambers was forced to face Tiger GAO III before the champion would take him seriously. Chambers defeated Tiger GAO III on the April 29, 2009 edition of Primetime Wednesday!, earning a shot at the Throwing Hands '09 pay-per-view event in Tokyo, Japan. Brutal Chambers defeated Kuroki by submission, ending his one and a half year reign as champion.
In July 2009, he aligned with Asian wrestlers "Mammoth" Kang JumBo, Ajay Rupa, and Tiger GAO III to form an AAPW alliance in the PGA. The team was scheduled to face The Cool Kids in a tradtional four-on-four elimination match at Remain Alive, but Tiger GAO III was removed from the team at Kuroki's insistance. He felt that GAO III was not emotionally or physically ready following his violent elimination at the hands of Helm Konrad at The Grandest Stage of The Mall. The claim was a motivational technique that backfired, as the outcast Tiger GAO III turned on his mentor, unmasking and renaming himself MAKOTO. To even the odds, AAPW enlisted the help of the enthusiastic Buster Abbott, who was named Tiger Mask IV for the bout. AAPW defeated The Cool Kids when Abbott pinned MAKOTO.
Kuroki's obligations as a star and trainer in Japan kept him away from the PGA until October 2009, when he resurfaced to challenge World Junior Heavyweight Champion Brian Genius. The two met in the opening match of PGA Final Four, wrestling to a 30-minute time-limit draw.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- As Tiger GAO II
- "Demon Drum"