The Future is Bright. The Future is Yoshiki Inamura.

Yoshiki Inamura
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Pro Wrestling NOAH has a host of young and desired wrestlers with limitless potential, and while the most renowned is future company Ace Kaito Kiyomiya, there is another wrestler who deserves those plaudits. That is Yoshiki Inamura. The youthful beast of NOAH’s main unit captured my imagination the very first time I saw him a couple of years ago. Since I first saw him wrestle, he has refined his image. Now, he presents a powerful, titan-esque embodiment of heavyweight pro wrestling, with the passion and ferocity of a future top-line star.

Yoshiki Inamura – Limitless Potential

Inamura is somewhat overshadowed by his contemporary, Kiyomiya, but if the opening gambit of 2022 is any indication, NOAH’s beast will reach a very lofty position in his budding career. The first two weeks of 2022 saw Inamura showcase much promise, in what were in actuality limited roles. Many conclusions can be drawn from this: chiefly that Inamura is making the utmost of every opportunity he is getting, that he is able to shine beyond what is expected and that he can reach a much higher position in NOAH with a stellar work-ethic.

A Battle With KENTA

First, Inamura sparkled at the high-profile NOAH New Years Show, in Budokan Hall. He teamed up with Masa Kitamiya and Daiki Inaba to take on Sugiura-gun, in the form of leader Takashi Sugiura, Kazushi Sakuraba and honorary member KENTA. Returning to Pro Wrestling NOAH for the first time since 2014, the current New Japan Pro Wrestling mainstay, KENTA, was a much-acclaimed draw on the New Year’s Day extravaganza. As the main attraction of the trios match, KENTA enjoyed his usual antics – taking his time at the start of the match, rolling to ringside, and toying with his opponents – but Inamura took exception. He absolutely obliterated KENTA with a shoulder tackle (probably the most vicious I have ever seen in a pro wrestling ring, as it was more like a penalty resulting hit in ice-hockey than something you would usually find inside a ring). This was an intense showing of exactly what he does as a monster-sized firecracker.

The intensity Inmaura showed in the trios match made him stand out like a beacon, on a show which included a thrilling strike battle between KENTA and Kaito Kiyomiya, as well as the stunning main event of Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Go Shiozaki. That was no easy feat.

Inamura received the adoring praise of KENTA after the match, with the legend saying that Inamura reminds him of his younger self. Of course, this is high praise from a wrestler who went on to be a shining light of Pro Wrestling NOAH for many years after the birth of his now-renowned, pioneering career.

NOAH vs NJPW Showcase

If it wasn’t enough to sparkle on New Years Day, a week removed Inamura shone again. This time in a ten-man tag, as he represented NOAH alongside Daiki Inaba, Daisuke Harada, Hajime Ohara, and Kinya Okada against NJPW’s Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Master Wato, and Ryusuke Taguchi. The NOAH vs NJPW show, held under the Wrestle Kingdom 16 banner didn’t deliver the continuum of excitement that we all expected when the collaborative supershow was announced. However, the undercard was highlighted by the mouth-watering prospect of Yoshiki Inamura locking horns with the Stone Pitbull of New Japan, Tomohiro Ishii.

Ishii and Inamura are two wrestlers who share similarities in look and presentation. Even though the comparative points aren’t endless, the pair share enough common ground for them to be linked in my mind even before the tantalizing tease of them battering each other senseless in a pro wrestling ring. Inamura and Ishii fit the same archetype of fiery heavyweight, with them both being underdog, for the most part.

The massive size differential tempers most comparisons between Inamura and the much older Ishii, as the small, underdog frame of the Stone Pitbull contrast to the powerful, hulkish powerhouse of NOAH’s young star.

The Future is NOAH

The two examples from just the very emergence of the new year showcase exactly the point being made. That not only is Inamura great now, but he will be quite remarkable when he reaches a later stage of his career. At 29, Inamura has the benefit of time on his side to reach the lofty pro wrestling pinnacle which he is capable of achieving in Pro Wrestling NOAH.

NOAH is a company that has the much-needed commodity of sterling young talent, so it’s clear that the future is immensely bright for the company. As while we joyously sunbathe in the baking heat of glory which is currently tethered to the rising ark that is NOAH there is still a keen eye to the future.

For my money, alongside Kiyomiya (and even younger wrestlers like Kinya Okada and Yasukata Yano), Inamura is the future of Pro Wrestling NOAH. We are now only in the birth pangs of Inamura’s stardom, so despite the quality of his work, and the passion and intensity with which he carries it out, he still has a huge scope for growth.

The Ark continues to triumphantly sail the seas, and with Yoshiki Inamura lining up to be at the pinnacle for years to come the forecast looks fantastic. The future is bright. The future is Yoshiki Inamura.

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