From Rising Star to Supernova: The Story of Kaito Kiyomiya

Kaito Kiyomiya of Pro Wrestling NOAH

It seems as if Kaito Kiyomiya has been the rising star of Pro Wrestling NOAH for a good number of years now, but it remains true. In a promotion that houses a bulk of young, promising talent, he is the foremost member of the cast. He is already the youngest ever GHC Heavyweight Champion, with a lengthy reign under his belt, but the Supernova is a different, more polished prospect in 2022.

The Story of Kaito Kiyomiya

The Eventual Victor

The important moment that needed to come was Kiyomiya defeating the legendary, yet visibly ailing, Keiji Muto. With Muto coming to the end of his career, and embarking on his multi-match retirement series, it was hoped that he would “put over” younger talent on his way out. In sport, it’s the hope that kills you, and it seemed that Muto’s retirement series would be the same as we all hoped Muto would finally lose to Kiyomiya, yet few believed it would actually happen. However, it did happen.

After two singles losses, one of which came in a GHC Heavyweight Championship main event, and a painful N-1 Victory time-limit draw, Keiji Muto was finally beaten by NOAH’s young star. It was a long time coming, and well overdue. It was a monumental moment in Kaito Kiyomiya’s career, as he was elevated within Pro Wrestling NOAH and placed on a pedestal of importance much higher than he was when he won the GHC Heavyweight Championship in 2018.

Fans have grown impatient with the booking of NOAH being swayed to their older wrestlers, at the expense of fiery new stars like Kiyomiya, Yoshiki Inamura, and Masa Kitamiya. NOAH Destination went some way in restoring the promotion’s once deeply-held pride, with Satoshi Kojima losing the GHC Heavyweight title to Kenoh as well as Kiyomiya’s vital triumph. Although, one show doesn’t solve years of issues.

Keiji Muto finally losing to Kiyomiya, and by a convincing, verbal submission, was superb. Perhaps it’s a turning point for Pro Wrestling NOAH’s flawed booking of young talent.

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A New Shining Wizard

Kaito Kiyomiya cemented his main event status with victory over Muto, but that wasn’t all he gained from the important winning fall. The Supernova has been gifted the Shining Wizard by the innovator of the move. In Japanese wrestling, this holds incredible weight and prestige – the handing down of a move is a very symbolic gesture.

Muto handing down one of his most recognizable moves to a star of the next generation is noteworthy regardless of who the move was being handed down to, but the fact that it is Kiyomiya makes it even more important. Their history over the past few years, one of a young star struggling to defeat a wily veteran, but eventually rising above, is an emotionally charged one.

In the match itself at NOAH Destination, Kaito Kiyomiya kicked out of multiple Shining Wizards, a showcase of his progression throughout their feud to a level where he is able to finally usurp Muto. The symbolic nature of Kiyomiya overcoming Shining Wizard after Shining Wizard and then making Muto submit after a long, back-and-forth battle wasn’t lost on the fans. It was a great conclusion to the lengthy story of Kiyomiya rising up to beat Muto on the fourth time asking.

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The Supernova is Set to Win the N-1 Victory

Now that Kaito Kiyomiya finally has the monkey off his back of never defeating Keiji Muto, he becomes a key contender in the N-1 Victory tournament. He is free to challenge at the top table, no longer held back by his inability to defeat the living legend. Last year, Kiyomiya lost in the N-1 Victory semi-finals to Kenoh, who fell short at the final hurdle to KONGO stablemate Katsuhiko Nakajima, but this year, Kiyomiya might just go all the way. The Supernova is certainly a top contender for the tournament this time around.

Kiyomiya is placed in B Block, the likely home of the tournament’s winner given that the current GHC Heavyweight Champion and opponent of the victor, Kenoh, sits in A Block. He has great bouts lined-up with Katsuhiko Nakajima, Takashi Sugiura, Masa Kitamiya, Timothy Thatcher, and Masakatsu Funaki in his block. He also faces the now-former GHC Heavyweight Champion, Satoshi Kojima, on the final night of B Block action – a match that on paper might decide the winner of the block.

NOAH’s Supernova might become a Champagne Supernova if he comes out on top and claims the glorious N-1 Victory trophy. He last won NOAH’s annual singles tournament in 2018, when it was known as the Global League. That same year, Kiyomiya went on to begin his lengthy and defining GHC Heavyweight Championship reign.

Kaito Kiyomiya might repeat history from 2018 and win both NOAH’s top tournament and top champion. Along with his hard-fought and conclusive victory over Keiji Muto, it would be quite the year for the Supernova.

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Kenoh Awaits Kaito Kiyomiya

The grand prize for 2022’s N-1 Victory winner is a match for the GHC Heavyweight Championship against Kenoh. Kaito Kiyomiya has had many matches with Kenoh over their years in NOAH, including the aforementioned N-1 Victory semi-final in 2021. They have already fought in 2022: with Kenoh successfully defending his GHC National Championship in a technical encounter.

Kenoh has gotten the better of Kiyomiya twice in the past year. It would make sense for Kiyomiya to avenge these losses and claim the GHC Heavyweight Championship, now that he is freed from the seemingly self-imposed ceiling of not surpassing Keiji Muto. The undeniable rising star of NOAH continues to rise highest, passing legends and fellow young talent along the way. Kaito Kiyomiya has never been in a better place to take the wheel of Pro Wrestling NOAH, and steer the Ark into a rewarding future, where he stands center stage.

He’s defeated Keiji Muto, he could be set to defeat a field of 16 and triumph in the N-1 Victory tournament and then he may go on to claim the GHC Heavyweight Championship once more. 2022 has all the hallmarks of a stellar year for Kaito Kiyomiya. The rising star is well and truly a supernova, now.

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