Hirooki Goto - Career


Goto attended Kokushikan University, where he took part in freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling. Upon graduating, Goto qualified to join New Japan Pro Wrestling, but left the promotion after incurring a shoulder injury. He returned to NJPW in November 2002 after healing and began training in the New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo. He debuted on July 6, 2003 in Gifu, Gifu, wrestling Ryusuke Taguchi. The two men competed in the junior heavyweight division, and teamed together the same year to try to take the vacant IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship in a tournament, but were defeated in the final by veterans Gedo and Jado, who had debuted in 1989.

In early 2005, he won the NJPW Young Lion Cup, defeating Hiroyuki Itō in the tournament final. After turning heel and joining Jushin Liger's "Control Terrorism Unit" ("C.T.U.") stable, Goto adopted the ring name "Masked CTU-H". He won his first championship on May 15, 2005, teaming with Minoru to defeat Koji Kanemoto and Wataru Inoue in the Tokyo Dome for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. The duo held the titles for nine months, losing to El Samurai and Ryusuke Taguchi on February 19, 2006 in Tokyo.

In 2006, Goto joined the American Total Nonstop Action Wrestling promotion as a member of Team Japan (consisting of CTU members Goto, Jushin Liger, Black Tiger and Minoru), one of the four teams competing in the TNA 2006 World X Cup Tournament. He debuted in TNA on April 23, 2006 at Lockdown, where he teamed with Black Tiger IV and Minoru against Team USA members Sonjay Dutt, Jay Lethal and Alex Shelley. Team Japan defeated USA when Black Tiger pinned Lethal. On the April 27, 2006 episode of TNA Impact!, Goto and Minoru lost to Dutt and Shelley, giving a first round victory and two points to Team USA. On May 14, 2006 at Sacrifice, Goto and the other members of Team Japan accompanied Liger to ringside, assisting him in his victory over Team Canada captain Petey Williams. Later that night, all four members of Team Japan took part in a gauntlet match that was won by Team Canada captain Petey Williams. The 2006 World X Cup was won by Team USA (with five points), with Team Japan coming last with three points.

On August 1, 2006, Goto left for a lengthy learning excursion to Mexico after losing in a farewell match at the CTU 2nd Anniversary Show. While in Mexico he wrestled primarily for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre and for Último Dragón's Toryumon Mexico. During his time in Mexico he formed a rudo unit Hajime Ohara and Shigeo Okumura in CMLL.

In August 2007, Goto returned to New Japan after his almost one year stay in Mexico. Upon his return, the now much more muscular Goto graduated from a Jr. heavyweight to a Heavyweight. Goto showed a great deal of promise and skill since last seen in July 2006. He showcased whole new moveset and he quickly tried to establish himself as one of the top Heavyweights in New Japan. Not that far into his return Goto join the Stable "R.I.S.E" with Shinsuke Nakamura, Travis Tomko, Giant Bernard and fellow former CTU team mates Minoru, Milano Collection AT, and Prince Devitt. On November 11, he challenged Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but after a long and hard fought match, Tanahashi would win with the Texas Cloverleaf. Shortly after that Goto entered the 2007 with Milano Collection AT, but the pair would come in third place.

In 2008 Goto wrestled one of his childhood idols, The Great Muta at New Japan's annual January 4th Tokyo Dome Show. Although having a good showing, Goto would fall to Muta.

Goto's progress was good through 2008, as he joined Shinsuke Nakamura's RISE faction. But a surprise victory in New Japan's prestigious G1 Climax in August surpassed everyone's expectations. Goto earned 8 points in Block B, tied for first with Nakamura, but he advanced to the final due to a direct win over the former IWGP champion and RISE leader. Meeting Togi Makabe in the final, Goto overcame outside interference and blood loss to defeat the leader of the GBH faction, pinning him with the Shouten.

In March 2009 Goto defeated Karl Anderson, Shinsuke Nakamura, Yuji Nagata and Giant Bernard to win the 2009 New Japan Cup and earn a shot at Hiroshi Tanahashi's IWGP Heavyweight Championship. On May 3, 2009, Tanahashi defeated Goto to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. On January 4, 2010, at Wrestle Kingdom IV in Tokyo Dome Takashi Sugiura successfully defended his GHC Heavyweight Championship against Goto. In March Goto defeated Yujiro Takahashi, Masato Tanaka and Togi Makabe to win the New Japan Cup for the second year in a row. Goto went on to challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion Shinsuke Nakamura on April 4, but would once again fail in his attempt to win the title. On June 28, 2010, Goto, teaming up with Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi entered the J Sports Crown 6 Man Openweight Tag Team Tournament. Two days later the trio defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, TAJIRI and KUSHIDA in the finals to win the tournament. During August's G1 Climax Goto debuted a new finishing maneuver, a cross-legged cradle, which earned him pinfall victories over former IWGP Heavyweight Champions Yuji Nagata and Shinsuke Nakamura, but a loss to eventual G1 winner Satoshi Kojima on the final day of the tournament dropped him fourth in his block, narrowly missing the finals. On October 11 Goto defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to earn the right to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. However, the reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Satoshi Kojima vetoed the result of the match and named Nakamura his first challenger for the belt. On December 11, while Kojima successfully defended his title against Nakamura, Goto was derailed from his quest to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship with a loss against Hiroshi Tanahashi. The following day Kojima defeated Goto in a non–title match, ending Goto's dream of main eventing Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome. Instead, Goto teamed with the returning Kazuchika Okada in a tag team match, where they were defeated by Pro Wrestling Noah representatives Yoshihiro Takayama and Takashi Sugiura. On March 6 Goto began his quest to win his third New Japan Cup in a row, but was defeated in the first round by Shinsuke Nakamura. On March 20, the final day of the tournament, Goto turned heel by abandoning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi during a tag team match against Satoshi Kojima and MVP. This marked Goto's final appearance for New Japan, before leaving for his second excursion to Mexico.

Goto made his return to CMLL on March 25 and would, for the next month, work for the promotion as a heel, culminating in a match on April 29 at Arena México's 55th anniversary show, where he unsuccessfully challenged Último Guerrero for the CMLL World Heavyweight Championship in a Two Out of Three Falls match. Goto returned to New Japan on May 3, when he teamed with Tama Tonga to defeat Takashi Sugiura and Makoto Hashi in a tag team match. Later in the event, Goto attacked and declared a war on Hiroshi Tanahashi after he had successfully defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura. Goto would once again fail in his IWGP Heavyweight Championship challenge on June 18, 2011. After the match, Goto and Tanahashi seemingly made peace with each other, with Tanahashi suggesting that they go for the IWGP Tag Team Championship together. On June 23, Goto, Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi won their second J Sports Crown 6 Man Openweight Tag Team Tournament in a row by defeating the team of Giant Bernard, Jushin Liger and Karl Anderson in the finals of the three day long tournament. On July 3 Goto and Tanahashi failed in their attempt to capture the IWGP Tag Team Championship from Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson. On August 1, Goto entered the 2011 G1 Climax, where he went on to win six out of his nine matches, but a loss to Strong Man on the final day of the tournament dropped him to second place in his block, causing him to narrowly miss the finals of the tournament. In the 2011 G1 Climax Tag League, Goto teamed with Hiroshi Tanahashi as "The Billion Powers". After picking up two wins and two losses in their first four matches in the group stage of the tournament, Goto and Tanahashi defeated the Beast Combination (Satoshi Kojima and Togi Makabe) on November 4 to advance to the semifinals of the tournament. On November 6, Goto and Tanahashi were eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by Bad Intentions. On November 12, Goto unsuccessfully challenged Masato Tanaka for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. On January 4, 2012, at Wrestle Kingdom VI in Tokyo Dome, Goto reignited his rivalry with Pro Wrestling Noah's Takashi Sugiura, defeating him in a singles match.

On February 12 at The New Beginning, Goto defeated Masato Tanaka to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship for the first time. Goto made his first title defense on March 11, defeating Yujiro Takahashi. On April 1, Goto entered the 2012 New Japan Cup. After victories over Yujiro Takahashi, La Sombra and Togi Makabe, Goto defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi on April 8 in the finals to win the tournament for the third time and earn another shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2012, Goto unsuccessfully challenged Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. On May 20, Goto made his second successful defense of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Tomohiro Ishii. On July 22, Goto lost the title to Shinsuke Nakamura in his third defense. On October 8 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Goto received a rematch for the title, but was again defeated by Nakamura. On November 11 at Power Struggle, Goto unsuccessfully challenged Kazuchika Okada for the right to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at the Tokyo Dome. From November 20 to December 1, Goto took part in the round-robin portion of the 2012 World Tag League, alongside Karl Anderson under the team name "Sword & Guns". The team finished with a record of four wins and two losses, finishing second in their block and advancing to the semifinals of the tournament. On December 2, Goto and Anderson defeated Ten-Koji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima) to advance to the finals of the tournament, where, later that same day, the defeated the reigning IWGP Tag Team Champions, K.E.S. (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. and Lance Archer), to win the tournament.

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