Although he is supposed to be a heel, Makabe (aka Togi Makabe) has become one of the more popular wrestlers in New Japan thanks to some of his recent feuds and is considered the most popular wrestler in the promotion with the male fans. A 12-year veteran, he started out as a Junior Heavyweight after 10 months of training in the New Japan Dojo, mainly competing on the undercard and being a jobber for 20 months, at which point he got his first win. Although he continued as an undercarder through 1999, one of his most notable early wins was against a debuting Hiroshi Tanahashi, who has since become a multiple-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
Makabe entered the Super J-Cup and Young Lion Tournament in 2000, as well as the Best Of The Super Junior. He fared poorly in all 3 but earned his first title shot soon after the BOSJ, coming up short in a IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title shot. After his first Tokyo Dome appearance in 2001, he began competing with and against Heavyweights although still a Jr. Heavyweight. In summer 2001 he went to All-Japan and made an unsuccessful challenge for the vacant All-Asia Tag Team Championship, after which he left the promotion for an indefinite overseas excursion.
He returned in late 2002, then suspended his NJPW contract and competed under his own terms. Makabe continued competing for NJPW in 2003, continuing to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles as well as entering a tournament to crown the first IWGP U-30 Champion, where he lost to Tanahashi. He also participated in NOAH including challenging for the GHC Tag Team Titles, again unsuccessfully. In 2004 he entered the G1 Climax and changed his ring name to Togi Makabe, finishing towards the bottom of the tournament. He entered again in 2005 but had to drop out early due to injury, which caused him to miss 5 months.
In 2006 he once again entered the G1, but finished near the bottom. After that he went to Apache Pro and won his first title, the revived WEW Heavyweight Championship. In New Japan he then became part of the new GBH (Great Bash Heel) faction with Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Shiro Koshinaka, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano. He continued to have little success in NJPW although he continued to successfully defend his WEW Title. In 2007, he dropped the WEW Title but finally began to break through in NJPW, reaching the G1 Climax semifinals after winning his block and also reaching the G1 Tag League semis. He & Yano finished the year by winning the Tokyo Sports Grand Prix Tag Team Of The Year award.
Makabe would finally win the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title in 2008, a reign that would last nearly a year. After dropping the belts Yano & Makabe dissolved their team and Yano would injure Makabe and briefly put him out of action with a head injury. After returning, Makabe won the 2009 G1 Climax for his first career tournament win, and although he was a heel he began to experience face-like popularity among fans leading into his unsuccessful IWGP Heavyweight Title shot against Shinsuke Nakamura. Today he is one of only 2 remaining GBH members along with Tomoaki Honma, and despite being a heel (and often using heel tactics and weapons such as chairs and chains) he continues to be popular thanks to his ongoing feud with Nakamura and his CHAOS faction.
Makabe finally got his first big win against CHAOS in May 2010 when he beat Nakamura to finally win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the first time in his career. After coming close on several occasions he has finally managed to break through and his time is now.
Stats & Info:
Real name: Shinya Makabe
Weight: 242 pounds/110 kg
Experience: 12 years
Finishing move: King Kong Kneedrop, Top Rope King Kong Kneedrop
Current affiliation: New Japan
Ring Entrance Music: “Immigrant Song (Japanese Remix)” by Tomoyasu Hotei
1-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion
1-time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
1-time WEW Heavyweight Champion
1-time British Commonwealth International Heavyweight Champion
2009 G1 Climax
2007 Tokyo Sports Grand Prix Tag Team Of The Year
2009 Tokyo Sports Grand Prix Fighting Spirit Award
Ranked #75 in 2010 PWI 500
Ring entrance music: