NJPW Spotlight is a series by Walter Yeates that highlights past and present members of the New Japan Pro Wrestling roster. This article highlights Hiromu Takahashi. The previous article in the series on Jushin Liger is available here.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (LIJ) member Hiromu Takahashi has off the charts charisma and has been able to thrive in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), where he is a first-tier trueborn graduate of the NJPW Noge Dojo, due to the freedom the promotion allows talent in developing their persona.
Hiromu is a former Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) World Lightweight Champion (as Kamaitachi) and is a 3x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion — a title he currently holds after his recent defense against Ryu Lee earlier in the year.
As revealed last year by Wrestling Observer broadcast journalist Fumi Saito, Hiromu is currently the third-highest merchandiser seller in NJPW behind IWGP ‘Double Champion’ Tetsuya Naito and Kazuchika Okada. He has been able to reach those lofty heights due to his erratic character, that has struck a chord with NJPW fans around the world. Watching his character is to witness something fresh, unique, and something that evolves depending on what he’s experiencing at present.
Hiromu was out of action for nearly 18 months after experiencing a neck injury in July 2018, his December 2019 return brought applause and well wishes from the NJPW audience. His three matches that month, and his match against Will Ospreay at Wrestle Kingdom 14, that saw Hiromu capture the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship saw Hiromu return to his form before the neck injury.
Hiromu’s size likely means he will be a career junior heavyweight, which could provide great value for NJPW. As the company looks to build the identity of the IWGP Intercontinental, IWGP United States Heavyweight, and NEVER Openweight Championships — the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship could see it’s prestige continue to rise with the likes of Hiromu Takahashi being the standard-bearer of the division over the next decade.
If Hiromu continues to be a big merchandise seller, it’s likely the title will continue to rise in value. His rivalry with now heavyweight Will Ospreay over the title was able to elevate its stock, further stars in the division alongside Hiromu could take the championship to a higher drawing position.
It’s clear NJPW has big plans for Hiromu and the junior heavyweight division. Hirai Kawato, Ren Narita, Yuya Uemura, and Clark Connors look to be long-term junior heavyweights who are either Young Lions or currently on an excursion. Ryu Lee is likely to have numerous other matches against Takahashi as they continue their years-long rivalry.
The sky is the limit for Hiromu Takahashi as he takes his mantle as the ace of the NJPW junior heavyweight division, and as one of the most important members of the roster. His charisma and drawing power will help NJPW expand its domestic and international market share as the company continues to grow.