Yutaka Yoshie, a former IWGP Tag Team Champion, passed away suddenly while wrestling as a freelancer for rival promotion All Japan Pro-Wrestling (AJPW). He was fifty years old.

On March 10, 2024, Japanese time, Yoshie took part in a tag team match for AJPW that saw him and partner Ryo Inoue lose to the team of Hokoto Omori and Ryouji Sai. Per the announcement on the Wrestling Observer’s website, there didn’t appear to be anything in that particular match that either caused significant injury or would’ve otherwise led to a sudden deterioration in Yoshie’s health.

AJPW has not revealed an exact cause of death as of this writing, with the only statement publicly available coming from the promotion which noted that Yoshie returned to the locker room after the match whereby this condition worsened quickly and suddenly. He was rushed to a local hospital, only to pass away afterwards.

The 5-foot-11 Yoshie debuted for NJPW in 1994 but his career would be mired in questionable luck. In the second match of his career Yoshie broke his leg and was sidelined for a year. He spent many years wrestling on New Japan’s undercard but by 1998 things started to turn for him. He was one of five men selected to wrestle puroresu icon Riki Choshu on January 4, 1998 when Choshu wrestled five handpicked opponents in what was at the time Choshu’s retirement ceremony.

After getting that sort of rub, Yoshie was put in a category of potential future stars along the likes of Katsuyori Shibata, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Hiroshi Tanahashi, with the latter being the man with whom Yoshie won NJPW’s premier tag titles.

Unfortunately, Yoshie’s singles push never materialized. After gaining some notable wins in NJPW, he was sent to Germany’s Catch Wrestling Association (CWA) as part of the standard foreign excursion expected of most if not all NJPW trainees. While in Germany Yoshie gained a considerable amount of weight; by the time he returned to NJPW he had reached 331 pounds and adopted a sumo-driven in-ring style.

But despite gaining such weight and adopting the elements of a sacred traditional Japanese sport, Yoshie failed to break out of the lower midcard. Membership in Yuji Nagata’s stable G-EGGS led to precious little. He appeared in several G1 Climax tournaments but never reached anything beyond the middle of the pack. And after years of wrestling in six-and-eight-man tag matches Yoshie left NJPW in 2006 and then became a freelancer.

Yoshie would spend the following decade wrestling all over the Japanese circuit, including for AJPW, NOAH, Toryumon, Dradition, GLEAT, DDT, and Zero1. He won tag tournaments and titles here and there across various promotions and found steady work around the country for years after his departure from NJPW.

In response to Yoshie’s passing and out of respect for him, AJPW has announced that it will postpone its usual live broadcast of its latest tour.