Balistik Blabber Tajiri
welcome to the 24th Balistik Blabber The reaction to last week?s issue was both surprising and pleasingwelcome to the 24th Balistik Blabber! The reaction to last week?s issue was both surprising and pleasing! Glad you enjoyed it and as promised for this issue, we will be covering one of the best wrestlers who look up to Keiji Mutoh to ever grace the ring! I now present to you? the 21st entry to the ?Ex-World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Talent Discussions??
Seriously, I really shouldn?t need to give you an introduction for this man but it is my duty to do so especially if you?ve never heard of or had completely forgotten about him! By the way, if you?re about to scream ?WHO EES DAT? HE JUST A WAPANESE WASSLER, HE NOT GOOD OR FAMOUS ROFL LOLZ? then do show yourself to the exit because we don?t need that level of observation here. Little is to be found of how and why YOSHIHIRO TAJIRI (NOT related to Yoshihiro Asai aka ?Ultimo Dragon?) decided to delve into the sport that is professional wrestling except one thing: that he loves it and idolized the great Keiji Mutoh, also known as ?The Great Muta?! As a beginner, Tajiri trained in both the Japanese ?strong? style (a sort of branch to ?shoot style wrestling?, putting emphasis on ?hybrid styles? such as mixing of karate and wrestling) and the always fascinating ?lucha libre? style of wrestling. Sounds like a lethal and stylish combination but it wasn?t later in his career that the training results would begin to shine. He made his debut in the late 1980s in the Japanese branch of the Puerto Rico based ?International Wrestling Association? (IWA) but only went pro in 1994. Not much later he also appeared in the Japanese division of the Consuejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) as well until 1997 when he joined his first ?hardcore? federation, ?Big Japan Pro Wrestling? (BJW). There he learned the ropes of the hardcore side of pro wrestling and even got his first taste of gold by winning the BJW Tag Team titles with Ryuji Yamakawa in July 23, 1997! The duo even defended the titles against the infamous team of Gedo and Jado, two of Japan?s most notorious heel tag teams and the streak doesn?t end there! On February 3, 1998 Tajri defeated Gedo in a tournament style event to win the BJW World Junior Heavyweight title! Indeed, this 5 foot 7 man was destined for great things! This is probably the second time I won?t even go halfway through the article to let you know that he made his way into the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) already!
To promote the Light Heavyweight division and its designated torch bearer, Taka Michinoku, the WWF recruited Tajiri to take the fall. Their match happened on the July 14, 1997 edition of RAW and a second time on October 20 that same year after which the events with the BJW earlier mentioned occurred. Now back when Tajiri was wrestling in Puerto Rico, Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) owner Paul Heyman had scouted him and eventually made his move to invite the lithe Japanese talent to his own brand of extreme? on December 1998, Tajiri made his ECW debut... wearing? BLUE TIGHTS?! Bleah! Really, he did! I really thought he looked funny in those tights but every time the bell rung, he really dished out some painful looking moves! The audience that night loved what they saw and soon, the evolution of Tajiri would begin~ to add to his gamut of kicks, aerial assaults and quick grapples, he started wearing the ninja theme pants? he started using an unorthodox stance and mannerisms? and then, he started spitting MIST! As the fans saw in him his legendary idol, this was his tribute to Keiji Mutoh? now he was ?THE JAPANESE BUZZSAW?!
In ECW, Tajiri fought a plethora of matches with some of the company?s most recognizable names: Tommy Dreamer, Jerry Lynn, Balls Mahoney, James ?Little Guido? Maritato, Kid Kash, Pcicosis, ?The Human Suplex Machine? Taz and most especially? ?The Insane Luchador? Super Crazy! Even today the matches between Tajiri and Super Crazy are held in high regard and is packed full of high flying mayhem! YouTube will surely nab you some of those great moments so give that a go later! Strangely enough, even though Tajiri was in the same company as Rey Mysterio Jr., the two would never have a match together until much later! During his time with the ECW, Tajiri has won the ECW ?Television Title? defeating Little Guido & Super Crazy in a 3 Way Dance on April 8, 2000 and the ECW ?World Tag Team? titles with Mikey Whipwreck after winning a tag tournament on August 25, 2000! After the ?fall? of ECW, Tajiri found a home in the ?Combat Zone Wrestling? (CZW), another American hardcore style promotion that utilized fluorescent lights, a meat hook incident and even exploding glass pane matches~ Definitely sounds like home for Tajiri! He appeared for 3 shows and even won the CZW championship title (on February 28, 2001) only to lose it seconds later! Such is the life of a hardcore champion I guess! Two months later, the WWF finally offered Tajiri to be a bigger part of their company than before! He debuted on May 24, 2001 as a FACE (YES, it was true!) playing an assistant to then WWF commissioner William Regal.
Thankfully, he really wasn?t going to be a face for long as he betrays the commish and joins the ?World Championship Wrestling (WCW) Invasion Alliance?. This is the big difference of Tajiri and the emulation of ?The Great Muta? ? he didn?t stick to just being a heel wrestler. Sometimes he was on ?the side of good? but come on~ we really like EVIL Tajiri better! Anyway, he kick started his WWF days feuding with Regal and then later turned face again when he fought and beat Alliance member Chris Kanyon (WHOOO BETAAAH?!) for the WCW United State championship with the help of his on-screen fling Torrie Wilson (oh hell yes it was TRUE!) on the September 10, 2001 edition of RAW! The only problem with this was that he lost it not soon after to Rhyno. What to do? Win the WCW Cruiserweight title by defeating Billy Kidman (this is a different title from the WWF Light-Heavyweight title from X-Pac earlier 2001). For awhile he turns face again, teaming up with Eddie Guerrero to win the WWE Tag Team championship! Then he turned heel AGAIN after ?blinding? Jamie Noble?s girlfriend Nidia with the dreaded black mist which, to me then, was one of the more ?twisted? storylines I?ve ever seen (beating on a supposedly blind woman isn?t the best thing in the world to watch?)! Now remember what I said about Tajiri and Mysterio Jr. never having a match against each other back in the old ECW? Well, WWE rectified that problem and boy was it one of the best things they ever thought of! ?Rey Mysterio VS Tajiri? was just one of the BEST things to watch on either Smackdown! or RAW! They had so much ring chemistry it was a blast and Tajiri seriously has a lot of what I like to call ?anti-Mysterio? moves like avoiding the 6:19 tiger feint kick or giving Rey a taste of boots whenever he made a springboard attempt? MAN I MISS SEEING THESE TWO IN THE RING! Another memorable angle was when Tajiri formed the short-lived stable of ?Kyo Dai? with lackeys Akio (now known as ?Jimmy Wang Yang?) and Sakoda. An interesting story about this is that the WWE wanted this stable to emulate the ?Yakuza? gangs of Japanese notoriety. It is believed that Tajiri vehemently rejected the proposal for fear that the real Yakuza would somehow get their hands on him if they made the gimmick look like a joke?
After nearly four years of cruiserweight and tag championships and with his WWE contract nearing its end, Tajiri decided that he wants to go home and be with his family and to pursue other goals. On December 12, 2005, Tajiri fought Gregory Helms to a losing effort as his final televised match after which he received a standing ovation. As of today, Tajiri now wrestles full-time for both ?All-Japan Pro Wrestling? (AJWP) and the ?HUSTLE? promotion where he has faced the likes of former All-Japan Triple Crown Champions Minoru Suzuki as well as the infamous Toshiaki Kawada, another great utilize of stiff kicks in the ring.
A great wrestling veteran and ALWAYS a pleasure to watch? THAT is Tajiri, and I can?t wait to see when the WWE decides to induct him into the Hall of Fame to add to his already grand list of wrestling achievements! What makes him even more appealing to me is that in his emulation of ?The Great Muta?, he didn?t simply copy them? he created his own persona that was well received by the fans and as an added bonus, complemented his idol. In one of multiple ?dream tag? matches together, Tajiri and his wrestling hero Keiji Mutoh (as ?MUTA OF THE CARRIBEAN?) joined forces as a tag team to take on Scott Steiner (yes, ?Big Poppa Pump? for you!) and Kohei Suwama in AJPW. In true ?Muta? fashion, the pair posed together to spit out their trademark mist (the dynamic pair alternated between green and red variations) into the air! It was a sight to behold and so was the ending of the match! Great stuff! I bet if I were Tajiri at that moment, I would have probably cried tears of joy~ I have yet to find the video in its entirety.
Thanks for reading! See you all in the next Blabber!