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Wrestling / Yoshihiro Tajiri

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Yoshihiro Tajiri (b. 1970) is a Japanese Professional Wrestler and promoter best known for his time in ECW from 1999-2001 and later in WWE.

He started in the hardcore IWA Japan promotion in 1994 and also competed for Michinoku Pro Wrestling and for Wrestle Association R. He switched to CMLL in Mexico before going back to Japan and joining the hardcore Big Japan Pro Wrestling promotion.

He made some appearances for WWE in 1997 in the early stages of its Light Heavyweight Division. He returned to CMLL in 1998 and stayed until he made his ECW debut in January 1999. He made his PPV debut with a win over Super Crazy at ECW Guilty As Charged 99, January 10, 1999, kicking off their big feud. Tajiri would also feud with Little Guido Maritato and Jerry Lynn. As a Heel, he would join the Power Stable the Network before splitting off and siding with Mikey Whipwreck and the Sinister Minister. They would win the ECW World Tag Team Titles on August 25th, 2000 and lose them the next day to the FBI (Maritato and Tony Mamaluke.) Tajiri also held the ECW World Television Title. In WWE, he would hold the WCW United States Heavyweight Title during the InVasion/Alliance angle, as well as the WWE World Tag Team Titles with William Regal, the WWE SmackDown! Tag Team Titles with Eddie Guerrero, the WWE Cruiserweight Title three times, and the WWF World Light Heavyweight Title.

In he periods before and after he was a CMLL Light Heavyweight Champion, Big Japan Pro Wrestling Tag Team Champion, BJW Junion Heavyweight Champion, IWA Hardcore Champion, Fight Club Finland Champion and European Wrestling Promotion Intercontinental Champion. He has also competed for All Japan Pro Wrestling, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, CZW, Pro Wrestling NOAH, Dramatic Dream Team, Fighting Opera HUSTLE and many other promotions in the U.S., Japan, Mexico and Europe. He has also served as the promoter of Wrestling New Classic in Japan, the Japanese version of SMASH and Wrestle-1.

"Buzzsaw Tropes":

  • Aborted Arc: One of the last things to happen on an ECW show before the promotion folded was arch-rival Super Crazy running in to save Tajiri from a beatdown by The Network.
  • Arch-Enemy: Super Crazy and Little Guido during the 90s in ECW.
  • Author Avatar: In SMASH (but not the Canadian one) and Wrestling New Classic
  • Badass Bookworm: Possibly. Jim Ross would sometimes claim that Tajiri has a degree in economics; he may have, but few of his biographies actually mention this.
  • Bash Brothers: Mikey Whipwreck, Rhino, William Regal, Ryuji Yamakawa (in Big Japan), Eddie Guerrero, KUSHIDA
  • Beard of Evil: After his first heel turn, he grew a beard.
  • Battle Butler: When serving William Regal.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: A supporter of Joshi and not afraid to book women as equal competitors against men. On the other hand, he's also not above some gimmick matches with Fanservice heavy stipulations.
  • Commuting on a Bus: It was publicly acknowledged that his increasingly sporadic appearances in Wrestle-1 were due to his budding career as an acupuncturist.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: In his relationship with Torrie Wilson. Ironically his relationship with Torrie came about when he rescued her from a different Crazy Jealous Guy.
  • Curbstomp Battle
    • After beating reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champions Hiroshi Tanahashi and Yugi Nagata, harassing Seigigun and generally making a nuisance of himself in NJPW with his green mist during 2009, Nagata took him on one on one in a singles match in February of 2010 and beat Tajiri in five minutes.
    • After getting Toru Yano shaved and helping knock CHAOS out of the J Sports Crown Openweight 6 Man Tag Tournament, Yano took Tajiri on one on one and made him tap in six minutes.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Continued to antagonize Hiroshi Tanahashi while in NJPW even after Tanahasi had no more championship belts, but after a decisive loss to Tanahashi they became friends and eventually a tag team.
  • Demoted to Extra: After the draft lottery he came to Raw as a big deal. Feuding with Evolution members Triple H and Batista, even beating Kane with the help of his mist. Did not last for him (or fellow Smackdown grab, Shelton Benjamin, for that matter).
  • Distracted by the Sexy: When Torrie Wilson turned on him she stripped off the geisha uniform he was forcing her to wear. The distraction this caused was the reason he lost to the Hurricane and (temporarily) fell out of the cruiserweight title picture.
  • Expy: Of the Great Kabuki, Kendo Nagasaki and The Great Muta once he started spraying the Japanese mist in people's eyes. When they met in All Japan Pro Wrestling, Muta eventually took a liking to him and they formed a tag team.
  • Evil Costume Switch: As a face in ECW and before, he was a clean cut guy who wore blue and white trunks. His adopting the Kabuki gimmick coincided with his first heel turn. However, even when he returned to being face he kept the gimmick.
  • Finishing Move: Buzzsaw Kick, Brainbuster, Octopus Stretch
  • Garbage Wrestler: Not especially reliant on it but he is known for leaving CMLL twice for garbage promotions BJW and ECW, competing for IWA Puerto Rico's hardcore title and working for CZW. Of course, he started in IWA Japan, which competed directly with FMW, the trope namer for garbage wrestling.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: This came into effect on the 2014 TNA Bound For Glory, as he was a face in TNA at the time but not in most of Japan, which ended up with him getting booed almost as much as the traitorous Seiya Sanada and manipulative James Storm since the show was in Korakuen Hall.
  • Heel–Face Turn: His most notable one was when, as a member of The Network, he won the ECW Television Title from Super Crazy - and Cyrus the Virus ordered him to lie down for Rhino. Tajiri refused, and was turned face.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: As Kana became a dirty word in Joshi, he decided she wasn't so bad and not only let her keep her spot on the SMASH roster but join up with the The Sexy Purple Thunder Sister. She then lead the three in a personal mission to eliminate the old man and takeover the company. Despite all this, he still gave Kana the benefit of the doubt in Wrestling New Classic, where it mostly worked out until the promotion started to get absorbed by new ones and went inactive, at which point she acted to ensure its complete destruction.
  • Improbable Weapon User: His mist spray usually green, but black caused Temporary Blindness. "Traditionally" black mist is supposed to be capable of killing but in WWE, it was only dangerous in the eyes, as Jamie Noble blocked it simply by covering them with his forearms.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He laughs, taunts and mocks the pain of his opponents but is otherwise respectful if they can put up a clean, respectable fight.
  • Kiai: He's not above throwing these in with his kicks.
  • Last-Name Basis: After turning heel in ECW, he began mostly going simply by Tajiri (sometimes TAJIRI).
  • Lightning Bruiser: If Último Dragón's kicks can qualify him for this despite being a cruiserweight, then the same should apply to Tajiri.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: A recurring spot in his matches has him kick his opponent in the butt and then taunting them while they wince in pain.
  • Manly Tears: After the tribute Tommy Dreamer gave him in SMASH.
  • Power Stable:
    • (in ECW): The Network
    • (in HUSTLE): Takada Monster Army
  • Precision F-Strike: On Impact Championship Wrestling's debut show, he had Low Ki in a head scissor while sitting on the top turnbuckle and told the ref to "shut the fuck up" when he was admonished for it, shocking the crowd (since when did Tajiri speak English?)
  • Punch Parry: He and Low Ki would got through a sequence of holds and counters which including both hopping after colliding with an attempt to kick each other in the head at the same time.
  • Red Baron: "The Japanese Buzzsaw", which doubles as an Ascended Meme, as Joey Styles would say that Tajiri had "buzzsaw-like kicks."
  • Right Behind Me: He and Funaki were laughing up a storm while watching SmackDown! reruns during Big Show's Jobber phase and rewinding the video at every point The Big Show lost in a particularly embarrassing fashion. This lead to Big Show smashing their TV.
  • Ring Oldies: His age started to show on his physique around the time he turned 44, it did not show in his ring work though, leading to chants of "You Still Got It!" when he showed up in TNA to fight James Storm and Seiya Sanada.
  • Sesquipedalian Smith: To Japanese readers anyway
  • Signature Move: Besides the green mist, he was known for the tarantula in WWE and a handspring back elbow , along with his trademark rapid-fire alternating kicks.
  • So Proud of You: Publicly blessed KUSHIDA ahead of his departure from SMASH so it would not conflict with his New Japan bookings. He went on to do very well as one half of the Time Splitters.
  • Tag Team:
    • The Unholy Alliance in ECW with Mikey Whipwreck
    • A team with Akio (Jimmy Wang Yang) and Sakoda. While it was reported on the Internet that the trio was named Kyo Dai, WWE never actually used the name on TV.
  • Ted Baxter: During the "Bodai" gimmick with Akio and Sakoda where all his English conversations (or attempts at conversation) would be peppered with statements such as "I'm better!".
  • Team Rocket Wins: While working for HUSTLE in 2009, Tajiri 'invaded' New Japan and got in the G1 Climax, where he finished at the bottom of his block, and scored a pin fall victory over IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi!
  • The Apprentice
    • He has a quite unclear training lineage, as he has trained with many people in several places (first in the Animal Hamaguchi doj, later in IWA Japan, Michinoku Pro and Mexico) but it was Sho Funaki who became his mentor while in United States. He recommended him to sign up with HUSTLE before everything else when he did his return to Japan, which gave birth to some awesome sagas.
    • Tajiri himself ended up with several over the course of transitioning from HUSTLE to SMASH to WNC to Wrestle-1, including Karate Girl, KUSHIDA, Makoto, Josh O'Brien, Rionne Fujiwara, Mitoshichi Shinose, Koji Doi and Jiro Kuroshio. Yoshihiro Horaguchi was a joint project with Animal Hamaguchi.
  • The Cavalry: When Toru lost a hair versus hair match to Hiroshi Tanahashi in 2010, CHAOS decided to not follow through and sent out Takashi Iizuka to attack Tanahashi so Yano could shave him instead. Tajiri then made his presence known by fighting off and Iizuka to ensure Yano followed through with the stipulation.
  • The Rival: Takashi Okano before he got a mask and became Winger.
  • The Unintelligible: Only other Japanese wrestlers and Torrie Wilson could understand him. And it didn't always sound like he was speaking Japanese.
  • The Worf Effect: He was used to show off what a threat the Esperanza cyborg was in HUSTLE.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Pune Tongue, though no one actually knows what it is. During the second "Diva Search", The Rock suggested it was a form of pie.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Helped give one to Toru Yano when he tried to get out of it after losing a hair vs hair match.
  • Vocal Dissonance: When he was first heard cutting a promo in English, his voice came out much deeper and clearer than the higher pitch squeaking his Japanese tended to sound like.
  • We Used to Be Friends: He and AKIRA were two of the co owners of SMASH but AKIRA didn't have much piece of Wrestling New Classic and so turned on Tajiri.
  • Western Zodiac: Used the name "Aquarius" at one point (even though he's actually a Libra).
  • Would Hit a Girl
    • He repeatedly ran off The Triple Tails when they came into SMASH to beat up Yusuke Kodama and Makoto.
    • Syuri is among the many students of his he went on to feud with in New Wrestling classic and Tajiri has defeated her one on one.
  • Worthy Opponent: He and Super Crazy considered each other this unless they got particularly angry with each other. Tajiri probably came out ahead in their rivalry as he won the ECW Television Title off Crazy and Crazy never won a comparable big match, but Crazy won more of their matches (both singles and 3-ways with Little Guido).
  • You No Take Candle: His early English promos, in hindsight. At the time most people were too shocked to hear him talking at all to point it out.
"Coach, you are liar! I want rematch!"

Alternative Title(s): Tajiri