|Taichi in August 2017|
Taichiro Maki (牧 太一郎 Maki Taichiro) is a Japanese professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Taichi Ishikari (石狩太一 Ishikari Taichi) or simply Taichi (タイチ Taichi). He is signed to New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), but he worked for Pro Wrestling Noah as part of an interpromotional invasion storyline involving the Suzuki-gun stable. In NJPW, he is the current NEVER Openweight Champion in his first reign, while also being a former two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion and in Noah a former one-time GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion. Throughout his career he has competed in various promotions including All Japan Pro Wrestling, Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre, Hustle and Ultimate Pro Wrestling.
Professional wrestling careerEdit
Wanting to be a pro-wrestler since high school he competed in Amateur Wrestling while in high school, and was ranked second in the 63 kg class in the 1997 Hokkaido high school championship conference.
All Japan Pro Wrestling (2002–2005)Edit
In December 2002 Ishikari made his debut for All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW). He would pick up his first singles victory over heavyweight prospect Masayuki Kono about six months into his career on May 12, 2003. He got a huge opportunity by representing AJPW in the 4th Stage Super J-Cup hosted by Osaka Pro Wrestling in 2004, but came up short after losing to Osaka Pro ace Takehiro Murahama in the first round. Teaming with Toshiaki Kawada in the Autumn Festival Tag Tournament, he earned both victories in their finals matches to win his first tournament. He was AJPW's first junior heavyweight prospect in a long while, being a very quick and fiery youngster who was coming along well. Ishikari began 2005 by challenging for the World Junior Heavyweight Championship against champion TAKA Michinoku in a losing effort, then continued wrestling in the lower mid-card.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2004)Edit
On May 26, 2004, Taichi Ishikari appeared as a member of Team Japan in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's 2004 World X Cup, competing in both a battle royal and a ladder match. He was rumored to be a part of 2008's Team Japan, but the spot was filled by Puma.
Freelance and New Japan Pro Wrestling (2005–2010)Edit
In early February 2005 Ishikari followed his mentor, Toshiaki Kawada and ended his affiliation with AJPW to become a freelance wrestler. Ishikari bounced around trying to find a new permanent home, competing for Hustle and the short lived Kings Road promotion. In mid 2006 Ishikari started to appear on New Japan Pro Wrestling shows and his activity with the company then increased in 2006 and 2007 and finally in 2009 he became an official member of the NJPW roster. He would find himself a tag team partner in Milano Collection A.T. and together they would challenge for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, held by Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi, but were unable to win the title.
Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (2010)Edit
After Milano Collection A.T. announced his retirement in January 2010, New Japan announced that Taichi would be leaving for Mexican promotion Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) to seek a new direction in his career. The plan was for him to remain with CMLL for at least five months. Taichi made his CMLL debut on February 19, 2010 in Arena México, Mexico City where he teamed up with Naito and Ray Mendoza, Jr. to defeat John Strongman, Mr. Niebla and Máximo in two straight falls. On May 7, 2010 Taichi and Okumura teamed up with former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi to defeat El Hijo del Fantasma, La Máscara and Héctor Garza to win the CMLL World Trios Championship in the main event of the weekly Friday night Super Viernes show. La Ola Amarilla's reign as Trios champions only lasted two weeks as they were defeated by La Máscara, La Sombra and Máscara Dorada on May 21, 2010. Through the trios matches Taichi has developed a rivalry with La Máscara who challenged Taichi to a Lucha de Apuesta match where Taichi would put his hair on the line against La Máscara's mask. Taichi later announced that he accepted the challenge, making it the main event of CMLL's 2010 Sin Salida show. On June 6, 2010 Máximo defeated Taichi two falls to one and had his hair shaved off after the match. Afterwards Taichi returned to New Japan, before returning to CMLL for a two-month stint in early October 2010.
Return to NJPW (2010–2015)Edit
On December 11, 2010, Taichi returned from his latest stint in CMLL and aligned himself with IWGP Heavyweight Champion Satoshi Kojima as part of Kojima-gun, which would later also come to include MVP, Nosawa Rongai and Taka Michinoku. On April 8, 2011, Taichi defeated Madoka in the finals of a two-day tournament to earn a spot in the 2011 Best of the Super Juniors tournament. On May 3, Taichi and Taka Michinoku turned on Kojima and revealed the returning Minoru Suzuki as their new leader. After losing his first six round robin stage matches in the 2011 Best of the Super Juniors, Taichi came back to win his last two matches and finish eighth out of the nine wrestlers in his block. Since then, Taichi has formed a regular partnership with Taka Michinoku, with the two unsuccessfully challenging Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship on September 11, 2011. On June 16, 2012, at Dominion 6.16, Taichi and Michinoku received another opportunity to wrestle for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, but were defeated by Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask, after Taichi unmasked Liger and unintentionally turned him into "Kishin Liger", a more violent version of himself. In August, Taichi began blaming Michinoku for his recent losses, which led to the two agreeing to a match, where the loser would be expelled from Suzuki-gun. The match took place on August 22 at Michinoku's Kaientai Dojo promotion, but ended without a winner as Minoru Suzuki interrupted the match and got the two men to make peace with each other. On September 5, Taichi returned to Mexico for another tour with CMLL and instantly turned down an offer to rejoin La Ola Amarilla, pledging his loyalty to Minoru Suzuki and Suzuki-gun. In his first match back in CMLL on September 7, Taichi teamed with Hiroshi Tanahashi, Namajague and Okumura in a Japan vs. Mexico torneo cibernetico, where they faced Black Warrior, La Máscara, Negro Casas and Valiente. After being eliminated by La Máscara, Taichi interfered in the match and helped Tanahashi pick up the win for the Japanese. Taichi returned to Japan on October 14.
In January 2013, Taichi was sidelined with a knee injury, suffered in a traffic accident. When he returned in April, he was wearing a knee brace, which he began using as an offensive weapon behind the referees' backs, dubbing his new knee strike finisher, "Jage Koroshi". On May 24, Taichi entered the 2013 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, where he got off to a flying start, winning his first four matches, albeit through cheating, including interference from Taka Michinoku and locking Jushin Thunder Liger out of the building for a countout victory. His win streak ended in his fifth match on June 1, when he was defeated by CMLL representative Titán. Taichi also ended up losing his three remaining matches in the tournament, narrowly missing advancement to the semifinals. On July 20, Taichi and Michinoku received another shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, but were defeated by the defending champions, the Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov and Rocky Romero). On July 26, Taichi began another tour with Mexican promotion CMLL, once again reigniting his rivalry with Máximo. Back in New Japan on September 29 at Destruction, Taichi and Michinoku failed to earn another shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, when they were defeated in a number one contender's match by Time Splitters (Alex Shelley and KUSHIDA). However, when Shelley was sidelined with an injury, Taichi and Michinoku were given the title shot and, on October 14 at King of Pro-Wrestling, defeated the Forever Hooligans to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, Taichi's first title in New Japan. Taichi and Michinoku made their first successful title defense on November 1, defeating Gedo and Jado at their self-produced independent event. After a reign of only 26 days, Taichi and Michinoku lost the title to The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) on November 9 at Power Struggle.
In May 2014, Maki was caught cheating on his wife, which resulted in him announcing he wanted to retire from professional wrestling. New Japan, however, announced on May 28 that, for the time being, he was still under contract with the promotion. According to New Japan's chairman, Naoki Sugabayashi, the promotion was launching an investigation into Maki's actions and hinted at a possible pay cut and suspension. Despite his issues outside the ring, Taichi did well in the 2014 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, finishing with a record of four wins and three losses. Despite finishing tied with the leader and runner-up of the block, Taichi failed to advance to the semifinals due to head-to-head match results. Taichi was, however, later granted entry into the semifinals, after the block's winner, Alex Shelley, was forced to pull out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury. On June 8, Taichi was eliminated from the tournament in the semifinals by Kushida. The following day, New Japan suspended Maki for two months with a 30% pay cut. Taichi returned from his suspension on August 10 and wrestled his return match on September 5, forming a new tag team with Suzuki-gun's newest member, El Desperado. At that time, Taichi would take up a mic and would sing his way to the ring. Taichi and El Desperado received a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship on September 23 at Destruction in Okayama, but were defeated by the Time Splitters. On November 8 at Power Struggle, Taichi received a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, but was defeated by Ryusuke Taguchi.
Pro Wrestling NOAH (2015-2016)Edit
In January 2015, Suzuki-gun entered a storyline, where the entire stable invaded the Pro Wrestling Noah promotion. As part of the storyline, Taichi won the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship on March 15 by defeating Atsushi Kotoge. Taichi held the title for the rest of the year, successfully defending it four times, before losing it to Taiji Ishimori on December 23. On June 24, 2016, at a show produced by Taichi and Taka Michinoku, Taichi was one of two winners of a four-man round-robin tournament to earn a spot in the 2016 Super J-Cup. On July 20, Taichi returned to NJPW to take part in the Super J-Cup, defeating AJPW's Yuma Aoyagi in his first round match. On August 21, Taichi defeated Jushin Thunder Liger in the second round of the tournament, before being eliminated in the semifinals by reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA. On December 2 Taichi unsuccessfully challenged Atsushi Kotoge for GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship. Three days later, it was announced that Suzuki-gun was out of Noah, concluding the invasion storyline.
Second return to New Japan Pro Wrestling (2017-present)Edit
On January 5, 2017, Suzuki-gun, Taichi included, returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling. On March 6, Taichi and Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Roppongi Vice to become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. They lost the title back to Roppongi Vice in their second defense on April 27. At TakaTaichiMania for his 15th anniversary show, Taichi announced he was moving up to the Heavyweight Division. Taichi heavyweight debut took place on March 6, 2018 at NJPW's 46th anniversary show, losing to Tetsuya Naito. Later that month, Taichi took part in the New Japan Cup losing to Hiroshi Tanahashi in the first round. On June 9 at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall, Taichi took part in a three-way match for the NEVER Openweight Championship, which he failed to win the title. Taichi continued feuding with Hirooki Goto, which led to him receiving another title shot on September 17 at Destruction in Beppu, which Taichi defeated Goto to win the NEVER Openweight Championship.
- Finishing moves
- Black Mephisto (Over the shoulder back-to-belly piledriver)
- Jage Koroshi (Knee strike to the face with a knee brace) – 2013
- Taichi-shiki Gedo Clutch Taichi Clutch (Double leg nelson)
- Taichi-shiki Liger Bomb (Sitout powerbomb)
- Taichi-shiki Last Ride (Elevated Powerbomb)
- Tensho Jujihou (Superkick) – 2017-Present
- Signature moves
- Axe Bomber (Crooked arm lariat)
- Bridging German suplex
- Dangerous Backdrop (High-angle backdrop suplex) - adopted from Toshiaki Kawada
- Ganso bomb - adopted from Toshiaki Kawada
- Multiple kick variations
- Miho Abe
- Entrance themes
- "Pageant (Instrumental)" by Moi dix Mois
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- Autumn Festival Tag Team Tournament (2004) – with Toshiaki Kawada
- Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre
- CMLL World Trios Championship (1 time) – with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Okumura
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #337 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016
- Pro Wrestling Noah
- GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Taka & Taichi Box Office
- Super J-Cup Qualifying League (2016)
Luchas de Apuestas recordEdit
|Winner (wager)||Loser (wager)||Location||Event||Date||Notes|
|Máximo (hair)||Taichi (hair)||Mexico City, Mexico||2010 Sin Salida||June 6, 2010|
|Taiji Ishimori (hair)||Taichi (title)||Tokyo, Japan||Destiny 2015||December 23, 2015|
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