A Quick Guide to Bullet Club’s Newest Member, ‘Bone Soldier’ Taiji Ishimori

In April 2018, vignettes began to air on New Japan programming proclaiming that the infamous Bone Soldier would be returning to the promotion. For those that don’t know, Bone Soldier, portrayed by the man formerly known as Captain New Japan, was a pointless addition to the incredibly popular Bullet Club faction, who lasted all of five months in the stable, being voted as the Worst Gimmick of 2016 by WON, and described as an “intergalactic disaster” by BC’s own Kenny Omega.

So with the news that Bone Soldier was making a return to an NJPW ring, fans were in shock to see this laughable Bullet Club mascot coming back. However, on May 4th, we discovered that BC had recruited a whole different kind of soldier to their ranks. Sporting a familiar skeleton mask yet a far more impressive physique than his predecessor, and laying out IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay in his first appearance, the new Bone Soldier was revealed to be Taiji Ishimori.


While Taiji has made some appearances for NJPW in the past, his tenure in the company hasn’t been anything significant up until this point, meaning that plenty of viewers aren’t really aware of who the newest member of Bullet Club actually is. Well, I’m here to let you know why you should prepare yourselves to be impressed by the new biggest threat to the Junior Heavyweight division, and the newest soldier in the BC ranks – here is A Quick Guide to Bullet Club’s Newest Member, ‘Bone Soldier’ Taiji Ishimori.





Notable Achievements

  • Debuted in 2002
  • Won an NJPW tag team tournament with Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • Spent time as a Young Lion in New Japan (CLICK HERE FOR MY GUIDE TO NEW JAPAN’S ROOKIES)
  • A major player in Pro Wrestling Noah’s junior division for years, winning their singles title three times, tag team belts six times, as well as five different tournaments
  • Was once in a successful tag team with KENTA, now known as Hideo Itami
  • Wrestled the likes of Daniel Bryan, KUSHIDA, Kota Ibushi, Naomichi Marufuji, Matt Sydal, Eddie Edwards, John Morrison, and many others
  • Former X Division Champion
  • Competed around the world in AAA, IMPACT, many Japanese promotions, Ring of Honor, PWG, and more
  • Brought in as part of Bullet Club, immediately beat down the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and entered into the Best of Super Juniors tournament



In-Ring Style

  • Taiji has an impressive blend of strength, speed and athleticism that allows him to mix high-flying with power moves
  • Capable of pulling off an Avalanche Moonsault Slam, which just shows what calibre of athlete he is (if his abs didn’t show that off already)
  • Bound to always deliver a solid, fast-paced match
  • His new finishing move seems to be a lifting single underhook double knee gutbuster, but in the past he’s been known to use a 450 splash, a double underhook piledriver, pumphandle sitout side powerslam, and a hammerlock cradle DDT, so expect to potentially see some of those moves to show up in NJPW
  • With 16 years under his belt, Taiji has performed all over the world at this point, meaning he can adapt to Japanese, Mexican and Western styles, making him an ideal opponent for any member of New Japan’s Junior Heavyweight Division



Why He’s a Great Addition to Bullet Club

  • Veteran competitor that will no doubt bring gold to the club
  • Totally different from every other member, thus he will stand out and bring something new to the group
  • Nobody expected him to be Bone Soldier, so he brings a sense of mystery along with him
  • The fact he’s been brought in immediately as a new member of BC shows how highly NJPW thinks of Taiji, and how much of a push he will inevitably get
  • Bringing in a new member shows that Bullet Club are now rebuilding themselves
  • With Ishimori pursing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title, Marty Scurll is free to move up to heavyweight if he wishes to do so, or start teaming with Young Bucks regularly
  • Gives Tama Tonga a chance to show off his mic skills as Taiji’s hype man
  • Now with The Young Bucks in the heavyweight division, Bullet Club doesn’t have a junior tag team, thus Ishimori could fill that void, either with Marty or with another new member
  • His experience means he can come in and be successful immediately, rather than someone who needs a couple of years to develop first, like Hangman Page
  • He will be a good test of whether another Japanese member of Bullet Club could become popular with Western fans



What You Can Expect From Him in New Japan

  • Feuding with the likes of Ospreay, KUSHIDA and Himoru over the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Belt over the summer months
  • A high chance of winning this year’s BOSJ tournament, or at least making the finals
  • Winning the belt as soon as Dominion in June
  • An interesting match against ACH (his former tag team partner) in the BOSJ
  • Forming a junior tag team and winning the division’s belts
  • Dominating the division in the near future
  • Being closely associated specifically with Tama Tonga
  • Appearing in ROH
  • Potentially bringing Bullet Club to IMPACT, as he has a history with the company, and NJPW commentator Don Callis is now part of the creative team there
  • He will remain in the Junior Division throughout his time in NJPW due to his short stature (5’4)



Recommended Matches (with links)

W/ KENTA vs. Kota Ibushi & Naomichi Marufuji – Pro Wrestling Noah (Essential viewing, WON rating of ****3/4)

W/ ACH vs. Beretta & Rocky Romero – NJPW Power Struggle 2016 (Essential viewing, Free match on NJPW World)

Vs. KUSHIDA – NJPW Super J Cup 2016 Opening Round (Essential viewing)

W/ KENTA vs. Bryan Danielson and Eddie Edwards – Pro Wrestling Noah (Essential viewing)

Vs. Taichi – Pro Wrestling Noah

W/ ACH vs. The Young Bucks – Road to NJPW Power Struggle 2016 (Interesting as he’s now stable mates with the Jackson brothers)

Vs. Daisuke Harada – Pro Wrestling Noah

Vs. Matt Sydal (Highlights) – IMPACT Wrestling (Good display of Taiji’s skills and moves)





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