Shuhei Taniguchi (谷口 周平 Taniguchi Shūhei, born October 18, 1976) is a Japanese professional wrestler currently working for Pro Wrestling NOAH since his debut in December 2005. He is also known by his old ring name Maybach Taniguchi (マイバッハ谷口 Maibahha Taniguchi).
Professional Wrestling Career[edit | edit source]
Amateur background[edit | edit source]
Shuhei Taniguchi first started competitive wrestling when he was in high school. Just as Pro Wrestling NOAH wrestlers Takashi Sugiura and Tamon Honda before him, Shuhei represented the armed forces in amaresu. He greatly excelled in amateur wrestling, becoming highly decorated. Taniguchi made it all the way to the All Japan championships, the biggest stage for the sport, before deciding to turn pro.
Pro Wrestling Noah[edit | edit source]
Taniguchi joined the Pro Wrestling Noah dojo on May 5, 2005, and spent many months training. He finally debuted along with Atsushi Aoki, Ippei Ota, and Akihiko Ito on December 24, 2005, as part of Noah's annual Christmas Eve Noahful Gift in Differ show. Taniguchi's team for his match actually won, making him the first and, to date, only rookie to not lose his debut match in Noah. On February 26, 2006, in just his fourth match, Shuhei Taniguchi picked up his first direct win, pinning fellow rookie Atsushi Aoki with a German suplex hold. Aoki himself had just pinned Ota the day before. It was clear that Taniguchi was seen as the ace of his dojo class, most likely because of his background and heavyweight status. On March 20 NOAH announced an eight-man single-elimination tournament to determine the number contender for Jun Akiyama's GHC Heavyweight Championship. Shuhei was one of the eight wrestlers chosen, but lost in the first round to eventual winner Masao Inoue.
In early 2012 he turned on his friend and tag partner Go Shiozaki and then joined No Mercy. He then transformed himself into a stronger and more vicious wrestler and changed his name to "Maybach Taniguchi". He also defeated Muhammad Yone and has been on a winning streak defeating Yone, Kento Miyahara etc. He became the next challenger to Takeshi Morishima's GHC Heavyweight Title by brutally attacking him after he just defended his title with Naomichi Marufuji. On October 8, Taniguchi and KENTA defeated Magnus and Samoa Joe to win the GHC Tag Team Championship for the first time. They lost the title to Akitoshi Saito and Go Shiozaki just eighteen days later. In January 2013, Taniguchi debuted a new partner, Maybach Taniguchi, Jr. On February 9, Taniguchi turned on No Mercy leader Kenta, stole his GHC Heavyweight Championship belt and aligned himself with the New Japan Pro Wrestling stable CHAOS, represented in Noah by Takashi Iizuka, Toru Yano and Yujiro Takahashi. On March 10, Taniguchi was defeated by KENTA in a match for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. On March 31, Taniguchi faced his former protégé, Maybach Taniguchi, Jr., in a singles match. After unmasking his opponent as Takahiro Suwa, Taniguchi pinned him for the win. On April 13, Taniguchi and Yujiro Takahashi entered the 2013 Global Tag League, defeating Kenta and Yoshihiro Takayama in their opening match, with Taniguchi pinning the reigning GHC Heavyweight Champion for the win. However, Taniguchi and Takahashi managed to win only one of their three remaining matches in the tournament, failing to qualify for the finals. On May 11, Taniguchi took part in his trainer Kenta Kobashi's retirement match, where he, Go Shiozaki, Kenta and Yoshinobu Kanemaru were defeated by Kobashi, Jun Akiyama, Keiji Mutoh and Kensuke Sasaki. After being unmasked by Katsuyori Shibata on December 7, Taniguchi announced his "third form", debuting a new all black mask on December 14. On January 5, 2014, Taniguchi formed a new stable, later named Choukibou-gun, with Kenoh and Takeshi Morishima. On January 25, Taniguchi and Morishima defeated TMDK (Mikey Nicholls and Shane Haste), with help from Kenoh and new stablemate Hajime Ohara, to win the GHC Tag Team Championship. On February 3, Taniguchi was defeated by Kenta in a No Disqualification grudge match between the two former partners. On May 31, Taniguchi and Morishima lost the GHC Tag Team Championship to Masato Tanaka and Takashi Sugiura.
Following Morishima's retirement from professional wrestling, Taniguchi entered the GHC Heavyweight Championship picture in May 2015, challenging Minoru Suzuki. On June 9, Taniguchi was unmasked during a tag team match, where he and Yoshihiro Takayama defeated Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka. Taniguchi received his title shot on June 15, but was defeated by Suzuki. On January 31, 2016, Taniguchi voluntarily removed his mask to become one of the leading figures in Noah's war with the Suzuki-gun stable. He has since worked unmasked, though retaining the Maybach Taniguchi name. In early June, Taniguchi represented NOAH in the Lucha Libre World Cup in Mexico. Team Noah, made up of Taniguchi, Naomichi Marufuji and Taiji Ishimori, finished fourth in the tournament. On July 30, Taniguchi put his mask back on to attack new GHC Heavyweight Champion, Suzuki-gun's Takashi Sugiura, setting himself up as his first title challenger. On August 25, Taniguchi unsuccessfully challenged Sugiura for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Taniguchi and Shiozaki defeated Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer to win the GHC Tag Team Champions. On January 27, 2017 Taniguchi and Shiozaki lost the titles to Kenoh and Masa Kitamiya. On the February 24 show in Korakuen Hall following Naomichi Marufuji's match against Atsushi Kotoge, Taniguchi came out to shake hands and form a partnership with Marufuji despite their heated past, including Marufuji defeating Taniguchi on the January 9 show via knockout. Following this, the pair were given a title shot against champions Kenoh and Takashi Sugiura set for the April 14 show which led to defeat them for the belts. On May 4, Taniguchi and Marufuji defeated Atsushi Kotoge and Go Shiozaki in the finals to win the 2017 Global Tag League.
On August 26 Taniguchi and Marufuji lost the titles to Kotoge and Shiozaki. On December 22, Taniguchi turned on Marufuji to align himself with Mitsuya Nagai, effectively ending Maketa Ra Owari. Later in 2018, Taniguchi and Nagai aligned themselves with Cody Hall and Kazma Sakamoto, eventually forming a new stable named Hooligans on September 2, 2018. On December 16, Taniguchi and the newest member of Hooligans Yuji Hino defeated Go Shiozaki and Katsuhiko Nakajima to win the GHC Tag Team Championship, before losing it to Muhammad Yone and Quiet Storm on February 1, 2019. After Hooligans disbanded on February 24, Taniguchi continued teaming with Hino forming a team named "The Inferno". In April, Taniguchi and Hino took part in the Global Tag League, finishing the tournament with a record of four wins and three losses, failing to advance to the finals of the tournament.
On May 2, Taniguchi promised he would reform himself. Aftwerwards, Taniguchi reverted to his old name Shuhei Taniguchi changing to his old ring attire and also formed a team with Kaito Kiyomiya, later named the "Unchains". On June 27, Taniguchi and Kiyomiya challenged AXIZ (Go Shiozaki and Katsuhiko Nakajima) to match for the GHC Tag Team Championship. Nakajima accepted Taniguchi and Kiyomiya's challenge for their titles on the condition that Kiyomiya would defend the GHC Heavyweight Championship against him. On July 21, Taniguchi and Kiyomiya unsuccessfully challenged AXIZ for the GHC Tag Team Championship. From August 18 until September 10, Taniguchi took part in the 2019 N-1 Victory, finishing the tournament with a record of two wins and one loss and one draw, failing to advance to the finals of the tournament. In April, Taniguchi and Kiyomiya took part in the 2020 Global Tag League, finishing the tournament with a record of one win and two losses. From September 18 and October 11, Taniguchi took part in the 2020 N-1 Victory, finishing the tournament with a record of two wins, and three losses, failling to advance to the finals of the tournament. On December 27, Taniguchi disbanded the Unchains, after agreeing to form a team with Muhammad Yone.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
In wrestling[edit | edit source]
- Finishing moves
- "Bousou Tetsu Kamen" (Japanese for "Runaway Iron Mask")
- "The Last Wyvern"
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments[edit | edit source]
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #289 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016
- PWI ranked him #169 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2017
- Pro Wrestling Noah
- GHC Tag Team Championship (5 times) – with KENTA (1), Takeshi Morishima (1), Go Shiozaki (1), Naomichi Marufuji (1) and and Yuji Hino (1)
- Arukas Cup 6-Man Tag Tournament (2015) – with Maybach Blue Justice and Maybach Don
- Mauritius Cup (2007)
- Global Tag League (2017) – with Naomichi Marufuji
- Global Tag League Fighting Spirit Award (2010) – with Takashi Sugiura
References[edit | edit source]
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