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  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 a former two-times IWGP Tag Team Champion, a former two-times NEVER Openweight Champion, a former two-times 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 career[]

Early life[]

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)[]

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.

Freelance and New Japan Pro Wrestling (2005–2010)[]

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.

Return to NJPW (2010–2015)[]

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 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, Namaj,ague 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)[]

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)[]

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's 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, following the interference from his Suzuki-gun stablemates. He lost the title back to Goto on November 3 at Power Struggle. From November 17 until December 7, Taichi and Sabre took part in the 2018 World Tag League, finishing the tournament with a record of seven wins and six losses, failing to advance to the finals.

On May 4, 2019, on the first night of Wrestling Dontaku, Taichi defeated Jeff Cobb to regain the NEVER Openweight Championship. After the match, in a post-match interview, Taichi announced he would choose his first challenger of the title. The following day, on the second night of Wrestling Dontaku, Taichi interrupted Tomohiro Ishii's post-match interview, challenging to a match for his title, due to losing to him in the second round of the 2019 New Japan Cup. On June 9 at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall, Taichi lost the NEVER Openweight Championship to Tomohiro Ishii. From July 13 until August 11, Taichi took part in the 2019 G1 Climax, where he finished the tournament with a record of four wins and five losses, failing to advance to the finals of the tournament. During the 2019 G1 Climax, Taichi picked up a major win over reigning NEVER Openweight Champion Tomohiro Ishii in a rematch. From November 16 until December 8, Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. took part in the 2019 World Tag League, failing to win the tournament with a record of ten wins and five losses.

From June 16 until July 2, Taichi took part in the 2020 New Japan Cup, being eliminated from the tournament by SANADA in the quarterfinals on July 2. During the tournament, Taichi defeated former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi. Afterwards, Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. began feuding with Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi over the IWGP Tag Team Championship. On July 12 at Dominion in Osaka-jo Hall, Taichi and Sabre defeated Golden☆Ace (Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. From September 19 until October 16, Taichi took part in the 2020 G1 Climax, finishing the tournament with a record of four wins and five losses, failling to advance to the finals of the tournament. From November 15 until December 6, Taichi and Sabre took part in the 2020 World Tag League, finishing the tournament with a record of six wins and three losses, failling advance to the finals of the tournament, due to losing to FinJuice (David Finlay and Juice Robinson) and the Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) in their head-to-head match. On January 4, 2021, on the first night of Wrestle Kingdom 15 in Tokyo Dome, Taichi and Sabre lost the IWGP Tag Team Championship to the Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa), after Tonga used Taichi's Iron Fingers From Hell, that he inherited from the retired Suzuki-gun stablemate Takashi Iizuka. After working exclusively against each other in multi-man tag team matches for the last part of January, Tonga would steal the Iron Fingers From Hell from Taichi and usually use against him, which infuriated Taichi. On Febraury 10, at The New Beginning in Hiroshima, Dangerous Tekkers faced the Guerrillas of Destiny in a rematch for the IWGP Tag Team Championship, which ended by disqualification, after Taichi, who furious at Tonga’s control of the prized fingers, hit Tonga for the loss. However, Taichi regained control of fingers. At Sakura Genesis on April 4, during a match involving both teams, when the fingers seemed to be a distraction for Taichi and Tonga, referee Kenta Sato took the fingers away and passed them to NJPW Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi, who announced a ladder match for the fingers in order to settle the issue. On May 3 on the first night of Wrestling Dontaku, Taichi defeated Tonga in the ladder match to regain the Iron Fingers From Hell. On June 1, Taichi and Sabre regained the IWGP Tag Team Championship from the Guerrillas of Destiny. On July 11, Taichi and Sabre lost the titles to Los Ingobernables de Japón (Tetsuya Naito and SANADA) only to regain the titles on July 24.

Personal life[]

On May 24, 2021, Taichi revealed that he had tested positive for COVID-19 amid its pandemic in Japan.

In wrestling[]

  • Finishing moves
    • Black Mephisto (Over the shoulder back-to-belly piledriver)
    • Jage Koroshi (Knee strike to the face with a knee brace) – 2013
    • Taichi-Style Gedo Clutch (Double leg nelson)
    • Taichi-Style Liger Bomb (Sitout powerbomb)
    • Taichi-Style Last Ride (Elevated sitout powerbomb)
    • Tensho Jujihou (Superkick) – 2017–present
    • Seiteijyujiryou  (Modified stretch plum) – 2019–present
  • Signature moves
    • Axe Bomber (Crooked arm lariat)[1][2][3][4]
    • Bridging German suplex[5]
    • Dangerous Backdrop (High-angle backdrop suplex) – adopted from Toshiaki Kawada
    • Ganso bomb – adopted from Toshiaki Kawada
    • Multiple kick variations
      • Big boot[6]
      • Enzuigiri
      • Front high[6]
      • Missile drop[5]
      • Triple soccer to the back of a seated opponent[7][8]
  • Nicknames
    • "Sekaiichi Ko Zurui Otoko"[6] / "The World's Sliest Wrestler"[9]
  • Managers
    • Miho Abe
  • Entrance themes
    • "Pageant (Instrumental)" by Moi dix Mois[6]

Championships and accomplishments[]

Luchas de Apuestas record[]

Winner (wager) Loser (wager) Location Event Date Notes
Máximo (hair) Taichi (hair) Mexico City, Mexico 2010 Sin Salida June 6, 2010
Taiji Ishimori (hair and name) Taichi (title) Tokyo, Japan Destiny 2015 December 23, 2015
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New Japan Pro Wrestling
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Heavyweight Aaron HenareBad Luck FaleChase OwensDavid FinlayEVILGreat-O-KhanHirooki GotoHiroshi TanahashiHiroyoshi TenzanHiroyoshi TenzanJeff CobbJuice RobinsonJay WhiteKazuchika OkadaKENTAKota IbushiLance ArcherMinoru SuzukiSANADASatoshi KojimaShingo TakagiTama TongaTanga LoaTetsuya NaitoTogi MakabeTomoaki HonmaTomohiro IshiiToru YanoTaichiWill OspreayYoshi-HashiYuji NagataYujiro TakahashiZack Sabre Jr.
Junior heavyweight Alex CoughlinBUSHIClark ConnorsEl DesperadoEl PhantasmoGedoHiromu TakahashiJadoMaster WatoRobbie EaglesRocky RomeroRyu LeeRyusuke TaguchiShota UminoShoTaka MichinokuTiger MaskTaiji IshimoriYoshinobu KanemaruYohYota TsujiYuya Uemura
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Red Shoes UnnoHiro SaitoKazuo YamazakiKuniaki KobayashiKatsuyori ShibataMilano Collection A.T.Seiji SakaguchiSuper Strong MachineTakaaki KidaniWataru Inoue
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Active IWGP World HeavyweightNEVER OpenweightIWGP United States HeavyweightIWGP Tag TeamIWGP Junior HeavyweightIWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag TeamNEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag TeamKOPWStrong Openweight
Inactive Asia HeavyweightAsia Tag TeamIWGP HeavyweightIWGP IntercontinentalIWGP Provisional Tag TeamIWGP U-30 OpenweightJ-CrownNWA North American Tag TeamNWA International Junior HeavyweightNWF HeavyweightNWF North American HeavyweightThe Greatest 18 Club
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Current G1 ClimaxWorld Tag LeagueNew Japan CupBest of the Super JuniorsSuper Jr. Tag Tournament
Defuncted World LeagueMSG LeagueIWGP LeagueWorld Cup TournamentTop of the Super JuniorsSuper J CupMSG Tag LeagueJapan Cup Tag LeagueSuper Grade Tag LeagueG1 Tag LeagueJ Sports Crown Openweight 6 Man Tag TournamentG2 U-30 ClimaxKarl Gotch CupYoung Lion Cup
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Wrestle KingdomFantastica ManiaThe New BeginningSakura GenesisWrestling HinokuniWrestling DontakuDominionDestructionKing of Pro-WrestlingPower Struggle