Yujiro Kushida

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Yujiro Kushida
KUSHIDA at BCW East meets West 2.jpg
Kushida in May 2014.
Birth name Yujiro Kushida
Born (1983-05-12) May 12, 1983 (age 31)[1]
Ōta, Tokyo[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Yujiro Kushida
Kushida[1]
Billed height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)[1]
Billed weight 87 kg (192 lb)[1]
Trained by Nobuhiko Takada
Yoshihiro Tajiri
Debut September 7, 2006[1]
Website
www.plus-blog.sportsnavi.com/hustle_kushida/
Yujiro Kushida
Mixed martial arts record
Total 8
Wins 6
By knockout 2
By submission 3
By decision 1
Losses 0
Draws 2

Yujiro Kushida (櫛田 雄二郎 Kushida Yūjirō?, born May 12, 1983)[1] is a Japanese professional wrestler. He currently works for New Japan Pro Wrestling as KUSHIDA (stylized in all capital letters). He is a former two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, alongside Alex Shelley as the Time Splitters, while also being a former one-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. He won the ZST Genesis Lightweight Tournament and AJPW's U-30 Tag Team Tournament in 2008 with T28

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Yujiro Kushida trained at Nobuhiko Takada's Takada Dojo to be a professional wrestler since he was in junior high school. He debuted at ZST in a fight against Kenji Mizuno in January 2003. He won the ZST Genesis Light Weight Tournament in 2004.[2]

Kushida was offered to continue on in the MMA field, but his dream was to become a professional wrestler and he went out to do just that. Soon after he would embark to Mexico and begin training as wrestler. He would return to Japan and on February 10, 2006 was signed under Hustle to be under Tajiri & Hiroshi Nagao. Tajiri eventually took Kushida under his wing completely as his apprentice. He debuted as a pro wrestler on September 7, 2006 with Tajiri to take on Red Onigumo & Blue Onigumo. Kushida quickly earned the title “Hustle Supernova” and became one of their top up and comers.

In 2007, Kushida competed in All Japan Pro Wrestling, Apache Pro-Wrestling, Dradition Pro-Wrestling, Hustle and various independent shows.[3]

All Japan and Osaka Pro (2008)[edit]

In February, 2008 Kushida teamed up with T28 to participate in the U-30 Tag Team Tournament, a one night tournament that featured AJPW's top young wrestlers. The team defeated CJ Otis and Mototsugu Shimizu in the first round, Kaji Yamato and Taishi Takizawa in the second round and the team of Daichi Kakimoto and Manabu Soya in the finals to win the U30 Tag Team tournament.[4] The team would go on to compete in AJPW's 2008 Junior Tag League, the team ended up tied for last place with only four points for two victories and three losses.

Kushida in 2008.

Kushida and Tajiri competed in Osaka Festival 2008 and reached the semi final of the tournament but were knocked out by Daisuke Harada and Zeus.[5] Kushida also competed in the Mondo 21 Cup 13 Man Battle Royal. On 12 June, Kushida won his first three-way dance against Kuishinbo Kamen and Kanjyuro Matsuyama.[6] After teaming up with Billyken Kid and defeating Takoyakida and Tigers Mask, Kushida went on a winning streak at Osaka Pro Wrestling in both singles and tag team matches which is still intact today.

Touring North America (2009–2010)[edit]

In March 2009, Kushida faced Rey Ohara in a match that was a turning point in his career as he lost and was forced to leave Japan. Kushida went on to compete in wrestling promotions in Canada, Mexico and America, most notably in Chikara and Border City Wrestling. Kushida participated in a steel cage match for BSE Suicide Six Pack Title and was defeated by Tyson Dux.[7] On November 3, 2010 while competing for Canadian Wrestling's Elite, he received a CWE Championship match against the then champion AJ Sanchez but lost.[7] Kushida won his last match in Canada defeating Michael Von Payton at Capital City Championship Combat in March 13, 2010.[7] In October 2010, Kushida made two appearances for American promotion Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).[8]

Smash (2010–2011, 2012)[edit]

Kushida was the main event for Smash.1 where he defeated Hajime Ohara, he then went on to pair up with Lin Byron to defeat Ohara and Syuri for the main event of Smash.2.[9] He lost to Prince Devitt on Smash.3 main event. Kushida went up against Isami Kodaka in a world tryout match on Smash.4. He then went on to lose his next three matches.[9] He ended his losing streak when he teamed up with Tajiri and Akira Shoji against Ohara, Jessica Love and Kageman Guro on Smash.8.[9] At Smash.9, Kushida went up against Mike Mondo for the OVW Heavyweight Championship but lost. At Smash.10 Kushida participated in his first hardcore match with Super Crazy & Isami Kodaka against Hajime Ohara, Heimo Ukonselkä & Jessica Love which his team won. Kushida's run with Smash ended on March 31, 2011, at Smash.15, where he was defeated by Ohara in the main event of the evening. On March 14, 2012, Kushida returned to Smash to compete in the promotion's final event, before ceasing its operations. In his return match, Kushida defeated Yusuke Kodama.[10]

New Japan Pro Wrestling (2010–present)[edit]

Kushida participated in the annual tournament Best of the Super Juniors which began on May 30, 2010. He participated in seven matches winning four out of the seven matches giving him a total of eight points, just coming shy of the semi finals. Kushida also participated in the new tag team tournament called Super J Tag Tournament, Kushida partnered with Gedo. The pair first went up against Kota Ibushi and Austin Creed, Kushida pinned Austin to advance to the semi final. However the pair lost to Ryusuke Taguchi and Prince Devitt in the semi final so were out of the tournament. Kushida then went on to team up with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tajiri to compete in J Sports Crown Openweight 6 Man Tag Tournament 2010, the team beat Chaos and Masato Tanaka to progress to the finals where they were eventually beaten by Hirooki Goto, Prince Devitt, and Ryusuke Taguchi. Kushida participated in Super J Tag League teaming up with Akira in block B, the pair won two matches and lost two matches amassing a total of four points, missing out on the final by two points.

On February 25, 2011, it was announced that Kushida, with Tajiri's blessing, would be leaving Smash and becoming a full-time member of the New Japan roster, beginning on April 1.[11] On March 19 Kushida unsuccessfully challenged Prince Devitt for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.[12] On May 26, Kushida entered the 2011 Best of the Super Juniors tournament. After winning five out of his eight round robin stage matches, he finished fourth out of the nine wrestlers in his block, narrowly missing the semifinals of the tournament.[13] Kushida then went on to compete in J Sports Crown Openweight 6 Man Tag Tournament 2011 with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Máscara Dorada, however the trio were beaten in the second round by Jushin Thunder Liger, Karl Anderson and Giant Bernard. On August 27, 2011, he participated in the Destroyer Cup, a special battle royal at All Together. On September 19, Kushida was set to challenge Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, but a week earlier, Ibushi was forced to pull out of the match and vacate the title, after dislocating his left shoulder. Kushida was then booked in a decision match against former champion Prince Devitt to determine a new champion.[14] On September 19, Kushida was defeated by Prince Devitt in a match for the vacant IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.[15] On November 12 at Power Struggle, Kushida and Tiger Mask IV unsuccessfully challenged Davey Richards and Rocky Romero for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.[16]

Kushida in September 2013.

At Wrestle Kingdom VI, Kushida participated in his first match on January 4 Dome Show by teaming up with Jushin "Thunder" Liger, Tiger Mask IV and Mascara Dorada to defeat Atlantis, Valiente and Suzukigun (Taichi and Taka Michinoku). Liger won the match by pinning Valiente. On January 21, Kushida returned after the NJPW break period to take part in the Fantasticamania 2012 events, teaming with Hirooki Goto, beating Máscara Dorada and Rush.[17] The second night Kushida lost to Máscara Dorada in a match for the CMLL World Welterweight Championship.[18] At The New Beginning, Kushida along with Seigigun (Wataru Inoue and Yuji Nagata), Tiger Mask & Togi Makabe were defeated in a ten-man tag team elimination match by Suzukigun (Lance Archer, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Taka Michinoku and Yoshihiro Takayama).[19] On 27 May, Kushida entered the 2012 Best of the Super Juniors tournament, after a strong start beating three of his first four opponents, which included Prince Devitt, Kushida would go on to lose most of his remaining matches which, in the end, gave him eight points, once again narrowly missing out on the semi final.[20][21] On July 22, Kushida picked up a big win, when he defeated IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Low Ki in a non-title match.[22] However, Low Ki was first scheduled to defend his title against Kota Ibushi and when, on July 29, Ibushi became the new champion, Kushida stepped up and challenged him to the title match originally scheduled for September 2011.[23] On August 26, Kushida returned to the United States, when he wrestled at a Sacramento Wrestling Federation (SWF) event in Gridley, California, battling SWF Champion Dave Dutra to a time limit draw.[24][25]

During the American trip, Kushida also formed a new partnership with Alex Shelley, saving him from IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, Forever Hooligans of Alex Koslov and Rocky Romero.[25] On September 7, Kushida took on Ibushi in a match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and lost.[26] On October 8 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Kushida and Alex Shelley unsuccessfully challenged Forever Hooligans for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.[27] On October 21, the Time Splitters entered the 2012 Super Jr. Tag Tournament, defeating The World Class Tag Team (Gedo and Jado) in their first round match.[28] On November 2, Kushida and Shelley defeated Suzukigun (Taichi and Taka Michinoku) to advance to the finals, where, later that same day, they defeated Apollo 55 (Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi) to win the tournament and become the number one contenders to the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.[29] On November 11 at Power Struggle, the Time Splitters defeated Forever Hooligans in a rematch to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, Kushida's first title in New Japan.[30][31] On November 15, Kushida participated in the NEVER Openweight Championship tournament and was eliminated by Masato Tanaka.[32] Time Splitters made their first successful title defense on February 10, 2013, at The New Beginning, defeating Forever Hooligans in the third title match between the two teams.[33] Their second successful defense took place on March 3 at New Japan's 41st anniversary event, where they defeated Jushin Liger and Tiger Mask IV.[34] On April 7 at Invasion Attack, Time Splitters defeated Apollo 55 for their third successful title defense.[35] On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2013, Time Splitters lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship back to the Forever Hooligans in their fourth defense.[36]

Kushida and Alex Shelley as the Time Splitters in May 2014.

From late May to early June, Kushida took part in the 2013 Best of the Super Juniors, where he managed to win four out of his eight matches with a loss to Kenny Omega in his final match on June 6 costing him a spot in the semifinals of the tournament.[37] On June 22 at Dominion 6.22, Time Splitters failed in their attempt to regain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship from the Forever Hooligans.[38] On July 18, American promotion Ring of Honor (ROH) announced that Kushida would be making his debut for the promotion on August 3 in Toronto, Canada.[39] Kushida defeated Adam Page in his debut match for the promotion.[40] Back in New Japan, Kushida and Shelley defeated Suzukigun (Taichi and Taka Michinoku) on September 29 at Destruction to earn another shot at the Forever Hooligans and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.[41] However, Time Splitters were forced to back out of the title match, after Shelley was sidelined with a back injury.[42] Shelley returned from his injury on January 4, 2014, at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome, where the Time Splitters unsuccessfully challenged The Young Bucks for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship in a four-way match, which also included Forever Hooligans and Suzukigun.[43] Time Splitters were victorious in a non-title rematch the following day, after which they asserted themselves as The Young Bucks' next challengers.[44] They received their title shot on February 11 at The New Beginning in Osaka, but were again defeated by The Young Bucks.[45] In March, Kushida took part in German promotion Westside Xtreme Wrestling's (wXw) 16 Carat Gold weekend.[46][47] On April 12, during New Japan's trip to Taiwan, Kushida unsuccessfully challenged Tomohiro Ishii for the NEVER Openweight Championship.[48] Time Splitters received another shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship on May 10 at Global Wars, a special event co-produced by NJPW and ROH in Toronto, but were defeated by The Young Bucks in a three-way match, also involving Forever Hooligans.[49] At the second NJPW/ROH event, War of the Worlds on May 17, Kushida unsuccessfully challenged Jay Lethal for the ROH World Television Championship.[50] On May 30, Kushida entered the 2014 Best of the Super Juniors tournament,[51] where he won his block with a record of five wins and two losses, advancing to the semifinals.[52] On June 8, Kushida defeated Taichi to advance to the finals of the tournament, where he was defeated by Ricochet.[53] On June 21 at Dominion 6.21, Time Splitters defeated The Young Bucks to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship for the second time.[54][55] On July 4 at Kizuna Road 2014, Kushida became a double champion, when he defeated Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.[56] On August 10, Time Splitters made their first successful defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship against the ROH tag team reDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly).[57] On September 21 at Destruction in Kobe, Kushida lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship to Ryusuke Taguchi in his first defense.[58][59] Two days later at Destruction in Okayama, Time Splitters made their second successful defense of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship against Suzukigun (El Desperado and Taichi).[60] On October 13 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Time Splitters made their third successful title defense in a three-way match against Forever Hooligans and The Young Bucks.[61][62] On November 8 at Power Struggle, Time Splitters lost the title to 2014 Super Jr. Tag Tournament winners reDRagon.[63] On December 7, Kushida returned to ROH at Final Battle 2014, where he and Shelley unsuccessfully challenged reDRagon for the ROH World Tag Team Championship.[64] Time Splitters received a rematch for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship on January 4, 2015, at Wrestle Kingdom 9 in Tokyo Dome, in a four-way match also involving Forever Hooligans and The Young Bucks, but were again defeated by reDRagon.[65]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Professional wrestling[edit]

  • AJPW U-30 Tag Team Tournament (2008) – with T28[83]
  • PWI ranked him #122 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2013[84]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

  • ZST
    • ZST Genesis Light Weight Tournament (2004)[1]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Draw 6–0–2 Shinya Sato Draw ZST - Grand Prix 2 Final Round January 23, 2005 3 3:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 6-0-1 Takahiro Uchiyama Submission (armbar) ZST - Battle Hazard 1 July 4, 2004 2 3:10 Tokyo, Japan
Win 5-0-1 Takahiro Uchiyama Decision (unanimous) ZST - Grand Prix Final Round January 11, 2004 1 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 4-0-1 Norimasa Isozaki Submission (rear naked choke) ZST - Grand Prix Final Round January 11, 2004 1 1:37 Tokyo, Japan
Win 3-0-1 Tomohiko Hori Decision (unanimous) ZST - Grand Prix Final Round January 11, 2004 1 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 2-0-1 Chikara Uehara Decision (unanimous) ZST - Grand Prix Opening Round November 23, 2003 1 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Draw 1–0–1 Tomohiko Hori Draw ZST - The Battlefield 4 July 7, 2003 1 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 1-0 Kenji Mizuno DQ (illegal blows) ZST - The Battlefield 3 June 1, 2003 1 3:13 Tokyo, Japan

References[edit]

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