Yujiro Takahashi

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Yujiro Takahashi
Yujiro Takahashi 2013.JPG
Takahashi in September 2013.
Born (1981-01-13) January 13, 1981 (age 33)[1]
Niigata, Niigata[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Yujiro Takahashi
Yujiro
Billed height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Billed weight 103 kg (227 lb)[1]
Trained by NJPW Dojo[1]
Debut July 26, 2004[1]

Yujiro Takahashi (高橋 裕二郎 Takahashi Yūjirō?, born January 13, 1981),[1] also known by his shortened ring name Yujiro (裕次郎 Yūjirō?) is a Japanese professional wrestler trained by and currently performing for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), where he is a former NEVER Openweight Champion and IWGP Tag Team and Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion with former partner Tetsuya Naito, with whom he teamed as No Limit.

Takahashi entered New Japan in November 2003 with an extensive amateur background, advancing through the dojo and debuting on July 26, 2004 under his full name.[1] He shortened his name to Yujiro shortly afterwards. From 2007 to 2008 he was a member of the stable Samurai Gym with El Samurai and Ryusuke Taguchi, which ended when Samurai left the company.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

New Japan Pro Wrestling (2004–2009)[edit]

Yujiro Takahashi, an esteemed amateur wrestler in college[1] passed the NJPW dojo entry test in November 2003,[1] making his debut on July 26, 2004 in a loss to Naofumi Yamamoto at Korakuen Hall.[2] Takahashi shortened his ring name to simply "Yujiro" shortly thereafter, debuting the name in a match against Akiya Anzawa on September 2, 2004.[2] Yujiro later entered the 7-man, single-elimination Young Lion Toukon Tournament on October 31, 2004, losing to Hirooki Goto in the first round.[3] Yujiro continued to wrestle other young lions such as Anzawa, Goto, Yamamoto and Ryusuke Taguchi through 2004 and early 2005, before entering the Young Lion Cup in March 2005; he finished sixth place out of seven with four points, defeating Akiya Anzawa and Tommy Williams during the group stage.[4] On November 4, 2005, Yujiro defeated former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Masayuki Naruse, pinning him with an inside cradle.[5] During the match, Naruse hit several stiff slaps and kicks to the face, breaking Yujiro's jaw and causing him to bleed from the mouth,[6] forcing him out of action for the rest of the year. Yujiro returned from injury on March 4, 2006, defeating fellow young lion Mitsuhide Hirasawa in the opening match.[7] Yujiro continued to wrestle in the undercard for the remainder of the year.

On January 27, 2007, Yujiro participated in a one-night tournament to decide the #1 contender to the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title, also including Wataru Inoue, Ryusuke Taguchi and Prince Devitt; Devitt received a bye to the finals due to Taguchi suffering a right eye injury,[8] and Inoue defeated Yujiro, defeating Devitt in the final as well.[9] On March 18, 2007, Yujiro joined a new mini-faction started by El Samurai called Samurai Gym, along with Ryusuke Taguchi.[10] Yujiro received an opportunity at the junior title by traditional means a few months later, unsuccessfully challenging champion Minoru on May 22, 2007 in his first title shot in New Japan.[11] After nearly three years with the company, Yujiro entered his first Best of the Super Juniors tournament in June 2007, earning 4 points in the group stage by defeating Prince Devitt by forfeit and eventual winner Milano Collection AT by pinfall.[12] Yujiro finished in sixth place out of seven in his block.

On February 1, 2008, it was announced that El Samurai would be leaving NJPW due to his contract expiring, effectively ending Samurai Gym.[13] Shortly afterward, Yujiro formed a tag team with fellow rookie Tetsuya Naito called No Limit. In March, the two went to fifteen-minute time limit draws with former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship teams such as Koji Kanemoto and Wataru Inoue, and Minoru and Prince Devitt, and Yujiro pinned veteran Super Strong Machine in a trios match.[14] All of this led to a junior tag title challenge for the duo, facing Machine's Legend stablemates Jushin Thunder Liger and AKIRA, in which NO LIMIT came up short when AKIRA pinned Naito. Yujiro would then participate in the ongoing feud between New Japan and Pro Wrestling Zero1, teaming with Koji Kanemoto and Manabu Nakanishi in two separate tag team matches, losing to ZERO1's Masato Tanaka and Tatsuhito Takaiwa in the former, and defeating Takao Ōmori and Osamu Namiguchi in the latter.[15]

In May 2008, Yujiro and Naito underwent a five-match series with some of New Japan's top tag teams, dubbed "NO LIMIT GENERATION SMASH", held in the various Zepp clubs across Japan. The teams included Jado and Gedo, Togi Makabe and Toru Yano, Wataru Inoue and Koji Kanemoto, Shinsuke Nakamura and Hirooki Goto, and Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi. NO LIMIT lost all five matches.[16] A special sixth match in the series took place in ZERO1 on May 29, 2008, Yujiro and Naito defeated ZERO1's Osamu Namiguchi and Shito Ueda.[17] In June 2008, Yujiro entered the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, going winless in his first four matches before defeating Minoru in his final bout to finish with two points.[18] The following month, Yujiro participated in a single-elimination tournament to decide the new holder of the recently vacated IWGP Junior Heavyweight title. He defeated Tetsuya Naito in the first round, before falling to Prince Devitt in the quarterfinals.[19] On October 13, 2008, at Destruction '08 Yujiro and Naito defeated Devitt and Minoru to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. On January 4, 2009, at Wrestle Kingdom III in Tokyo Dome The Motor City Machine Guns of Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin defeated them to win the tag team titles.[20]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2009)[edit]

Shortly after losing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Yujiro and Naito traveled to North America for a "developmental tour", something often done with young Japanese wrestlers to expose them to other styles of wrestling and help them develop into better wrestlers. No Limit worked mainly for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), while also making an appearance for both Team 3D's wrestling academy and Jersey All Pro Wrestling, although Naito wasn't able to wrestle in JAPW due to an injury and was replaced by the team's TNA ally Sheik Abdul Bashir.[21] Yujiro and Naito worked for TNA approximately two months, receiving another unsuccessful shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.[22] No Limit's final appearance for TNA was a handicap match on the May 14, 2009, edition of Impact! against Kevin Nash, which the team lost.[23]

Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (2009)[edit]

No Limit made their debut for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) in Mexico City, Mexico on May 29, 2009 teaming with Dos Caras, Jr. to defeat Héctor Garza, La Sombra and Volador, Jr.. No Limit were presented as "Anti-Mexican" heels ("bad guys") and soon began teaming with Okumura under the name La Ola Amarilla (Spanish for "The Yellow Wave") in matches against Mexicans. On July 10, 2009 No Limit teamed with Black Warrior to defeat the team of Héctor Garza, Toscano and El Sagrado, After the match Black Warrior made a challenge on behalf of Yujiro (as Yujiro does not speak Spanish) for a "hair vs. hair" match with Garza.[24] This led to all men being involved in a 15-man steel cage Luchas de Apuestas match at Infierno en el Ring that Naito won by pinning Toscano, forcing him to have his hair shaved off.[25] Following the match No Limit's focus was on Black Warrior, who had turned on them during the cage match. When Jushin Thunder Liger toured Mexico in September, 2009 he joined the "Anti-Mexico" faction, teaming with No Limit and Okumura to defeat Team Mexico (Último Guerrero, Atlantis, Black Warrior and Héctor Garza) at the CMLL 76th Anniversary Show on September 18, 2009.[26] The following week Yujio teamed with Okumura to win the 2009 Gran Alternativa tournament, defeating Toscano and Rouge in the first round, Héctor Garza and Ángel de Plata in the second round and Místico and Ángel de Oro in the finals.[27] The storyline feud between No Limit and Black Warrior reached its conclusion on October 16, 2009 as Black Warrior faced Yujiro in a Lucha de Apuesta, hair vs. hair match that Yujiro won two falls to one, forcing Black Warrior to have his hair shaved off after the match.[28] After the storyline with Black Warrior ended No Limit began working with the team of El Texano, Jr. and El Terrible in a feud that led to a Lucha de Apuesta hair vs. hair match between the two teams that was the main event of CMLL's Sin Salida show on December 4, 2009. After being successful throughout the summer and fall No Limit finally lost to Texano, Jr. and Terrible at Sin Salida and were both shaved completely bald after the match per Lucha Libre traditions.[29]

Return to NJPW[edit]

Chaos (2010–2014)[edit]

On December 5, 2009, NJPW announced that Yujiro and Naito were returning to Japan as part of their annual January 4 Tokyo Dome show called Wrestle Kingdom IV in Tokyo Dome.[30] At the event Yujiro and Naito defeated Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) and Bad Intentions (Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson) in a three-way hardcore match to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.[31] No Limit had their first title defense on February 14, 2010, defeating El Texano, Jr. and El Terrible to retain the title.[32] He began using his full name again in February 2010 to signal his progress.[33] On April 4 at New Dimension No Limit joined New Japan's top heel stable CHAOS, led by the IWGP Heavyweight Champion Shinsuke Nakamura.[34] On May 3, 2010, at Wrestling Dontaku 2010 Takahashi and Naito lost the IWGP Tag Team Championship to Yuji Nagata and Wataru Inoue of Seigigun in a three-way match, which also included Bad Intentions (Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson).[35] On October 24 No Limit entered the 2010 G1 Tag League.[36] After three wins and two losses, they finished first in their block and advanced to the semifinals.[37] On November 7, after defeating Manabu Nakanishi and Strong Man in the semifinals, No Limit was defeated in the finals of the tournament by Yuji Nagata and Wataru Inoue.[38] On December 11, 2010, No Limit picked up a major win by defeating the TNA World Tag Team Champions, The Motor City Machine Guns, in a non–title match.[39] On May 3, 2011, No Limit failed in their attempt to regain the IWGP Tag Team Championship from Bad Intentions. After the match Takahashi walked out on Naito.[40][41] In May 2011 Takahashi took part in New Japan's first tour of the United States, the Invasion Tour 2011. On May 13 in Rahway, New Jersey, he entered the tournament to determine the first ever IWGP Intercontinental Champion, defeating Hideo Saito in his first round match.[42] The following day in New York City, Takahashi was eliminated from the tournament in the semifinal stage by his CHAOS stablemate Toru Yano.[43] Upon their return to Japan, Takahashi turned on Naito on May 26, effectively dissolving No Limit.[44] Takahashi then joined Gedo, Jado and Masato Tanaka as the fourth member of the Chaos sub-group Complete Players.[45] On June 18 at Dominion 6.18, Takahashi defeated Naito in the first match between the former members of No Limit.[46] The two had a rematch on August 1 during the first day of the 2011 G1 Climax, where Takahashi was once again victorious.[47] Despite his strong start in the tournament, Takahashi only managed to win two more out of his eight remaining matches, finishing second to last in his block, whereas his former partner made it all the way to the finals.[48] On September 19, Naito defeated Takahashi in the third singles match between the two.[49] In the 2011 G1 Tag League, Takahashi teamed with Masato Tanaka with the team picking up three wins in their five group stage matches, including a win over the reigning IWGP Tag Team Champions, Bad Intentions, on October 30.[50] However, a loss to Tetsuya Naito and Tomoaki Honma on October 4, with Naito again pinning Takahashi, meant that Takahashi and Tanaka narrowly missed advancing to the semifinals of the tournament.[51] Takahashi then got involved in Tanaka's IWGP Intercontinental Championship rivalry with MVP, which built to a tag team match on January 4, 2012, at Wrestle Kingdom VI in Tokyo Dome, where Takahashi and Tanaka were defeated by MVP and Shelton Benjamin.[52] On March 11, Takahashi unsuccessfully challenged Hirooki Goto for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.[53]

On May 10, 2012, Takahashi returned to Mexico for another tour with CMLL.[54] During his first month back in Mexico, Takahashi mainly feuded with CMLL World Light Heavyweight Champion Rush, which built to a match on June 5, where Takahashi unsuccessfully challenged Rush for his title.[55] Takanashi then transitioned into feuding with CMLL World Heavyweight Champion El Terrible, but again was unsuccessful in his title challenge on June 24.[56][57] Takahashi ended his two-month excursion and returned to Japan on July 6.[58] On September 17, Takahashi picked up a major win by pinning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi in an eight man tag team main event.[59] On October 8, Takahashi defeated Tetsuya Naito via referee stoppage, after taking advantage of his injured knee, after which he was named the number one contender to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.[60] On October 21, Takahashi again pinned Tanahashi in a six man tag team main event.[61] On November 11 at Power Struggle, Takahashi received his first shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but was defeated by Tanahashi.[62][63] On November 15, Takahashi participated in the NEVER Openweight Championship tournament, but was eliminated in his first round match by Karl Anderson.[64] From November 20 to December 1, Takahashi took part in the round-robin portion of the 2012 World Tag League, alongside Complete Players stablemate Masato Tanaka. The team finished with a record of three wins and three losses, failing to advance from their block.[65][66] On January 4, 2013, at Wrestle Kingdom 7 in Tokyo Dome, Takahashi represented Chaos in an eight man tag team match, where he, Bob Sapp, Takashi Iizuka and Toru Yano were defeated by Akebono, Manabu Nakanishi, MVP and Strong Man.[67] Later that same event, Takahashi also helped Masato Tanaka retain the NEVER Openweight Championship against Shelton Benjamin.[68]

Takahashi in his "ladies' man" gimmick in June 2013.

The following month, Takahashi started a new rivalry with Togi Makabe.[69] The two first met each other in a singles match on February 10 at The New Beginning, where Makabe was victorious.[70] On March 11, Takahashi avenged the loss by defeating Makabe in the first round of the 2013 New Japan Cup.[71][72] Six days later, Takahashi, debuting a new "ladies' man" gimmick, was eliminated from the tournament in the second round by Davey Boy Smith, Jr.[73] On March 23, Tomoaki Honma returned to New Japan to support Makabe in his war with Takahashi and Chaos.[74] Takahashi and Makabe faced off in another singles match on May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2013, where Makabe was victorious.[75] On June 22, Takahashi was defeated in another grudge match by former partner Tetsuya Naito, who was making his return to the ring from an eight-month break due to a knee injury.[76] The two had a rematch on August 1 on the opening day of the 2013 G1 Climax, where Takahashi was victorious.[77] When the tournament concluded on August 11, Takahashi finished in the middle of the block with a record of four wins and five losses, failing to advance to the finals.[78] On October 14 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Takahashi unsuccessfully challenged former partner Tetsuya Naito for the NEVER Openweight Championship and the number one contendership to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.[79]

Bullet Club (2014–present)[edit]

Takahashi representing Bullet Club in June 2014.

In April 2014, after being left off the Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome, Invasion Attack 2014 and Wrestling Dontaku 2014 cards and losing in the first round of the 2014 New Japan Cup, Takahashi began portraying a new disgruntled character, walking out on his Chaos partners either during a match or immediately afterwards.[80][81] On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2014, Takahashi turned on Chaos and jumped to Bullet Club by helping A.J. Styles defeat Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.[82][83] Takahashi wrestled his first match as a member of Bullet Club on May 25 at Back to the Yokohama Arena and, later that same event, entered the NEVER Openweight Championship picture by attacking the reigning champion, former Chaos stablemate Tomohiro Ishii.[84] On June 29, Takahashi defeated Ishii with help from the rest of Bullet Club to become the fourth NEVER Openweight Champion.[85] From July 21 to August 8, Takahashi took part in the 2014 G1 Climax, where he finished tied sixth in his block with a record of four wins and six losses.[86][87] On September 23 at Destruction in Okayama, Takahashi made his first successful defense of the NEVER Openweight Championship against former Chaos stablemate Yoshi-Hashi.[88] On October 13 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Takahashi lost the title back to Ishii in his second defense.[89][90] The following month, Takahashi entered the 2014 World Tag League, alongside A.J. Styles.[91] Despite a win over the reigning IWGP Tag Team Champions, Bullet Club stablemates Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson,[92] Takahashi and Styles failed to advance from their block with a record of four wins and three losses due to losing to Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi-Hashi on the final day.[93]

In wrestling[edit]

  • Finishing moves
  • As Yujiro Takahashi
  • As Yujiro
  • Signature moves

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Takahashi as the NEVER Openweight Champion.
  • PWI ranked him #127 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2010[106]

Lucha de Apuesta record[edit]

Wager Winner Loser Location Date Notes
Hair Yujiro Black Warrior Mexico City, Mexico October 16, 2009 At the 2009 Gran Alternativa show.[28]
Hair El Texano, Jr. and El Terrible No Limit (Yujiro and Naito) Mexico City, Mexico December 4, 2009 Main event of CMLL's Sin Salida show.[29]

References[edit]

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