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By Matthew Macklin on 2014-12-15 08:30:00
Ryusuke Taguchi

“Funky Weapon” is a two time and the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and former five time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. Four of those reigns coming with his long time Apollo 55 partner Prince Devitt (Finn Balor). He also won the 2012 Best of the Super Juniors. Taguchi is most well known for his Apollo 55 run and took time to adapt to being a permanent singles competitor after Devitt turned on Taguchi to form Bullet Club. Taguchi suffered a serious hip injury shortly thereafter and took time to find his form upon his return.

After beating his former partner in Devitt’s final NJPW match, Taguchi made it to the semi finals of the Best of the Super Juniors losing to eventual winner Ricochet. Taguchi eventually won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship by beating KUSHIDA at Destruction in Kobe on September 21st. Since then Taguchi has made successful defences against Suzuki-Gun members El Desperado and Taichi.

Taguchi will next defend the gold at Wrestle Kingdom against newest Bullet Club member Kenny Omega. Omega has proved to be one of Taguchi’s best opponents, so we should be in for another treat.

What to look out for?

Taguchi takes a lot of inspiration from Eddie Guerrero, right down to his look and ring gear. He will sometimes use the Three Amigos as a tribute. His finisher is Dodon, a double chickenwing facebuster, sometimes done across the knees. Dodon The End is another variation of the move done from a torture rack position.

Other moves to look out for are his dropkicks and plancha to the floor. He has recently began using and Ankle Lock as a submission finisher. Also keep an eye out for his “Funky” dance moves.

Apollo 55 (Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt vs Golden Lovers (Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega) – Destruction 2010

Take a look at Apollo 55 against their greatest opponents, Ibushi & Omega. This is junior heavyweight tag team wrestling at its peak at this link.

Ryusuke Taguchi vs Kenny Omega – Best of the Super Juniors 2013

As a preview to their match at Wrestle kingdom, here’s an example of the chemistry between the two during the 2013 BOSJ at this link.

Ryusuke Taguchi vs KUSHIDA – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship – Destruction in Kobe

Here is the match where Taguchi begins his second reign as junior champion, defeating KUSHIDA who had only just got rolling as champion. It's at this link.

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