Last week, New Japan Pro Wrestling announced the return of Bone Soldier, a former member of Bullet Club. The role had previously been performed by Mitsuhide Hirasawa, who had been performing as Captain New Japan.
According to a recent report from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Bone Soldier will not be played by Hirasawa when the character returns. It also noted that Hirasawa was released over a year ago due to gambling issues. The report continued to say there have been rumors that Taiji Ishimori might be the new Bone Soldier and also enter the Best of the Super Juniors tournament in May.
Taiji Ishimori As Bone Soldier
Ishimori, who has been a regular for Impact Wrestling as of late, recently left Pro Wrestling NOAH. If Ishimori has signed with NJPW, it would seemingly contradict statements he made in March. Ishimori told Tokyo Sports he was leaving NOAH to wrestle more internationally.
“Lots of Japanese wrestlers are active internationally right now,” Ishimori said in an interview to Toky Sports (translated by author Chris Charlton). “I want to be among them, for Taiji Ishimori to appeal on a global scale. I’m open to offers at home and abroad.”
It would seem odd for Ishimori to leave on Japanese-based promotion in March in order to pursue international opportunities only to sign with another Japanese based promotion the next month. Still, Ishimori might feel NJPW will offer him more freedom outside of the promotion than Pro Wrestling NOAH would.
Ishimori wrestled for 12 years in NOAH, winning the promotion’s junior heavyweight championship on 3 occasions. He’s also won the Impact Wrestling X-Division championship as well. After defeating Tyson Dux to earn a title shot, Ishimori defeated Trevor Lee for the X-Division title last November.
Ishimori was a young lion in NJPW’s dojo but left the company to join NOAH in 2006.