Editorials Lucha Libre Puroresu

A Japanese Dream: Kamaitachi Back in NJPW

Making his long awaited return to New Japan on Night 5 of Fantasticamania 2016, Kamaitachi made an instant impact and laid out his biggest rival in CMLL: the now former World Lightweight Champion Dragon Lee. Kamaitachi challenged Lee for the title on the last leg of the Fantasticamania tour and valiantly, Lee accepted Kama’s challenge. On Night 6 of Fantasticamania in a sold out Korakuen Hall these 2 athletes destroyed one another and put on an absolute barn-burner of a match. Kamaitachi was successful in his return match to NJPW and put the nail in the coffin regarding the year long feud with Dragon Lee in Mexico. Kamaitachi and Dragon Lee killed themselves that night and took years off their bodies, but it was perfect in every sense of the word. The New Japan faithful have never seen half of the moves the two men did in their match and were losing their minds the entire bout. When Kama hit the Canadian Destroyer and scored the pin, Korakuen didn’t just applaud, they were standing and cheering like Japan won the world cup. It was incredible! During Kamaitachi’s tenure in CMLL he was a big time rudo (heel) but after this performance there is no way he can be a bad guy in New Japan.

Before there was Kamaitachi, there was Hiromu Takahashi who was a young lion in New Japan from 2010 through mid 2013. During the last 6 months of 2013, Takahashi wrestled in Europe learning the catch-as-catch-can style. Even though his style now won’t incorporate a lot of holds and grappling, the 6 months spent in Europe undoubtedly helped Hiromu Takahashi grow into a complete wrestler. On January 31, 2014, Takahashi debuted in CMLL under a mask taking the name Kamaitachi. He was instantly aligned with a Japanese man in Okumura. On October 17, 2014, he and Dragon Lee battled for the first time in a lightning match which Dragon Lee won. In 2015 the two men battled each other 8 times in singles matches! In a mask vs. mask match on March 20, 2015, Dragon Lee took the hood off Kamaitachi in a helluva match. Whilst in CMLL he started using insanely dangerous moves like the Canadian Destroyer, missile dropkicks on the concrete/dirt floor and a top rope senton to the floor. He would of learned an incredible amount of knowledge and skills down in Mexico but he also took years off his in-ring career with all the stupid bumps he took, for example; HE GOT POWER-BOMBED TWICE ON A CONCRETE FLOOR!

After almost 2 years in CMLL, he lost a hair vs. hair match to Maximo which basically capped off his CMLL run. He did wrestle one week later in Arena Mexico taking part in a 6 man tag.

Now Kamaitachi is back in New Japan with a completely different look and a fantastic persona which is a sleazy dude that drops people on their heads. With the reaction he received from Korakuen and the undeniable wrestling abilities of Kamaitachi, it seems certain that his future in NJPW is bright…or is it? For almost a year everyone has been clamoring for Kamaitachi to return to Japan but also praying that Gedo (who is the booker) doesn’t screw him up. Kama was in the same young lion group as EVIL and I wouldn’t call EVIL a failure but more of a flop. Watanabe could have been a heavyweight star but he looks like he would be on the sci-fi channel with his stupid Axe or whatever it is. Kamaitachi’s return to NJPW was 10 times better than EVIL’s return and received a much louder reaction. With his size I can’t see Kamaitachi being a heavyweight unfortunately, even though NJPW is in desperate need of heavyweights. Kamaitachi will more than likely be a Jr. heavyweight. That’s not the worst thing in the world but it’s not the early 90’s and the Jr. division doesn’t mean half as much as it did back then. In 2015 the Jr. division was booked like complete garbage and the Jr. tag belts still are being booked like that. The talent in the Jr. division is insane and the matches always deliver but when you’re invested in certain wrestlers (KUSHIDA), and they’re booked like The Goon it makes me sour real quick. Kama is not aligned with anyone in Japan and that’s probably for the best because he doesn’t need any getting over because his in ring capability will get him over. If New Japan messes up Kamaitachi it would get me really annoyed. If he is given the freedom and leeway to do what he does best which is wrestle incredible matches, then he will be more than okay in New Japan Pro Wrestling.

As of this piece, Kamaitachi is not booked on the ‘Road To New Beginning’ shows or the New Beginning pay-per views which is very interesting. Maybe he might do a little more training at the Dojo to get equated back into the puroresu style, I’m not sure but it’s a damn shame we aren’t going to see Kamaitachi wrestle for at least 3 weeks In Japan because he is returning to Mexico to team with Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu. What I believe is going to happen is he lays out the winner of the BUSHI/KUSHIDA match at New Beginning in Niigata which I sadly believe will be BUSHI, because KUSHIDA is treated like trash whenever he has the Jr. belt. As much as I don’t want to see KUSHIDA lose, a BUSHI and Kamaitachi program would be lit. Kamaitachi could be the first guy to stand up to LOS INGOBERNABLES and wage war against the villainous faction, he could go through the stable one by one eventually leading to a match against Tetsuya Naito. That would be great but don’t hope for it because in all actuality Kama will probably just be another talented Jr. that gets a shot at the title every so often. As I sit here in my bedroom, eating rice cakes, and fantasy booking Kamaitachi career; I got to thinking. That’s exactly what I shouldn’t be doing. I should just wait and see what happens with Kamaitachi in NJPW and let the process play out. If I work myself into a shoot thinking he is going to main event PPV’s I will be disappointed. I am just lucky I get to watch the man perform.

I want the best for the former Hiromu Takahashi in Japan and the ceiling to succeed is so high for this dude. He could be the next major star in New Japan. 2016 has been a fantastic year for professional wrestling thus far and with the arrival of Kamaitachi in Japan, 2016 to continue to get even better.

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