It was announced a short while back by Bullet Club's Cody that, when Dontaku rolls around, a major return would be taking place. Though some may question if he was being serious or not, the person returning would be Bone Soldier. For those unfamiliar, Bone Soldier was a character that was considered an outcast of the Bullet Club.
This hailing of his return by the 'American Nightmare' suggested he might be granted greater importance. The character had been considered a laughing stock for a number of reasons. He had no credibility when he was in the ring, and while some wrestlers might instill some sense of fear in their opposition, this wasn't the case with Bone Soldier.
In fact, in tag matches, he was often the one pinned, the loss for the team. A faction as proud as Bullet Club would doubtlessly eventually grow tired of his lack of success and want to part ways with him.
Who is Bone Soldier?
However, in discussing Bone Soldier, it is important to reflect on whom he was, why he came to be, and why he is being brought back to NJPW and more specifically Bullet Club. Before there was a Bone Soldier, there was simply Mitsuhide Hirasawa, a man with a background in amateur wrestling that competed for multiple World championships before becoming a professional.
He began his career with New Japan Pro Wrestling in January 2006, losing his first match to Takashi Iizuka. He would often compete in preliminary or dark matches that weren't given much attention or publicity. After a few months, he won his first match, against Yujiro Takahashi. He formed tag teams with the likes of Yuji Nagata and Ryusuke Taguchi, and in fact was part of a tandem that defeated current IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada in a tag match.
After leaving New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2010, he later returned, but reinvented his look and character. He ditched his real name and became Hideo Saito, a grisly looking character similar to that of a Neanderthal. Upon his return he betrayed his past friendship with his former tag partner Nagata and joined the Chaos faction.
However, as the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite now being with Chaos, he continued to lose regularly. This was no more evident than during his time in the 2011 G1 Climax tournament, when he didn't win a match until the final day of the tournament. Saito was often described as 'unstable' or 'unpredictable,' making Chaos ability to depend on him unlikely, as unlikely was it was that he would win matches.
The Birth of Captain New Japan
Saito's departure from the group once again led to change, and the result was, he became Captain New Japan. Dressed in a costume that resembled that of a superhero, he took the 'America' out of Captain America, with New Japan Pro Wrestling taking its place. He formed a team at this point with former IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental champion Hiroshi Tanahashi known as Captain Ace.
Despite the new partner and look, Captain New Japan was still unsuccessful, losing all six of their tag matches in the 2012 World Tag League, being the one pinned in each match. As the losses mounted, so did the frustration within Captain New Japan. Many of those responsible for his mounting losses were members of Bullet Club, whether it was Prince Devitt, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga or Karl Anderson.
The Emergence of Bone Soldier
It was time for a change, and with change came another new union. Captain New Japan joined Yoshitatsu in 2016 in a group that wanted to challenge the Bullet Club, a group known as the Hunter Club. However, despite his new alliance, Captain New Japan continued to lose. All the losses led to frustration for Yoshitatsu, leading him to create a poll on social media to determine the Captain's fate.
After it was determined that, he would not be a part of Hunter Club anymore, Captain New Japan attacked Yoshitatsu and did what many would have thought to be unthinkable: he joined Bullet Club. With this new-found allegiance came a new name, and he was dubbed Bone Soldier.
However, once again, regardless of how he looked, the results remained the same. Bone Soldier continued to lose and as a result was ousted from Bullet Club, ultimately leaving New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2017.
Bone Soldier 2.0
On May 4th, 2018 Bone Soldier returned, alongside original Bullet Club member Tama Tonga. Only this time, the mask was removed, and it was revealed that it was none other than Tajiri Ishimori. This latest development suggests that while Bone Soldier was a painful memory for Bullet Club, the future appears bright since they have brought in this talented junior heavyweight.
Ishimori is a tremendous talent that has been successful in North America and in Pro Wrestling Noah, and is now with his country's largest promotion ready to apply his craft. This appears to be another in the long line of shots fired between Cody and other rival Bullet Club members, only for the result to be it backfiring on him as things fall into place for the original Bullet Club.
As a wrestling enthusiast for over 30 years, my fondness for professional wrestling explores the irrational in a rational way. I will explore the details inside and outside the ring and hopefully have a laugh with you in the process. I've had the fortune to interview wrestlers from Lucha Underground, TNA, Ring of Honor, GFW, and former WWE talent as well. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram and feel free to visit my website Pro Wrestling Post.