Road to Redemption: Tajiri wins Gold in All-Japan

Photo: WWE

One of the feel good stories of last summer, was the return of former WWE and ECW Superstar Yoshihiro Tajiri to the WWE Universe, when he entered last summer’s Cruiserweight Classic. The nostalgia vibrations and his high ability lead to him returning to the WWE, first in NXT and then to Raw as part of the new Cruiserweight Division (a division where he held the WWE Cruiserweight Championship for 283 days in the early 2000’s). But early in his first storyline, Tajiri was injured and spent most of the next year on the shelf. Once he was cleared for return, the WWE decided he was a health risk as a performer but wanted Tajiri to remain in some capacity with the company, perhaps as a producer, agent or trainer. Tajiri declined and was granted his release and he returned home to Japan once again, at the age of 46, to continue his career as an active performer.

Photo: AJPW

Today in Edion Arena in Osaka Japan, as part of All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW)’s 2017 Summer Actions Series, Tajiri shocked the AJPW crowds with a win over Hikaru Sato to become the new All-Japan Junior Heavyweight Champion. Although he’d debuted with Michinoku Pro in 2004 and then WAR, it was during his first run with AJPW that he became a star, that sent him to NJPW, ECW and the WWF. A redemption tale of honourable proportions, Tajiri returns to Japan and wins one of the biggest titles of his career.

Photo: WWE
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Jamie Greer is the Managing Editor and lead writer for Last Word on Pro Wrestling. A lifelong wrestling fan who started with the WWF in the early 80's, he now follows everything from the smallest indie to WWE. He's also written for WrestleZone, The Windsor Star, Windsor Independent and other publications. He lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, with his wife and son.


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