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    Friday, August 6, 2021

    Finisher Friday (8/6/21): Don't Disrespect the Bone Soldier

    Welcome to another edition of #FinisherFriday! This is Wreddit_Regal giving you a short review of a finisher that can turn a match into an internally bloody finish.

    If you take the time to ask any casual NJPW viewer who they'd think is the promotion's worst worker in any time period, they wouldn't be able to give you an answer. That is because whether homegrown or from another promotion, NJPW instills into their roster the same work ethic that made them into arguably the largest wrestling powerhouse on Japanese soil. However, everything changes when you turn the question into "Who's the worst character in NJPW?". Not even a lovable loser like YOSHI-HASHI holds a candle to this character who was literally the embodiment of cannon fodder in the battlefields of puroresu: Bone Soldier.

    Bone Soldier's infamy (or inferiority) is greatly associated with the wrestler who first portrayed him. I mean, the guy had four different gimmicks (Mitsuhide Hirasawa, Hideo Saito, CAPTAIN FOOKIN NEW JAPAN, Bone Soldier), all of which amounted to no success. This guy was so unreliable in the ring that he served as the fall guy in multi-man matches. This lack of success has caused this man to be cast away from three factions (CHAOS, Hunter Club, Bullet Club) and, ultimately, NJPW in 2017.

    With Cody announcing Bone Soldier's return in 2018, many rolled their eyes because of the expectation that a loser would be joining the Bullet Club's ranks again. This wasn't the case, as another person was under the mask - this time a more capable competitor. It was none other than Taiji Ishimori, a guy who had accolades such as the TNA X Division Championship, GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship, and GHC Junior Tag Team Championship under his belt. Proving the Bone Soldier haters wrong, he immediately went into action, taking hold of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship two times and winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship alongside El Phantasmo.

    Ishimori is easily one of the most explosive wrestlers in the Junior Heavyweight division, able to dance in the pace of highly-acclaimed workers like Hiromu Takahashi and Dragon Ryu Lee with his speed, flexibility, and his tendency to throw caution against the wind with his moveset:

    His finisher is a single underhook lifting gutbuster, named the Bloody Cross:

    Unlike other gutbusters where the attacker lets go of the opponent's arms, this variation makes sure to prevent the opponent from cushioning the fall or shielding their stomach by securing one arm in an underhook. Another notable change-up is where Ishimori places his right knee upon landing. Instead of putting it on the opponent's stomach, he prefers to place it on the opponent's side. This effectively turns an ordinary gutbuster into a painful rib shot, which when done at an elevated height can easily cause fractured ribs in the area of impact.

    Using my Regal Rating, I would give this move a:

    8/10 for aesthetics. A soldier performs his moves as efficiently as possible. Ishimori as the Bone Soldier is no different: he isn't one to perform taunts or signature poses before the move. The standard version is done in a quick and savage fashion, which translates to his explosiveness. The inverted version is also a sight to behold:

    9/10 for damage. Fractured ribs aren't a thing to laugh at. If they puncture your lung, you'll be in for a nasty case of hemothorax, which in layman's terms is simply drowning in your own blood. This scenario explains why the move is named as such.

    And that's it chaps, my short review of Taiji Ishimori's Bloody Cross! How long did it take for you to remove the pre-existing notion that Bone Soldier was trash, now that Ishimori has worn the mask? Let us know in the comment section below!


    Wreddit_Regal is the resident finisher fanatic of Reddit's wrestling forum, r/squaredcircle. From the most basic of punches to the most intricate double-team maneuvers, he can explain them within the realm of human anatomy and physics, because when doing absolutely nothing wrestling-related, he also happens to work as an operating room nurse.

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    Item Reviewed: Finisher Friday (8/6/21): Don't Disrespect the Bone Soldier Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Wreddit_Regal
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