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Something unique to the landscape of NJPW is its large factions. Pretty much every wrestler is part of a team. At the moment, the current factions in NJPW are CHAOS, the Hontai Unit, Los Ingobernables de Japon, Bullet Club, the United Empire, and the subject of today’s article, Suzuki-gun.
New Japan’s factions make the promotion much easier to follow for fans unfamiliar with pro wrestling; the ultimate goal of each wrestler is to bring as much gold to their team as possible, which is a very basic plotline for anyone to understand whether they’ve ever watched wrestling before or not. One of the most interesting of these factions is Suzuki-gun, who AEW fans might already be a bit familiar with thanks to Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer’s presence on Dynamite. If you’re looking to get to know Suzuki’s band of misfits a little more, here are some things you should know.
10 The Group Was Originally Kojima-Gun
The original leader of Suzuki-gun (translated to English as Suzuki’s Army) was Satoshi Kojima. The group’s original members besides Kojima were Taichi, Taka Michinoku, Nosawa Rongai, and MVP, known as Kojima-gun. This iteration of the group didn’t last long, though. In 2011, just a few months after the faction was formed, its members turned on Kojima and kicked him out of the group by appointing Minoru Suzuki as their new leader. Suzuki has been the faction’s leader ever since.
9 They Had Their Own Invasion Angle
As part of a partnership between NJPW and Pro Wrestling NOAH, Suzuki-gun was sent over to NOAH in an invasion-style storyline. The villainous army won all of NOAH’s titles and started a storyline wherein all of NOAH’s wrestlers, heels and faces alike, worked together to bring the titles back to NOAH’s own.
The partnership ended after the relationship between NJPW and NOAH allegedly soured. Suzuki-gun were pulled back to NJPW shows full-time thereafter.
8 They’re “Heels”
There’s a typical cycle for heels and faces in NJPW. A heel faction debuts and beats up the faces while committing typical heel offenses. Over time, though, the crowd starts to warm up to them and the heels mellow out. Then the heels effectively become babyfaces, though they still sometimes cheat or get up to mischievous little antics when they can. It might seem weird to fans who don’t watch NJPW, but this has happened to almost every current faction, Suzuki-gun included. They’re very heelish in AEW, but they’re actually pretty nice if you give them a chance.
7 Lance Archer Represents The Stable In AEW
Typically, when a wrestler leaves NJPW, they’ll be kicked out of their faction as a way to write them out of any storylines. With the “forbidden door” in full swing, though, that’s no longer necessary. Lance Archer, despite leaving NJPW for AEW in 2019, is still a member of Suzuki-gun.
6 Shelton Benjamin Was Once A Member
As mentioned earlier, current WWE Superstar MVP was an original member of Kojima-gun. Another former member that WWE fans will be familiar with is Shelton Benjamin (who coincidentally was part of The Hurt Business alongside MVP). During his time in NJPW, Benjamin went by “Shelton X Benjamin.” He was part of the NOAH invasion and left soon after to return to WWE.
5 Suzuki-Gun Is Home To One Of The World’s Best Technical Wrestlers
Zack Sabre Jr. joined Suzuki-Gun in 2017. His technical style made him the perfect protege for Minoru Suzuki. Plus, he’s formed a tight bond with the rest of his stablemates, which has helped him fit into the faction like a missing puzzle piece. Zack Sabre Jr. is widely recognized as one of the best technical wrestlers in the world. For example, he was awarded Best Technical Wrestler of the Decade by Wrestling Observer Network and won their yearly Best Technical Wrestler award each year from 2014 to 2020.
4 They’ve Held Every IWGP Title, Except…
Between every current member of Suzuki-gun, they’ve held the IWGP United States Championship, Intercontinental Championship, Junior Heavyweight Championship, Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, and Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. However, no current member has won the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship at the time of writing this.
3 They’re Pranksters
As coldhearted as Suzuki-gun seems, the group does have a fun-loving side. When they’re not training, the members of Suzuki-gun are known to play some pranks on each other. In one of these instances, Taichi and Zack fed Kanemaru vegan mayonnaise in his sleep. You can imagine how Kanemaru felt upon tasting it.
2 Tag Team Tacticians
Between the junior heavyweights and the heavyweights, Suzuki-gun has had 12 tag team title reigns. When he was a junior, Taichi held the junior tag titles with Taka Michinoku and Yoshinobu Kanemaru, one time each. Yoshinobu now tags with El Desperado in the junior division, and they’ve had four title reigns together.
As for the heavyweights, Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr. (known together as the Killer Elite Squad) had three title reigns. Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr, known as Dangerous Tekkers, are Suzuki-gun’s current heavyweight tag team. They’ve had three title reigns so far, and a very touching love story along the way as well.
1 They Haven’t Won A G1 Climax (Yet!)
As accomplished and world-renowned as Suzuki-gun are, there’s one major accomplishment that’s evaded them. No current member of Suzuki-gun has been able to win the G1 Climax, NJPW’s biggest annual tournament. They've won the G1 Tag League and the New Japan Cup, but never NJPW's flagship tournament. Hopefully, they’re able to bring that trophy home soon.
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About The Author
(54 Articles Published)
Lizzy is a lover of all things Lucha Libre. She lives in Philadelphia with her dogs and her guinea pig.
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