10 things WWE fans should know about Japanese stable Kai En Tai
The Age of Attitude WWE has offered a number of factions over its roughly five-year run, with teams like D-Generation X, the Nation of Domination, and the Corporation being some of the best known. Fans may also remember Japan’s nationalist Kai En Tai faction – comprised of TAKA Michinoku, Funaki, Dick Togo, Men’s Teioh – but mostly for one truly infamous storyline.
While it’s certainly worth remembering how crazy it was, there’s actually a lot to learn about the band. So let’s take a look at the entire series of Kai En Tai and what fans should know about them, from their origins in Japan to their final days as a two-man operation.
ten Started in Michinoku Pro Wrestling
While Western fans know Kai En Tai for their WWE run, the group actually formed in 1994 – four years before their WWE appearance. Inspired by real life Kaitai, considered Japan’s first society, the first members of the heel faction were Men’s Teioh, Dick Togo and Shiryu (more on him below), but would add additional members including Hanzo Nakajima , future ECW and WWE star Yoshihiro Tajiri, and the tag team of TAKA Michinoku and Funaki. The group would soon change their name to Kaitai DX, with the DX standing for “Deluxe”, which of course would drop once they got to WWE to avoid confusion with D-Generation X.
9 Wrestled for ECW as BWO Japan
Before coming to WWE, Kai En Tai would get his first exposure to Western audiences via Extreme Championship Wrestling’s first-ever pay-per-view, the landmark barely legal in 1997. There, Michinoku, Togo, and Teioh compete as Blue World Order branch BWO Japan—a parody of nWo Japan—in a six-man tag team match against Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada, and Masato Yakushiji. The fight turned out to be a fast-paced, athletic show stealer, displaying a style of wrestling that many Western fans had never seen before.
8 Feuded with TAKA Michinoku in WWE
TAKA Michinoku would be the first member of Kai En Tai to sign with WWE, debuting in July 1997 and competing in the company’s new Light Heavyweight division, where he ended up becoming its first champion. But the rest of Kai En Tai wouldn’t show up until post-Wrestle Mania 14 episode of Raw end of March 1998, where they surprisingly staged an attack on their former stable mate.
Kai En Tai considered TAKA to be increasingly westernized thanks to his time in America, and Michinoku responded by teaming up with wrestlers like Bradshaw and The Headbangers in tag team matches against the group.
seven Shiryu was in WCW
However, one of the founding members of Kai En Tai did not make it to the WWE iteration. Shiryu had left Michinoku Pro in 1997 to wrestle in Mexico, after which he found himself in WWE’s direct rival, World Championship Wrestling, where he wrestled under his real name of Kaz Hayashi, which he still uses today. today. Working primarily as a jobber in the cruiserweight division, Hayashi worked on a gimmick where he was “double-crossed” during promos – which will return later – before becoming part of the Jung Dragons faction, which put on some of the best high- WCW last-period fly-by matches.
6 Won Yamaguchi-San as a manager in WWE
Upon their arrival in WWE, Kai En Tai would gain a manager to speak for them at Wally Yamaguchi, who went by the ring name Yamaguchi-San. Yamaguchi started his career as a reporter for Japanese wrestling magazine Gong before entering the business himself, behind the scenes and on screen. Fluent in English, Yamaguchi was not only an ideal candidate to manage a stable of Japanese heels in WWE, but before that he helped book English-speaking talent in Japan and toured with Japanese wrestlers in Japan. foreign.
5 Infamous feud with Val Venis
Any fan thinking back to Kai En Tai, WWE’s showcase of Japanese talent, or just offensive things that happened in wrestling, will certainly remember the group’s feud with pornstar gimmick wrestler Val Venis. Venis drew the ire of Kai En Tai for having slept with Yamaguchi-San’s wife, Ms. Yamaguchi – and recording it – and a feud ensued in which Yamguchi-San threatened to “pee” from Come with a samurai sword. Kai En Tai was unsuccessful in this bizarre angle, which also included TAKA Michinoku turning on his heels to join the group, revealing Ms. Yamaguchi-San to be his sister.
4 A Comedy Jobber Tag Team
The Val Venis feud took place in the summer of 1998, and by the end of 1999 most of Kai En Tai disappeared from WWE television, with only TAKA Michinoku and Funaki remaining. But the Kai En Tai name stuck, with Funaki and Michinoku operating as a tag team, albeit not the most successful, as they were relegated to jobber status and never won any titles together.
On top of that, Kai En Tai’s gimmick got more offensive, as Michinoku and Funaki earned a comedic shtick – credited to Shane McMahon – in which their promos were dubbed with mismatched lip-synced English dialogue.
3 Broken up in 2001
In 2001, TAKA Michinoku suffered a shoulder injury and ended up leaving WWE, leaving Funaki as Kai En Tai’s last member in the company. Amazingly, Funaki ended up sticking around for 12 years, working comedic gimmicks like being “SmackDown’s #1 announcer”, becoming the goofy martial arts-themed Kung Fu Naki, and enjoying a 70-day reign with the Cruiserweight Championship. Released in 2010, Funaki returned to WWE in 2016 to commentate in Japanese alongside Wally Yamaguchi’s brother, Shun Yamaguchi.
2 Had several meetings
Kai En Tai was made as a going concern with his WWE demise, but several reunions took place in the years that followed. The first was held in November 2003 to celebrate Michinoku Pro’s 10th anniversary as TAKA Michinoku, Shiryu, Men’s Teioh, Hanzo Nakajima and Dick Togo competed in a 10-man tag team fight. Although Funaki did not participate in the 10th anniversary match, he joined them in 2005 for a match in TAKA’s own promotion. A few more meetings followed throughout the 2000s, including one for Dragon Gate Pro-Wrestling in 2007.
After leaving WWE, TAKA Michinoku returned to Japan, where he established his own wrestling company and kept the Kai En Tai name alive. Launched in 2002, Kaitai Dojo functions not only as a promotion, but also as a professional wrestling school, teaching students the kind of lucha libre-influenced style that TAKA himself learned at Michinoku Pro, albeit with a some western influence thanks to his time in the WWE. However, TAKA Michinoku would leave the company in 2019 due to an infidelity scandal, later starting a new promotion, Just Tap Out, while Kaitai Dojo would rebrand itself as Active Advance Pro Wrestling, or 2AW.