Pro Wrestling
Pro Wrestling

Takaaki Watanabe (January 16, 1987) is a Japanese professional wrestler currently signed with New Japan Pro Wrestling under the current ring name EVIL. During his tour of the United States, Watanabe previously worked for promotions including Ring of Honor and Global Force Wrestling, under his real name. He is a member of Bullet Club.

Pro wrestling career

New Japan Pro Wrestling (2011–2013)

Watanabe made his debut for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) on May 13, 2011, wrestling primarily as a Young Lion and in the lower cards of shows and remained with the promotion until October 2013, when after King of Pro-Wrestling, announced that he was being sent on a learning excursion to the United States.

Ring of Honor (2015)

In 2015, Watanabe was signed to Ring of Honor for 2 events in May.

At Global Wars '15 the first night May 15 he teamed with Silas Young in a losing effort against Gedo and Moose. The following night May 16, he was defeated by Silas Young.

On the June 27 episode of ROH Wrestling, he lost to Adam Page after Colby Corino attacked Watanabe. On the July 4 episode of ROH Wrestling Dalton Castle would defeat Watanabe. On July 23, ROH announced that House of Truth member Donovan Dijak will battle Takaaki Watanabe in a singles match that will be taped exclusively for ROH's YouTube Wrestling Channel. This occurred July 24 at Death Before Dishonor XIII where Dijak defeated Watanabe.

August 22 at Field of Honor (2015), Watanabe qualified for a ROH World Television Championship match by winning a 9-man gauntlet match. September 18 at All Star Extravaganza VII he teamed with Will Ferrara to defeat Donovan Dijak and Greg James.

On September 19, Watanabe received his shot at The Television Title facing Jay Lethal but was unsuccessful in his attempt.

Return to NJPW (2015–present)

On October 12, 2015, Watanabe returned to NJPW at King of Pro-Wrestling, where he was revealed as Tetsuya Naito's associate during his match against Hiroshi Tanahashi. Watanabe's outside interference in the match was stopped by Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata, leading to Naito suffering a loss. In a post-match interview, Naito gave Watanabe the new name "King of Darkness" Evil. Under the new name, Evil became affiliated with Naito's Los Ingobernables de Japón stable. In December, Evil and Naito won their block in the 2015 World Tag League with a record of five wins and one loss, advancing to the finals of the tournament On December 9, Evil and Naito were defeated in the finals by Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma. In early March, Evil took part in the 2016 New Japan Cup in which he was eliminated in the first round by Tomohiro Ishii. On March 20, Evil unsuccessfully challenged Ishii for the ROH World Television Championship. From July 18 to August 14, Evil took part in the 2016 G1 Climax where he finished his block with four wins and five loses, thus failing to advance. Despite his failure to advance, Evil scored two big wins by defeating IWGP Intercontinental Champion Michael Elgin and NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata on the last day.

On November 5 at Power Struggle, Evil won his first title, when he defeated Katsuyori Shibata for the NEVER Openweight Championship. Ten days later, Evil lost the title back to Shibata in Singapore. At the end of the year, Evil took part in the 2016 World Tag League, teaming with stablemate SANADA. The two finished second in their block with a record of five wins and two losses, tied with block winners Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma, but failed to advance to the finals due to losing the head-to-head match against Makabe and Honma. On January 4, 2017, at Wrestle Kingdom XI, Evil, BUSHI and Sanada won a four-team gauntlet match to win the new NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship. They lost the title to Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi and Ryusuke Taguchi the next day, before regaining it on February 11 at The New Beginning in Osaka. In March, Evil made it to the semifinals of the 2017 New Japan Cup, before losing to Bad Luck Fale. On April 4, L.I.J. lost the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship to Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ricochet and Ryusuke Taguchi in their second defense, before regaining it on May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2017. During the 2017 G1 Climax on August 5, Evil picked up a major win over reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, Okada's first singles defeat in nearly a year. Evil went on to finish third in his block with a record of six wins and three losses. On October 9 at King of Pro-Wrestling, Evil received his first shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, but was defeated by Okada. In December, Evil and Sanada won their block in the 2017 World Tag League with a record of five wins and two losses, advancing to the finals of the tournament. On December 11, they defeated Guerrillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) in the finals to win the tournament. Six days later, Evil, Bushi and Sanada lost the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship to Guerrillas of Destiny and Bad Luck Fale in their fourth defense. On January 4, 2018, at Wrestle Kingdom 12, Evil and Sanada defeated the Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship for the first time.

In 2020, Evil would enter the New Japan Cup. He would make it to the finals and would defeat Kazuchika Okada with help from Bullet Club. His leader, Tetsuya Naito, came out to celebrate. However, Evil would hit Naito with Everything is Evil, turning heel and joining Bullet Club in the process. At Dominion, Evil would win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and IWGP Intercontinental Championship with help from Dick Togo, who was wearing BUSHI's mask. After the match, Hiromu Takahashi would challenge Evil.

In wrestling

  • With Tetsuya Naitō
    • Double-team finishing moves
      • Out of Control (Double-team gorilla press slam)
  • With SANADA
    • Double-team finishing moves
      • Magic Killer (Aided snap swinging neckbreaker)
  • Nicknames
    • "King of Darkness"
  • Entrance themes
    • "Go for Broke" by Yonosuke Kitamura (2011–2013)
    • "Black Deeds" by Yonosuke Kitamura (2015–present)

Championships and accomplishments

External links

NJPW Roster
Alex CoughlinBad Luck FaleBUSHIChase OwensClark ConnorsDavid FinlayEl DesperadoEl PhantasmoEVILFred RosserGedoHIKULEOHirai KawatoHiromu TakahashiHirooki GotoHiroshi TanahashiHiroyoshi TenzanJadoJay WhiteJuice RobinsonKarl FredericksKazuchika OkadaKota IbushiMinoru SuzukiRen NaritaRobbie EaglesRocky RomeroRyu LeeRyusuke TaguchiSANADASatoshi KojimaShingo TakagiSHOShota UminoTaichiTaiji IshimoriTAKA MichinokuTama TongaTanga LoaTetsuya NaitōTiger MaskToa HenareTogi MakabeTomohiro IshiiTomoyuki OkaToru YanoWill OspreayYOHYOSHI-HASHIYoshinobu KanemaruYota TsujiYuji NagataYujiro TakahashiYuya UemuraZack Sabre Jr.