NJPW superstar Hiroshi Tanahashi spoke with NJPW to talk all things pro-wrestling. Highlights are below.
On once getting yelled at by Riki Choshu:
“I wrestled Inoue once in Matsuyama and Choshu called us both out. He yelled ‘you went out there and wrestled like a pair of grandpas! Show some fire damnit!’. This was when he was technically retired, and working with the younger talent.”
Recalls legendary matchup against Shibata in 1999:
“One match that I certainly remember from that time was against Katsuyori Shibata in Osaka in November 1999. … Oh yeah. After that match, Norio Honaga came up to me. Usually he said nothing, just a really strict guy. He’d give the young boys rankings. Always either 0% or 10% on their matches. But that night he said ‘Tanahashi, I’d give that 75%’. (laughs) … I think we just brought all we had. We really wet at it, and the fans came along for the ride. You’d normally get some polite applause in these opening matches, but we had people chanting our names. I think that was the first time I’d heard anyone chanting my name, at least; and this was only a couple of weeks in for both of us.”
How he’s never asked a senior wrestler to watch his matches:
“No, I never did come to think of it. … Yeah, I think so. I was very egotistic. I knew what my style was and I stuck to my guns on it. I listened to the senpai of course, but a lot of the times it would be ‘yes sir!’ and it going in one ear and out the other (laughs).”