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Hiroshi Tanahashi (November 13, 1976) is a Japanese professional wrestler who works primarily for New Japan Pro Wrestling, as well as appearing with Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre in Mexico, where he was one half of the CMLL World Tag Team Champions with Jushin Liger. He has also previously appeared with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

Career

Before entering the world of wrestling, Hiroshi Tanahashi was a baseball player in high school. He started wrestling while attending [itsumeikan University in Kyoto and was fairly successful. During this time he was noticed by New Japan Pro Wrestling talent scouts and was invited to try out for the New Japan Dojo. His try out was successful and he was accepted as a trainee.

After graduating from the New Japan Dojo, Tanahashi made his debut in October, 1999 in a match against Shinya Makabe. He became viewed as a big prospect and was given big wins over lucha libre legend Negro Casas in July, 2000 and American Scott Hall in September, 2001. His star continued to rise and in the 2002 G-1 Climax (one of New Japan Pro Wrestling's most important annual tournaments) Tanahashi pinned Kensuke Sasaki in under two minutes.

After this Tanahashi was paired with Kenzo Suzuki in a tag team named the Kings of the Hills. This pairing was popular but came to an end after a real life incident. In November, 2002 Tanahashi was stabbed in the back by Hitomi Hara (a TV Asahi news reporter he had dated for a brief amount of time). Tanahashi was hospitalized, but would recover.

Ironically this incident may have been the best thing to happen to his career. The stabbing was widely reported across Japan and a strong interest to see Tanahashi return was created. On February 16, 2003 Tanahshi returned as a singles wrestler to a sold out crowd in Tokyo in a match against Manabu Nakanishi.

His career began to rapidly climb from this point. In the later half of 2003 Tanahashi captured the U-30 Openweight Championship, in August, 2004 he made it to the finals of the G1 Climax and in January, 2005 he headlined a show at the Tokyo Dome in a match against Shinsuke Nakamura.

In 2005, Tanahashi also made an appearance in the 15th SASUKE competition on July 20. He was eliminated in the first round.

Tanahashi made his North American debut in September 2005 when he and Nakamura went to Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre in Mexico. There, they feuded with Los Guerreros del Infierno and successfully defended their tag team championship against Rey Bucanero and Olímpico. He debuted in the United States on January 15, 2006. He faced AJ Styles in a match that was broadcast on the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling pay per view Final Resolution. He was also featured in a match against Roderick Strong that was taped for TNA Xplosion a few days later.

He would go on to defeat Masahiro Chono by Sling Blade in the first round of the New Japan Cup (determining a No. 1 contender against IWGP Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar) on April 16, 2006 in Korakuen Hall, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan by Dragon suplex hold in the second round on April 25 in Omuta Citizen Gymnasium before falling to Yuji Nagata's wrist-clutch Exploder in the semifinal on April 29 in the Tottori Industrial Gymnasium.

Tanahashi also defeated Tiger Mask IV on May 13, 2006 in the first ever main event of the new WRESTLE LAND brand (a promotional experiment by New Japan with "sports entertainment"), debuting a modified side buster finish.

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Brock Lesnar for the IWGP Heavyweight Title had been announced for New Japan's 7/17 Sapporo, Tsukisamu Green Dome event. Following this announcement Tanahashi vacated the IWGP U-30 Championship

On June 28, 2006, Tanahashi was announced as a participant in the 2006 G-1 Climax, his fifth appearance in the tournament.

On July 17, 2006, Tanahashi won his first IWGP Heavyweight Championship when he defeated Giant Bernard in the finals of the tournament for the vacant belt. He showed the belt on his second appearance on SASUKE, during the 17th competition, where he was again eliminated in the first round.

After holding the belt for almost 9 months (270 days), and defending the title against the likes of Taiyo Kea, Shinsuke Nakamura and others, Tanahashi lost the title to Yuji Nagata, who had won the 2007 New Japan Cup and become the #1 contender. Tanahashi managed to come back from this by winning the 2007 G1, where he defeated Nagata in the finals, and successfully challenged his rival to a rematch on October 8, 2007 where he pinned Nagata to regain the title. On January 4, 2008 Tanahashi was defeated at New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome show by Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Heavyweight title in the night's main event.

In February's New Japan ISM Tour, Tanahashi successfully defeated AJ Styles in a highly anticipated rematch. Following this, Hiroshi Tanahashi was entered into the coveted New Japan Cup tournament in which the winner would face off against the then-IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura, as the number one contender.

In wrestling

  • Finishing moves
    • High Fly Flow (diving arching body press), sometimes done to a standing opponent
    • Texas Cloverleaf hold
  • Signature moves
    • Dragon Sleeper
    • Sling Blade - Innovated
    • Various suplexes
      • bridging Dragon Suplex - Main finisher from 2002-2004; has since become used primarily as a signature move
      • Kinka-zan German Suplex (high angle bridging German suplex)
      • Daruma-shiki German Suplex (straight-jacket bridging German suplex, done as a counter to opponents escaping from a Dragon Suplex)
    • Dragon Screw leg whip, sometimes done to a grounded opponent - Adopted from Tatsumi Fujinami
    • Twist and Shout (Screw neckbreaker drop)
    • Half Hatch Suplex Hold - Main finisher from 2000-2001.
    • Dragon Swing (swinging Dragon sleeper into mat slam)
    • Various pinning cradles
      • Denkou Sekka (running inside cradle), sometimes done following a standing enzuigiri
      • Fall In Love (Victory roll pinfall)
      • Grounded Cobra Twist - Adopted from Tatsumi Fujinami
    • Dragon Rocket (suicide dive) - Adopted from Tatsumi Fujinami
    • Diving Sunset Flip (top-rope rolling senton)
    • Sky Twister Press (corkscrew moonsault) - used from 2002-2004 while wrestling as Masked Devilock
    • Dragon-shiki Harite (left-handed open-palm face slap) - Adopted from Tatsumi Fujinami
    • Ura-nage - Adopted from Hiroshi Hase
    • All-Out (spinning side slam) - 2006, while wrestling in WRESTLE LAND
    • Twelve-Six (Capture suplex into a sitout driver)

Nicknames

  • High Flying Star
  • Once in a Century Talent (100年に一人の逸材, Hyaku-nen ni Hitori no Itsuzai)
  • Ace of the Universe
  • "Mr Tokyo Dome"

Tag teams and stables

Championships and accomplishments

See also

External links

NJPW Roster
Bad Luck FaleBONE SOLDIERBUSHIDavid FinlayEl DesperadoEVILGedoHirai KawatoHirooki GotoHiromu TakahashiHiroshi TanahashiHiroyoshi TenzanJay WhiteJuice RobinsonJushin Thunder LigerKatsuyori ShibataKazuchika OkadaKenny OmegaKenta SatoKimihiko OzakiKUSHIDAMakoto AbeManabu NakanishiMatt JacksonMichael ElginMinoru SuzukiNick JacksonRocky RomeroRyusuke TaguchiSANADASatoshi KojimaSHOTaichiTakashi IizukaTakeshi MisawaTakumi HonjoTama TongaTeruaki KanemitsuTetsuya NaitoTiger MaskTogi MakabeTomohiro IshiiTonga LoaToru YanoWataru InoueYOHYOSHI-HASHIYoshitatsuYuji NagataYujiro Takahashi