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.
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.
- Finishing and signature moves
- High Fly Flow
- Dragon Suplex
- Dragon Sleeper
- Sling Blade - Innovated
- "High Flying Star"
- Tag teams and stables
Championships and accomplishments
- IWGP Heavyweight Champion (5 times)
- IWGP Tag Team Champion (2 times) - with Yutaka Yoshie (1), Shinsuke Nakamura (1)
- IWGP U-30 Openweight Champion (2 times)
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship (2 times, current)
- NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship (3 times) 1 with Michael Elgin and Yoshi Tatsu, 1 with Manabu Nakanishi and Ryusuke Taguchi, 1 with Ricochet and Ryusuke Taguchi
|Bad Luck Fale • BONE SOLDIER • BUSHI • Cody Hall • David Finlay • El Desperado • EVIL • Fujin • Gedo • Hirai Kawato • Hirooki Goto • Hiroshi Tanahashi • Hiroyoshi Tenzan • Hiroyuki Unno • Captain NOAH • Jay White • Juice Robinson • Jushin Thunder Liger • Kamaitachi • Katsuyori Shibata • Kazuchika Okada • Kenny Omega •
Kenta Sato • Kimihiko Ozaki • Kuniaki Kobayashi • KUSHIDA • Makoto Abe • Manabu Nakanishi • Marty Asami • Michael Elgin • Sho Tanaka • Ryusuke Taguchi • Satoshi Kojima • Seiji Sakaguchi • Super Strong Machine • Taichi • Takashi Iizuka • Takeshi Misawa • Takumi Honjo • Tama Tonga • Teruaki Kanemitsu • Tetsuya Naito • Tiger Mask • Togi Makabe • Tomohiro Ishii • Toru Yano • Wataru Inoue • YOSHI-HASHI • Yoshitatsu • Yuji Nagata • Yujiro Takahashi