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 is a Japanese professional wrestler who works primarily for New Japan Pro Wrestling.


Career

Before entering the world of professional wrestling, Hiroshi Tanahashi was a baseball player in high school. He started wrestling while attending Ritsumeikan Universitymarker 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.

New Japan Pro Wrestling

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 Asahimarker 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 Japanmarker 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 Tokyomarker 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 Domemarker 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.

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 Hallmarker, 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 title. 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 Taiyō 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 Climax, where he defeated Nagata in the finals, and successfully challenged his rival to a rematch on October 8th, 2007 where he pinned Nagata to regain the title. On January 4, 2008 Tanahashi was defeated at New Japan's annual Tokyo Domemarker 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 A.J. 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. Mid-February, he was embroiled in a contract dispute with New Japan. While negotiations were on going Tanahashi took advantage of his free agent status to compete in All Japan's Champion's Carnival. He came in as a heel & was given the "Block from Hell" as he had to face nearly all of All Japan's top talent including Taiyō Kea, Satoshi Kojima, Toshiaki Kawada, & his mentor Keiji Mutoh. He went undefeated & advanced to the finals where he was finally subdued by Suwama.

It was announced on November 19 that Tanahashi will challenge IWGP Heavyweight Champion Keiji Mutoh at the January 4 Dome Show titled Wrestle Kingdom III.

On January 4, Tanahashi defeated his mentor Keiji Mutoh to become the 50th IWGP Heavyweight Champion, beginning his third reign. Following his victory, when asked who he would like his next challenger to be, Tanahashi called out generation rival Shinsuke Nakamura, who accepted. At New Japan's ISM tour on February 15, Tanahashi defeated Nakamura with the High Fly Flow in his first title defense. After the match he declared himself "the ace of the universe" and was challenged by Kurt Angle. Tanahashi defeated Angle April 5 at New Japan's "Resolution 09" with two High Fly Flows. His next opponent was Hirooki Goto, whom he defeated on May 3 at "Wrestling Dontaku 2009" with a High Fly Flow. Just days later, Tanahashi was defeated by Manabu Nakanishi on May 6 at "Dissidence 2009." He regained the Title from Nakanishi on June 20 at "Dominion 6.20" for his fourth reign.

He successfully defended the title against NOAH's Takashi Sugiura on July 20, the first ever NJPW vs. NOAH match for the IWGP Heavyweight title.

Tanahashi would vacate the IWGP Heavyweight title on August 17, due to an eye fracture injury he suffered in a match with Shinsuke Nakamura, in the semi-finals of the 2009 G1 Climax Tournament.

On November 8 at Destruction '09 Tanahashi returned to challenge for the belt he was forced to vacate, but came up short against the reigning champion Nakamura.

Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre

Tanahashi made his North American debut in September 2005 when he and Nakamura went to Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre in Mexicomarker. There, they feuded with Los Guerreros del Infierno and successfully defended their IWGP Tag Team Championship against Rey Bucanero and Olímpico.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2006, 2008)

He debuted in the United States with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling on January 14, 2006, at Final Resolution. He was defeated by A.J. Styles. He was also featured in a match against Roderick Strong that was taped for TNA Xplosion a few days later.

On the October 30, 2008 episode of TNA Impact! losing in a tag team match with Volador, Jr. against The Motor City Machine Guns. After the match they were attacked by Sheik Abdul Bashir. On the November 6 episode of Impact! Tanahashi teamed with Volador again in a 4-way Ladder Match for number 1 contendership for Beer Money's TNA World Tag Team Championship against Team 3D, Matt Morgan and Abyss and The Latin American Xchange which Matt Morgan and Abyss won. At Turning Point, Tanahashi participated in a 10-man X Division seeding match where he came fourth. Following the announcement of his IWGP Heavyweight title match against Mutoh, Tanahashi cancelled the rest of his TNA dates to return to New Japan Pro Wrestling full time.

In wrestling







Championships and accomplishments

*IWGP Heavyweight Championship (4 times)
*IWGP Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Yutaka Yoshie (1) and Shinsuke Nakamura (1)
*IWGP U-30 Championship (2 times)
*G1 Climax (2007)
*New Japan Cup (2005, 2008)


*PWI ranked him #8 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2009


*GHC Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Yuji Nagata


References



External links




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