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Hiroshi Tanahashi PNG Transparent Images

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Submitted by on Jul 14, 2021

Hiroshi Tanahashi (born November 13, 1976) is a professional wrestler from Japan. He works mostly for New Japan Pro-Wrestling and is widely considered as one of the best professional wrestlers of all time (NJPW), In NJPW, he has held the titles of IWGP Heavyweight Champion eight times, IWGP Intercontinental Champion twice, IWGP Tag Team Champion three times, NEVER Openweight Champion once, and NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champion three times. He has also won NJPW’s main tournament, the G1 Climax, three times (in 2007, 2015, and 2018), as well as the New Japan Cup twice (in 2005 and 2008), making him one of New Japan’s best and most accomplished wrestlers.

Tanahashi has also held the CMLL World Tag Team Championship, CMLL World Trios Championship, CMLL Universal Championship, GHC Tag Team Championship, and RevPro British Heavyweight Championship through NJPW’s cooperation agreements with CMLL, Pro Wrestling Noah, and Revolution Pro Wrestling. He has won over 21 championships in all.

Dave Meltzer said when Tanahashi was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame in 2013, “you could make a strong case for him as the best in-ring performer in the business today,” adding that he was “the leading star in New Japan Pro-comeback Wrestling’s from being in terrible shape a few years ago to being the No. 2 pro wrestling company in the world.”

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Tanahashi was a high school baseball player before entering professional wrestling. He began practicing freestyle wrestling while studying law at Kyoto’s Ritsumeikan University. New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) talent scouts saw him at this time and offered him to try out for the NJPW Dojo.

His tryout in February 1998 went well, and he was hired as a trainee. After graduating from Ritsumeikan University the following year, he joined the NJPW dojo. Shawn Michaels has been named Tanahashi’s favorite wrestler. Tatsumi Fujinami was also someone he respected, and he contemplated using the ring name “Dragon Hiroshi” in his honor.

Tanahashi made his professional wrestling debut in October 1999, in about against Shinya Makabe, after graduating from the NJPW dojo. Tanahashi became recognized as one of the “new Three Musketeers” alongside fellow rookies Katsuyori Shibata and Shinsuke Nakamura. In July 2000, he was awarded major wins over lucha libre icon Negro Casas and American Scott Hall in September 2001, cementing his status as a strong prospect.

Tanahashi’s fame continued to climb as he pinned Kensuke Sasaki in under two minutes in the 2002 G1 Climax (one of NJPW’s most significant yearly tournaments). Following that, Tanahashi was teamed with Kenzo Suzuki as the Kings of the Hills tag team. This beloved partnership came to an end in November 2002, when Tanahashi was stabbed in the back by Hitomi Hara, a TV Asahi news reporter, in a real-life event. Tanahashi and Hara had dated, but at a meeting at her Tokyo residence, he attempted to break up with her since he had been dating another lady, which resulted in Hara stabbing him twice.

Hara eventually admitted to trying to kill Tanahashi and intending to commit suicide as a result. Hara was charged with attempted murder and given a four-year probationary sentence. Tanahashi was hospitalized but would recover, and strangely, this event may have been the best thing that could have happened to his career because the stabbing was extensively covered throughout Japan, and there was a tremendous desire to see Tanahashi return. Tanahashi made his return as a singles wrestler in front of a sold-out crowd in Tokyo on February 16, 2003, in about against Manabu Nakanishi.

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