Tanahashi, Hiroshi

PhotobucketHiroshi Tanahashi 棚橋 弘至 (Tanahashi, Hiroshi)
The Ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling
The High Fly Star
alias/nickname: Masked Devilock, Wrestle Lando, Baby Mutoh
Height: 181 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight: 101 kg (223 lb)
Born: November 13, 1976 (11/13/1976) in Ogaki, Gifu, Japan
Trained in the NJPW Dojo by Keiji Mutoh, Kensuke Sasaki &Tatsumi Fujinami
Debut: October 10, 1999 against Shinya Makabe (Tohgi Makabe)

Main Signature Moves:
– High Fly Flow (Diving Frog Splash)
– Dragon Suplex (Release and Hold)
– Sling Blade (Running Float-over Neckbreaker Drop)
– Trapped German Suplex
– Cloverleaf Hold

Other Favorite Moves:
– Dragon Sleeper
– German Suplex Hold
– Half-hatch Suplex Hold
– Powerbomb
– Dragon Skrew Leg Whip
– Running Flying Forearm
– Enzuigiri
– Small Package
– Rolling Senton
– Uranage

Championship History
PhotobucketIWGP Heavyweight Championship: (5 Times)
~ Defeated Giant Bernard on 7/17/06 and lost to Yuji Nagata on 4/13/07
~ Defeated Yuji Nagata on 10/8/07 and lost to Shinsuke Nakamura on 1/4/08
~ Defeated Keiji Mutoh on 1/4/09 and lost to Manabu Nakanishi on 5/6/09
~ Defeated Manabu Nakanishi on 6/20/09 and forfeited due to injury on 8/16/09
~ Defeated Satoshi Kojima on 1/4/2011 and ….

IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: (2)

– (w/ Yutaka Yoshie) Defeated Chono and Tenzan on 6/13/03 and lost to Nishimura and Tenzan on 12/14/03
– (w/ Shinsuke Nakamura) Defeated Kensuke Sasaki and Minoru Suzuki on 12/11/04 and lost to Chono and Tenzan on 10/30/05

New Japan U-30 Openweight Championship: (2)
– Defeated Shinya Makabe on 4/23/03 and lost to Shinsuke Nakamura on 1/4/05
– Defeated Tohru Yano on 6/18/05 and Vacated on 6/7/06 due to winning the IWGP Heavy.

GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (NOAH):
– (w/ Yuji Nagata) Defeated Tamon Honda and Kobashi on 11/30/03 and lost to Misawa and Ogawa on 1/10/04

Tournaments and Accomplishments
New Japan Cup (2005 and 2008)
G1 Climax (2007)

Career History:

written by Charles Schaeffer

Hiroshi Tanahashi was born on November 13th, 1976 in Ogaki, Gifu, Japan. Growing up Tanahashi used to play baseball all the way up till he was in college. During the time he was in college he joined the schools wrestling team, and found he found out he wasn’t that bad at it. During one of his matches a talent scout from NJPW liked what they saw and invited him to come train at the New Japan Dojo. After A tryout he proved himself to be qualified and he was chosen to be a student. Tanahashi graduated the Dojo on October 10, 1999 when he had his debut match against Shinya Makabe. He proved to have a future in sport whenever he defeated the Mexican legend Negros Casas in mid 2000, and in 2001 defeating Scott Hall. Tanahashi continued on his path of greatness into 2002, which lead him to his first major victory. During the 2002 G-1 climax Tanahashi landed a great upset by defeating Kensuke Sasaki in under two minutes.Even though he ultimately lost the G-1 tournament he did walk away with some new respect. Right after the tournament he paired up with Kenzo Suzuki to form the team called “Kings of the Hills”. They were a very well liked and strong team, but it didn’t last long. Something tragic happened to Tanahashi. He was stabbed in the back by his ex-girlfriend Hitomi Hara. Tanahashi was rushed to a hospital, and managed to recover. Shortly after the stabbing news of the incident was reported across Japan and Tanahashi during this time gained a strong following and they all wanted to see him return to the ring as soon as possible .Almost four months later on February of 2003 Tanahashi returned and wrestled his first match against Manabu Nakanishi. Tanahashi seemed to be better than ever and in the early to mid of 2003 Tanahashi became the first IWGP U-30 Champion when he defeated Shinya Makabe. A few months later he would capture the IWGP Tag Team Titles, with Yutaka Yoshie, when they defeated Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan. During the G1 Climax on August of 2003, Tanahashi would be the only man to get a pin fall Hiroyoshi Tenzan during the whole tournament. He would then go on to defeat PRIDE’s Kazuyuki Fujita in a 10-man Elimination Tag Team bout on the October 13, 2003 Tokyo Dome show, and at the end of 2003 Tanahashi would get the upset when he and Nagata defeated Kenta Kobashi & Tamon Honda for NOAH’s GHC Tag Team Title.

In early 2004, Tanahashi and Nagata would have to put the GHC Tag Titles up against Mitsuharu Misawa and Yoshinari Ogawa, and they would lose. On February 15, 2004, during the first round of the IWGP Heavyweight Title Tournament, Tanahashi would pull a big upset when he beat Yoshihiro Takayama. This upset signaled that he was on the verge of winning the IWGP very soon. This guaranteed himself a place in the 2004 G1 Climax, and he would make it all the way to the finals to face the man he beat last year Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Tanahashi even though showing a good performance was not able to beat him, and he would lose the G1 Tournament again. On September 15, Tanahashi became Masked Devilock and fought THE APEMAN on what was called Devilock Night.The end of 2004 saw a high point in Tanahashi’s career when he and Nakamura would beat Kensuke Sasaki and Minoru Suzuki for the IWGP Tag Team Titles. This was a true historic event in NJ history and if these two men ever needed to prove that they were the future of the sport this was it. During the Tokyo Dome show of January 4, 2005 Tanahashi would go one on one with Nakamura for the U-30 Championship, and he would end up losing the title to him. In a turn of events on Nakamura vacated the title on May 1. This meant that a tournament was needed to find a new champion. The event was the IWGP U-30 Openweight Title League, and Tanahashi managed to make it to the finals against Toru Yano beating him with his patented Slingblade finisher. So, he was now once again the U-30 Champion. Tanahashi also at this time started to affiliate himself outside of wrestling by attending Sasuke (Ninja Warrior) and many other events. He would also make his first wrestling trip out of Japan and went to wrestle in Mexico. Along with Nakamura they put their tag team belts against many of their top tag teams, though back in Japan on October 30, 2005 they would lose the titles to Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan.

In the start of 2006, Tanahashi would make his debut in the U.S. wrestling for TNA. He would face AJ Styles at the Final Destination pay per view, and a few days later he would face-off against Roderick Strong for TNA Xplosion. Tanahashi would then go on to wrestle in the New Japan Cup. In his first round, on April of 2006, he would defeat and upset Masahiro Chono. On the second round he would face and beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan, but in the third round he would lose to Yuji Nagata on April 29. Tanahashi, even though losing the tournament, impressed the NJ chairman and it was announced that he would face Brock Lesnar for the Heavyweight Championship on July 17, 2006. Tanahashi immediately vacated his U-30 title so that nothing could interfere with that match, but something did? Lesnar failed to show up for a scheduled event for the IWGP Title, and he was exiled as the champion. It all gets very complicated here, but all you need to know is that NJ reinstated the 2nd IWGP Championship to replace what Lesnar is/was carrying. Tanahashi got his title shot taken away from him, but he was placed in the IWGP Heavyweight Title Tournament to crown a new champion. He would make it to the finals of the tournament and he would have to face the big Giant Bernard of all people. Tanahashi was at a very big disadvantage, but he mustard up everything he could and with the Sling Blade he defeated Bernard for the IWGP Title. After all his hard work he finally won the thing he so long strived to get. He even showed it off at his second appearance on Sasuke. He would go on to hold the title for around nine months in the process defending it against Nakamura, Koji Kanemoto, and others.


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