Few individuals more accurately represent New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) than Hiroshi Tanahashi. It is frequently credited to the character called “The Ace of the Universe” for carrying the campaign through its tough years in the 2000s and aiding in elevating the brand to significant popularity and growth not just in Japan but also around the world.
Tanahashi has had a remarkable existence, both inside and beyond the ring, full of amazing highs and lows that have affected his contemporaries and succeeding generations of wrestlers. His decades-long career has been adorned with a staggering number of honours that most wrestlers can only hope to receive. He is still one of the most well-known and popular performers in NJPW right now, and he has no intention of slowing down or retiring any time soon. As we’ll see in these little-known facts about Hiroshi Tanahashi & untold truths about him also there is only one “Ace.”
1. His initial ideal job wasn’t to be a wrestler
Many people who go on to become wrestlers spend the majority of their childhood years planning and preparing for a life in the ring. But first Tanahashi had different ideas. Tanahashi grew up to be a huge admirer of a Chunichi Dragons of a Nippon Pro Baseball league, the country’s version of Major League Baseball. Growing up, he participated in several school teams and dreamed of becoming a professional wrestler, but he acknowledged in his “Ace’s High” NJPW interview that he just lacked the necessary skills. He contemplated majoring in journalism during his sophomore year in high school to cover baseball instead, but around that time, he also started getting into wrestling.
2. Tanahashi developed an acting bug
The 2018 movie “My Dad Is a Heel Wrestler” stars Tanahashi. Masahiro Itabashi & Hisanori Yoshida’s well-known children’s book of the same name inspired the movie. The story of the movie is about a little boy who learns that Cockroach Mask, a wrestler who is generally despised, is his father.
3. He is a huge admirer of a traditional Japanese hero
Tanahashi is a huge admirer of the Japanese superhero genre “Kamen Rider,” proving even wrestlers are not immune to devotion. The franchise, which has been around since the early 1970s, includes several TV shows, TV specials, movies, a ton of merchandise, and more.
4. His presentation has been affected by his super-fandom of Kamen Rider
Tanahashi’s presentation has a lot of “Kamen Rider”-inspired elements. First off, according to The Illuminerdi, his ring gear, notably his extravagant jackets, is highly influenced by various protagonists from the several “Kamen Rider” series. Tanahashi will even post shots of his gear and “Kamen Rider” characters on Twitter. For instance, Kamen Rider Saber served as the inspiration for his 2021 ring jacket.
5. For seven years, he battled damaged ligaments and dealt with other serious ailments
Tanahashi suffered a quad injury while competing in All Japan Pro Wrestling’s Champions Festival in April 2008. In addition to the quad injury, he also had another ruptured ACL and PCL shortly after the competition.
6. He always inspired another wrestler’s ring outfit
In an appearance in April 2019 as “Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia” (h/t 411Mania), Ricochet discussed how Tanahashi’s ring outfit served as an inspiration for his own and how he asked him for permission to incorporate some of his looks. He’s become the top man there for years, because he’s just so amazing, said Ricochet. He is among the greatest there is. Even to this day, he always just came to the ring and he looked so cool and his jacket was kind of the same style
7. An ex-girlfriend twice stabbed him
In November 2002, Tanahashi almost escaped death when his ex-girlfriend, TV star Hitomi Hara, stabbed him twice in the back. According to UPI, Tanahashi told Hara he had found someone else and split up with her after the stabbing. After telling authorities that she had attempted to kill Tanahashi and subsequently intended to commit herself, Hara was first charged with attempted murder. Although she was given a three-year jail term, she completed 4 years of probation.
8. Tanahashi oversaw a now-legendary class while being a member of a renowned NJPW Dojo class
As a member of the 1999 NJPW Dojo graduating class, Tanahashi was a wrestler. He wasn’t the only well-known student in the class. Wataru Inoue & Katsuyori Shibata were furthermore a member of the 1999 class. Tanahashi then rose to the position of dojo head and was in charge of the stellar class of 2002, which also featured Shinsuke Nakamura, Hirooki, Yusuke, Yoshitatsu, Hiroshi, and Akiya Aizawa. Despite the Dojo’s inherent rivalry, Tanahashi made an effort to ensure that everyone got along.