Hiroshi Tanahashi Recalls Beating Scott Hall in 2001, Being Influenced By Late 1980s 038 Early 1990s WWF

In the latest of NJPW’s Aces High interviews with Hiroshi Tanahashi, the NJPW star looked back on 2001 when he beat Scott Hall and discussed being influenced by the WWF. You can check out highlights from the piece below:

On if there was pressure going to AJPW for the first time in 2001: No, not really … I was really confident in myself. I wanted to show the AJPW fans the kind of young talent that NJPW could produce, and I thought I might be able to steal some fans away from them.”

On beating Scott Hall in September of that year: “He was a big deal in America. I was always a fan of his, I remember watching his matches with Shawn Michaels in the WWF over and over. A classical type, had the flashiness and character where it counted, and a classical style when it came to getting it done in the ring.”

On being WWF fan in the late ’80s and early ’90s: “Oh man, I loved the Model, that narcissistic character. In the end, late 80s, early 90s American stuff really influenced me. I took my armdrags from Ricky Steamboat, my forearm from Tito Santana.”

On being in his first main event in NJPW in a tag team match: “Well, it didnt mean I was a main eventer so much as they just chose one young guy to fill out the tag match, so I didnt think about it too much. Really at that point I was taking each opportunity as it came, and just doing what I could. Id think about it like a very freeing time of my career, feeling like I was climbing the ladder I was a really pretentious idiot wasnt I (laughs).”

On getting his first singles main event in December of 2011 against Manabu Nakanishi: “I dont remember much of the match itself, but I was really motivated to move up, to do whatever it took to make it to the main event. I thought about who would be the best opponent to get me in that main event spot, and then started appealing really hard to be put opposite Nakanishi. The match itself though? It was a stinker.”

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