Hiroshi Tanahashi Remembers Making NJPW Debut in Korakuan Hall in 1999

NJPW star Hiroshi Tanahashi discussed his NJPW in-ring debut in 1999 during the latest of his Aces High interviews with the company. You can check out some highlights below:

On when he knew he’d be making his debut in October 1999: “It was about one month before. Im blanking on who told us, actually, but they got me (Wataru) Inoue and (Katsuyori) Shibata together and said ‘We want to start you on October 10, Korakuen.'”

On if he was told right away he’d be facing Makabe: “Yeah, they said Tanahashi, you and Makabe, Inoue and Shibata in a singles. That meant every day had a lot of tension to it. Like, I was rooming with my opponent every night, you know? … But Makabe didnt really seem to fazed by it. I guess it was a bit like being in a high school wrestling tournament and then facing someone from the same school in one of the matchups. But I was a lot more wound up about it. He just did his normal routine. Sleep with his back to the room so he got all the blast from the air conditioning, while sneaking a look at his porn mags (laughs).”

On making his debut in Korakuen Hall: “The other senpai would be telling me it meant a lot to get your debut there. Especially back then, the usual deal would be to test out new wrestlers by debuting them in the smaller towns, so it was definitely exciting to be in Korakuen off the bat.”

On his memory of the match: “These days I dont get nervous at all, but I was an absolute wreck! I was young and had to have been in better shape than I am now, but the nerves meant I was blown up about two or three minutes in. That being of a six minute match before I lost. It was definitely a baptism of fire.”


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