Hiroshi Tanahashi Vows To Elevate IWGP NEVER Openweight Title, Says He Wants "Newsworthy Opponents"

Hiroshi Tanahashi recently spoke with the folks from Sports Illustrated for an in-depth interview covering all things pro wrestling.

During the interview, the current IWGP NEVER Openweight Champion for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) spoke about a wide-variety of topics.

Featured below are some of the highlights.

On this title reign starting something new: “This is about starting something new, creating a new kind of fire. There’s something to changing people’s conceptions, and that includes having the NEVER surpass the IWGP name.”

On being able to wrestle new opponents: “I think the most exciting thing about it is being able to wrestle more opponents that I haven’t had the chance to up to now. There are a lot of new possibilities opening up and that’s really cool.”

On Shingo Takagi: “Takagi has many strong points, but what I will say impresses me particularly is the energy he puts into every single one of his matches. Whether it’s against a young guy, a veteran or whoever, he gives his opponent everything he has. I think he could absolutely be IWGP world heavyweight champion at some point.”

On how he wants newsworthy opponents: “I want newsworthy opponents, newsworthy matchups. Get people talking about the match, talking about the belt, and then deliver on the match itself. That’s how to elevate this championship.”

On vowing to elevate the status of the NEVER title: “I will elevate the status of the NEVER belt until it’s on a level with the IWGP, or even higher. And I’ll have the whole world watching in the process.”

Check out the complete interview at SI.com.


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