Tanahashi Discusses His Debut, His First Months Wrestling During Ace’s High
Tanahashi Details His First Few Months As An Active Wrestler
“It was about one month before. I’m 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,'” Hiroshi Tanahashi said during his Ace’s High interview series regarding his debut match against Togi Makabe on October 10, 1999.
“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,” Tanahashi answered when asked if he knew who his opponent was going to be early on.
“But Makabe didn’t 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 continued.
Tanahashi would continue by speaking about the significance of debuting at Korakuen Hall. “Oh yeah. 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.”
Tanahashi would go on to detail how fans come up to him today and mention they were at his Korakuen debut and how shredded he was during his first several years in the business.
“Yeah, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. It was in Fukuoka, the first match of the card, and I had that Young Lion fighting spirit from the jump. I was yelling on my entrance, and I stayed amped up after the finish,” Tanahashi detailed concerning his first career victory in Fukuoka against Wataru Inoue on October 19, 1999.
He would also tell some stories regarding his time in the New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) Noge Dojo, interactions with Makabe/Kenzo Suzuki, and the 2000 Young Lion Cup.