Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi entertain on NJPW World stream from Korakuen Hall.
As NJPW Together continues to bring great content to NJPW World through March, Kota Ibushi and Hiroshi Tanahashi took to the talk stage in Korakuen Hall last night for a revealing and entertaining evening.
(English subtitled video of this broadcast will follow at a later date)
The event started with Ibushi and Tanahashi answering some tough personal questions about one another; namely what they most appreciated about one another and what they wanted to fix about each other. Tanahashi said he appreciated ‘Ibushi’s pure nature’ but that he wanted to fix ‘his tiny face’, explaining he ‘looks like a high school girl’. Conversely, Ibushi said he appreciated Tanahashi’s incredible self discipline but that with his ‘very existence being so larger than life,’ he would appreciate it if Tanahashi ‘didn’t stand out quite so much’.
While their victory over the Guerrillas of Destiny to seize the IWGP Tag Team Championships was proof of their effective teamwork, Tanahashi and Ibushi are both still incredibly competitive individuals. The two would try and one up each other by showing off their physiques through the broadcast, with Tanahashi attempting his own ‘plastic bottle challenge’ of balancing a 500ml bottle on his pecs.
Tanahashi never skips chest day, but Ibushi had the stronger arm, handily beating the Ace in an arm wrestling contest. Surprisingly however, it was Toru Yano, on his way home from a shift at his EBRIETAS bar that stole the show, easily beating Ibushi!
The two would go on to take questions from the fans, and considering potential double team maneuvers and even a unique entrance pose. While both are eager to get back to the ring, they made for a great evening’s viewing on Word without locking up.
After the show, we spoke to both men to get their thoughts.
–So, how was it?
Tanahashi: I’ve never done anything quite like this. It’s certainly strange to be in Korakuen Hall without any fans, but it’s all a good experience to file away.
Ibushi: We don’t have any matches on, but it’s because of these cancellations that we were able to do something different like this. I hope in the future that we can look back on it and be happy and proud we did it.
–What’s it like being in the building without a crowd?
Ibushi: My roots are a bit different. I’ve had matches in front of no people before, or in front of just one or two. If I went right back, it’s like playing at wrestling as a kid with nobody else around. So I’m not too caught up on it, but certainly being in Korakuen Hall with nobody here was weird.
–What are you doing with the off time between events?
Tanahashi: Training morning, noon and night, basically. And I’ve been around the family a little bit more.
–Everybody’s off, but it’s actually creating chances to do something different.
Ibushi: I’ve been the same. When you’re wrestling every single day, and pushing yourself every single night, you don’t quite have the time to step back and get into really training and getting ready. I’ve been training in a lot of different ways, and that’s setting myself up a lot better for when we do get back in there.
–What stuck with you most today?
Tanahashi: I was really motivated to hear about Ibushi’s thoughts on combinations and double team moves; that’s important for a tag team. Ibushi’s always in great shape too. I’m not ashamed to say, he’s the captain of this team, so seeing him motivated motivates me to be better as well.
Ibushi: I’ve really learned that being a pro-wrestler isn’t just focusing on singles. There’s not one way of going about pro-wrestling. In fact, tag wrestling is part of what makes our sport unique. It’s a fun world to be in, and it’s doing what I always want to do, to broaden the scope of what wrestling is.
Tanahashi: I always bring it back to All Japan in the late 90s and the four pillars there. Misawa, Kobashi, Kawada and Taue were all in the top flight mix for the Triple Crown, but they’d be tagging as well. They’d be tagging together but then they’d step up and challenge for the singles belt. It wasn’t mutually exclusive, and I’d like NJPW to be that way too.
Ibushi: 100% agreed.
Tanahashi: So, if Ibushi decides he wants to go for a singles championship, I think he should go for it. Obviously I want singles gold too, but I’m absolutely able to focus on tagging.
Ibushi: I’d like for the tag titles to be able to main event in the Tokyo Dome, an event on that scale. Right now, that’s kind of unthinkable, right?
–You can’t imagine it happening.
Ibushi: I want to create a time where people don’t question it. Why do we have to have a singles main? Singles are great but I want to grow the tag scene.
–The fans were really reacting well to the show on social media.
Tanahashi: It went well? We didn’t know from the stage.
–It was very popular. As the Together Project continues, is there anything you would like to take part in next?
Tanahashi: I’m an ideas man. In this reality we’re in, doing these shows is a really great way to keep people’s chins up. Maybe we can put a camera in Ibushi’s place, have it watch him for 24 hours a day.
Ibushi: I’d be up for doing anything that makes the fans happy.
Tanahashi: It might be dead with you sleeping all day, and then at 2AM you pop up and start doing your thing.
Ibushi: The fans will have to get on my sleep cycle.
Tanahashi: ‘Ibushi TV 24/7’
Ibushi: Let’s do it!