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Hiroshi Tanahashi on Brock Lesnar Dropping Out of Their Match, Lesnar Being a ‘Selfish’ Worker

April 7, 2021 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Brock Lesnar WWE Smackdown

– During the latest edition of Ace’s High for NJPW1972.com, NJPW star Hiroshi Tanahashi spoke about his year in 2006. Going into that year, Brock Lesnar was the reigning IWGP Heavyweight champion. At one point, Tanahashi was scheduled to face Lesnar for the title. However, just days before the match was scheduled to take place, there were contractual disputes with Lesnar, which then evolved to “visa issues.” Lesnar withdrew from the card, and the title was vacated.

Later on, Tanahashi defeated Giant Bernard in a tournament to capture the vacant title. Below are some highlights, where Tanahashi reveals finding out he wouldn’t be facing Lesnar as originally planned, along with his thoughts on Lesnar’s title run.

Tanahashi on finding out he wouldn’t be facing Brock Lesnar: “I’ve been through my fair share of bumps in the road in my career, but this was a huge shock. I remember we were in Kushiro when we found out; I was in the locker room when I heard Choshu bellowing in the room next door ‘what the f***!’ kind of thing. Then a few minutes later one of the young boys comes over and says ‘Tanahashi, Mr. Choshu wants a word with you’. I was thinking ‘oh, boy.’ … I go in there and he says ‘Lesnar’s not coming’. I was just stunned, like the world had gone into darkness in front of me. I never knew the real ins and outs of the contract issue, but I do know he had a really special money situation going on, and I would imagine that was what was at the heart of it. It was really an unprecedented set of circumstances when it comes to IWGP title matches.”

On Brock Lesnar’s time as IWGP champion: “He was a real force of nature, especially at that point in time. You’d see him opposite Bernard, who’s bigger than Lesnar, but there’s no way you’d think that to look at the two of them together, simply because of Lesnar’s forcefulness.”

How he thinks his match with Brock Lesnar would’ve gone: “Technical, I think. It would have to be; you certainly couldn’t match him for power. To be brutally honest, I could never get into any of what I saw of Lesnar. It was all one sided, a completely selfish way of wrestling. I saw him come up in the early 2000s, and he was just pounding people, you never got to see anything from his opponents. I just didn’t understand his deal at all.”

Tanahashi on how he thinks Lesnar viewed NJPW: “Hmm. I think to be honest Lesnar didn’t really care where he was wrestling as long as he got his payoff. That wasn’t the case with Bernard and other foreign guys like that. It really took me aback that there was someone who cared absolutely nothing for the place they were working. That was part of my motivation for that match.”