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Toa Henare On Learning From Hiroshi Tanahashi, Trying to Break Through in NJPW

April 21, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

Toa Henare spoke with NJPW for a new interview discussing his rise through the company, teaming up with Hiroshi Tanahashi during World Tag League and more. You can check out some highlights below:

On staying active during the pandemic and event cancellations: “For me the best way to fight a virus is to be active and healthy. If you keep moving, you have better blood flow, better air flow. So there’s less chance of getting sick from a virus.”

On trying to break through to the next level in NJPW: “It’s like trying to put the wrong key into a key hole. It feels like there’s been just some little part missing. But ever since the singles match I had with Shingo (Takagi, October 2019), and then the World Tag League with Tanahashi, I think I’ve figured out myself a little bit more … I think I’ve made it now so that everything I do makes more sense. I have the key now, I think. It’s no secret that from day one, I always wanted to win the NEVER Openweight Championship and that’s the same, but there’s certain tools you need to win that.”

On learning from Hiroshi Tanahashi during World Tag League: “It was amazing. He’s not just a next level wrestler, but a next level human being. He’s like a real life version of Goku from Dragon Ball. You just feel an energy from him. There’s nothing bad about him. So I had to ask myself ‘If I’m with him, what do I bring to this team?’ … Like was I the tough guy in that team, or what? Before I used to do the Haka before all my matches; I thought that the fans would think that’s cool. What I really am though is a fighter. I went to Thailand to train because I enjoy fighting, and that’s what I want to bring that out in my matches.”

On what the NEVER Openweight Championship means to him: “I know NEVER started as a way to highlight young talent, but it organically changed, and that in itself is what I like about it. I love the openweight, pound-for-pound style belt. In Thailand, traditional Muay Thai is openweight as well … There’s the old saying ‘styles make fights’. You can get a small junior heavyweight versus a super heavyweight, or you can make different trios with the six man titles. You don’t get that anywhere else in the world. It’s almost like the early days of MMA, where you have very different combat styles in there.”

article topics :

NJPW, Toa Henare, Jeremy Thomas