Hiroshi Tanahashi says he will wrestle as NJPW president, outlines goals for NJPW

Photo credit: NJPW


Hiroshi Tanahashi, who was named president and representative director by NJPW on Dec. 22, said he plans to continue to wrestle at a press conference held by NJPW that was transcribed on their website where he talked his new role in the company.

The company previously announced that Hitoshi Matsumoto had been named director of NJPW. It was also announced that Takami Ohbari was stepping down as president and representative director and Michiaki Nishizawa was stepping down as director.

Tanahashi, who has been out of  the IWGP World Hvt. Championship picture for a long period of time, indicated he will be back in the mix as a top contender for the title in his new role as performer and president. “I’m obviously thinking about the rest of my active career,” said Tanahashi.  Obviously as for everyone, within that the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship is a key goal. This is probably the only business where guys can freely beat up their boss, so that might make me an even bigger target, but I hope to make all the boys angry with how hard I’m fighting (laughs).”

Tanahashi said he plans to be on the road in his new role as an active performer and president. “Well, I plan on being on the road with NJPW, but when the company is in Tokyo then I plan on being in the office.”

Tanahashi also outlined some of his goals as president during the press conference with the primary goal being selling out the Tokyo Dome. “First of all, I want to sell out the Tokyo Dome,” said Tanahashi. “This has always been the goal for me. For a wrestler to walk down the ramp in front of a sold out Tokyo Dome crowd is something to be proud of forever, and something that will live with you for the rest of your career, as well as something the fans themselves will carry with them for a long time to come.”

In his remarks, Tanahashi noted he believed growing attendance outside of major cities would be key to achieving his goal of selling out the Tokyo Dome. “I also plan on having more title matches outside of major cities,” said Tanahashi. “In the 2000s when I worked with out promotion and sales staff, the goal at first was to put 500 people in the buildings, and then 1000 and then on and on. I feel that selling out the Tokyo Dome only becomes possible when the towns all around Japan are sold out as well. I want to unite all of Japan’s wrestling fans in their passion and carry that to the Tokyo Dome.”

Tanahashi mentioned that the roster will also be utilized to promote the company as well to grow attendance in non-major markets. “I do want to be heading up promotion as much as I can be, but we also have a lot of wrestlers on the roster,” said Tanahashi. “In between tours, training and preparing for the next matches is very important, but promotion is also crucial, and I’d like our wrestlers to take up that workload, absolutely.”

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