66 years ago today, Verne Gagne defeated Sonny Myers in a tournament final to win the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship.
33 years ago today in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, Tony Garea & Dean Ho defeated Toru Tanaka & Mr. Fuji to win the WWWF Tag Team Championship.
21 years ago today in Tokyo, Japan, Kensuke Sasaki defeated Sting to win the WCW United States Championship. The win made Sasaki was the first foreign-born United States Champion since Roddy Piper in 1981.
16 years ago today on Nitro from London, England, Lance Storm defeated General Rection to win the WCW United States Championship.
11 years ago today, TNA presented Genesis from the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando. The show was dedicated to Eddie Guerrero, who passed away in the early morning hours of the day of the event. The show also featured the TNA PPV debut of Jay Reso, who used his old gimmick name, Christian Cage.
- In a preshow match, Shark Boy defeated Nigel McGuiness.
- In a preshow match, The Diamonds in the Rough (Simon Diamond, David Young and Elix Skipper) defeated The Naturals (Andy Douglas and Chase Stevens) and Lance Hoyt.
- Raven defeated PJ Polaco.
- 3 Live Kru (BG James, Konnan and Ron Killings) defeated Team Canada (A1, Bobby Roode & Eric Young) in a hockey stick match. Kip James was the special referee.
- Monty Brown defeated Jeff Hardy to become #1 contender to the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
- Alex Shelley, Christopher Daniels, Roderick Strong, and Samoa Joe defeated Austin Aries, Chris Sabin, Matt Bentley and, Sonjay Dutt in an elimination match.
- Abyss defeated Sabu in a hardcore match.
- AJ Styles defeated Petey Williams to retain the TNA X-Division Championship.
- Rhino & Team 3D (Brother Devon & Brother Ray) defeated America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) and Jeff Jarrett.
10 years ago today on RAW from Manchester, England (WWE Network link), Jeff Hardy defeated Johnny Nitro to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
On the same show, Rated RKO (Randy Orton & Edge) defeated Ric Flair and Roddy Piper to win the World Tag Team Championship.
9 years ago today at a Smackdown taping in Wichita, Kansas, John Morrison and The Miz defeated Matt Hardy & MVP to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
5 years ago today, TNA presented Turning Point from the Impact Zone in Orlando.
- Robbie E defeated Eric Young to win the TNA Television Championship.
- Mexican America (Anarquia, Hernandez, and Sarita) defeated Ink Inc. (Shannon Moore, Jesse Neal, and Toxxin) to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship. This was Toxxin's (who wrestles regularly as Christina Von Eerie) only PPV bout. She left the company a month later.
- Austin Aries defeated Jesse Sorensen and Kid Kash to retain the TNA X Division Championship.
- Rob Van Dam defeated Christopher Daniels in a no disqualification match.
- Crimson vs. Matt Morgan ended in a double disqualification match.
- Mr. Anderson & Abyss defeated Bully Ray & Scott Steiner.
- Gail Kim defeated Velvet Sky to win the TNA Knockouts Championship.
- Jeff Hardy defeated Jeff Jarrett in just seven seconds. Jarrett, claiming he wasn’t ready, asked for a do-over, where...
- Jeff Hardy defeated Jeff Jarrett. Jeff again asked for a redo. And he got one. This time...
- Jeff Hardy defeated Jeff Jarrett again, this time in just nine seconds.
- Bobby Roode defeated AJ Styles to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
It's a happy 40th birthday to the "100 Nen ni 1-ri no Itsuzai" (that's "once in a century talent" in Japanese), Hiroshi Tananhashi.
Born in Ogaki, Gifu, Japan, Tanahashi played baseball in high school, While attending Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, he was spotted by New Japan Pro Wrestling talent scouts and was invited to a tryout at the New Japan Dojo.
Tanahashi graduated from the Dojo and made his debut in October 1999 against Shinya "Togi" Makabe. By 2002, he was Tanahashi was viewed as a big prospect with wins over lucha libre legend Negro Casas in 2000, WWE Hall of Famer Scott Hall in 2001, and a two-minute win over former WCW United States Champion Kensuke Sasaki in the 2002 G1 Climax. He teamed with Kenzo Suzuki to form Kings of the Hills, but the pairing ended in November 2002 after Tanahashi was stabbed in the back—literally—by TV Asahi reporter and ex-girlfriend Hitomi Hara. In an odd and morbid way, the stabbing made Tanahashi a bigger star, as the incident and his recovery was national news for months. He would return to the ring in February 2003.
Championships came quickly for Tanahashi following his return to the ring. Two months after his return to the ring, Hiroshi would become the first IWGP U-30 Openweight Champion (a title open to anyone regardless of weight class, as long as you're under 30 years old) and would win the IWGP Tag Team Championship twice. In 2004, Tanahashi made the finals of the G1 Climax before losing to Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Tanashashi main evented the January 4, 2005 Tokyo Dome show Wrestling World 2005, losing the U-30 Openweight Championship to Shinsuke Nakamura. Later that year, Tanahashi scored an upset in the New Japan Cup, defeating legend Masahiro Chono in the first round. He would avenge his G1 Climax loss in the second round by defeating Tenzan, but lost in the semifinals to Yuji Nagata.
2005 was a big year for Tanaashi as he traveled to North America for the first time. He and Shinsuke Nakamura were actually a team for CMLL in Mexico feuding with Los Guerreros de Inferno. In 2006, Tanashi made his US debut for TNA Wrestling in a losing effort to AJ Styles. He also wrestled and was defeated by Roderick Strong in a match taped for TNA Xplosion.
In June 2006, Tanahashi vacated the U-30 Openweight Championship to concentrate on New Japan's top prize, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (the U-30 title was retired following the vacation). When Lesnar failed to show for a title defense, he was stripped of the title and Tanahashi was put into a tournament to crown a new champion. On July 17, 2006, Tanahashi defeated Giant Bernard to win the IWGP heavyweight title for the first time. Hiroshi would hold the title for nine months before being defeated by Yuji Nagata. Tanahashi would avenge his title loss in the 2007 G1 Climax final when he defeated Nagata to win the tournament. He followed that up by taking the title back in October when he defeated Nagata again. Tanahashi was once again the headliner of New Japan's annual Tokyo Dome event, now named Wrestle Kingdom.
At Wrestle Kingdom II in 2008, he was defeated by old rival/tag partner Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP heavyweight title. Later that year, Tanahashi became the first two-time winner of the New Japan Cup, defeating Giant Bernard in the final. The win gave Tanahashi a chance to win the IWGP heavyweight title back, but he failed to do so a week after the victory. Tanahashi during this time was in a contract dispute, and he took full advantage of his free agent status. He left for All Japan and competed in their Champion Carnival that April, a tournament similar to New Japan's G1 Climax. Despite being put in the "Block from Hell", Tanahashi came away with three wins and a tie and wound up in the final, losing to Suwama by submission.
He also returned to the States for a brief excursion with TNA. He appeared on two episodes of Impact, both in losing efforts, and finished fourth in a 10-man X Division seeding match. Tanahashi cancelled his remaining TNA dates once it was announced that Keiji Mutoh would defend the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against him and returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling.
At Wrestle Kingdom III in 2009, Tanahashi defeated his mentor Mutoh to become the IWGP Heavyweight Champion for the third time. Following his win, he challenged his archrival Shinsuke Nakamura and defeated him about a month later. Tanahashi would declare himself the "Ace of the Universe" and was challenged by Kurt Angle following that bout. In April, Tanahashi defeated Angle. He would turn back the challenge of Hirooki Goto in May, but just one week later, at Dissidence, Tanahashi would lose the title to Manabu Nakanishi. Hiroshi would regain the title a month later at Dominion 6.20. He would turn back a challenge from Pro Wrestling NOAH's Takashi Sugiura in July in the first ever New Japan vs. NOAH match for the IWGP title, but in August, Hiroshi would suffer an eye fracture in a semifinal match of the 2009 G1 Climax that would force him to vacate the title.
After failing to recapture the title when he returned, Tanahashi challenged Pro Wrestling NOAH for a match at Wrestle Kingdom IV. On January 4, 2010, he defeated Go Shiozaki in an interpromotional "ace versus ace" match. Tanahashi would spend most of the year in a feud with Toru Yano that culminated in a hair versus hair match won by Tanahashi at Dominion 6.19. Tanahashi made his third G1 Climax final in four years that summer, but fell to Satoshi Kojima. He would avenge the loss at Wrestle Kingdom V on January 4, 2011 to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the fifth time.
His fifth reign as IWGP Heavyweight Champion is perhaps his most memorable, as he successfully defended the title eleven times over the next 13 months: Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata (twice, the second to tie the record for most title defenses), Shinsuke Nakamura (twice, one of those involved Tanahashi losing his tooth), Charlie Haas, Hirooki Goto, Giant Bernard, Tetsya Naito, Toru Yano (who stole his belt during the feud), and Minoru Suzuki (breaking the record for most title defenses). He would be defeated at The New Beginning in a classic to Kazuchida Okada.
Tanahashi and Okada have largely been tied at the hip since that battle. In June 2012 at Dominion 6.16. Tanahashi defeated Okada to win the IWGP heavyweight title for a sixth title, tying him with Tatsumi Fujinami for most all time. After defeating Togo Makabe at a New Japan-All Japan event, Hiroshi set a new record for successful IWGP heavyweight title defenses with 21. Tanahashi that summer narrowly missed the 2012 G1 Climax final when he lost a must-win match against Karl Anderson on the final day of the tournament. In October at King of Pro-Wrestling, Tanahashi defeated Minoru Suzuki in a five-star rated match by Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Wrestle Kingdom 7 saw Tanahashi defeat 2012 G1 Climax winner Kazuchida Okada to regain the title, but he would lose the title to Okada at Invasion Attack in April. He was on his way to getting back in the title picture in June, but was stopped by Prince Devitt's Bullet Club. That summer, Tanahashi struggled in the first half of the G1 Climax, going 1-3-1 in his first five matches, including a time limit draw to IWGP heavyweight champion Okada. Needing four wins to have any hope of advancing to the final match, Hiroshi got four wins and advanced, but was defeated by Tetsuya Naito. Tanahashi finished out his rivalry with Prince Devitt at Destruction in September and defeated him in a lumberjack deathmatch. At King of Pro-Wrestling the next month, in another classic, Tanahashi failed to regain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Okada. Per a prematch stipulation, Hiroshi could not challenge for the title against Okada again.
Despite not being the champion, nor contending for the heavyweight title, he and Shinsuke Nakamura was the fan-selected choice to main event Wrestle Kingdom 8 for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, a bout won by Tanahashi (making him a grand slam champion in New Japan). He would defeat Nakamura in the rematch a month later, but at Invasion Attack, Shinsuke won the title back. Tanahashi in August again narrowly missed a spot in the finals of the G1 Climax, when he lost a must-win bout again, this time to Davey Boy Smith, Jr. After defeating Katsuyori Shibata in September, he announced he was re-entering the IWGP Heavyweight title picture, and at King of Pro Wrestling, Tanahashi defeated Bullet Club member AJ Styles to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for a record seventh time. Just one month after successfully defending it against Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 9, Tanahashi lost it back to Styles.
Tanahashi would spend the spring and early summer feuding with Toru Yano, who eliminated him from the New Japan Cup in less than three minutes. Tanahashi would finally get the better of Yano at Dominion 7.5. Hiroshi took part in the 2015 G1 Climax and would win his block with a 7-2 record. After defeating Shinsuke Nakamura in the finals to win the tournament for the first time in eight years, he won the right to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 10. At that event, Tanahashi would be defeated by Kazuchika Okada; it was Hiroshi’s first defeat at New Japan’s biggest show in six years.
He would struggle in title bouts over the next few months, losing to Kenny Omega at The New Beginning to win the vacated Intercontinental Championship, then in March he, Juice Robinson, and Michael Elgin were defeated by Omega and The Young Bucks for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship. In April 2016, Tanahashi, Elgin, and Yoshitatsu defeated The Elite for the titles. They wouldn’t hold them long; they’d lose them less than a month later back to the Elite. Tanahashi was to take on Kenny Omega for the IWGP Intercontinental title in June, but had to pull out due to a shoulder injury. He returned in time for the G1 Climax in July; he finished second in his block with a 5-3-1 record, but could have advanced to the final with a win over Kazuchika Okada on the final day (they went to a 30-minute time limit draw; the draw also eliminated Okada from a shot at the final).
Tanahashi, a fan of the Kamen Rider series, appeared in the intro video for Kamen Rider Wizard. He along with fellow New Japan wrestlers Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Kazuchika Okada, Satoshi Kojima, Tetsuya Naito, and Toru Yano appear in the forthcoming Japanese video game release Ryū ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta (Like a Dragon 6: Poetry of Life, also known simply as Yakuza 6). Tanahashi along with Togi Makabe also appear in animated form in the 2016 movie Doraemon: Nobita and the Birth of Japan 2016, the most recent theatrical release in the long-running anime series.