Hiroshi Tanahashi: Finn Balor was cool as hell, it's difficult to get the support he had as a foreigner

Originally published at Hiroshi Tanahashi heaps praise onto Finn Balor and Karl Anderson

Tanahashi remembers Balor and Karl Anderson fondly.

NJPW1972.com rolled out edition #80 of Hiroshi Tanahashi’s Ace’s HIGH series. Tanahashi reflected on some of his memories working with Bullet Club members like Finn Balor and Karl Anderson.

Tanahashi spoke highly of Balor and why he appealed to the audience. Tanahashi thought Balor was cool but was also able to get empathy from people. He added that it’s difficult for a foreigner to get the same type of support Balor had and Tanahashi is glad he had the chance to work with him.

He was very athletic, but not a high flier per se, compared to a Kota Ibushi, or Ricochet, or Will Ospreay. He would do a tope con giro and that would be it, but it would be perfect, and in every aspect he had perfect, total balance. And more than that, an intuition and a sense for drawing the people in. He was cool as hell, but it was more than that, he could get empathy from people.

It’s so, so difficult to get the kind of support that he had as a foreigner. He had absolutely every tool imaginable. Obviously he’s only grown since, and I’m proud I worked alongside him.

In 2013, Balor and Tanahashi went one-on-one in the G1. It was Balor’s first G1 tournament and Tanahashi feels that’s when the superstar potential came out of the former ‘Prince Devitt’.

This was where you really saw the superstar potential in Devitt. He proved he could more than hang with the heavyweights in that G1.

Earlier in the conversation, former 4-time IWGP Tag Team Champion Karl Anderson became the topic. Tanahashi says Anderson was his type of wrestler and throughout his singles run in the company, he became the type of talent that other talents would aspire to be like.

He was my type of wrestler. Very finessed in every little thing he did, a good rhythm to his matches. And at that point he wasn’t involved in any heel faction so I had more of a chance to interact with him outside of the ring and find out what a nice easy going guy he was.

When he first came into New Japan, he would be on the receiving end of these losses from me and the rest of hontai, but kept his head up and kept working. He truly became a wrestler’s wrestler. He was someone for the boys to aspire to. ‘I want to be a pro like Karl Anderson’ kinda thing.

This weekend, New Japan is presenting their Power Struggle show and later that day, their NJPW STRONG program is airing which will be headlined by United Empire (Will Ospreay & TJP) versus Clark Connors and Ren Narita.