You won't be seeing Hiroshi Tanahashi in a WWE ring any time soon, if ever, but the NJPW star has shared the ring with a WWE Hall of Famer.
Nearly two decades ago, still very early in Tanahashi's career, the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion squared off against Scott Hall and even scored a win against Hall. Speaking to NJPW for the "Ace's High" autobiographical interview series, Tanahashi spoke highly of Hall and said he remembers watching wrestle Shawn Michaels when the two were in the WWF.
"He was a big deal in America. I was always a fan of his, I remember watching his matches with Shawn Michaels in the WWF over and over. A classical type, had the flashiness and character where it counted, and a classical style when it came to getting it done in the ring," Tanahashi said.
In addition, Tanahashi spoke of some of his favorite wrestlers from the WWF in the 1980s and 1990s from Rick Martel, Ricky Steamboat and Tito Santana, the latter two of which gave Tanahashi some inspiration for his moves.
"Oh man, I loved the Model, that narcissistic character. In the end, late 80s, early 90s American stuff really influenced me. I took my armdrags from Ricky Steamboat, my forearm from Tito Santana," Tanahashi said.
The full interview can be read at this link.