Hiroshi Tanahashi is ready to put the NEVER Openweight Title on the map.
Tanahashi won the NEVER Openweight Title at NJPW The New Beginning In Nagoya, defeating Shingo Takagi. He's made one successful title defense, defeating The Great-O-Khan at NJPW Castle Attack.
The NEVER Openweight Title is often passed around with five of the last eight reigns ending without a successful title defense. Though Tanahashi already has one under his belt, he's hoping for more.
“This is about starting something new, creating a new kind of fire,” Tanahashi told Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated through a translator. “There’s something to changing people’s conceptions, and that includes having the NEVER surpass the IWGP name. I think the most exciting thing about it is being able to wrestle more opponents that I haven’t had the chance to up to now. There are a lot of new possibilities opening up and that’s really cool.”
Tanahashi continued by saying, “I want newsworthy opponents, newsworthy matchups. Get people talking about the match, talking about the belt, and then deliver on the match itself. That’s how to elevate this championship. I will elevate the status of the NEVER belt until it’s on a level with the IWGP, or even higher. And I’ll have the whole world watching in the process.”
Tanahashi is set to defend the NEVER Openweight Title against Jay White at NJPW Wrestling Dontaku on May 3.
You can view the lineup for both nights of NJPW Wrestling Dontaku by clicking here.