Hiroshi Tanahashi Says He Can 'Rely On Okada' Ahead Of NJPW Capital Collision

It's not often that Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada join forces, but it will happen again for the New Japan Pro-Wrestling legends this Saturday. The iconic duo will take part in a three-way NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Team Championship match against reigning champs Motor City Machine Guns and IWGP Tag Team Champions Aussie Open at Capital Collision. Ahead of the main event, Tanahashi spoke to Sports Illustrated about teaming with Okada.

"I can rely on Okada," Tanahashi said. "He has that ability to turn the tables when the chips are down, and that fires everybody up, myself included." He added, "Okada is trying to make New Japan Pro-Wrestling more exciting, whether in Japan, the U.S., singles or tag team division. He has the same desire as I do."

The two recently renewed their rivalry when they clashed in the main event of Battle in the Valley in February for Okada's IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Tanahashi came up short after a 21-minute battle, but he's now well aware of the level Okada is currently operating on in the midst of his seventh world title reign.

"It had been a long time since I wrestled Okada, and I definitely felt a big gap between me and him," Tanahashi stated. "Okada wasn't blown up at all during the match; I couldn't drive him into the wall like I had been able to in the past. That's what I remember the most from the match."

After Capital Collision, Tanahashi will headline the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia when he teams with Lio Rush and Tomohiro Ishii to take on TJP and Aussie Open.