Kazuchika Okada On Teaming With Rival Hiroshi Tanahashi Following IWGP Title Loss

New Japan Pro Wrestling's Capital Collision event has come and gone, taking place this past Saturday night. The main event saw Aussie Open win the Strong Openweight Tag Team Championships. The three way tag team match featured an unusual team, in Former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada and hisĀ longtime rival Hiroshi Tanahashi. Okada recently sat down with Sports Illustrated to discuss teaming up with his recurrent foe.

"I think it will be an interesting story for the two of us," says Okada. "I just wrestled him at Battle in the Valley, and it was important to me to have a title match with Tanahashi. I feel like now I've wrestled him in pretty much any situation," he said, "We have such a story together. And I think tagging with him will be a great experience for me to grow as a wrestler."

The rivalry between the two legendary Japanese competitors stretches back to 2012 when a younger Okada shockingly beat an already legendary Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Since then, the two have collided for NJPW's top title numerous times. In February, their most recent championship bout came at NJPW's Battle in the Valley. The pair have teamed up and even challenged for tag team together before, with them having unsuccessfully challenged for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships back in March.

The former Strong Openweight Champions, The Motor City Machine Guns, were the ones to eat the pinfall in the three-way dance, and had been champions since October of last year, holding the titles for 169 days.