Pro wrestling legend and eight-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi has slammed Brock Lesnar, claiming that The Beast has a “selfish way of wrestling” and only cares about his paydays.
Tanahashi shared his thoughts on Lesnar during the latest episode of Ace’s High, a series of autobiographical interviews published on the NJPW website.
While discussing his canceled match against then IWGP Heavyweight Champion Lesnar in 2006, Tanahashi said he never understood Lesnar’s working style.
“To be brutally honest, I could never get into any of what I saw of Lesnar,” admitted Tanahashi. “It was all one sided, a completely selfish way of wrestling. I saw him come up in the early 2000s, and he was just pounding people, you never got to see anything from his opponents. I just didn’t understand his deal at all.”
Tanahashi went onto say that Lesnar only cared about his paydays during his various stints in Japan from 2005 to 2007.
“I think to be honest Lesnar didn’t really care where he was wrestling as long as he got his payoff,” said Tanahashi. “It really took me aback that there was someone who cared absolutely nothing for the place they were working. That was part of my motivation for that match.”
The Lesnar vs. Tanahashi match was canceled due to contractual disputes that evolved to visa issues. Lesnar was stripped of his title and a tournament was held to crown a new champion. Tanahashi recalled his reaction when former NJPW head booker Riki Choshu broke the news to him.
“One of the young boys comes over and says, ‘Tanahashi, Mr. Choshu wants a word with you.’ I was thinking ‘oh, boy.’ I go in there and he says ‘Lesnar’s not coming.’ I was just stunned, like the world had gone into darkness in front of me. I never knew the real ins and outs of the contract issue, but I do know he had a really special money situation going on, and I would imagine that was what was at the heart of it. It was really an unprecedented set of circumstances when it comes to IWGP title matches.”
Lesnar has been off WWE TV since dropping the WWE Championship to Drew McIntyre at last year’s WrestleMania.