AJ Styles Remembers Hiroshi Tanahashi Improvising When He Saw Crying Fans

High praise for the psychology of "The Ace"

WWE star AJ Styles has had some classic battles in New Japan Pro Wrestling with promotional icon Hiroshi Tanahashi. The two exchanged the IWGP Heavyweight title in 2014 and 2015, and Styles has high praise for his peer.

Speaking on his Mixer channel, Styles praised Tanahashi's psychology, and his ability to adapt to a moment, recalling one specific example.

"I remember having him in the calf crusher and I'm wrenching on it. I'm like, 'Okay dude, get to the ropes. OKAY!' I was starting to get pissed off," Styles remembers. 

"He could see and hear something that I couldn't. What he saw was the front row crying because these girls were afraid that Tanahashi was about to lose. I didn't see that because my back is to them. He could see it and was milking it. When I understood, I felt like such a turd. That's how good he is. His psychology is on another level. I enjoyed every match with him, he's a top, top talent. He will go down as one of the best, no doubt about it."

(Credit to Fightful for transcription)

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Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.