16 Questions with… YOSHI-HASHI

NEVER 6-Man Tag Team Champion faces fan questions

YOSHI-HASHI has had a revelatory 2020. After completing a 12 year journey to his very first championship in the form of NEVER Openweight 6-Man Championship gold, The Headhunter now shifts his focus to the World Tag League where he teams with Hirooki Goto. Before that though, we had him run the gauntlet of fan questions in this special interview!

–First of all, we had a lot of fan messages congratulating you on defending the NEVER titles for a second time.

YH: Thank you! I’m really happy to have this title to my name.

–You’ve been a challenger a lot of times, but it’s a different matter being a champion. 

YH: Right. Well, I mean winning this was great, but after that you have to look at the next day, the next challenger. And I’m not done challenging for titles myself.

1.From ‘Pink Usagi’

You seem to look different and seem far cooler ever since you’ve won that championship. Is that something other people have said to you?

YH: Other people have said that I’ve changed, but I don’t feel all that different myself. But since my shoulder finally got better, I’ve felt a lot more confident. I think that’s one of the factors behind me winning the belt in the first place. 

2.From ‘Ke?Go’

How did it feel to come to your home prefecture of Aichi and walk down the aisle with your first championship?

YH: I’d been in that Prefectural Gym as a fan in the past, so yeah, to walk out as champion there was really special.

3.From ‘Milk Tea’

Kazuchika Okada seemed really happy when he put the belt on you after you won it. Was that a special moment? 

YH: He and I trained together, went on excursion at the same time, came back together and joined CHAOS. We’ve always been together, and I put everything into that match, so that moment really did feel great.

4.From ‘Tekuta’

What are your thoughts on DOUKI? Any stories from Mexico?

YH: I first met him on excursion in Mexico. Here, he moves like nobody else in NJPW. He really stands out.

–Do you have any stories with him from Mexico to share?

YH: Well, we’d work out at the gym together, but we never had a match together. I think he’s different to anyone that’s come over here from Mexico before. And with DOUKI being DOUKI, that brings its own troubles. He’s been struggling a little, I think.

5.From ‘Asa-Toshi’

This year you changed from a red and black to a green and black colour scheme. Is there a particular reason for that?

YH: Well, actually my gear is designed from an old classmate of mine. They watched some of my matches and did some sketches. 

–And they decided on the colours?

YH: Yeah. The same with my ‘Turn It All Around’ T-shirt. The colours, the catchphrase, the whole thing.

–So you’ve known each other a while?

YH: Since middle school, yeah. We were both wrestling fans, so we used to play around a lot when we were kids.

6.From ‘Matsu’

What’s the meaning of the three red stripes on your gear? Shinsuke Nakamura had a similar design.

YH: Yeah, that’s from the same friend. He said ‘You and Nakamura were tight so why don’t we pay tribute a little?’ and put those in there.

7.From ‘akira saito’

What is the three on your kneepad in reference to?

YH: It’s just my lucky number! And I pose with three fingers, so that’s what that’s for.

8.From ‘Koro’

Your Butterfly Lock has really evolved in recent matches. Was that a sudden progression, or something you’ve been practicing?

YH: That was all during the Sapporo match with EVIL in the G1 Climax. I had EVIL in that hold and thought I could do something with his arm. It all happened right there in the match.

–You said before the G1 that you were working on your grappling, did that help some?

YH: Yeah it did. I kind of had (Kazushi) Sakuraba’s arm lock in mind as well.

9.From ‘Takuchi’

Do you often get advice from Kazushi Sakuraba? 

YH: No, not really. We don’t talk about stuff in the ring. Usually we just talk about alcohol! Lately we haven’t gone out because of the whole pandemic, but I’d love to see him again when things have settled down.

10. From ‘Matsu’

Are you going to kickboxing gyms of late? Your kicks in the KENTA match were impressive. 

YH: Not as much as I used to actually, with COVID. I  get a little worried about kickboxing gyms because of droplets in the air during the pandemic.

11. From ‘Hachi’

I really liked seeing you strike during the G1. Are you going to incorporate more strikes into your style?

YH: I’ve always had kicks in my arsenal, but if I get the chance I’d like to try out some different moves.

12. From ‘Deluxe’

Are you working on any new moves?

YH: I’m always thinking of stuff… Let’s say I have some new things in mind.

13. From ‘MyoMyo’

Hirooki Goto and Toru Yano have said that sometimes your adorable nature is more calculated than it looks. Are you tricking us a little bit?

YH: No! Not at all. I’m just me. That’s it.

14. From ‘Hajime’

How did you really feel when KENTA was making fun of your staff?

YH: Well, I don’t really get why he feels he has the right to troll me. But it seems he’s more interested in the staff than me, right?

–He’s certainly one of a kind in NJPW.

YH: I guess you’re right. He’s certainly a social media master. I don’t use it that much, but he’s very good at it. Good for him. There’s certainly nobody like him.

15. From ‘Utae’ 

Do you not like social media much? You don’t use Twitter very often I’d love to see you on Instagram!

YH: It’s not that I dislike it, I just use it when I have something to say. But since I don’t use twitter much, I don’t see myself getting Instagram (laughs).

16. From ‘a student’s burner account’

Are there any factions other than CHAOS that interest you?

YH: Well, I think Great-O-Khan coming back was a real shock, and I never thought he would pair up with Will Ospreay. I’m interested to see what The Empire do next. 

–Did part of you see Ospreay’s leaving CHAOS coming?

YH: Not at all. With COVID, he hadn’t been around for so long, and then in the G1 we were in different blocks so I didn’t see him. It all happened without me…


More to come with YOSHI-HASHI!