New Japan’s Metal Moment: Marty Friedman plays Tanahashi to the ring.


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In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, New Japan Pro Wrestling is currently in the midst of its 25th annual G1 Climax tournament. (You can catch up on all the action on NJPW World for just 999¥!)

Since we’re a week away from the big finals at Sumo Hall, and this is Metal Head Wrestling, I thought that it would be appropriate to go back in time and take a look at one of NJPW’s most rockin’ moments!

On January 4th, 2014, NJPW held their annual Tokyo Dome show, “Wrestle Kingdom 8” (think WrestleMania in Japan). Tetsuya Naito had won the 2013 G1 Climax tournament, which guaranteed him a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at NJPW’s show of shows.

However, Naito had been struggling to connect with the audience (Roman Reigns, anyone?), and the fans were less than receptive to a Naito/Okada main event. So, New Japan left it up to a fan vote, and the NJPW loyal ultimately chose Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship as their main event!

Part of Hiroshi Tanahashi’s charm is that he plays air guitar on his way to the ring (and after his match to celebrate a victory). NJPW thought that it would add to the spectacle of Wrestle Kingdom if Tanahashi came to the ring with an actual guitarist. Enter ex-Megadeth lead guitarist Marty Friedman.

Friedman, who co-wrote such Megadeth classics as “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” and “Hangar 18”, has become somewhat of an iconic gaijin in Japan. He has made over 600 TV appearances, hosts his own weekly radio show, and even speaks Japanese! This made him an obvious choice to accompany the master of the air guitar, Tanahashi, to the ring.

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To watch Marty Friedman shred at the Tokyo Dome, check out the video below! (Oh, and the match is pretty good, too.)

Marty Friedman is doing a North American tour this Fall in support of his new album, “Inferno”. For tour dates and information on tickets, click here.

Follow Collin Miller on twitter: @collinMHW

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