NJPW: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Keiji Muto (January 4, 2009)

I want to try to review all the Wrestle Kingdom main events while they’re free on New Japan World.

After a lot of feeling out, Tanahashi starts work on Muto’s leg. Muto turns the tables and tries to destroy Tanahashi’s, giving him a Dragon Screw off the apron, one on the floor, and one over the guardrail, not to mention all the ones he pulls off in the ring. Much like Nakamura in 2008, now it’s Tanahashi’s turn to courageously fight through the pain. And does he ever, as Muto tries just about everything within the rules to wreck his challenger’s leg.

It’s actually an interesting contrast to the Nakamura/Tanahashi match from the year before. In that match, Tanahashi went after Nakamura’s shoulder like a jerk, striking when the ref told him not to and slapping his opponent around. Muto never disrespects or taunts Tanahashi in any way; he’s just trying to win.

After surviving the massive amount of punishment Muto gives, as well as tweaking his knee a couple times during how own offense, Tanahashi is ultimately able to recover from a Shining Wizard, avoid a moonsault, and hit two High Fly Flows to win back the IWGP title.

Winner – Hiroshi Tanahashi

Rating – Good

There are a lot of Sling Blades, too. But you probably knew that.



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