NJPW: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (January 4, 2010)

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

The last time these two met on this same stage, Nakamura got brutalized but pulled out the victory by submission. This time, he still gets brutalized, but he ends up dishing out more than he takes.

Takayama gets him in trouble fairly early after his first big kick. He beats him on the apron and seems to try winning by countout. Nakamura gets in and takes some more punishment, but he starts giving it back, too. Takayama has pretty much the same strategy as the last time (which is weird since it didn’t work then, but I think it’s pretty much all he’s got by this point). It gets him really close – Nakamura gets rocked by knees a few times – but now that Nakamura’s bigger, he’s got more power behind his own knees and forearms. He throws some of the PRIDE-style grounded knees, which might give Takayama some negative flashbacks.

Also of note is the callback to their last match when Nakamura wriggles free from a German suplex pin and goes for the kimura. Plus, there’s a dragon suplex from the apron into the ring.

The knee is the key in the end. After duking it out with forearms, Nakamura takes Takayama down with a spin kick and hits him with three Bomaye/Kinshasa knee strikes to get the pin. So he’s graduated to being able to take out the beast with pure power, and while pulling out a sudden submission last time could be considered a fluke, his victory this time definitely wasn’t.

Winner – Shinsuke Nakamura

Rating – Good


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