NJPW: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (January 4, 2014)

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

Aw, man, I heard that Marty Friedman performed Tanahashi’s entrance, but they had to cut it out of this version. Shame.

Now this is the Nakamura everyone loves today. And this is for his IWGP Intercontinental title, not the Heavyweight title.

Some stuff happens before Tanahashi tries a springboarding crossbody and Nakamura brings him down onto his knee, but I decided to hang up laundry during that part (because I live in China and we don’t have dryers). Nakamura works over Tanahashi’s midsection inside and outside the ring. Tanahashi catches his leg with a Dragon Screw and starts working on that. Nakamura hits him with a knee and a front choke and starts kneeing his midsection from different angles. He tries to a drop a knee on his face on the apron, but Tanahashi moves. He hits the prerequisite High Fly Flow to standing Nakamura on the floor.

Back in the ring, they both try submissions. Tanahashi kicks out of a Bomaye knee, and Nakamura kicks out of a High Fly Flow. Tanahashi also takes a Bomaye from the second rope, and one to the back of the head. Tanahashi gets Nakamura in a torture-style cloverleaf, and when Nakamura’s about to finally break free, Tanahashi turns it into a Styles Clash-type move. Then there’s a High Fly Flow while Nakamura’s sitting up, followed by a regular one for the win and the belt.

Winner – Hiroshi Tanahashi

Rating – Good

I didn’t like this as much as the Okada match. In fact, I think I liked the last Tanahashi/Nakamura match better. I’m gonna be in the minority and just straight up say that I liked Nakamura better before he changed to his junkie-looking character.


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