New Japan is invading the East Coast of the United States this weekend. To commemorate that we’re sharing some great matches from one NJPW’s top stars, Shinsuke Nakamura, with reviews by Hanan. She’s got even more great matches and energetic reviews at Let Me Puroresu You. We wish New Japan the best of luck on its massive foreign excursion. Also, if any of you are going, contact us and share some pictures! Peace.
Sasaki & Suzuki vs Tanahashi & Nakamura -IWGP Tag Titles – 2004/12/11
HUGE match for the young guns who needed to prove their worth to the NJPW audience. Since this is a Nakamura special, I’ll focus on his whereabouts up until this match:
– Well, Nakamura successfully snatched the IWGP heavyweight title from Tenzan in 2003, upsetting and/or surprising everyone in the process.
-In 2004, he unified the IWGP/NWF heavyweight titles after beating Takayama! (link to the match in a previous post).
-Still in 2004, he continued earning respect from his peers by scoring important wins over Tenryu, Tenzan, Nagata. He also won the 10,000,000 Yin Tag Tournament and the Yuko Six Man Tag Team Tournament.
Cue to this match that further put Tanahashi and Nakamura on the map as THE future of NJPW. Minoru Suzuki is VICIOUS (I truly, truly love this guy). Sasaki is a squash/chopping machine! and the youngsters must survive! And this match goes on for more than 30 mins, and there’s no doubt that the combination of Suzuki and Sasaki is proving to be deadly for Tanahashi & Nakamura for the most part of the match. Props to Tanahashi & Nakamura for such GREAT selling, which makes their comeback into the match even more impressive. The last ten minutes of the match are TO DIE FOR! Very submission driven when it comes to Nakamura and Suzuki, and very Raw power driven when it comes to Tanahashi and Sasaki. The crowd is hot, getting behind the young guns…Everyone wants them to win…How can you not like these two, now? They put a hell of a match and took more beating than they gave.
Great match. Turning point for both Nakamura and Tanahashi’s careers!
Nakamura will go on and win the IWGP U30 title against none other than Tanahashi, setting up the premises of their long going feud. They will team up later and defend their tag titles in Mexico, before losing them to Chono and Tenzan.
In 2006, Nakamura goes for a trip to the US to reinvent himself and work on improving his wrestling skills. He will come back stronger, heavier and with a new finisher!
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura – IWGP Title – 2008/01/04
This is one of the notorious rivalries in the japanese prowrestling scene. Safe to say, these two always deliver. But they do have something extra if you like to compare them with other notorious rivals. The psychology factor. The whole match is built upon it. They are 100% IN character. Tanahashi is on his heel A game, which you wouldn’t expect from him normally. I, for one, have never seen him this vicious to be honest. He is arrogant, cocky, ruthless, unrestrained, he doesn’t spare any kind of punishment on Nakamura, as this match is THE battle to determine who is THE man in NJPW! This is the best Tanahashi you’ll ever see!
He inflicts all the punishment he can, first on Nakamura’s leg (Boma Ye anyone?). Then he focuses on his arm, which is already injured. You get a couple of dragon screws, german suplexes here and there, dropkicks, chops on the arm, top rope bodypress, jawbreaker, dragon sleepers, sling blades…Tanahashi is not sparing any move from his arsenal.
Nakamura has a hard time even doing a proper cross armbreaker as his arm was very damaged by Tanahashi’s work on it. The officials even suggested stopping the match at one point, but Nakamura refused. He did get some kind of momentum going by doing a lariat, a powerslam and some german suplexes, and reversing some moves such as the dragon sleeper….But his big break came from none other than the new finisher he introduced after coming back from the US: The Landslide!
He hit it twice to knock off Tanahashi although one would have been enough as he did it from the second rope. But he retaliated with another one as a measure of precaution I guess. And he got it! He pinned Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Title. How can you not be impressed with this guy, he suffered the most vicious beating on his arm, and even had to tape it, as he couldn’t move it after the match, but he still put on the best show of his career. Nakamura’s selling has always been outstandingly good when he’s the one being attacked. This match is no exception. And Tanahashi smiling whenever he karate chops or kicks Nakamura’s arm is just precious!
One of the best modern pro wrestling matches you’ll ever see. Outstandingly good, majorly due to the two of them being in character 100%. If I was to rate matches merely on psychology and crowd reaction, this one gets a perfect 5 from me. They brought the best out of each other! THIS is entertainment at best! Enjoy it from the 1st minute (video package) to the last minutes (Nakamura saluting his fans and walking the railway as the new IWGP Heavyweight champion)
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Go Shiozaki – G1 – 2010/08/15
This is the 1st match of their trilogy, and Shiozaki’s first participation on the G1 CLIMAX tournament. The NOAH guy is in NJPW territory, so expect a LOT of booing! It starts with a lot of mat based wrestling, and slowly picks up when they exchange elbows, chops and kicks and the crowd starts getting behind both of them. Then Shiozaki brings his A game, and the more booing he gets, the better he is! Look out for one picture perfect dropkick from him at the beginning of the match!
Shiozaki centers his attacks on Nakamura’s leg (as most wrestlers do) with some vicious chops to it! WONDERFUL selling from Nakamura even after he starts getting some momentum, he continues selling his leg injury while hitting his famous moves like the Boma Ye! The match was quite long. They went toe to toe, with some great sequences only seperated by a few seconds of rest, which helps imo to not kill the mood of the match. Nothing worse that a long and slowmo bout.
Seriously, as a first experience bringing a NOAH guy to the G1 Climax, this was a complete success. It filled out the arena, they crowd was very excited, getting behind both guys (the Shiozaki chops are about the only things that got him some strong cheering lol), and the two delivered very strong performances, eventhough they never faced one another before, and the styles of NOAH and NJPW diverge a little bit. But they still managed to pull off a great match, and the ending left the suspense going as to who will have the upper hand in their future matches…
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