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  1. It’s no secret that I’m quite high on Iizuka and Izuchi. So, when I heard they had a sub-one-minute main event, I knew I had to see it. Iizuka jumps Izuchi at the opening bell with a running knee strike. Thinking he has Izuchi down for the count, Iizuka goes to celebrate, only to turn around and see that his foe is back to his feet. Iizuka goes for a flurry of strikes and back elbows, but Izuchi has his guard up and catches him flush with a knee. Izuchi then clamps on a chokehold to tap out Iizuka in under a minute. This would be easy to dismiss as “just an angle,” but I loved the way the match played out. Iizuka’s overconfidence costing him is a wonderful, easy-to-digest, self-contained story. The fact that they got there in so little time is a testament to both competitors. Izuchi’s look of incredulity after the bell is also fantastic. More than anything, I like how this match turns what a main event should look like on its head. It doesn’t need any fancy set pieces, flashy moves, or big nearfalls. All it needs is a little effort.
  2. Neither man wastes any time getting into the action. Nakamura dominates the ground game, forcing Matsui to use an escape thirty seconds into the match. Nakamura forces Matsui to fight from behind, smothering him on the mat and forcing him to use the ropes to flee. Both competitors weave in and out of holds seamlessly. There’s so much intent and purpose behind every hold. Take, for example, the kneebars Matsui constantly uses as a tool to neutralize his opponent. It’s a stark contrast to the filler mat work that besets most Japanese promotion’s main event scenes. Matsui hones in on Nakamura with yet another kneebar to cost him a point, but Daisuke rushes him immediately for a down. An excellent struggle over an armbar follows, but Matsui again finds himself in the ropes. Matsui briefly gains the upper hand with a suplex that keeps Nakamura down for a count of eight. Matsui grabs a sleeper, and suddenly, Nakamura’s down to two points himself. From there, both find themselves flustered, swinging wildly for any strike that will land. A flash armbar seals the deal, and Nakamura snags the win. A delightful match, full of vim and vigor, one that shows you don’t need to go thirty minutes to tell a complete story.