Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only

[2006-04-30-NJPW-New Japan Cup] Yuji Nagata vs Giant Bernard


Recommended Posts

  • 3 months later...

Yuji Nagata vs Giant Bernard - New Japan Cup Finals 04/30/06

The trick with Bernard/Albert/Tensai is if you respect his size as a booker and as an opponent then he does have some value as a monster heel. However, he will not be able to get himself over through his own efforts. He is a mediocre wrestler in just about every way that just happens to be quite large. So if a company (WWE) or his opponent treats him like shit, there is no overcoming that. This is just my thesis after two New Japan matches with him. Both are better than anything in WWE, but it is not because Japanese water turns Bernard/Albert into a super worker it is because he is treated with respect by his opponent and the promotion. He had only been with the promotion for four months and they booked him to win the New Japan Cup to face Brock Lesnar at the May 3rd show for the IWGP title. Now part of that maybe to give Brock a familiar opponent, but even after the Brock departure Bernard was pushed to the the consequent IWGP Title Tournament Final, the semi-finals of the G-1 Climax and a IWGP tag champion. He was positioned as a strong monster gaijin. In turn, Nagata and Tanahashi treated Bernard as a credible monster worth overcoming rather than an oversized jabroni.

The interesting twist in this match was that Nagata was able to wound the monster, but Bernard was able to overcome the injury and secure the victory. It illustrated that even Nagata best arm work was not even enough to topple this new monster thus instantly establishing Bernard in the upper echelon of the New Japan scene. Nagata established early that he was going to hit and run with a focus on the arm. Bernard is not really good at the wild swing-miss-where'd he go spots. He was entertaining at the "Gimme my damn arm back" spots when Nagata would go for armbars. This shine is significantly shorter than really fun Tanahashi one as Bernard squashes Nagata like a bug with his size. The resulting heat segment is pretty pedestrian though Bernard has one of the better worked full nelsons I have ever seen. At some point, they show Scott Norton and I mark out. I don't know why I did, but I did. They had a lazy transition to Nagata's comeback as Bernard starts to slap Nagata and this wakes him up. Nagata rattles off his bombs like the exploder before applying a deep cross-armbreaker and then an armbar to give this match a hook: can Nagata put away the injured Bernard or will Bernard overcome his bad wing through sheer brute force. Bernard hits a quick big boot and follows up with a Vader Bomb and Baldo Bomb, but then he can't finagle a powerbomb due to his injury. This affords Nagata the opportunity to hit three Shining Wizards...KICK OUT! I am sure Keiji Mutoh was thrilled with that. Wrist-clutch Exploder! KICK OUT! I am sure Jun Akiyama was thrilled with that. Nagata is tapped out of energy and just does not look he has enough to get him to the finish line. There is an epic struggle of Bernard trying to hit a powerbomb before finally pulling it off and only getting two. He hoists him up for the lame Rikishi style tombstone piledriver to get the win.


I was actually very surprised at the finish as I thought Nagata was higher than Bernard on the NJPW totem pole, but it is those kinds of victories out of the gate that build a new wrestler into a credible threat. I like the inverted story with the monster having an injury to overcome and the underdog having to combat his own exhaustion to try to put away the big man. In this battle, it just took too much out of Nagata to overcome Bernard's size advantage. Bernard did some really nice selling of the arm to out over his own struggle. The first half or so of the match was pretty useless, but once Nagata injures Bernard's arm it gets a whole lot better. Comparatively, the Tanahashi/Bernard rocked at the beginning and went off the rails. As the cliche goes, it is all about how you finish so I have this one a little bit ahead and thus in my mind it is Albert/Bernard's best all time match. ***3/4

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • GSR changed the title to [2006-04-30-NJPW-New Japan Cup] Yuji Nagata vs Giant Bernard

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...