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[2007-02-17-AJPW-Excite Series] Shuji Kondo vs Katsuhiko Nakajima


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  • 2 months later...

This is amazing. Kondo puts together a hell of a match and really makes Nakajima look like a killer threat. Some really big spots all placed really well throughout the match. This holds up so much better than I would have thought - in fact it's actively better than I remembered. Lovely little touch of Nakajima using the Northern Lights Bomb and it getting an awesome near-fall. Kensuke's reaction was brilliant. He had to go back to his own playbook with the picture perfect German to get the job done.


Kondo's mid decade run really makes him look like one of the best big match wrestlers in the world during the period. The sad revelation from this though is just how something was really lost along the way with Nakajima. He looked poised to be one of the biggest stars in Japan when this match ended. He had such babyface charisma, was developing into such an amazing worker and the crowds loved him. But it just never materialised and now he's just a guy who really doesn't have much fire and the fans don't seem to be behind him at all.


But yeah, this match is the shit. Will do really well on my ballot. ****3/4.

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Perfect summary there Alan! I've been dying to rewatch this match again for ages as I remember being slightly disappointed first time around as this was a pretty highly pimped match in Powerslam magazine. I actually think this might be a step up from the nifty Kondo vs Hayashi match from '06 as it had better selling, less overkill and an awesome crowd. Man that Northern Lights Bomb and finishing sequence made this feel like a really special ascension moment for Nakajima but alas as Alan said twas not to be.

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  • 3 months later...

First 20 minutes of this match were about as perfect as a juniors wrestling match can get. Nakajima was attacking the arm, Kondo had hit one big move on the outside to mess up Nakajima's collarbone/neck. They play off of this for a long time, going back and forth and teasing momentum changes hitting the spot they have weakened. Then we get to the nearfalls. Kondo's second nearfall is a Razor's edge dropped into a piledriver. Something was said about a lack of overkill, but that's not what I saw given the last sentence. There's ten minutes left in the match and Nakajima ought to be in a hospital after that. Anyway, Nakajima leaves the arm alone for a while and just goes into his big finishing offense. Kondo finally starts going for the lariat and eats kicks to the arm that...sort of slow him down a little. I'm not saying that the finishing run was badly worked, because it was not. I'm saying it was completely out of place given the first 20 minutes and like most 10+ minute finishing runs in the 2000s it was overdone. Perhaps not to the level of a lot of it, but enough that I'm not voting for this match given the other major flaw.

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  • 1 month later...

All Japan Jr. Heavyweight Champion Shuji Kondo vs Katsuhiko Nakajima - AJPW 2/17/07


Strategy in pro wrestling is often reduced to being very one dimensional. You work a body part to set up your finishing move. You attack an opponents' strength to neutralize their finisher. I am not saying all good pro wrestling needs more advanced strategy or this specific strategy. What this match offered was a rare instance of a multi-faceted strategy. Nakajima established early that his intention was to neutralize Kondo's strength advantage and his lariats by knotting up his arm. However, Nakajima did not have a finishing hold to directly translate this strategy into a victory. In addition, Nakajima took a nasty spill onto the guardrail that severely fucked up his neck. In a nice touch, Hokuto checked on Nakajima. It can not be underestimated how much Sasaki and Hokuto added to the match by being on the outside cheering on Nakajima. It felt like parents cheering on their kid.


Nakajima pressed on by kicking the arm to keep Kondo at bay, but Kondo overwhelmed with brute power zeroing in on the injured neck. Nakajima realized that Kondo's arm was too strong and that point of attack would not turn the tide. So he began taking head shots. Finally, Nakajima stymied Kondo's onslaught and with a dive to the outside. He levelled the playing field to finally return to his attack on the arm. He utilized mentor Sasaki's arm drag, but could not get the cross armbreaker as Kondo slammed out on it dropping Nakajima right on the back of his head. As much as this match was about Nakajima, Kondo was amazing at selling the arm the right amount. He was not blowing off Nakajima's work, but at the same time Nakajima really had not done enough to damage the arm so that it was totally useless. Kondo was fighting through the pain in a believable way. Kondo's slams really target Nakajima's neck, who cant seem to get anything started. In a great sequence, Nakajima is deadweighting Kondo on a powerbomb so Kondo blasts him with a elbow. Nakajima's sell would make Kawada proud. Kondo then spikes Nakajima on his head with a piledriver, but Nakajima kicks out. I will say the placement of that move was too early. The big flaw of the match begins here as Nakajima starts selling like Kaz Hayashi meaning he sells after he does a move not as he is doing it, but it is not as egregious.

Nakajima at this point has no hope winning this match via arm work (no real submission game) so he goes for head shots to set up Emerald Flowsion and a flying bodypress. Kondo signals for a lariat and Nakajima kicks the arm reversing into a Human Capture Suplex only for 2. I liked how after all the kicks to the arm that Kondo could use his arm properly on his slam so that the full impact was not delivered. It was good selling. I loved the axe kick on lariat arm. Kondo finally gets lariat, but it is not enough. I totally bit on the Northern Lights Bomb finish with Sasaki right there. Nakajima wins the match with a German Suplex.

This match had the potential to be a Match of the Decade Contender. The dueling body part psychology, the appropriate arm selling by Kondo, the amazing neck selling of Nakajima, the two-leveled Nakajima strategy all wove together to create a unique, dynamic match. The finish run did depart from this where Nakajima's comeback became a bit incredulous and his selling uneven and the moves excessive. I am not going to penalize the match too much because the base of the match was still there Nakajima defending against the lariat, working through his early match mishap (neck) and using headshots to create big offense. ****1/2

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  • GSR changed the title to [2007-02-17-AJPW-Excite Series] Shuji Kondo vs Katsuhiko Nakajima

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