Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only

[2007-04-13-NJPW] Yuji Nagata vs Hiroshi Tanahashi


Recommended Posts

  • 5 months later...

This match was almost really good. Opening sequence was well-done, with Tanahashi showing he's got the quickness and technique to keep up with Nagata in the technical work, even if he's doing non-traditional stuff. Then Tanahashi gets a quick advantage and decides he's gonna do lots of strikes to a vulnerable Nagata on the apron. He gets really cocky and lets Nagata back in the ring without mugging him, which proves to be a major mistake. Nagata is PISSED after that apron attack and destroys Tanahashi. That was fun to watch. Nagata goes to work on the arm after a while, looks like he's winding up to his really big offense. Tanahashi catches Nagata, could have been his plan all along, but it seems like a lot of damage to take for a small victory like that. Tanahashi works over the leg for a while until we come to the part where the match falls apart. They go into...nearfalls. Nagata does a good job of selling the leg throughout, wish I cold say the same about Tanahashi and the arm. To me, if you take out the 3-4 minutes or so from right before the top rope exploder -> shining wizard combo (which always seems to come too early) and skip right to the sling blade countered into a backdrop (really well done), and throw in one or two Tanahashi falls before the end you have a really great match with a solid story told all the way through. as it is, you have a pretty good match with some excess stuff in the wrong spots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

I got to disagree with you, brutha on the arm selling. Nagata kicks the shit out of Tanahashi. He progresses in strategy to arm. After all at that point he needed either to knock the kid out or submit him. He goes for the arm, but that only lasts a minute, maybe two at most. Tanahashi retreats due to cross armbreaker and Nagata tries to get payback by knocking Tanahashi off apron, but gets his knee wrenched, which was perfect. I don't think the arm work was fully developed. Nagata was heading there, but a very cool transition altered that. In addition, I think Tanahashi was really good at selling while working the knee. You had the feeling that his control was tenuous at best. Yes, Nagata's knee is being destroyed, but Tanahashi is still reeling from the kicks to the head. It makes Nagata's comeback very believeable. I loved this as a young champion vs experienced veteran challenger. They did that dynamic very well, where most people fuck it up.


IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Yuji Nagata - NJPW 4/13/07


In a surprisingly loaded year, Tanahasi and Nagata pull ahead of everyone else to be the most likely Match of the Year for 2007 and a potential Match of the Decade with a superbly worked championship bout. So few matches in puroresu in the 00s used that escalating, championship style match. Not only is the layout refreshing for the time period is executed nearly perfectly to deliver one of the most satisfying matches of the decade. Nagata has been the Ace for New Japan during the interim period between the Musketeers and Tanahashi & Co. He is built in the image of Inoki. He is pro wrestler that excels at striking and counterwrestling. If shoot-style imitates MMA, Nagata imitates shoot-style. Tanahashi is a move in a flashier and for lack of a better term a more American direction. In the year 2007, Tanahashi is coming in the champion, but he is by no means The Man, yet. Nagata is mighty over with the crowd and seems very intent on taking down this punk and proving why he is Mr. IWGP.


It was a sight for sore eyes to watch a well-worked feeling-out process that was not just strike exchanges. As expected Nagata dominates on the mat and with strikes. Tanahashi can keep up, but he won't be able to win if he lets Nagata dictate this style of match. He needs to use quick strikes to set up openings for his moves. He does just that and Nagata escapes to the floor. Tanahasi poses and knocks him off apron. Bad move, brutha. Nagata takes this as a slight and is madder than a hornet when he gets back in. Nagata tears into Tanahasi with kicks, knees and elbows. It is quite the beating. Nagata moves to the arm and looks for a cross armbreaker, but Tanahashiy gets to the ropes and powders. Nagata looks to get his receipt by kicking Tanahashi off the apron, but Tanahashi catches and Dragon Leg Screw across top rope. AMAZING TRANSITION! Nagata looks to stay in control with a suplex, but Tanahashi gets a quick neckbreaker and is on that knee like his life depends on it. In a lot of ways it does. He was overmatched in so many ways that this opening reallty levels the playing field and he really exploits it. Nagata to his credit does some great selling including a Flair Flop and the Kawada collapse halfway cross the ring. Still it feels like Tanahashi is only tenuously in control. Nagata is able to get a flash submission hold applied (crossface), but Tanahashi survives. It is the knee in the corne that puts Nagata back in top who rattles off an Exploder and Shining Wizard. Nagata's knee gives way on the third brainbuster and here comes Tanahashi. Now he is going for finishing blows using Sling Blade to set up the Dragon Suplex and High Fly Flow, but High Fly Flow eats knees and Nagata gets a dramatic two count. However, High Flow Fly did land on the injured knees so Nagata can't capitalize right a way. Tanahashi goes for another Sling Blade, but Nagata hits a wicked back drop driver and it is all knotted up in the fourth quarter. Tanahashi with headbutts on his knee and a quick German with all his weight on legs on the cover, but for two. You really get a sense how much winning this match means to Tanahashi. Winning the match is important??!?!?!?!? I love this match!!! Tanahashi goes for the Dragon Suplex, but Nagata breaks out. A desperation, but wicked roundhouse kick rocks Tanahashi and two back drop drivers do Tanahashi in. Nagata wins the IWGP Championship and proves that he is still The Man!

Excellent match where my minor quibbles stem from one too many suplex here and there and that last Nagata transition could have been done a little more creatively. Still as a match that showcases a young champion against an experienced veteran challenger there are not many better. Tanahashi gets cocky early over a small victory and Nagata made him pay. Tanahashi had to resort to lucky break to even up the match. Still, Tanahashi looked pretty much fucked from all the head shots and here comes Nagata again. The finish sequence was very dramatic and I was hanging on more than one nearfall. This falls just short of my Top 5 and I would say with confidence this will be in my Top 10. Tremendous and must watch. ****3/4

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Nagata matches and Tanahashi matches go, this was right up there with the best for sure. Nagata selling the knee when he countered the high fly flow was helpful for that, as that tends to be the point of Tanahashi's attacking the leg. I didn't like it as much as you did, but I would put it above all but two matches involving either of these two.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Here's what I wrote about this match at SUPERDUPERPLEX:




A little over ten years ago, Yuji Nagata defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win his second IWGP Heavyweight Title. At the time, I loved the match and now, having re-watched it, I still love it. It remains one of Nagata's best singles performances, if not my personal favorite, and Tanahashi does such a good job of channeling his inner douchebag ace. In the opening exchange, Tanahashi shows that he's not a kid anymore while Nagata shows he's not an old man and he can keep pace. At one point, Nagata just starts kicking Tanahashi instead of locking up with him, done with the games. He doesn't have time for the plancha attempt either, walking off and taking a breather on the outside. Tanashi responds by attacking Nagata in the ropes and Nagata snaps on him, pummeling Tanahashi into a corner, laying into him with stiff kicks and shoving Red Shoes out of the way. They start throwing hard slaps, with Tanahashi really squeezing the mustard on, but Nagata shuts him down and starts in with the pissy strikes, just trying to wear the ace down. He goes after Tanahashi's arm, cranking on a reverse armbar and keeping hold of the arm after Tanahashi reaches the ropes. He goes back to it in little ways throughout the match but I think for the amount of time spent on it, Tanahashi's selling was fine.

Tanahashi transitions into the leg control with a dragon screw legwhip in the ropes. The fans turn on Tanahashi as he begins working on the leg, using the ring post and the ropes. Nagata tries to fight back but Tanahashi catches a kick attempt and nearly drops him on his head with a capture suplex. After a beautiful dragon screw legwhip, Tanahashi holds on the leg and when Nagata starts trying to kick him off, Tana legwhips him into the mat. Great stuff. Nagata starts firing off some nasty slaps but Tanahashi takes the nastiness to another level with his slaps and coldcocks Nagata, who face plants in a terrific moment of selling. In fact, Nagata's selling throughout is great, between his facials and the legwork. He delivers back-to-back snap brainbusters but when he tries for the spiral brainbuster, his knee gives out. Tanahashi takes advantage of the injury, hitting a slingblade and a dragon suplex, but Nagata sacrifices his knees to block the High Fly Flow. Loved Nagata's saito suplex counter to the second slingblade attempt. You can see the seams coming loose on the ace as he repeatedly headbutts Nagata out of frustration and hits a German suplex cradle and a shutdown German for a nearfall. He's able to stun Nagata with a slap but reacting almost on reflexes, Nagata blasts him with a high kick to the head. Two backdrops later, holding onto the second, Nagata pins Tanahashi to become the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion before the pro-Nagata crowd. A fantastic match and one definitely worth revisiting.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • GSR changed the title to [2007-04-13-NJPW] Yuji Nagata vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • 1 year later...

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...