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[2009-01-04-NJPW-Wrestle Kingdom] Mitsuharu Misawa & Takashi Suguira vs Shinsuke Nakamura & Hirooki Goto

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So many things I'm not sure of here. Why is Misawa vs. Nakamura a big deal? Why Sugiura? Can Hirooki Goto throw an elbow that looks like it hurts? Sugiura gets old pretty fast whenever I see him wrestle. Too many pissing contests to "build the match". Same few power spots, sometimes done later to be reversed. Then when he does do things besides that, it makes no sense. He grabs an ankle lock on Nakamura after nobody has touched a leg and they spend a few minutes making it into a big spot. Did I miss parts of this match or something? Nakamura gets put over really well. And he looks good for the most part. Misawa has stretches where he looks old and worn out. And damn, how many years did he wrestle with no major breaks? I'd say that's deserved and not in any way complaint-worthy material. Misawa still wrestling in 2009 had to take a superhuman effort. Goto gets his weak strikes and a few suplexes, but is mostly an afterthought. Nakamura catches Sugiura with a flash armbar and gets the submission in 3 seconds. I get that it can do that, but that was a weird finish. Oddball match, not awful, but not getting a vote.

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Mitsuharu Misawa & Takahasi Sugiura vs Shinsuke Nakamura & Hirooki Goto - Tokyo Dome 01/04/09


Nothing captures how strange this match is as much as Sugiura coming out to "When Loves Comes To Town". Mutoh is suing for gimmick infringement.


The best part of this match was the great reaction Misawa gets from the Dome crowd during his entrance and when he first enters the match. It is heart-warming witnessing that. On the other end, watching him take routine suplexes so close to his death made me cringe. The match felt very American to me. It is clear as the 00s progressed that wrestling between America and Japan has tended toward homogenization with the profilieration of long finish runs filled with nearfalls in American matches and more Japanese wrestling concerned more with spots than transitions. I was so sad to watch Misawa/Goto do a standing switch on a waistlock with absolutely no struggle. Goto literally just let Misawa out and then Goto threw a prefunctory elbow to complete double reverse to hit a suplex. I expect that bullshit in America and don't mind, but it was sad to see it in Japan. Another American attribute was everyone hit their finisher to level everyone right before the finish proper. I actually like that sequence usually it was just strange to see it in Japan. The whole match was weird. There was no flow and no real sense of progression. Two wrestlers would just sort of hit stuff on each other and that was that. Goto and Nakamura made it a point to go after Misawa on the apron, but that did not build towards anything. Nakamura lasted longer in the face of the vaunted Misawa elbow, but that may just be a function of it being 2009. Suigura busted out his one good spot when he hangs Goto out and it is misdirect to smoke Nakamura with a big boot. Sugiura did his Angle impression with suplexes, Ankle locks and Angle Slams and it is so amateur hour. Goto is boring as fuck. Misawa should have retired, but we all know that. Nakamura is better than this. I loved the flash submission with the cross armbreaker. Respect the cross-armbreaker. I know shit happened for like 12-15 minutes and I remember it all, but it seemed like nothing happened just like Orton/Ziggler match from this past RAW. Yep, the convergence of America and Japan is scary and sad.

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