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[2014-04-06-NJPW-Invastion Attack] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura

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IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura - NJPW 4/6/14

When I watched this in 2015, I thought it was ***** and the MOTY and I know my good buddy, Shoe agreed with me, but I didnt write a review at the time. My procrastination is my reward because I am watching this 5 years later and falling in love all over again. 

Tanahashi and Nakamura should start an air band. Nakamura can be the lead singer and Tanahashi can be on guitar. I feel like Gedo would rule on air drums. Now who should we get for bass?

Tanahashi always has a dickish air to him, which is one of the many reasons why I like him, but as the match progresses he tends to play it straight. The only time I have seen him go full heel is when he participated in the Champions Carnival 2008 as an invader. His match with Suwama was awesome, it felt like Flair vs Luger but in Japan. In this match, Tanahashi fully embraces his heelishness and it is glorious. He uses Nakamura's stupid taunts against him. He does that stupid head on the belly button thing. Then he grabs the leg and wont let go on the clean break. He drops the elbow down on the leg to a chorus of boos. I love that he does the air guitar and then air throws the air guitar into crowd. I wonder if anyone air caught it? Nakamura shoved him in the ass with his foot on Tanahashi's reverse crossbody attempt. I loved that as a receipt for the dickishness of Tanahashi. Then Tanahashi was able to trip Nakamura up near the post and crack his injured across the post to more boos. This is great. Nakamura whips Tanahashi into the railing. Nakamura charges, KNEE TO THE RAILING! Now it is over. Nakamura is fucked. He is writhing in pain and Tanahashi literally shuts the gate on his knees multiple times. This is the Tanahashi I have always wanted in my life. The leg work in the ring is ferocious and the best of Tanahashi's career. He is slapping Nakamura with a left hand as Nakamura is trying to make a comeback. This is such a fuck you. Then he just kicks Nakamura straight in the kneecap. I am loving this. The cherry on top, piece d'resistance, is Tanahashi doing Good Vibrations on the injured knee. Yes! Yes! A Million Times Yes!

Of course all good things must come to end as Nakamura takes back over. He uses a lot of knees which I am not wild about but it is Nakamura's staple. He kinda sells. It is relatively short-lived comeback mostly just to remind people he is alive. Nakamura goes for that tail whip and Tanahashi catches it and hits a Dragon Leg Screw! I love this so much! Nakamura powders from the pain! HIGH FLY FLOW TO THE FLOOR! Where are "This is Awesome" chants? :P Back in Nakamura avoids a Sling Blade with a lung blower but his knees are fucked. Tanahashi aggressively and urgently chop blocks the knee. Then this part is so damn great. Tanahashi wryly slaps Nakamura. So Nakamura responds with a punch right to the face. BOM-BA-YE! WOW! I love it. 1-2-NO! What an amazing nearfall. Thats how you turn a match on a dime. Nakamura is struggling to capitalize. Tanahashi is flying around dropkicking the knee. HIGH FLY FLOW INTENTIONALLY TO THE KNEES! WOW! Tanahashi is selling his ribs. Great Texas Cloverleaf nearfall! Tanahashi hits High Fly Flow to standing Nakamura. He leaps over the ropes, Go Ace Go! HIGH FLY FLOW...TO THE KNEES! Tanahashi is in pain. Nakamura cant capitalize. Tanahashi is struggling with what to do next. He has so tenaciously worked over the knee, he wants to go to back to the Texas Cloverleaf, smart idea, but Nakamura is an excellent counter wrestler and traps the arm into the Cross Armbreaker. Great struggle on breaking the clasp. Watch how Tanahashi bridges his neck initially to relieve the press and then also how he contorts his body in all sorts of shapes to avoid the pain. This is great. He makes the ropes. His arm is fucked. He is in a lot of pain. The ref is checking on him. His back is to Nakamura. BOM BA YE! HOLY SHIT! OUT OF NOWHERE! That was brutal! Nakamura just pours it with a MERCILESS ONSALUGHT OF BOM BA YE'S TO THE HEAD! 1-2-3!

This match is everything! I always say the most effective comeback from limb psychology is to go head-hunting. Youre in a deep hole and you need dig yourself out, as Anita Ward says Ring Their Bell! Nakamura does just that.I loved the closed fist/Bom Ba Ye combo. Then the use of the Cross Armbreaker to set up that no look Bom Ba Ye was sick! I already extravagantly praised Tanahashi in this match. If it was not for the Ultimate Feel Good moment of Daniel Bryan beating HHH at WrestleMania, this is the best match of 2014. As it stands, this is the best Puroresu Match of 2010-2014 and in the top three in the world from that timeframe (along with HHH/Bryan, Cena/Lesnar 2012). I love this match. *****






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