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Superstar Sleeze

[2014-08-10-NJPW-G-1 Cimax] Kazuchika Okada vs Shinsuke Nakamura

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Kazuchika Okada vs Shinsuke Nakamura - NJPW G-1 Climax Finals 8/10/14

 

The dream match that NJPW booking has wisely put off since Okada burst onto the scene in the beginning of 2012 pits two stablemates from CHAOS against each other for the G-1 Climax Championship and pretty much a mortal lock to headline the 1/4 Tokyo Dome show. Okada has reminded me a lot of old Nakamura. From a technical execution standpoint, Okada is a great wrestler, but he seems disinterested in the outcome of a match and just is not showing passion. In this match being challenged by one of the other two top natives in NJPW, he seems hungry to assert himself as the premiere pro wrestler in the world. I want see more of that from Okada. Nakamura has been great in the matches I have seen in 2014. His new oddball persona of wearing Michael Jackson-inspired jackets and dancing like MJ is entertaining outside the ring and inside he is the last of the Strong Style workers which means a heavy emphasis on counter submission wrestling and strikes especially blows to the head. It is not fancy, but it is going to get the job and it may get it done quickly. Okada does not really have a flash submission or knockout in his arsenal so he is susceptible in his long setup times to a wrestler like Nakamura. Nakamura is what made this match dynamic. He forced Okada out of his comfort zone and to react to how he was wrestling, which made it more compelling than the Okada-style which can be mechanical at times.

 

Early on, it was all about posturing and bravado. Psyching each other out in a macho pissing contest, Okada does his cocky clean break so Nakamura responds with stare at the belly button. Because these two have never faced off, Nakamura feels like the favorite because of his experience in big time matches. So when Nakamura is fucking around during this break, Okada immediately clamps on his a DDT. Right there, I know Okada came to play. Okada is still a cocky punk so he can't resist putting his one foot on Nakamura's chest and hitting the Rainmaker pose. We get the first strike exchange and of course the King of Strong Style wins with a knee lift. Okada has to avoid those exchanges because that is an area that Nakamura will crush him in. Nakamura just lays waste to Okada in pretty much every conceivable fashion of using a barrage of knee lifts. Now it is Nakamura's turn to get cocky and does little playful kicks to Okada. What is going to be Okada's strategy? When Tanahashi feels overwhelmed, he neutralizes his opponent by attacking the knee. What does Okada have in his arsenal to set up the Rainmaker? The answer is of course, his dropkick.

 

Nakamura goes for a running knee one too many times and Okada is able to counter by setting him up top hitting a dropkick causing him to tumble all the way to floor. Okada presses his advantage on the outside with a Hangsman DDT. Normally, Okada would let this run for a countout, but he is not fucking around in this match and he is not going to give Nakamura a second to breathe. Big Elbow Drop! Okada really has a case for best elbow drop ever. It is fucking pretty. RAINMAKER POSE~! GEDO IS JAAAAAACCCCCKKKKEEEDDDDD! Now this is where Nakamura shines, his counterwrestling game. First it is a lungblower to buy himself time. Then when Okada goes for a submission, he walks right into the trap. Nakamura gets a rear naked choke and is looking for a cross armbreaker, but settles for a Triangle. As Okada stands to reach for the rope, Nakamura uses his long legs to force him over into a cross-armbreaker. Gedo is freaking out as Okada writhes and flops around looking for the rope. Perfect way to respect the cross-armbreaker. Nakamura buries knees deep into Okada and is looking for the Boma Ye. Okada counters with the White Noise into the Knee (not my favorite move). Okada successfully avoids Nakamura's wild roundhouse kicks and uses dropkicks to set up the Tombstone. Now it is time to Make It Rain in Seibu, FLYING CROSS ARMBREAKER OUT OF THE RAINMAKER~! Holy shit! Definitely one of the best spots of 2014! Nakamura the counterwrestler strikes again. Okada steps on his face to force the release. BOMA YE~! to the back of the head. This is treated like it levels the playing field, but i felt like Nakamura was in the driver's seat. Strike exchange ends with an Okada dropkick. Nakamura pulls one out of the Suzuki game plan and baits him into hitting dropkick again. He collapses on a rope running spot and Okada goes for the dropkick again, but Nakamura was playing possum so Okada crashes and burns and BOMA YE~! KICK OUT! Okada will not be denied tonight. Nakamura gets a running start but as we saw in the Shibata match if you can guard against that it is his downfall. Okada hits with a dropkick on the button. Nakamura blocks The Rainmaker with a knee and looks for Boma Ye, but Okada closes the gap by running towards it and grabbing the leg. Love that! Nakamura uncorks two closed fist to set up Landslide, but Okada reverses out with a backslide. When Nakamura kicks out, Okada hangs on to hit not one, not two, but three Rainmakers to win the G-1 Climax.

 

That was the story of this match Okada was not fucking around and he was taking no chances. I loved that there were no kickouts. It was Okada ensuring his victory. Okada looked like a boss here using the dropkick liberally like a Misawa would with his elbow to set up his offense. We saw with Shibata how you can defend against Nakamura's Boma Ye and Okada executing that strategy perfectly. He survived Nakamura's counterwrestling and the Flying Cross Armbreaker out of the Rainmaker was an awesome spot. Kicking out of Boma Ye was definitely a big star-making move! You really felt like Okada wanted it more on that night. I distilled action down to its best parts but there was some fluff and overkill late paired with a lukewarm beginning that I think this is behind Styles/Suzuki and Nakamura/Tanahashi, but I would peg this no worse than a top 5 NJPW Match of the Year and Top Ten Match of the Year overall. Nakamura's counterwrestling/strikes versus Okada's dropkick & heart made for one epic story on this night. ****1/2

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