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[2000-05-05-NJPW-Wrestling Dontaku] Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata vs Naoya Ogawa & Kazunari Murakami

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So here is the drill, put Ogawa in a NJPW ring around this time and I am all in. This had a great atmosphere like usual and the Egg team of Nagata and Nakanishi were strong as being the flag bearers for NJPW. Nagata blasts Murakami with a kick and wants a piece of Ogawa. After some jockeying, he succummbs to an STO with Ogawa giving a look of "is that the best you got." I have been a Nakanishi fan in 2000 but I thought he was the weak link here and was unable to match the hatred and intensity of the others. He showed more fire in the post match presser. We have a masked man who apparently was Inoki choke him out on the apron which gets big heat and a quick finish with Murakami taking the loss. It really feels like we could have had 3-5 more minutes of heated action. After the match, Riki Choshu is wanting to get involved and him and Choshu go after each other. ***3/4

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This felt a little abrupt with the ending being what it was but what we got leading up to it was solid. Nakanishi had a few awkward moments, particularly with Ogawa, but he and Nagata were fun foils for their opponents here. Nakanishi throws a nice body punch in the corner on Murakami at one point. Murakami is fun both instigating and getting the tables turned on him, and the reactions for Ogawa throwing out the STO are huge. Post-match brawl is fun and pretty chaotic.

 

***1/2

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This was a bit of a mess but you kind of expect it to be going in. I love that Nagata just really wants to suplex Murakami and Nakanishi is able to throw him down a couple times but doesn't know what to do when he's got him on the mat. They beat up Murakami awhile until Nagata throws him into Ogawa's corner and tells Ogawa to tag in. Ogawa hits a couple STOs, Nakanishi tries going after Ogawa's injured shoulder while Nagata pins Murakami with some kind of suplex hold. Then everyone starts fighting post-match, including Choshu. A hot mess.

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I liked the amount of struggle in the initial matchups against Murakami, and he was good in convincingly taking a beating. Nagata dragging him to the corner to goad Ogawa into coming in was funny. Ogawa easily stood up to both his opponents and was giving out the STO right and left. The match ended quickly, as Nagata was beating Murakami while the masked man choked out Nakanishi. This led to a fun pull apart brawl. Everybody looked good and the brawl built up a potential rematch. Good match.

 

***

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This is for Nagata and Nakanishi’s IWGP Tag Team Championship.

I loved everything about this up until the ending. Ogawa and Murakami, the latter especially, are just excellent at emotionally baiting their opponents and bringing a level of intensity out of them that you normally wouldn’t see on a daily basis. G-EGGS matches up very well with Murakami and taunts Ogawa to come into the ring… and they bite off more than they could chew as Ogawa promptly wipes the floor with the both of them. Everything goes to hell when Nagata goes to save his partner from Ogawa’s death blows, Murakami intervenes on Ogawa’s behalf, some dude in a mask (who’s very clearly Inoki, that jawline is unmistakable) applies a choke on Nakanashi, and in the midst of it all the chaos Murakami gets pinned after a flash German suplex … suffice it to say, a lot happens at the end. It’s fun and all, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the home-stretch being abruptly stopped for what ends up being a fuck finish.

Rating: ***¾
 

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