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[2005-05-08-NOAH-Differ Cup] Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Osamu Namiguchi

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Great match, especially given the experience level of both competitors. They're given a solid fifteen minutes do their thing, and they use it efficiently to form a fleshed-out, compelling match that connects with a Differ Ariake crowd that normally doesn't react to Young Lions. Nakajima controls for the majority of the match, and he's fairly good at doing so .... there's certain portions in his control segments that ring hollow, but nothing egregious. Namiguchi is terrific as the underdog who's not quite as skilled as his peer, but makes up for it with his heart & determination. This was firmly sitting in the ***¼ - ***½ range, but then the finishing stretch happened and elevated this to ****. A bloodied Namiguichi taps into his fighting spirit and does everything in his power to survive when Nakajima makes that last-minute push to put him away before the time limit expires. For someone only a two/three-ish years into his career, Nakajima displays a veteran headiness about him in terms of his ring presence & control, but his inexperience surfaces at the end when he fails to close out a match he had in the bag. Rating: ****

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