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[2004-09-03-AJPW] Toshiaki Kawada vs Osamu Nishimura


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This was the best of the Forgotten Kawada TC Defenses I watched today and a borderline classic. And the reason for that is, of course, Osamu Nishimura. Nish often gets branded as a novelty worker who just does tribute matches imitating Dory Funk Jr spots, which is simply not true, as he does a bonafide job working a true Kings Road style match against Kawadas strike based style here. Not forcing him to work his trademark style at all, just building a really good match around his signature spots while educating the crowd on the importance of Backslides and Abdominal Stretches, telling a story and all while never losing his composure. The opening sees Nishimura ambushing Kawada and targeting his leg, they then proceed to work a basic exchange, Kawada goes for a cheapshot but Nish blocks him and hits back, showing he's prepared. They continue in this vein, with Kawada lacing into Nishimura with strikes only for Nishimura to fire back on him, often punching or headbutting him in the eye. This causes Kawada to actually get fired up and look like a dangerous striker against Nishimuras more toned down offense like getting punched and headbutted in the eye actually shook him after years of getting elbowed, kicked, chopped etc. There is some excellently executed legwork and a flawless build to a Figure 4 which was full of struggle and great. Kawadas selling was pretty hit and miss as per usual during this period but I actually thought it was acceptable. The finishing run was really great, well put together stuff with plenty of neat spots and I thought it was largely carried by Nishimuras amazing charisma, he is such a wrestling master with how he manages to work his stuff with so much urgency, he really yanks on Kawadas neck when he goes for a sleeper, he would also go from an Abdominal Stretch to a pin to an armbar trying to force the tap, like he was trying everything he knew to get that win. His bumping is also up there with the best of the 90s death seekers, as when he takes a back suplex his head and feet touch the ground at about the same time but he folds his neck up. I thought his performance here was close to Hondas GHC challenge in 2003. Kawada had one of his better nights on his TC run too, I really liked how he would sell Nishimuras finer strikes and really liked the Octopus Hold into Stretch Plum as a Fuck You to Nishimuras lineage. Great stuff and one of the few matches where you'll see Kawada carried.

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