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[2004-08-13-NJPW-G1 Climax] Koji Kanemoto vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

Makai Club #1

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Just to set the scene by giving a bit of background to this match. Koji Kanemoto, most famous for his feud with Jushin 'Thunder' Liger, popular Junior Heavyweight in the 90's and 00's and was the third Tiger Mask, is taking part in the G1 Climax 2004 looking to prove himself amongst the Heavyweights of the company after accomplishing everything as a Junior. Even coming second place in that years Best Of The Super Juniors Tournament just falling short to Tiger Mask IV. So far he has earned four points beating the likes of Yoshihiro Takayama (Forfeit) and a young Togi Makabe. Hiroshi Tanahashi whilst not at his once in a century status just yet, seems to be on the cusp of glory and is destined for big things, eventually heading to the finals of this years G1 Climax. Can the veteran, recently junior turned heavyweight use his experience to outsmart and beat the future ace or will Tanahashi continue his good record? We'll see.

Grumpy heavyweight Kanemoto is the bloody best, isn’t he? Early Tanahashi was AWESOME too. The start of the match was excellent with the two exchanging some slick grappling and counters, Kanemoto schooling Tanahashi technically but Tanahashi using his power to hold his own. Then they smoothly transitioning into Kanemoto beating the piss out of Tanahashi with wicked slaps w/ a few shoot punches mixed it with the slaps/palm strikes. It was awesome. Tanahashi acting heelish, using Kanemoto’s boot face wash against him but Heavy Koji was having none of that and roughed him up so more, kicking him flush in the face quite a few times. The finishing stretch was like 5 minutes long but kept up the tempo and was highly compelling with each other beginning to get their heavy shots in and Tanahashi making a comeback, hitting his suplexes but Kanemoto refusing to stay down. Kanemoto kicking out of the High Fly Flow and the arm traped suplex AT ONE (!!!) and began kicking the hell out of Tanahashi w/ the crowd totally behind him just begging for a Kanemoto win. It was not to be on this night after Tanahashi finally put Kanemoto away with the dragon suplex after multiple suplexes beforehand but oh my, what at a night it was. Honestly didn’t expect this match to be THIS high level but they pulled it off. Perfect example for why Kanemoto is an all time great. He was able to pull of his usual grumpy, angry demeanor but be charismatic and sympathetic while doing so. It's an art very few can master, and Kanemoto did just that. 

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