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[2019-07-21-BJW-STRONG WORLD 2019] Yuji Okabayashi vs Takuya Nomura


superkix
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This absolutely lived up to the hype and personal expectations, as the build to this moment had been phenomenal and really set the stage for this singles encounter. This was a true "coming of age" performance from Nomura, where he didn't look like the cutesy little ass-kicker but a legit bulked up threat to Okabayashi's title reign. His transitions and groundwork have improved a lot and his kicks only continue to get more precise and sharper. The story was obvious going into this match, with Nomura targeting the bandaged left arm, and everything surrounding that storied ruled. I feel like Okabayashi is still so underrated when it comes to being one of the absolute best at what he does and his selling in this match was so so good, and it played into his offense. The spear being almost ineffective, the way Nomura is able to crucifix Yuji's Argentine backbreaker and turn it into the manjigatame, and the apron spot, with Yuji countering the armbreakers with a sleeper and Nomura biting the arm to break it off. Of course, the blows they trade throughout are gnarly - Yuji turns Nomura's chest into pepperoni pizza with chops very early on and the way he clocks Nomura's head around with some of those open-hand slaps were scary. The simple offense felt huge -- Yuji's superduperplex or the nearfall off Nomura's German suplex hold, for example. The violence escalates into a nasty final showdown and this is where Nomura "the man" really shined. Loved his slaps turning into desperate punches and that last fireman's carry>armbar counter to Okabayashi's lariat. OKabayshi wins in dominant fashion, as he should, but he really struggled to get there and only used that injured arm when he had to, which played into the finish with him stripping the bandage. No overkill, perfect build and match length. An easy MOTYC and my current #1. Prior to his injury, Okabayashi was pulling out these awesome top list performances yearly (vs. Hideki Suzuki in 2017; vs. Hideyoshi Kamitani in 2016) and I'm so happy to see him back in top form for 2019.

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  • GSR changed the title to [2019-07-21-BJW-STRONG WORLD 2019] Yuji Okabayashi vs Takuya Nomura
  • 2 weeks later...

A motherfucking war :wow: this goes for 22 minutes and by the end you feel these two have gone through an hour of devastation. So in the weeks leading up to this match these two had close to 9 tag matches against each other were Okabayashi - the more experienced, and more importantly, way stronger wrestler - pinned or submitted Nomura in the first 6 ones, mostly by using the Argentine Backbreaker. Slowly but surely though, the Young Gawd began to find cracks in the champ, after working the left arm for a bunch of matches, he finally did it, he made Okabayashi tap out. From then on they had more matches were things leveled up, and Nomura got other Ws by doing the same shit: destroy the big man's left arm.

So, the title match finally happens and what do we get? Well, exactly what we should get: Okabayashi fending off the young kid by beating the shit out of him and Nomura doing everything in his power to work that damn arm. The match takes it's time, it's not a barn burner from the get go, it builds and it builds just like their tag matches. And boy does it pay off. I think the mics were shitty because you could tell the Osaka crowd was more into it than what it sounded once the 2nd half of the match starts kicking in, but I was fine with it to be honest. Another MOTYC for Yuji, who is having a fucking monster 2019. And Takuya? Well, young gawd is young gawd for a reason.

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The first 10 minutes are very stiff but also very bland. I'm just tired of seeing shit like Nomura just plain allowing Okabayashi to go back on offense. Okayabashi is such a simplistic wrestler and Nomura doesn't show any of his cool flashes until later. It gets good once Nomura counters a torture rack attempt by locking on a crucifix and then trying to push Okabayashis nose into his brain. The armwork actually becomes a little more hard fought and they deliver some sick strike exchanges, including Nomura just punching Okabayashi in the jaw. Nomura restores my faith in him by busting out an awesome Firemans Carry. The armwork felt slightly goofy.

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The match starts off like any traditional big match, rather slow and hesitant. Big feeling out process to gauge each other due to the size difference. Before they quickly start hitting big chops, and by “they, I mean Okabayashi leathering Nomura up with vicious sounding chops. Nomura got his spots in early with his hard kicks and begins to target the arm, even getting the better of the champion before falling victim to Okabayashi’s chops once again. 

 

Nomura’s kicks to the arm sounded great. The audio made it painfully clear how forceful the shots were. He had some nice arm submissions, like the Octopus Stretch. Which lead to a great visual of Okabayashi, with him being a giant beast of a man, being strong enough to walk to the ropes with Nomura still hanging on like a vice. Nomura kept going after the arm whenever Okabayashi went on offence. Okabayashi’s selling of the arm, for the most part, was good. Nomura throwing closed fists and giant suplexes near the end was great in a sort of “I'm getting desperate to beat him” way. Gave him something new and different to build upon in this match, with it after all being his big coming-out party. The finishing stretch with Okabayashi fight back against Nomura was good. Kinda basic with it not being as emphatic as I thought it could've been, as far as Okabayashi was concerned. Still. I thought this was a very good match. 

 

A hell of a Nomura performance with his great assaults on the arm, his desperation near the end when Okabayashi was getting back into it. This was his match and he more than earned it. Okabayashi was also good, even if I haven't really praised him. His selling was good, it could've easily been forgotten about and whilst his comeback felt run of the mill, it was a pretty good mill at that. His chops were brutal as always and he put over Nomura greatly. ****1/4

 

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