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Makai Club #1

[2011-01-04-NJPW-Wrestle Kingdom V] Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Satoshi Kojima

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Different ball game from the G1 Finals match. Kojima now has Taichi by his side, he has turned heel after attacking Tanahashi in December. This is the Tokyo Dome, could he pull off the win in his element? Loved the battle of the individual limb works really on with Tanahashi attacking the strong arm of Kojima and Kojima attacking the leg of Tanahashi. Kojima comes across well in the aggressive role. Especially against Tanahashi’s flashy offence and he has the facials for it. I loved some of the counters they had for each other, or the little struggle they would have whenever they would attempt something big, like Tanahashi countering Kojima cutter midair with an elbow which looked awesome. Their selling was really good as well. It wasn’t crippling pain in a way where they couldn’t move, rather than take a little longer to hit or follow up on certain moves. Also, big credit to Tanahashi. He doesn’t really strike me as someone who takes spine chilling bumps but he took a wicked neck bump on the apron after a Kojima lariat. The finishing stretch was really well done as well. Tanahashi doing some dragon screws on the arm of Kojima which prevented Kojima making the immediate cover once he hit the lariat a few minutes later. The nearfalls for the dragon suplexes that Tanahashi was teasing for the entire match. And it was kept pretty brief compared to today’s standards as well and it made for a quick and fulfilling finish. So back to the “can Tanahashi do it” question. Yes. Yes, he can. Great match. It felt much bigger than most main events of this era that I watched. The Dome atmosphere, the match layout. Everything felt big. ****

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