Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi from 2015

g1

You can watch this match here.

Post by TJ Hawke:

This was the finals of the 2015 G1.

Based on all the Nakamura/Tanahashi matches that I have seen (at least four of them), I have never really felt that they bring out the best in each other compared to some of their other big opponents. Their matches together seem to have a lot less nuance, and they tend to rely on kicking out of finishers to build drama. That is pretty much what happened here.

Sure, Tanahashi kind of targeted Nakamura’s left leg (instead of going for injured arm for whatever reason). It was a little disappointing that Tanahashi never really committed to it fully  like we have seen him do in the past. That might have been for the best though considering Nakamura did not seem to care about selling his leg the great majority of the match. It did not really ruin the match since Tanahashi didn’t commit to the work at least. Thus, this all kind of felt like a missed opportunity to do something really cool.

In the end, the match was about their finishers and who was going to put away whom first. While I would prefer a match like that to be about avoiding finishers until someone finally connects, they absolutely did some creative stuff with the “kickout strategy,” and they genuinely got me to bite on a Boma Ye (if not more than one). That’s impressive since I had little doubt that Tanahashi was going to win this thing. My favorite part in this sequence was when Nakamura went for a super Landslide, but Tanahashi managed to reverse it into a High Fly Flow while Nakamura hung onto the middle turnbuckle. I know that does not make sense on paper, but it was cool!

Anyway, Tanahashi eventually won this dealio after a couple of High Fly Flows. The match was not tremendously interesting, but it did a great job of building drama as it created genuine doubt that the favorite was going to win. I enjoyed this. (***1/2)

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