Zack Sabre Jr vs Katsuhiko Nakajima
Bodymaker Coliseum #2, Osaka, Japan
Not a ZSJ fan in any way, and I only sort of like Nakajima. I know that this match goes to a fifteen minute time limit. I tend to not like time limit matches. Let’s see how this goes. At least in watching this I get to see the intro to the show, with Suzuki-gun showing up to the arena and blowing off the guy trying to get a quick word with them. So that’s fun. Match starts with some grappling around, nothing egregious, but nothing enthralling either. ZSJ keeps going back to a drop toehold and working over Nakajima’s legs in a fun way, but then shoots right into a kimura for no reason and it’s immediately broken up when Nakajima grabs the ropes and powders. Nakajima gets the advantage with some stiff kicks that the crowd likes. ZSJ shoots a leg to turn the tide, but instead of working over the leg, he stomps on Nakajima’s arm. I get that armwork is ZSJ’s thing, but like, A.) you’ve already done some damage to this guy’s legs, and B.) those legs are what he’s using to blast you with these kicks, so why the fuck go to the arms? Hate this. After some chaining around, Nakajima gets the advantage again with some kicks, and sends ZSJ to the outside with a boot. He goes for a PK on the apron, but ZSJ ducks out of the way, snaps Nakajima’s arm off the top rope, sweeps his leg, and dropkicks his arm to send him to the outside. He follows up this fun exchange by collapsing in the ring, less than five minutes into this match. Jesus Christ lad, there’s more to selling than just deadselling. Fucking hate this. ZSJ works over the man’s arm, pretty typical stuff, nothing bad. Nakajima wriggles free and gets a kick out, but ZSJ just shoots his leg again and kicks at his arm. More armwork. It’s generally less problematic than his armwork in the West, more systematic and methodical. PK gets him a two count, and it’s spun right into a cross armbreaker before Nakajima rolls over to the ropes. Nakajima makes a comeback with a dragon screw and gets a dropkick off the top for two that ZSJ lazily kicks out of. ZSJ fights back with a big chest kick in the corner, kicks Nakajima’s arm off the ropes twice, and eats a chest kick himself for a double down. Bunch of spots back and forth, nothing I really care about, with no great swinging momentum or anything, just “I do a spot, you do a spot”. Match ends with ZSJ going for the Rings of Saturn as the bell rings. Don’t care for this much at all.