Roderick Strong vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Bethnal Green, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Nakamura has a belly dancer or something come out before him, which is a strange thing I’ve not seen him do before at all. Crowd is chanting at Roddy, and he’s not about it at all, and goes and complains to the ring announcer and makes him tell them that if they keep chanting, he’ll leave. He plays with the crowd very well, better than fucking anyone in the world I’ve seen in a minute other than maybe Matt Tremont. Eventually he just walks out, and the crowd just cheers for Nakamura, who is having a nice time himself. Roddy goes to slide back in the ring, but slides back out and yells at the announcer again, who repeats the announcement. Eventually Roddy just grabs the mic and tells them to shut the fuck up. At this point, Nakamura is just seated on the bottom turnbuckle, chin in hand, and Roddy slides in and admonishes him, and when Nakamura stands up, Roddy runs away into the opposite corner. Roddy is shoot best in the world right now, fuck me. FINALLY the bell rings and we’re under way. Collar and elbow gets Nakamura in the ropes, Roddy shoves him, and Roddy does Nakamura’s backbend by the ropes spot for a laugh. Nakamura tries to get some strikes in, but Roddy chops him down and gives him a scoop slam. Nakamura is finally able to get his kneelift on the apron, but Roddy avoids the kneedrop and responds with a dropkick through the ropes. He follows it up by slamming Nakamura into the ringpost back-first a few times, and rolls him in for a chinlock with a knee in the back. Nakamura gets some separation, but Roddy stops him with a dropkick for two. He goes to continue working over Nakamura, but stops to yell at the crowd who are still chanting at him, which gives Nakamura time to recover and get a bit of a comeback before getting stuffed again. Black Tornado Lock or whatever it’s called from Roddy, which is neat, don’t see that a lot. Nakamura does a good job with the Ricky Steamboat mindset, not letting Roddy totally dominate him, getting a quick move in every couple of moves so he stays alive, and he eventually gets a big roundhouse kick for a comeback. He gets his typical knee stuff in the corner for two, and is quite charismatic here. Roddy gets a boot up on an Irish Whip and drops Nakamura face first from a back suplex hold with a move I never know what to call. He follows it up with a high knee and running forearm in the corner and pulls Nakamura out in an Angle Slam for two. Next he goes for Death by Roderick, but Nakamura wriggles out and locks in a sleeper, then a front chancery, and hits a gourdbuster and goes for the Boma Ye, but Roddy catches him with the Death by Roderick. Roddy comes off the ropes and eats a jumping boot from Nakamura for a double down. Forearms and chops back and forth, with pretty good selling from both men. Roddy gets a knee and forearm and the Gibson Driver for two, followed by another Death by Roderick and the Sick Kick for another nearfall. Backstabber and DND from Nakamura and he hypes up the Boma Ye, but Roddy avoids and gets an enzuigiri in. Superplex from Roddy for two, and he goes for the Strong Hold right out of the kickout. Nakamura fights it, but Roddy stuffs him and locks it in anyway, nice little spot that still makes Nakamura look good, before he gets the ropes. Roddy goes for the End of Heartache, but Nakamura knees his way out and locks in another sleeper. Roddy backs him into the corner a couple of times to break it up, and Nakamura responds with a Boma Ye off the top to the back of the head, and follows it up with a regular one for two. Nakamura fires up and goes for a third, but eats a high knee, but when Roddy goes off the ropes again, Nakamura blasts him with another Boma Ye for the win. Head and shoulders above their ROH match, not that that is a hard feat. I still hate Nakamura blowing through his finish three times at the end, something I hate in almost all of his matches, but other than that he’s quite good here, and is clearly having a lot of fun, which adds to the appeal. Definitely recommend this. Damo comes out afterward to challenge Nakamura to a match in October, and Nakamura’s facials and general demeanor here is pretty great. His English ain’t bad either, though it’s muddled by the mic, and I know he speaks better than he sounds here.