Hideki Suzuki vs Takuya Nomura
Tokyo Dome Hotel Sapporo, Sapporo, Japan
(reviewed 10/21/2017) A nice preamble to what proved to be a quietly great Kaki Ride match from these two a few months down the line. This one is more one-sided than that second match, in that Hideki is swarming the kid from the start and Nomura has to do everything he can to avoid getting squashed flat. He’s no slouch on the mat, to be sure, very nearly trapping the veteran in a cross armbreaker at one point, but Suzuki’s just got so much more experience and high level grappling experience at that so there’s just no chance. Still, a “no chance” sort of match can be really compelling as long as everyone’s putting in the effort and that’s what they’re doing here. Late in the match Nomura is able to wriggle his way into an ankle pick and Suzuki’s response is “are you shitting me here?” He encourages Nomura to really crank on it but it’s not enough to put the hurting on the champ, so Suzuki responds with an ankle pick of his own that opens the kid up for a kimura and the submission finish. Lovely little match.