Strong BJ (Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi) (c) vs Ryota Hama & Yasufumi Nakanoue
BJW Tag Team Championship
taped 05/25/2017, aired 06/06/2017
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
(reviewed 10/23/2017) A match with an obvious weak point that drags things down a bit but not to an unenjoyable level. Since joining the BJW roster last year, Nakanoue hasn’t done much of consequence outside of getting his ass kicked by Hideki Suzuki. Aside from two gimme title defenses in 2016, this is his first real shot at gold in BJW, this time with a new and formidable partner in Ryota Hama. The month before, in a non-title match, Nakanoue was able to pick up the win over Strong BJ, pinning Sekimoto with a diving elbow drop. Enjoyable narrative coming into this, of a fresh team and a young(ish) guy who is still titleless in BJW and pinning promotion standbys in Korakuen Hall taking on the all-time Strong division team for the tag titles. The problem is, Nakanoue’s not yet at a point in his career where he’s able to capitalize on that sort of story. Part of it, perhaps, is that Strong BJ are far more familiar with Hama and are able to put together some really compelling wrestling with Hama so that interaction becomes the focus. A greater trend right now in puro is seeing the next generation of guys take steps forward to a variety of reactions from differing fanbases, and here in BJW people aren’t exactly thrilled by the crop of new stars. Young guys, more so than just getting booked to take spots, need to actually take them themselves with big performances and Nakanoue just doesn’t give a big performance here. It’s fine, sure, he’s nowhere near bad as he’s doing your usual sort of Strong division midcarder spots against Sekimoto and Okabayashi, but he’s not showing anyone as of yet that he deserves to have a tag title match on a top level Korakuen show. There’s a lot to enjoy here from the consistently delightful Strong BJ/Hama matchup, but the fourth wheel of this match as it were keeps this from being a heartily recommended match.