Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya vs Hideyoshi Kamitani & Takuya Nomura
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
(reviewed 11/30/2018) I hope you like thudding blows because boy there are a ton of them in this one. This isn’t quite great for a few reasons but it serves its purpose well as an interpromotional midcard banger on a produce show, as well as its hidden objective of further indicating that Nomura was secretly the best wrestler in Japan in 2018. He’s great here as the youngest member of the match who gets thoroughly steamrolled by the larger NOAH boys before briefly finding some sweet, sweet revenge, managing to navigate the waters between either extreme better than anyone I’ve seen in a while. All too often in these heated promotion vs promotion matches you’ll get a little too much bravado and dick-wagging, robbing the match of any sort of impact when everyone’s brushing off everything. We get more than a bit of that from Nakajima here and while it’s essentially the role he’s meant to be playing as the baddest dude in the ring, it’s really only through Nomura’s great selling that all those awesome kicks keep from adding up to a bunch of nothing. In that vein this match loses a lot of momentum whenever the focus shifts to Kamitani or the stuff Nakajima isn’t good at (read: everything but kicking), but they don’t waste enough time to ruin this match and know how to heat things up again when they want to. If you’re reading this blog you’ve probably heard about this match in some form but if it’s somehow slipped through your fingers, be sure to catch this and the other stuff Nomura’s been doing this year.