Yesterday, I posted a little bit about how much Kazuchika Okada has progressed in a short amount of time. Despite being only 25 years-old he has already held the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, arguably the most prestigious wrestling title outside of the United States.
When this match with Taichi Ishikari took place Okada was already a four year veteran of the industry, but he was still being treated like a rookie in NJPW. Just look at those plain black tights! They’re okay if you’re “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, but for young guys in NJPW that outfit tends to mean that the jury is still out on the athletes’ future with the company.
The action begins with a lot of headlocks and reversals, but before long the match erupts into a dueling chopfest. Ishikari wins after Okada loses his balance. The pace of the match slows down a bit and Okada soon finds himself in a devastating single-leg Boston crab. Ishikari has it locked on in the middle of the ring, but Okada earns some applause when he makes the ropes. Okada battles back and even lands a sweet looking dropkick. Still, Okada comes up short when Ishikari delivers a dropkick of his own leading to the pin. Following the match Okada is nice enough to give an interview. My Japanese isn’t great, but from what I can tell he says, “my head hurts and I’m sweaty.”
Categories: Wrestling Clips