by Daniel Johnson
Yuji Nagata vs. Masato Tanaka
The above clip showcases perhaps the two best ring veterans in Japan currently still competing. Okay, unless the match involves The Great Muta that statement can’t be completely true, but Nagata and Tanaka are beyond good. In fact to call them simply good would be an insult. What makes these two so awesome? Well, for one thing during the hottest period North American wrestling may ever see, North American companies actually bothered to push these guys. These are the same kind of companies that hadn’t been able to push Japanese wrestlers correctly since about the time Mr. Fuji was an in-ring competitor. Nagata was put over Ultimo Dragon in WCW and ECW thought quite highly of Tanaka.
More impressive than their past accomplishments is that these two may not have just kept in shape, but actually improved since the 1990’s wrestling boom. Just look at the technique involved in this match as well as the variety of offense. Nagata opens with a kick and from there the striking just erupts. Masato also manages to clamp on a submission at one point I have no idea what to call. Basically he crosses Nagata’s legs, positions them on his groin then pulls Nagata’s arms backwards. A pretzel legged groin pull, I suppose?
They can’t keep the action up forever, but despite some restholds, the striking is only put on hold. When the fight goes outside, Tanaka takes Nagata down with a clothesline and suplexes him through a table. In the ring Tanaka attempts a powerbomb and while that fails he later hits Nagata with diamond dust. Not bad for a guy pushing 40!
Perhaps, the worst part of the match is the lame headbutts Nagata delivers, but he makes it up (or tries to) with a top rope northern lights suplex and eventually a belly-to-back suplex for the win.
Categories: Wrestling Clips