by Daniel Johnson
Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito
The NJPW brass in charge of running the company’s YouTube channel uploaded this match last year and labeled it as one of NJPW’s “greatest moments.” In actuality the clip is more of a before they were stars showcase. Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito would do battle years later in the main event of the NJPW 40th Anniversary Show for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in front of a tremendous crowd at Korakuen Hall. Yet, in this clip Okada is not quite the charismatic showman he is today. Instead, Okada and Naito wear plain black trunks that would make Dean Malenko yawn. Okada has non-blonde hair and looks like he is about anything, but making it rain money.
Still, the match has some fun in-ring action and is a nice window into seeing how Okada and Naito really developed their match psychology and technique. Okada takes a heck of a beating for the majority of this match. The future rainmaker only gets in his first extensive amount of offense after a fluke dropkick. From there Okada tries to put Naito away with a rapid combination of moves that includes chops to Naito’s head, a Russian legsweep and a standing front flip. Yet, Naito ultimately comes out on top after hitting some dropkicks of his own, a slam and finally making Okada tap with a Boston crab.
Categories: Wrestling Clips