World Pro Wrestling February 7th, 2016

The Shinsuke Nakamura Farewell Edition

NJPW World Pro Wrestling
February 7th, 2016

The show opens to the scene of Shinsuke Nakamura talking over a background of a long line of people waiting to enter the Korakuen Hall on January 30th, the day of Shinsuke Nakamura’s last NJPW match.

“There will be a countless number of thoughts that night. People who’ve just started watching, people that have always been watching. People who like Nakamura, or don’t like Nakamura…”

Over some footage of the January 25th press conference, and a caption noting that Nakamura has left New Japan as of January 31st, a sad narrator notes:

“That which we’ve always taken for granted is now no more.”

Next they show footage of a Nakamura interview from December, ahead of his Tokyo Dome match with AJ Styles:

“Even at age 35, I am at the point where I am still saying ‘I still have dreams, man!’ Things I want to experience, places I want to travel throughout the world. Places I want to see with my own eyes, and leave a little something of myself behind as well.

As a pro wrestler, going from place to place I expect to create more dreams about ‘I would like to become more like this and that'”

Finally, regarding his farewell match:

“I have no idea what I’ll feel until it happens. Just to think that the day would come that I would strike out from New Japan…but, after all, there’s nothing that doesn’t ever change…”

The pre-intro ends with the announcer hyping “a change to New Japan too big to imagine, and a special farewell that defies imagination, next!”

The regular intro music plays, but the regular montage of wrestlers is replaced by a special montage of Shinsuke Nakamura throughout the years.

All the other wrestlers are in the ring for the six man match, awaiting Nakamura’s entrance. The crowd gives a LARGE “Shin-suke!” chant before his music even plays, seemingly everyone in the crowd holding a red 中邑 真輔 or YEAOH! sign.

Nakamura finally does enter in his stunning velvet red nightgown, about the only thing from his recent NJPW work that I won’t miss. Partners Okada and Ishii hold open the ropes for their leader to enter the ring, and they pose for a quick picture before the match begins.

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata vs
Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada, and Tomohiro Ishii

We skip the whole Goto interrupting the Nakamura/Tanahashi confrontation (because, of course, nobody wants to see Goto), and join the match in progress with Nakamura facing off with the no-nonsense wrestler Shibata. However, when Shibata forces Nakamura into the ropes, he does the mocking Nakamura-style forehead-on-the-chest clean break, as the announcers are shocked that Shibata would do something like that.

Shibata wins a kick battle, but loses the second when Nakamura catches him with a spinning back roundhouse. At this point, Okada and Ishii charge the ring to attack Goto and Tanahashi, and the other wrestlers peter out into a brawl on the floor, as is wont to happen in NJPW six-man matches. Nakamura rams Shibata into a corner, and then proceeds to do his signature boot-rub to the face. I think it’s fair to say that we’ll get a look at all of his signature spots in this one.

Nakamura knee drop and knee-to-the-throat cover gets two, as NJPW refs don’t give a shit about actual rules in the Gedo/Jado era. Ishii and Okada have made their way back to the apron, so Nakamura tags in Ishii. But Okada also comes in anyway, and they send Shibata into the ropes and connect with a TRIPLE big boot to the head. Had three Hulk Hogans done that move, it would have resulted in a sure decapitation. Nakamura and Okada then pick up Ishii to perform an assisted Butt Drop, and the ref counts this fall because why-the-fuck-not, but this also gets only two.

With Ishii and Shibata in the ring, they take this opportunity to inform us that they will be meeting in a NEVER title rematch on February 11th in Osaka. They engage in a few seconds of NEVER-style wrestling that’s technically illegal by the rules of the Geneva Convention, before tagging in Nakamura and Tanahashi respectively. The change was so abrupt that both men forget that this is not an actual NEVER match, and proceed to engage in 35 straight forearms with each other before Tanahashi gains the upper hand. Bodyslam and second-rope senton gets two. Absolutely nobody in the crowd was buying that as a finish, but it’s enough to get the crowd to rally behind him with another “Shin-suke!” chant.

Attempted dragon and tiger suplexes are blocked, as Nakamura is NOT getting dropped on his head in his final match, but he does relent to a Dragon Screw. Tanahashi helpfully drapes himself over the top ropes so that Nakamura can hit his signature running knee-lift, followed by his signature reverse powerslam, which sets up his signature “HERE COMES THE BOMAYE, SUCKA!” pose. Shockingly, Shibata sees this coming, and cuts him off with a dropkick, and it’s breaking down in Tokyo.

Goto also enters illegally to huge booing and hits a Cow Killer, setting up Tanahashi for a High Fly Flow, but Nakamura gets his knees up to block.

We jump ahead to Shibata and Ishii in the ring, with Shibata putting Ishii out with a sleeper. Ishii escapes, but Shibata kicks him back down. Shibata sets up for his Penalty Kick finisher, but this time Okada sneaks in to hit the best dropkick in the business, which sets up Nakamura to hit his signature Boma Ye for the last time, after which he slaps enough life back into Ishii for him to get up and hit a brainbuster on Shibata for the pin. Not enough of this match shown to rate, but I had the full match at ****.

Goto doesn’t know that it’s time to stop, and continues to put the boots to Okada on the floor, setting up their IWGP title match on the same February 11th show. As the Young Lions break this up, Kenny Omega makes his way to the ring. They cut out the part of his speech talking about Nakamura’s “graduation”, going straight to the part where he wants Nakamura to tell the world that he’s really leaving NJPW because he’s scared to fight him. But Tanahashi gets between them, telling Omega that this was Nakamura’s last match, so his problem is not with Nakamura but with him, because “I AM X!”. Which sets up their match in Niigata on February 14th for the vacant Intercontinental title.

Before we get Nakamura’s farewell to the crowd, we cut to a backstage interview with Tanahashi:

“The fans and us wrestlers must move forward. First, we have to accept the reality that Nakamura is no longer with us. That’s the first step we have to take. It may take us some time, but we just have to get used to the situation.

If people start thinking ‘Will New Japan be alright?’, then Nakamura will not be able to go all out and try his best. That’s not our desire. New Japan will become even greater going forward!”

Back to the ring with Nakamura addressing the crowd, hitting all his high spots here as well:

“I suppose I should say something? WHAT SHALL I DOOOO??

New Japan. The friends and foes that I fought with and against, and all the fans that support us, I truly…truly thank you. The Shinsuke Nakamura that was born, raised, and developed in New Japan is leaving to take on a whole new world! As long as one wrestles, his story continues, so I am not going to say ‘Good bye’ I’ll just say ‘Thank you.’

That’s all. NOT!!!!!

You people all know what I’m going to say, right!?”

And, after riling up the crowd for another 15 seconds…

“The answer is…YEAOH!!!”

Nakamura bows to all four sides of the ring, barely able to contain himself, before leaving the ring to slap hands with the fans…but midway, he’s told to go back into the ring, and he is met by the entire CHAOS stable (I can’t remember the last time they were all shown in the same place at once), and the sight of Okada bawling his eyes out pushes Nakamura beyond his breaking point. As CHAOS says their farewells amidst a huge “SHIN-SUKE!” and pose for a final picture, there’s nary a dry eye in the arena; even Jushin Liger on commentary has tears streaming out of his mask.

Nakamura takes the mic one last time to dust off another classic:

“THE GREATEST SPORT OF ALL IS PRO WRESTLING!”

Nakamura is carried out of the arena on the shoulders of Kazuchika Okada. In this footage, we actually get to see Okada let Nakamura down in the back and share a final hug as we head to the first commercial break.

The show returns to Nakamura’s post-match interview, where he tearfully reiterates what a special night this was for him, gives thanks to the fans and the wrestlers, and offers his confidence in all of them that New Japan will be in good hands even after he leaves.

On his final day as a member of the organization, Nakamura is interviewed at a remote seaside location to give his final thoughts after the commercial break.

“With all the fans and wrestlers and family in attendance, I’ve never in my life felt as much love as I felt on that day.

Such a sendoff, with a farewell match like that, I am extremely grateful to New Japan Pro Wrestling for that.

I don’t listen to people, I’m so selfish, and I think that I must have been such a trouble to them. But still they looked after me, and gave me such a touching sendoff. I really don’t know what to say. ‘Thank You’ seems so inadequate.”

To a background of old images from Nakamura’s New Japan entrance exam, the 2002 acceptance class, his NJPW debut match, and a huge reception of Nakamura in ROH, he speaks of his 13 year experience in New Japan:

“It was my dream. It was a place that shaped my hopes for the future. Such a place that fulfilled all of my hopes could only have been found in New Japan Pro Wrestling. It was my ticket to becoming a pro wrestler. Enduring the hardest training, overcoming my limits, I really grew as a wrestler and as a person.

My simple feeling is that it’s now time that the Shinsuke Nakamura that was raised by the Japan’s New Japan Pro Wrestling to take on the world.

I feel that I have something that nobody else in the world can look down on, so I feel that I’d like to set out with confidence.”

The show ends with the narrator’s final words:

“Nobody knows the future. Although nobody can promise that we’ll see him in our ring again, Shinsuke Nakamura leaves us with these final words:”

goodbyeAnd one more:

yeaoh