MATCH : Kazuchika Okada v Tetsuya Naito


EVENT : 40th Anniversary Tour

VENUE : Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

DATE : 4th March 2012

CHAMPIONSHIP : IWGP Heavyweight Title

Background : This would be the first title defence of Kazuchika Okada's IWGP Heavyweight Title run that had started only a month prior when he defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi in a good match. These two young men were thrust into the main event of a big show which is a lot of pressure to be placed on talent that still haven't reached the their peak. Okada is only 24 years old and is one of the youngest IWGP Champions in NJPW history whilst Tetsuya Naito is only 29 years old and is another wrestler with such a huge future in the business. So could these two young men pull out all the stops to entertain in this match?....

MATCH REVIEW : This match was basically just two athletes stepping into the ring to tell a story based on pure technique and endurance. The key to the match actually relied upon body language and interaction with the crowd rather than the more common approach of using high spots and over choreographed sequences. What this match done was make the champion look amazing in victory whilst also making Naito look strong in defeat which is what every wrestling company/promoter/booker wants to acheive from a wrestling match. I was a bit wary about inducting a match that is so recent but felt this match is definitely worth the recognition and high praise that it is hopefully receiving. This match and the men involved in it make me confident that the wrestling business in 2012 and beyond is in safe hands with great young talent coming through.