Tomohiro Ishii vs. Yuji Nagata - NJPW: Kizuna Road - 7/1/21
I haven't tuned in for anything New Japan related since Shingo won the title around this time last month at Dominion. The Road to shows normally have some good stuff, but it isn't must-see viewing and I barely have any spare time on my hands these days. With that in mind, I was gonna just wait for the Shingo/Ibushi match to happen and catch up then.
Well, today, I decided to take a look and see if I might have missed any matches worth a look and I noticed this one. It had a pretty high rating on cagematch so I threw it on expecting a good, hard hitting contest. I mean, it's Ishii and Nagata, it'll at the least be a hoot.
Turns out it's more than a hoot. It's a complete banger.
Sometimes I forgot how literally insane Tomohiro Ishii is and then he has a match like this that reminds me how dumb I am for sleeping on him. The same could be said for Mr. Nagata who had a decent match with Jon Moxley on AEW Dynamite back in May. This match, though? On an entirely different level from that contest. So, if that was your first time seeing Nagata (somehow) - please do yourself a favor and check out this match.
Ishii and Nagata beat the everloving hell out of one another. Ishii focused on strikes and throws like usual. He blistered poor Nagata's chest to the point of me wincing at the sight of it. Nagata tried to focus on submissions and holds with offense targeted at the arm of Ishii. An arm/hand that would end up fucking swelling up from how hard and fast he had been striking Nagata as the match went on.
This was just a battle in every sense of the word and the purest form of Japanese strong style. The slaps and the striking showdown in the center of the ring about three quarters of the way through this thing was mind-blowing. A bloody mouth, a swollen wrist, a fucking war.
Ishii wins with the brainbuster. This ruled.
Match rating - ****1/4