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Manabu Nakanishi Retirement Event Recap & Review

NJPW – Manabu Nakanishi Retirement Event
Event Date: February 22, 2020 (18:30 JST)
aired live on NJPW World

City: Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan
Venue: Korakuen Hall
Attendance: 1,720
Tour: New Japan Road

Commentary (English): Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton
Commentary (Japanese): Shigeki Kiyono (1 – 5), Shinji Yoshino (6), Milano Collection AT, Katsuhiko Kanazawa, Soichi Shibata, Riki Choshu (6)
Ring Announcer: Kimihiko Ozaki (1 – 3), Makoto Abe (4 – 6)


A brief look at some highlights throughout the career of Manabu Nakanishi.


Match 1
Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs Gabriel Kidd & Tiger Mask
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Tiger Mask pins Yuya Uemura with a bridging Tiger Suplex
Time: 7:21

Match Thoughts
Good match. Yota Tsuji got beat up a lot to start the match, first by Tiger Mask and then by Gabriel Kidd. Uemura then tagged in and fought Tiger Mask, and the two of them had a nice fight. Uemura looked like he might have come close to submitting Tiger Mask at one point, but Kidd was there to make the save. After that, Tiger Mask’s experience proved to be too much for Uemura to handle. Even so, Tiger Mask approved of Uemura’s effort after the match was over. I like seeing stuff like that, tough love followed by recognition of effort and growth.


Match 2
Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado & Taichi & Minoru Suzuki vs Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi & Colt Cabana & Toru Yano
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Taichi submits Rocky Romero with the Holy Cross
Time: 9:58

Match Thoughts
Good match. Suzuki Gun was thrown off quite a but by the antics of their opponents tonight, and that was a lot of fun to watch. Suzuki Gun did manage to get in some strong offensive sequences at the right times though, and that proved to be difficult for their opponents to overcome. This wasn’t super competitive though. This more about just having a lot of fun.


Match 3
BUSHI (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Champ) & Hiromu Takahashi (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champ)& SANADA vs Toa Henare & Roppongi 3K (IWGP Jr. Tag Champs)
(referee: Marty Asami)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Hiromu Takahashi pins Yoh after a tandem wheelbarrow facebuster (with BUSHI)
Time: 10:49

Match Thoughts
Good match. Most of this match was about Roppongi 3K fighting BUSHI and Takahashi. Henare and SANADA had a nice sequence in the middle of the match, but the rest seemed like LIJ wanted to put their names at the top of the list for a Jr. Heavyweight Title match. The finish felt a little sudden to me, but the rest of the match was quite good. And yeah, I think LIJ will be getting a Jr. Tag Title shot at some point after tonight.


Match 4
Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga w/ Jado & Bad Luck Fale & Jay White w/ Gedo vs Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe & David Finlay & Juice Robinson
(referee: Marty Asami)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Jay White pins Tomoaki Honma after Blade Runner
Time: 9:30

Match Thoughts
Good match. Makabe wanted to start against Bad Luck Fale, and they both did start, but Bullet Club quickly turned their fight into an all-in brawl. FinJuice and GOD were looking to make some statements to try to get some momentum towards a tag title shot, but Honma and Jay White ended up being a big focal point towards the end of the match. Jay White has kind of been floating around with everyone else looking for one or (increasingly) two titles, so this was a good match for him.


Match 5
YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii & Will Ospreay (RPW British Heavyweight Champ) vs EVIL (NEVER 6-Man Champ) & Shingo Takagi (NEVER 6-Man & Openweight Champ) & Tetsuya Naito (IWGP IC & Heavyweight Champ)
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Tetsuya Naito pins YOSHI-HASHI after Destino
Time: 12:13

Match Thoughts
Very good match. There was a lot going on in this one, and it was all a lot of fun. Very fast-paced and hard-hitting action (sometimes alternatively, sometimes all at once). My favorite parts where whenever Shingo and Ospreay were in the ring together, but everyone looked very good here.


Manabu Nakanishi has a feast while we see clips of some of his historic moments in the ring.


Match 6
Hirooki Goto & Kota Ibushi (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champ) & Hiroshi Tanahashi (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champ) & Kazuchika Okada vs Yuji Nagata & Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Manabu Nakanishi
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Hiroshi Tanahashi pins Manabu Nakanishi after the High Fly Flow
Time: 18:03

Match Thoughts
Great match. NJPW really knows how to send off a wrestler in great fashion. I am not suer familiar with Nakanishi’s career, but seeing how all f the wrestlers interacted with him and how all the fans were so supportive of him, this retirement match got me a little emotional. This was a really fun match. Nakanishi was definitely the star, though he did let his light shine on others throughout the match. This made everyone look good. It showed how much respect everyone has for Nakanishi, and it showed how much respect Nakanishi has for pro wrestling and its future.


Ring Area
After the match, Nakanishi’s partners help him get up to his feet, then everyone in the match raises their arms together. After Okada, Tanahashi, Ibushi, and Goto leave, Nakanishi’s retirement ceremony begins.

Tenzan, Kojima, and Nagata each say a few words of thanks and praise for Nakanishi.

Next, Tanahashi, Ibushi, Makabe, Taguchi, Katsuyori Shibata, Tiger Mask, Henare, Karl Fredericks, Juice, Finlay, Cabana, Kidd, Uemura, and Tsuji come out out honor Nakanishi. After that, NJPW president Harold George Meij and NJPW chairman Naoki Sugabayashi honor Nakanishi. Next out is Seiji Sakaguchi, then Hiroshi Hase. Riki Choshu then heads to the ring from the commentary table. Last up is Tatsumi Fujinami.

Finally, Nakanishi says a few words. He thanks everyone for being here tonight, and he thanks everyone who has been a part of his career. He says he might be retiring, but he will always be a professional wrestler. Nakanishi finishes, and the bell rings ten times to signal the end of his career in the ring.

The wrestlers get back into the ring and debate about whether or not they can lift Nakanishi to toss him in the air. They do it anyway and get Nakanishi up three times before setting him down. Nakanishi leads one more salute before everyone says their goodbyes.


Show Impressions
This was a fun show. These retirement shows are kind of sad, but they’re also really great.

Match of the Night
Nakanishi’s Final Match
The LIJ vs Chaos 6-Man was really good, but the emotion involved in Nakanishi’s final match was superb.


Official Results (Japanese): https://www.njpw.co.jp/tornament/234196?showResult=1



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