I think many WWE fans were disappointed when AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura finally went one on one with each other at WrestleMania 34. That match, and their following feud, fell flat. While nothing terrible, their dream match came out distinctly average. However, this dream match happened two years before in NJPW…and this first instance of the dream match almost lived to to its name.
When I say almost…I mean it was almost a classic bout. It has all the elements of a classic bout, from the build, to the in-rimg paychology, to the breathless finishing section…but there’s something missing here. For me, anyway. Perhaps, like I’ve mentioned before, I’m still not in tune with the Japanese style of wrestling. Or perhaps I need to rewatch the match.
But it’s still very good, regardless of missing that indescrible ‘element’. I’m guessing Nakamura was at his peak here, as it has been a series of diminishing returns since he debuted in NXT/WWE (yes, his best WWE match remains his debut against Sami Zayn. He’s never been better, or hotter, than that
…in the realm of WWE, of course).
The two just put on a wrestling clinic. Well, at least for the last two thirds of their bout.
The first third is a little too slow, focusing more on targetung body parts and stalling than anything else. I appreciate that it’s part of the story of the bout, but it’s drags on a little too long.
Still, miles better than any of their WWE clashes!!!
Hammy’s Rating: **** (out of 5)
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