78. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada (c) (IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match, NJPW Invasion Attack 2013)

The fifth bout for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship between Okada and Tanahashi suffers from the same problem as their third bout: it almost replicates their previous bout. Their clash at King of Pro Wrestling was undeniably awesome, only hamstrung by Okada’s inconsistent selling (an integral part of the match’s story, as well). So, from the looks of, they just copied and pasted the majority of that bout into this one…

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77. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada (c) (IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match, NJPW King of Pro Wrestling 2013)

Tanahashi Okada IV…is it East versus West, or man against man? Can any nation stand alone? Sorry, got carried away there…For their fourth title bout, Tanahashi and Okada got back on course, delivering yet another epic that wasn’t merely a rehash of a previous bout (like Tanahashi/Okada III). Wrestling Observer Newsletter rated this as the best wrestling bout of 2013 (in the world!). Yet there are a few niggles that prevent this from becoming a five star bout…

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76. Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs Kazuchika Okada (IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 7)

Okada Tanahashi III…do most threequels have to be inferior to their predecessors? Spider-Man 3, Superman 3, X-Men 3, Godfather III, Three Colours: Red (Blue is the best film, isn’t it?)…the threequel has a bad reputation. And the same is true of Okada Tanahashi 3. While nowhere near being terrible, this is a bout derivative of their previous clash to the point that, at times, it seems to be a shot-for-shot remake.

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75. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada (c) (IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match, NJPW Dominion 2012)

All sequels should be bigger and better, shouldn’t they? They should encapsulate everything good about the original, improve upon it, and also give us something a little bit different as well. And that’s exactly what the rematch between Okada and Tanahashi gifts to us: a longer, more adruous battle that hews closely to the layout of their first battle but somehow betters it as well.

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73. Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs Kazuchika Okada (IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match, NJPW New Beginning 2012)

Finally, I found an Okada match that justifies the hype around him! It took me a while…but here, I can see what (almost) everyone says about him. Both his rivalries with Hiroshi Tanahashi amd Kenny Omega are legendary, but I thiught I’d start woth his first ever shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against the ‘Ace’ Tanahashi. Here, Okada was the heel, and apart from spots of poor selling, he looked like a million yen…

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72. Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Jay White (IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match, NJPW Dominion 2022)

Am I oblivious to the talents of Okada? For years I’ve heard he’s the best in the world, a once-in-a-generation wrestler. He was one of the reasons I opted to subscribe to NJPW World (why no Android app, by the way? So frustrating!). However, I’ve watched a handful of his matches, and have still yet to be impressed with him. More than anything, his opponents seem to outshine him. That was definitely the case with his match against Jay White at NJPW Dominion 2022.

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71. Cody Rhodes vs David Finlay (NJPW)

Yes, my obsession with Cody Rhodes’ Japanese journey continues! It turns out there are plenty of things I didn’t know about modern-day wrestling…like Fit Finlay has a son who wrestles? David Finlay followed in the footsteps of his father, and I happened to come across this short and sweet bout between him and Cody Rhodes. It’s nothing special, just a sub-15 minute bout that passes the time in an enjoyable way!

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70. Cody Rhodes vs Kota Ibushi (NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12)

After watching Kota Ibushi vs Cody Rhodes at NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2018, I was left disappointed. However, that was a rematch from their first singles bout together at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12. Thankfully, their first bout is much better. Leaner, better paced and just more entertaining all-round, it proved that their rematch was just an aberration.

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69. Cody Rhodes vs Kota Ibushi (NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2018)

Did you know that Cody Rhodes has fought in NJPW? You probably did, but I didn’t! So, after seeing his already legendary performance at WWE Hell in a Cell 2022, I searched his name in NJPW World (search just ‘Cody’ by the way, not ‘Cody Rhodes.’ Nothing comes up for Cody Rhodes). I was greeted with a plethora of matches, and more than a few caught my eye. But there was one I could not resist: Cody Rhodes vs Kota Ibushi frim NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2018. Unfortunately, I was left a little disappointed.

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61. Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs AJ Styles (IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 10)

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.

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