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Okada vs. Naito & The Secret to NJPW’s Success

Facial expressions and physique language.

These are the issues that symbolize the admired New Japan type. Not the forearms or counter sequences, Rainmakers or Hidden Blades.

It solely takes a match between two professionals with excessive stakes, resembling between Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito within the last of a G1 Climax with an opportunity at headlining the most important Japanese wrestling present of the yr, to remind us of this actual fact.

For example the excellence of those discrete, minute particulars, let’s observe the entrances earlier than the match.

Naito enters first, plodding together with his trademark swagger and unwavering calm, but additionally with an evermore decided look, and centered eyes fiending for a tear.

Okada initially seems as “enterprise as normal,” he’s in search of his third straight title to enter one more Tokyo Dome major occasion, victory is inevitable, and Okada’s reign on the high is immortal. As his music goes down, Okada makes an observant look over at Naito after his title is introduced; Okada loses the primary battle, he appeared first.

Nevertheless, within the moments earlier than the bells sounds, he appears not as assured as normal, virtually indifferent, a considerably fragile look compared to his usually stoic and decided glare.

Naito stays in his nook, again turned, eyes closed, attempting to embrace his ‘Tranquilo’ and stay collected on this raucous Ryogoku constructing. Naito removes his gear completely together with his again turned, remaining till each merchandise is totally eliminated.

Because the bell sounds, Okada squats firmly in his nook, together with his proper hand on the highest rope, now centered, with Naito because the one nearer to the center, virtually extra prepared, standing up and sq., entranced in Okada.

All through the match, Naito seems to be getting the higher of Okada in most exchanges, initially out-wrestling him to the ropes on the primary trade, refraining from taking an affordable shot. In distinction, Okada tries and fails after the second tie-up. This cycle continues all through the match, Okada seeming being reactive, moderately than his typical proactive.

One other main half was Okada shrieking. He shrieked, again and again, in delight, in ache, for motivation, for necessity. He’s regularly looking for solutions; he doesn’t come up in opposition to individuals with as a lot expertise as he does typically, and it appears this time that’s getting the higher of him.

Naito stays cool and picked up, working tirelessly on the neck all through, till a lapse, as, with a mistake we have now seen time and time once more, he embraces his younger time and makes an attempt the moonsualt of the Stardust Genius, and misses.

Although it isn’t over, the place after Okada kicks out of 1 Destino, Naito finds a solution to hit two extra and name it a day ultimately.

The group was molten, and demanded a Naito win, and as such Okada and Naito took on extra clearly outlined heel and child face roles respectively to successfully correspond.

Assuredly, Okada has the very best facial expressions within the enterprise. For somebody whose character is so typically severe and unanimated, he persistently conveys exact feelings earlier than, throughout and after a match, that really elevate skilled wrestling as a medium of leisure.

With the story, his character, and fan reactions in thoughts, he acts as actual, compelling human in a made-up world. He’s actually spectacular.

So far as the winner goes, it’ll be nice to see Naito again in the principle occasion on the large stage, and a possible match-up with former stablemate SANADA sounds very engaging as somebody who has been a significant fan of his transformation.

Most of this match, the construction, some sequences, and massive strikes have been seen earlier than and can be seen once more. That’s not what’s essential.

The way in which these two legends convey their feelings evokes that uncooked viewers connection, acts because the glue of the mammoth, typically repetitive major occasion type, and continues to make NJPW the king of big-match wrestling.

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