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#MustWatchMonday: Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Brian Cage, GHC Heavyweight Championship


Business wise, Pro Wrestling NOAH isn't doing very well. The former #1 promotion in Japan, a company that sold out the Tokyo Dome on multiple occasions, now has a hard time filling up the relatively small Korakuen Hall.

Despite this, the company still continues to truck on, putting on solid show after solid show, and has even allied itself with GFW/TNA and AAA in order to try to improve itself and recover.

One of the great things this partnership has given us is a bevy of fresh matchups up and down the card, and the main event scene is no different. Since winning the title back in October, GHC Heavyweight Champion Katsuhiko Nakajima has taken everything that NOAH has had to offer. He's beaten established main eventers Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Sugiura, and Go Shiozaki, along with up-and-coming ones like Atsushi Kotoge and Masa Kitamiya. That's kind of left him with no challengers.

Enter Brian Cage.

While you may know him from Lucha Underground and Pro Wrestling Guerilla, Brian Cage comes to this promotion due to his ties with AAA. He is known for his massive physique and an agility you wouldn't expect from someone of his size. He's definitely an imposing character, and made for a great challenger for Nakajima.


One of the most notable things about this match is that it isn't wrestled at your usual GHC Heavyweight Championship pace. NOAH main events tend to be slower, featuring more of a buildup to a slugfest of a finish. This match was worked at a much faster pace, allowing Cage to fully showcase his ability to an audience that may not be fully aware of him.

Nakajima continues to show why he's currently the chosen ace of NOAH, keeping pace with Cage and taking all that he can give. The match was worked with a classic big-man-dominates-the-smaller-guy-until-he-makes-a-comeback formula, and they wrestled this match beautifully. Cage dominated Nakajima with a combination of power moves and high-flying; but Nakajima eventually came back with his signature strikes and kicks, even throwing in a Canadian Destroyer for good measure.

The crowd was hot for this match, and if NOAH can keep this up, they'll be back up and running in no time. This match will likely be on a lot of people's top 10 lists for Match of the Year; it was just that damn good.

Nakajima ultimately won this match, and his next challenger will be Eddie Edwards. I, for one, am stoked for that matchup.

What did you think of the match? Do you think the NOAH-AAA-GFW partnership is going well? Leave a comment!

 *****

Brandon Sy is a PhD student in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics currently based in Sydney. Since he wasn't allowed to watch wrestling as a kid, he's been overcompensating ever since. Despite being a huge fan of Japanese wrestling, he still holds a soft spot in his heart for WWE's Kane. He's good for recommending matches from pretty much anywhere, whether it be Japan, Europe, the US or Mexico. He'd be ecstatic if you watched Dragon Gate though.

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