Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi from NJPW 2013

This was a 2013 G1 Climax match.

The structure of this match was very standard, but the charisma of the performers and the freshness of the matchup made it easy to ignore. They just traded periods of control and then both tried to put each other away in the final third. It was incredibly fun, as the action was cool and the biggest spots were spaced out and timed well.

The other key was how well they elevated the stakes of the match by upping the intensity and physicality by several levels in the final minutes. Everything about the match seemed infinitely more important because it genuinely felt like they were going to have to kill one another in order to win.

It all built to this incredible moment where Nakamura hit three Boma Ye in a row only for Kota to kick out at one. Kota was completely punch drunk though and one final Boma Ye finished him for good. GREAT match. (****1/2)

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