We Are the Champions of the World

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kota Ibushi, Wrestle Kingdom 9, New Japan Pro Wrestling

I can't fault voters at Wrestling Observer for naming this match the best of 2015. From the showmanship of the entrances, especially Nakamura's channeling of Freddie Mercury, to the sudden hope-crushing pinfall, the match illustrates all that's wonderful about New Japan Pro Wrestling, which (personal opinion) pretty much means all that's wonderful about pro wrestling in the 21st century. 

The dizzying plenty of moves and styles on which Ibushi (5'11", 201#) and Nakamura (6'2", 229#) draw--high-flying, strong-style, rock-em-sock-em, attitude, catch-scientific--along with the drama of Ibushi getting his dream shot (after being out of competition the previous year due to concussion) and the peculiar chemistry between the combatants, a fusion of camaraderie, rage, camp, and ebullience, all mark this match out from 99% of professional wrestling.

This is fantasy and sport. This is comedy and bullfighting and solemn pontifical high mass at the Rockettes Cathedral. It's not the kind of wrestling that grabs my nuts, but it is the kind that makes my heart leap.


  1. First I'd like to say I've been an awfully big fan of your blog for a number of years now, always found your content and perspective fascinating and enjoyable to read. Glad to see you felt like posting again :)

    I've had a huge thing for Kota Ibushi since I first saw him in a match back in high school, and he instantly became my favorite wrestler. Growing up on WWE I never realized wrestling could be so.. well, to put it lightly, mind-blowing. I never knew wrestling could be so exciting and technically impressive, or that it existed in places without the whole sop opera element. Certainly helped that Ibushi's square cuts fit him awfully well and he was amazing at selling every hit. Still rewatch matches between him and Prince Devitt (now Fin Balor)

    Considering the amount of risks he takes with his high flying I guess I shouldn't be surprised he gets injured a lot, but this latest injury has him sidelined indefinitely. Let's hope he manages to power through yes?


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