Well, I am new to this page, so allow me to introduce myself before I go any further. My name is Ryan Hodge aka Shogun. I have been watching professional wrestling for over 20 years, and I have been following Puroresu on a regular basis since 1999.
Well, now that I have gotten that out of the way, I can continue forward with this. Now, what I have to say in this message may offend some fans but I just want them to see things from my point of view, regardless of whether they like it or not. It seems to me that there is a bit of a cult following surrounding a certain New Japan wrestler.
That wrestler is Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura created a bit of a stir when he became the youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion in history when he defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan for the title on December 9, 2003. With that victory, Nakamura had become the de-facto face of New Japan. Breaking down walls by being the rookie upstart that pulled off the impossible. He would go on to unify the NWF and IWGP heavyweight championships by defeating Yoshihiro Takayama less than a month later on January 4, 2004.
For the next 4 years, Nakamura would continue to excite puro audiences with his intense matches. However, after 2008 it seemed that Nakamura had lost that spark. Plagued by serious injuries, Nakamura slowed down a little after that. It was then that he started to look and act different from he had before. Gone was the intensity and focused stare, replaced instead with a look of disinterest and boredom. Instead of wrestling tights, Nakamura began wearing an interesting and questionable pair of West Village inspired leather stripper pants. He also began to focus his matches around repetitive knee strikes instead of the power moves and submission holds that made him a powerhouse. Sad but true.
Now despite all of this, Nakamura has gained a pretty big following on Puroresu Spirit, so much so that he won the inaugural King of Spirit tournament this year. He is also in the running for Best Heavyweight in the 2011 Year end awards. Now I mentioned all of this to talk about another wrestler. Someone that is despised as much as Nakamura is loved on Puroresu Spirit. Of course, I am talking about Hiroshi Tanahashi, who in some ways is the anti-Nakamura, in both his wrestling style and demeanor.
Whilst Nakamura comes to the ring with the aforementioned near comatose look on his face, Tanahashi comes out playing air guitar and slapping hands with the audience. While Nakamura has a Mad Max inspired mohawk, Tanahashi has a regal, highlighted mullet that would make any visual kei star jealous. Nakamura is brooding while Tanahashi is exciting. Unfortunately, it is these things that make Tanahashi an easy target; in fact some fans say that Tanahashi follows a pattern and is repetitive in the ring, to the point where he is referred to as “Yawnahashi”, or the Japanese John Cena, which in my opinion, isn’t fair to Tanahashi because let’s face it, he could wrestle circles around Cena, but to call Tanahashi out for being repetitive all the while ignoring the fact that Nakamura can be just as repetitive if not more so, is kind of ludicrous. This hatred stems from the fact that Tanahashi has been a multiple time IWGP Heavyweight Champion. He is currently in his fifth reign with the title. He has also tied Yuji Nagata for the most title defenses with ten consecutive successful defenses.
Despite this incredible title reign and obvious trust from New Japan management, he still gets pushed aside by the fans in favor of Nakamura, whose only major accomplishment this year was winning the G-1 Climax Tournament. After which he unsuccessfully challenged Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
This is what I want the fans of Nakamura to do; I would like for them to explain to me why they love Nakamura so much, and what makes him so much better than Tanahashi. I welcome any and all comments, positive and negative. ~Shogun