Wrestle Kingdom 8
IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
I think rapper Wale best described Nakamura in saying he's the "OG Swag Lord of professional wrestling."
The two start off by locking up, but Nakamura breaks it. Nakamura lands a knee, and Tanahashi doesn't like it. He responds by attacking the knee of Nakamura to eliminate his offense. Big kicks to the knee as well as a knee breaker seem to have Tanahashi in control, but Nakamura catches him off the second rope with a gutbuster.
The two go outside the ring and Nakamura drops Tanahashi across the guard rail and rolls him back in the ring. Nakamura drops a knee on Tanahashi's chest, but uses a poor pin that doesn't get him anywhere. Tanahashi eats a big kick, but fights back with a dragon screw leg whip to lead us to the commercial.
Back from the break, Tanahashi hits a flying forearm and a body slam that allows him to come off the second rope with a somersault senton for two. Nakamura tries to charge him, but Tanahashi continues to work the knee with a basement dropkick. Nakamura boots and spin kicks Tanahashi, but he may have ended up the worst out of that with his injured leg.
A knee to the guy and a front choke from Nakamura slows things down, which allows Nakamura to land PRIDE style knees. He follows up with a front suplex, and knees Tanahashi repeatedly while laying across the top rope.
Tanahashi gets a chance to recover when he moves out of the way of a Nakamura knee drop. Tanahshi comes off the top rope with a breathtaking High Fly Flow to the outside of the ring! This leads us to our next commercial break.
Back to the show, Nakamura has Tanahashi locked in a triangle choke, but Tanahashi turns it into a high angle Texas Cloverleaf. Nakamura reaches the ropes, but Tanahashi straightjackets Nakamura and connects with a bridging suplex for 2.9. Back on the feet he's met with a backstabber from Nakamura that leaves both laying.
The two trade big forearm shots that leads to a slap war, and ends in Nakamura crashing his knee across Tanahashi's head. Nakamura follows with a fireman's carry neckbreaker and a sleeper suplex, but can't get the Boma Ye. Another fireman's carry attempt ends in a Slingblade from Tanahashi.
Tanahashi gets hung up trying to get a sunset flip powerbomb and Nakamura instead connects with a Codebreker. Tanahashi immediately comes back with a Dragon Suplex and High Fly Flow for two, and the crowd can't believe it. Nakamura plays possum and hits a big kick, followed up by a second rope Boma Ye and a running Boma Ye. Tanahashi kicks out!
Nakamura goes for a third one, but Tanahashi dropkicks his knee and goes back to the grounded leg screw. Tanahashi applies the cloverleaf and drags Nakamura to the middle of the ring. He modifies his grip and lands a version of the Styles Clash. Tanahashi goes up top and hits two High Fly Flows for the pinfall. What an incredible match.
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi via pinfall (High Fly Flow) to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Stan Hansen is in the ring to present Tanahashi with the championship. Nakamura leaves the ring to a great ovation.
At the press conference, Nakamura talked about how the Intercontinental Championship has evolved, and said it was on a huge stage for this match. Tanahashi thanked the crowd for following and supporting him as Megadeth's guitarist played him off. Another fantastic episode from NJPW and AXS.