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March 21, 2011 / arnfurious

Minoru Suzuki & Masakatsu Funaki vs. Yuji Nagata & Jushin Liger from AJPW 2011

Recap from Arnold Furious:

This match hails from AJPW’s 21st March 2011 show at the Ryogoku. It was a show headlined by Suwama vs. KENSO. This is an era that All Japan fans will look upon as ‘dark days’. The undercard featured a rather spiffy junior title match between Minoru (Tanaka) and Shuji Kondo, not to mention Sekimoto & Okabayashi charging in to destroy whoever stood in their path. Of the rest of the undercard this is probably the next most interesting match (although fans of Muto and/or Hashimoto might argue that). This pits New Japan veterans Nagata & Liger against the All Japan duo of Suzuki & Funaki. Suzuki was still months away from defecting to NJPW at this point. The match doesn’t have the hostility you might expect from an inter-promotional match and instead Funaki and Liger work the mat. Liger looking flash in his silver gear. Nagata happily turns the whole thing into a kick-fest and the hatred is more palpable between him and Suzuki. Although Minoru hates everyone and his normal offence is slapping and dickish behaviour. The commentators start to reference Suzuki-Nagata from Wrestle Kingdom in 2007, when they met for the Triple Crown. The match certainly has more importance when it’s Suzuki vs. Nagata. Not least of all because of how miserable Suzuki is. Funaki, as the least important man in this, rather predictably takes the pinfall to Nagata’s Backdrop Driver.

Nagata would use this as a springboard into All Japan and worked the 2011 Champion Carnival before taking a shot at Suwama’s Triple Crown in June. He’d work the Champion Carnival again the following year, making the semi-finals before losing to Taiyo Kea. Liger’s excursions into All Japan are far less frequent so it’s a bit strange his role in this is so muted. Decent match but brisk at 8 minutes and change.

Final Rating: **3/4

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