Hideki Suzuki & Daichi Hashimoto v Yasafumi Nakanoue & Yoshihisa Uto (Big Japan, 6/29/16)
"Nakanoue definitely feels like one of the weakest - or at least the most cookie cutter - of the players in this division when he isn't outright beefing with someone. Like, he needs that hook to draw me in". I said that yesterday in light of Nakanoue and Suzuki being on opposite ends of a match and not hating each other to death. So I went back to some 2016, and yeah, they really hated each other to death last year. This was fucking great. Suzuki was incredible in it and brought everything that made me a fan in the first place, but Nakanoue was so much more interesting this time it wasn't funny. It's actually he and Uto who start the mugging pre-match, which is a departure from Suzuki being the first to let his temper boil over. But of course it's only a matter of time before it does boil over. He really thumped Nakanoue with elbows and headbutts and threw in a Tenryu punt to the eye for good measure. They even did a strike exchange that I not only thought wasn't rubbish, but was in fact actively good, and I know I said I wasn't going to keep bringing up strike exchanges but this felt significant enough to warrant mention. Then Uto tried to get chippy so Suzuki stretched him and punched him in the kidney and dug his knuckles in his face (which gave Uto a bloody nose). Daichi establishing himself as the young guy who wouldn't take any shit was the other major plot line. He really swung for the fences with his kicks, threw a few coconut headbutts, flew into camera shot with a crazy dropkick, and overall I bought him as the young guy who wouldn't take any shit. So job done, I guess. Post-match Nakanoue tries to get back at Suzuki some more and Suzuki literally grabs ring boys by the head and throws them away in order to oblige. I love this feud and this match encapsulates everything that's great about it.