Kento Miyahara vs. Naoya Nomura
September 3, 2019
All Japan Pro Wrestling

According to my notes, I watched this match in 2019 and I gave it ****1/2. I had good taste then because with 2022 eyes, I’d put the same rating on it. This match feels like it was ages ago, even if in reality only three years have passed since this match took place. Korakuen Hall is red hot for Miyahara, who was knee-deep in his Triple Crown run that lasted over a year, and they’re also notably into Nomura, way more so than I ever remember them being. As I write this, I was defending the culture of Japanese wrestling and their crowds 24 hours ago. I do wholeheartedly believe we will get back to this point someday, but God, I was kind of taken aback by just how much these 1300 people loved 2019 All Japan. 

Nomura exited All Japan and wrestling full-time shortly after this, which is a damn shame. For as good as Miyahara is, this is a match that makes me wonder what could’ve been when it comes to Naoya Nomura. He was mean, he was aggressive, and for most of this match, he simply looked like he was on the ace’s level. My feelings on Kento Miyahara have always been that I like him, I just like him a little bit less than everyone else. I’m never as into what he brings to the table as I am in what he’s going to bring out of his opponent. That sounds like a backhanded compliment, but very few guys in contemporary wrestling “get” working big matches in the way that Miyahara does. In this title run, he wrestled the likes of KAI, Zeus, Suwama, and even Yoshitatsu, but far and away his best opponent was Nomura, because it felt like Miyahara was truly elevating Nomura every time they had a singles match. 

The crowd gets molten down the stretch as Miyahara begins surviving (I don’t know if it would be fair to call them kickouts) Nomura’s big offense. This was all so well done. It’s the type of environment that Miyahara shines in and it’s the time of environment that Nomura was becoming a pro at. Miyahara won, eventually, with his signature German Suplex. 

This all seemed like the start of All Japan having another “Guy”, but six months later Korakuen Hall was noiseless and Nomura was out of wrestling. This was, in so many ways, the beginning of the end. ****1/2 

I hope Kevin Hare got me this gift.