How I Met Your Puroresu is a series dedicated to providing background information on matches in hopes of broadening horizons. These matches will be no longer than that of a sitcom as to not overwhelm a first time viewer.
Company: Big Japan Pro-Wrestling
Match: Yuji Okabayashi vs Yasufumi Nakanoue
Stakes: BJW Strong World Heavyweight Championship
Length: 20 Minutes
Production Date: January 2, 2021
Air Date: January 14, 2021
Challenged by the champion himself, Yasufumi Nakanoue accepts the request and makes it his goal to become the BJW Strong World Heavyweight Champion after falling short in each of his five previous attempts. The champion, Yuji Okabayashi, is currently on his third reign at the top of the BJW Strong division and is looking to monitor the growth of the guy he helped bring into company four years prior. The quest for a singles championship is something that’s eleven years in the making for Nakanoue. Will he be able to capitalize?
Nakanoue’s career began traditionally enough. He graduated out of the All Japan dojo on January 2, 2010 and in his early years was often seen teaming alongside Ryota Hama where he would take the falls. The first time Nakanoue traveled outside of AJPW he saw himself pitted against none other than Yuji Okabayashi in a BJW six-man tag team match. The highlight of Nakanoue’s early career with All Japan came when he received a GAORA TV Championship challenge against now NJPW star, SANADA. Both guys, along with many others, would follow Keiji Mutoh to create WRESTLE-1 shortly thereafter.
While in WRESTLE-1, Nakanoue struggled to raise his profile. He was a part of the 2014 TNA Lockdown cage match paired up with Mutoh & SANADA and made his first challenge for the WRESTLE-1 Tag Team Championship in early 2015. Later that year he’d capture his first title which was the UWA World Trios Championship teamed up with Jiro Kuroshio & Seiki Yoshioka. This was a very slow build for someone more than five years into his career at this point but one man is about to change everything.
On February 27, 2016, Yuji Okabayashi faced off with Nakanoue in a non-title singles match for WRESTLE-1. Okabayashi was in the midst of what would become a 370-day reign as BJW Strong World Heavyweight Champion and the fight Nakanoue brought by the champion impressed him to the point that the two formed a tag team. They would be seen competing together in both BJW and WRESTLE-1, the latter of which saw with them challenging for the tag titles. The greatest symbolic achievement of Nakanoue’s career came when alongside Okabayashi, he became WRESTLE-1 Tag Team Champion and less than two months later he’d leave the company for BJW.
The bond Nakanoue had formed with Okabayashi, and BJW as a whole, was seen immediately as he received his first shot at a singles title in more than four years – just three months into being with BJW full time. He challenged Hideyoshi Kamitani, the man who ended Okabayashi’s 370-day reign, and although he came up short, this opportunity was more than anything he’d ever received at this point in his career. From there, Nakanoue lost his footing a bit but soon found himself in the arms of a familiar ally, Ryota Hama.
Two products of All Japan’s late 2000s dojo found their way back together and would intergrate themselves as a staple of the BJW tag team division. While using the stability of the ex-sumo, Nakanoue would go on to make several more challenges for the BJW Strong World Heavyweight Championship, though all unsuccessful. The team of Nakanoue and Hama achieved a milestone when they not only claimed their first BJW Tag Team Championship, but defeated the figureheads of the division, Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi not once, but twice.
Now here we are on December 20, 2020. Okabayashi just defeated Hideyoshi Kamitani to retain the Strong title and he himself is the one to issue the challenge to Nakanoue, on the man’s eleventh anniversary as a wrestler. Once again, it’s at the hands of Okabayashi to right the ship for Nakanoue. Will he be able to reach new career heights thanks to a helpful hand from Okabayashi?