During New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s post-Wrestle Kingdom 14 press conference, it was announced that former IWGP Heavyweight Champion Manabu Nakanishi is set to retire next month. On February 22nd, there will be a special retirement event held for Nakanishi at Korakuen Hall.
Nakanishi stated that due to a neck injury, he couldn’t compete for quite some time but he continued his wrestling career anyway. He added that he plans on giving everything he has in the ring until February 22nd arrives. When asked about potential last opponents, he said he’s willing to face anybody and just wants the company to give him an opponent. Nakanishi revealed that his contract with New Japan expires in January but the company is extending his deal so he can have the February 22nd retirement show. Nakanishi takes complete responsibility for coming back after his neck injury and knowing that he wouldn’t be able to wrestle like he used to.
The 52-year old Nakanishi’s retirement announcement is coming off the helms of Jushin Thunder Liger’s retirement ceremony at New Year’s Dash. After several decades in the wrestling business, Liger had his last match on night two of Wrestle Kingdom 14 and was pinned by Hiromu Takahashi.
Manabu Nakanishi began his career in New Japan Pro-Wrestling in 1992, departed in ’95 and returned in 1996 and has been with the company ever since. On his resume is an IWGP Heavyweight, Tag Team and 6-Man Tag Team Title win. Nakanishi also won the Young Lions Cup in 1995 and the G1 Climax tournament in 1999.
WH Park once told me on Twitter I am worth at least 2 Nakanishis to him. This was the nicest thing WH has ever said about me, and was a real honor. It is my pinned tweet. I don’t even know if I’ve seen a Nakanishi match before this years Tag League, but I will forever be linked to Manabu Nakanishi. Maybe a sadder day for me than when Liger retired. Just kidding.
Out of curiosity, what was the worst thing WH ever said to you? I’ve never met him in-person so it is hard for me to believe he has a dark side.
I even thought of the three ‘Postmates’ attending WK this past weekend that WH would be the one to tear up the most over Liger’s retirement, with John in 2nd and Wai stoic and unshaken like a mighty oak tree.
He routinely calls me Brooklyn Boy (I live in Manhattan), refuses to accept I was born & raised in New Jersey (MJ from NJ), and he won’t let me in the private Watchman group chat. So yeah…he actually doesn’t have a dark side, unless you wear shitty gear. Then he’ll tell you about it!
He is somebody I have grown very fond of. He is a very nice guy. Very funny too.