Manabu Nakanishi is a 17-year veteran of puroresu who has competed in New Japan his entire career as well as in the US for WCW. He may be best known to US fans from his WCW time, when he competed as “Kurasawa”-during a tag team match he broke the arm of Road Warrior Hawk with an armbar.
Nakanishi started out in New Japan after participating in the 1992 Summer Olympics. He represented Japan in Greco-Roman wrestling but didn’t medal. After his New Japan debut he was sent to WCW. He would return to New Japan in 1996 and formed a tag team with Satoshi Kojima, together they won the IWGP Tag Team Championship. In 1999 he scored what is considered the upset of the decade by defeating then-IWGP Heavyweight Champion Keij Muto in the G1 Climax tournament finals, a win that would get Nakanishi the label of future ace in New Japan. But because of struggling in big matches and Antonio Inoki’s years of pushing MMA fighters, that didn’t happen even after a mass talent exodus in 2006 that was seen as his big break. But they chose to push newer, younger talent instead. Nakanishi focused again on tag teams and won another IWGP Tag Team Title, this time with Takao Omori. Nakanishi finally got his singles time in spring 2009, defeating Hiroshi Tanahashi to finally claim the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Alas, it was a short-lived time at the top, as he lost it back to Tanahashi just a month later. He still remains near the top tier today and his Argentine Backbreaker remains a feared finisher.
Although it took a couple of runoff votes, Nakanishi won the 2010 Tokyo Sports Grand Prix Best Tag Team Prize for his short-lived (at the time) but very effective team he formed with gaijin Strong Man and their impressive G1 Tag League performance.
Nakanishi is inactive as of June 5, 2011 due to a serious neck injury suffered during a match on June 4, 2011. It’s not known how long he’ll be out.
Stats & Info:
Weight: 264 pounds/120 kg
Experience: 17 years
Finishing move: Argentine Backbreaker
Current affiliation: New Japan
1-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion
3-time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion
1-time NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Champion
1995 Young Lion Cup
1999 G1 Climax
2002 Triathlon Survivor
2003 Naeba Cup Tag Tournament
2010 Tokyo SPorts Grand Prix Best Tag Team Award (with Strong Man)