Manabu Nakanishi, 53, Retires from Pro-Wrestling

Manabu Nakanishi retired amongst his fellow NJPW wrestlers. Image courtesy of NJPW.

Manabu Nakanishi, age 53, has officially retired from active competition. Today, New Japan Pro-Wrestling held his retirement event at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Nakanishi announced on January 7th of this year that he would soon be ending his 27-year career. He cited the lingering effects of a spinal cord injury in 2011 as the cause, stating in an interview that he hadn’t been able to wrestle to the level that he wanted since then.

Manabu Nakanishi’s final match was an eight man tag team match, and the main event of the show. His partners were Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan, fellow members of a four-man group known as the Third Generation. All four men debuted and peaked at roughly the same time, and have been colleagues throughout their careers. Their opponents were Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Kota Ibushi, and Hirooki Goto. The match was 18 minutes and 3 seconds long, and ended when Tanahashi pinned Nakanishi with the High Fly Flow.

Manabu Nakanishi’s retirement event can be watched on NJPW World with English commentary.

Following the match, the retirement ceremony took place. Nakanishi’s former mentors and partners, Seiji Sakaguchi, Hiroshi Hase, Riki Choshu, and Tatsumi Fujinami were in attendance, and made short speeches about their relationships with Nakanishi. Finally, there was a ten-bell salute, as well as Nakanishi giving his last speech to the crowd.

Manabu Nakanishi made his professional wrestling debut in 1992 in NJPW, following an amateur wrestling career that included participation in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics. Following a stint as a young lion, he spent several years in World Championship Wrestling under the alias Kurasawa. He has been an active wrestler in NJPW since 1996, and has held accolades including three IWGP Tag Team Championship reigns, a single G1 Climax victory in 1999, and an IWGP Heavyweight Championship reign in 2009.