Manabu Nakanishi (中西 学 Nakanishi Manabu, born January 22, 1967) is a former Japanese professional wrestler and former amateur wrestler who competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. He currently works for New Japan Pro Wrestling. He is a former IWGP Heavyweight Champion, a fomer NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champion with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Ryusuke Taguchi and a former three times IWGP Tag Team Champion, one with Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima, Takao Omori, respectively.
Amateur wrestling career
Manabu Nakanishi began his amateur wrestling career in 1986, competing Freestyle in the 220 lbs. division.
In July 1986, Nakanishi competed in his very first tournament, the World Cup in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, where he placed fifth. In October 1987, he participated in the Asian Championship in Bombay, India, where he placed fifth. In June 1989, he participated in another Asian Championship in Oarai, Ibaraki, Japan, and this time moved up to fourth place.
In September 1990, Nakanishi took part in two tournaments: On September 6, he participated in the World Championship in Tokyo, where he was placed tenth. Over three weeks later, on September 30, he participated in the Asian Games in Beijing, China, where he placed fourth. In October 1991, he took part in his second World Championship in Varna, Bulgaria, where he was placed eleventh. In April 1992, he took part in his third Asian Championship in Tehran, Iran, and was in third place, earning a bronze medal.
In his biggest tournament, Nakanishi participated in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, where he was placed eleventh.
Professional wrestling career
New Japan Pro Wrestling (1992–1995)
Nakanishi debuted for New Japan Pro Wrestling in October 1992. His in-ring style was very basic early in his career. After winning the Young Lions Cup in 1995, in order to hone his skills and bulk up, he went on an excursion to North America and joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
World Championship Wrestling (1995-1996)
Twelve days after his pro debut, Nakanishi's first appearance in WCW at Halloween Havoc, as a spectator, sitting alongside NJPW and NWA President Seiji Sakaguchi at ringside. Three years later he returned to WCW to wrestle, under the name Kurasawa as a member of the Stud Stable led by Colonel Robert Parker. He frequently teamed with Meng, with whom he feuded against Sting and Road Warrior Hawk. He broke the arm of Hawk using a seated armbar after their tag team match at Clash of the Champions XXXI, in which they lost. He subsequently feuded with Hawk when Hawk returned from injury heading into Halloween Havoc 1995, beating many local wrestlers on their B-shows, WorldWide and Pro, as well as a big win over Sgt. Craig Pittman on Monday Nitro. He was also known there for nearly defeating "Macho Man" Randy Savage on an episode of WCW Monday Nitro. It was here that Nakanishi learned the infamous "Road Warrior Workout" from Hawk and Animal, who also taught this routine to Kenta Kobashi and Kensuke Sasaki.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (1996–2020)
When Nakanishi came back to New Japan in September 1996, he appeared more confident and stronger. With his new change in attitude and in-ring style, he found instant success. He formed The Bull Powers with Satoshi Kojima, who returned from Europe. In May 1997, he and Kojima won the IWGP Tag Team Championship. He had arguably the upset win of the decade in the 1999 G1 Climax, submitting then-IWGP Heavyweight Champion and nWo Japan leader Keiji Mutoh, to win the tournament.
As the years went by, Nakanishi was never able to capitalize on his win in the G1 Climax as he constantly came up short in big matches, and Antonio Inoki's focus on pushing MMA fighters in 2002-2005 made matters worse for him. When the company suffered a massive exodus in main event talent (including Shinya Hashimoto, Shinjiro Otani, Sasaki, and Mutoh), it was considered that Nakanishi might finally live up to his potential, but once again he was overlooked, as New Japan started to look towards building their younger talent like Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura, Togi Makabe, and Hirooki Goto. He formed the popular tag team, Wild Child, with Takao Omori in late 2006 and together they enjoyed another IWGP Tag Team title reign. In May 2009, Nakanishi finally captured the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, pinning Hiroshi Tanahashi. He went on to hold the title for nearly a month until losing it back to Tanahashi. For the 2010 G1 Tag League Nakanishi formed a tag team named Muscle Orchestra with Strong Man. The team made it to the semifinals of the tournament and was at the end of the year named Tag Team of the Year by Tokyo Sports. On January 4, 2011, at Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome, Muscle Orchestra unsuccessfully challenged Bad Intentions (Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson) for the IWGP Tag Team Championship in a three–way match, which also included Beer Money, Inc. (James Storm and Robert Roode). On February 20 at The New Beginning, Muscle Orchestra received another shot at Bad Intentions and the IWGP Tag Team Championship, but were again unable to win the title. On June 4 Nakanishi was injured during a six-man tag team match after taking a German suplex from Wataru Inoue. The match was stopped immediately and Nakanishi was stretchered out of the arena in a neckbrace.
Nakanishi returned to the ring on October 8, 2012, at King of Pro-Wrestling, where he teamed with Strong Man and Yuji Nagata in a losing effort against the team of Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano. From November 20 to December 1, Muscle Orchestra reunited to take part in the round-robin portion of the 2012 World Tag League, finishing with a record of two wins and four losses, finishing second to last in their group. On January 4, 2013, at Wrestle Kingdom 7 in Tokyo Dome, Nakanishi teamed with Strong Man, Akebono and MVP in an eight-man tag team match, where they defeated CHAOS (Bob Sapp, Takashi Iizuka, Toru Yano and Yujiro Takahashi). On April 7 at Invasion Attack, Nakanishi debuted his new finisher, the Uekara Don!, to gain a victory for his team consisting of him, Akebono, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Super Strong Machine, defeating the Chaos faction of Bob Sapp, Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii and Yoshi-Hashi. On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku 2013, Nakanishi and Strong Man received a shot at the IWGP Tag Team Championship in a four-way match with the defending champions, K.E.S. (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr.), as well as Chaos (Takashi Iizuka and Toru Yano) and Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima). Kojima pinned Strong Man to win the match and the title. On June 22 at Dominion 6.22, Nakanishi unsuccessfully challenged Rob Conway for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. From November 24 to December 6, Nakanishi and Strong Man took part in the 2013 World Tag League, where they finished second to last in their block with a record of two wins and four losses, failing to advance to the semifinals. Nakanishi spent the majority of 2014 and 2015 working the undercard and in multiple man tag matches, teaming with Yuji Nagata during the 2014 World Tag League, failing to advance from their block. On August 19, 2015, Nakanishi donned a mask and going as Maybach Don, teamed up with Nagata (as Maybach Blue Justice) and Maybach Taniguchi to win the Arukas Cup 6-Man Tag Tournament hosted by Pro Wrestling NOAH.
On January 5, 2017, Nakanishi, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL and SANADA) for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship, marking Nakanishi's first title win since May 2009. They lost the title back to L.I.J. on February 11 at The New Beginning in Osaka.
On January 7, 2019, Nakanishi announced during a press conference that he was going to retire on February 22. On February 22, Nakanishi had his last match and his retirement ceremony, being congatrulated by NJPW founder Seiji Sakaguchi and NJPW legends Hiroshi Hase, Riki Choshu and Tatsumi Fujinami. The ceremony featured NJPW home unit and CHAOS members ending with a ten bell salute.
Outside of wrestling
Nakanishi hosts his own variety show called Nakanishi Land on TV Asahi.
- Finishing moves
- As Manabu Nakanishi
- Argentine backbreaker rack
- Dai☆Nakanishi German (Bridging delayed high-angle German suplex)
- Hercules Cutter (Argentine neckbreaker)
- Mana Bauer (Argentine backbreaker rack dropped into a bridging German suplex)
- Uekara Don! (Diving overhead chop)
- As Kurasawa
- Kurasawa Crush (Fujiwara armbar)
- As Manabu Nakanishi
- Signature moves
- Brain Claw (Head vice)
- Cobra Twist (Abdominal stretch)
- Jumping knee
- Knee drop
- Mountain Bomb
- Multiple suplex variations
- Double underhook
- Reverse figure-four leglock
- Seated armbar
- Shoot kick
- Thesz press
- Yajin Hammer (Discus double axe handle)
- Yajin (Japanese for Wild Man)
- Col. Robert Parker
- Entrance themes
- "Seize The Tactticz" by New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW; 2002–2020)
Championships and accomplishments
- New Japan Pro Wrestling
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- IWGP Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Yuji Nagata (1), Satoshi Kojima (1), Takao Omori (1)
- NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Ryusuke Taguchi
- IWGP Provisional Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Takao Omori
- G1 Climax (1999)
- Young Lion Cup (1995)
- Triathlon Survivor Tournament Winner (2002)- with Osamu Nishimura & Yutaka Yoshie
- Naeba Cup Tag Team Tournament Winner (2003) - with Heat
- Fighting Spirit Award (2000, 2002)
- Tag Team Best Bout (2000) with Yuji Nagata vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima on October 9
- Tag Team Best Bout (2002) with Osamu Nishimura vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Masahiro Chono on June 5
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #185 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2010
- Pro Wrestling Noah
- Pro Wrestling Zero1-Max
- NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Takao Omori
- Tokyo Sports
- Best Tag Team (2010) with Strong Man