Manabu Nakanishi (January 22, 1967) is a retired Japanese professional wrestler and former amateur wrestler who competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. In New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) he is a former IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
Amateur wrestling career
Nakanishi participated in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, representing Japan in Greco-Roman wrestling. He did not place in the tournament.
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), under the name Kurasawa.
World Championship Wrestling (1995-1996)
As Kurasawa in WCW, he was 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 was also known there for nearly defeating "Macho Man" Randy Savage. 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 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 G-1 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 Climax 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 Grand Prix. 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 Muscle Orchestra received another shot at Bad Intentions and the IWGP Tag Team Championship, but were again unable to win the title.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Belly to belly suplex
- Brain Claw (Head vice)
- Clutch bomb
- Cobra Twist
- Double underhook suplex
- Front missile dropkick
- Knee drop
- Kurasawa Crush (Armbreaker)
- McEnroe (Modified chop block)
- Mountain Bomb
- Multiple running big boot followed by a bicycle kick
- One-handed bulldog
- Over the shoulder single leg Boston crab
- Prison Lock (Kneeling figure four leglock)
- Reverse figure four leglock
- Seated armbar
- Shoot kick
- Thesz press
- Yajin Hammer (Discus double axe handle)
- Entrance themes
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 Ōmori (1)
- 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
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #185 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2010
- Tokyo Sports Grand Prix
- Best Tag Team (2010) – with Strong Man
- Fighting Spirit Award (1999)