Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, January 05, 2017

2017 Doesn't Make the List: Six Star Edition

Kenny Omega v. Kazuchika Okada NJ 1/3/17

I certainly had no plans to watch this, but I figure someone at SC should weigh in on the canonized best match in wrestling history before we go back to reviewing Black Terry Jr. HH's or Tamon Honda matches.

I am really burned out on both long matches and 2010s style CrossFit wrestling, so two guys doing the ultimate CrossFit endurance match for 45 minutes wasn't going to do it for me. By CrossFit style, I mean a wrestling match where it seems like the goal is to pound out one more set of kettlebells to show how tough you are, rather then any sort of sensible progression or story, every match is a show of endurance. It is what Volador is doing in CMLL,  Seth Rollins in the WWE, tons of people do in indies I don't watch and what a lot of NJ main events devolve into. Even taking away the problems I have with this style, I didn't think this match was particularly close to the apex of that style.

For one thing I am really surprised at how bad both guys basic execution was. Big spots looked great for the most part, but Okada is throwing missed clotheslines that fly a foot over Omega's head, they exchange Ethan Pagian forearm smashes and wrestling school level kicks to the stomach, Okada's top rope elbow is a big move of his and he clearly takes all of the impact on his hip before gingerly placing his elbow in Omega's chest. The match is all wild drum solos, but the back beat is off.

The match was also way too long, these guys don't have 40+ minutes of a match in them. They either can't or won't do matwork, so instead it was basically a 20 minute house show workrate match, followed by a 20 minute big show workrate match. It's like Finn Balor v. Seth Rollins on RAW, followed immediately by Finn Balor v. Seth Rollins at Payback.

The match did have a couple of awesome huge spots, Omega's bump of the year into the table and the top rope Dragon suplex. That table bump was fucking lunatic, maybe the greatest table bump I can remember seeing, Omega got truly insane height and he landed like a V2 rocket on the table, I honestly don't know how he didn't lacerate his spleen. Still that move was 20 minutes into a 40 minute match and didn't play into the finish at all. Basically the next offensive move either guy executed was Omega hitting Okada with a super nasty top rope dragon suplex, which again didn't play into the finish at all or really get a compelling near fall. If either move led directly into a finish run it would have really made the match make more sense. Instead the finish run was a lot of dancy reversals around Okada's silly clothesline finisher.

Omega is a guy with great athleticism, and big holy fuck spots. There was a moment during the finish run where he whips off a dragon suplex that looked like it was in x2 speed, and I really liked some of his desperation running knees. If someone could tone down some of his bad tendencies and and craft a match around what he does well it could be really awesome. Okada isn't that dude, and I don't think that guy is in NJ (or the WWE for that matter, I actually don't know who that guy is, maybe if Finlay gets fired again.)

Our 2017 MOTY list will be filled with random small US indy matches, CMLL trios and Kurisu matches on Rutube, and honestly this match probably had enough good to make it objectively better than some of those. But I didn't enjoy it, and it was the poster boy of the type of wrestling I hate. Hard Pass.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Naito tempered a lot of his bad habits in their g1 match. I enjoyed that a lot more than this match.

2:21 AM  

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