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MATCH REVIEW: Kenny Omega vs Michael Elgin (07-01-17)


Loss

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It's possible that Kenny Omega and Michael Elgin made magic on this night. However, it also seems that the spell has since been broken.

July 1, 2017
New Japan Pro Wrestling
G-1 Special in the USA
Los Angeles, California
IWGP U.S. Championship Tournament 

5.9

Kenny Omega, Michael Elgin, and the other stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling should be commended for creating American interest in a foreign wrestling company at a level that would have been virtually impossible at any other time in wrestling history. In the current era, Bullet Club members can show up on WWE television and get the, “Hey, we recognize you and see you as stars!” crowd reaction that used to be elusive to anyone who rose to stardom outside of the national television establishment. Omega’s cornermen, the Young Bucks, are legitimate difference makers in Ring of Honor and on the independent scene. They have a popular YouTube show and their merchandise even sells well at Hot Topic! They relied on their own intuition and creativity to forge a new path, which I deeply respect. I just wish I was as impressed with this match as I am with their ability to succeed.

That’s not to say that this was a bad match or that I didn’t like it. Power versus speed is a timeless wrestling match contrast and they executed it well, as seen in moves like Elgin’s delayed vertical suplex that showed off his strength and Omega’s surprise Rocker dropper on the floor that highlighted his craftiness.

This resembles two separate matches superglued together when they started working toward a finish; everything before those few minutes was just an exchange of moves because of the lack of significant follow-through. Moves like the aforementioned Rocker Dropper on the floor seemed to have predicted an offensive run for Omega, but all was forgotten two minutes later. When Omega started throwing all of the V triggers, the drama picked up considerably, but drama without equal suspense to precede it is merely hysterics; in the best competitive matches, you might not know when the comeback is happening or how it will happen, but you know that it will come. Elgin’s crowd-thrilling German suplex on the apron worked like a charm in the moment, but doesn’t stand out as special when apron moves are so common. For all the attempts to wrestle big, the match still feels small, like it’s a B-show match that needed to keep going because one of the wrestlers in the next match hasn’t arrived at the building yet.

To deny the effectiveness or positive reception of the match would be foolish. Omega-Elgin worked in this building on this night and in this moment, but for those who place a premium on replay value, there sadly isn’t much to see here.

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