Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only
Sign in to follow this  
superkix

[2017-08-12-NJPW-G1 Climax] Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega

Recommended Posts

These two put together the best match of their series by working a simple but effective formula. It was still a nutty Fire Pro Omega match but they managed to work in the spots without being too self-indulgent and it followed the thread of Okada's injured neck and Omega just blasting it with his high-impact offense. Omega as the movez aggressor works so much more than him cartoonishly selling a limb, whereas Okada, who has historically been spotty in his selling, has improved a lot since the Shibata match and his performance here really sold this match for me. The real turning point was the reverse frankensteiner on the floor, which Okada sold beautifully and it injected some drama into the final half with Omega cranking up the aggression on Okada's neck. One of the best parts of the match was Omega repeatedly kneeing Okada in the head with a distraught Gedo on the outside, covering his head. The crowd was buying the nearfalls and of course, both guys were bumping like crazy. I mean, that uranage/side suplex counter to the Rainmaker was awesomely brutal. Obviously, they were going to ramp it up for the finishing stretch and when Omega hit the double arm piledriver for a nearfall, I thought this was going to either draw or venture into an endless waltz of counters and nearfalls...but it had me guessing and the hot atmosphere of Sumo Hall made it feel important. Omega still isn't my favorite dude in pro-wrestling but he thankfully kept the histrionics to a minimum and by telling a true and tried story rather than trying to impress the pants off of everyone, he wrestled his best match of the year. This was a top notch performance from Okada and yet another shining feather in his cap as he continues to have possibly the best year of his career thus far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FINALLY. As expected, the G1 30-min time limit rule brought out the best in these two. Right from the get go this had a different vibe than their previous 2 matches - they started it by trading slugs right away, you could see right from the start that Kenny's main target was that banged up neck of Okada, and oh boy, it sure was. Omega's work over that neck was incredibly focused & on point, basically every time he did something it was to do more damage to that neck. Okada sold it wonderfully - the moment where he fails to do his signature kip up because of the damage he had taken to his neck was brilliant. His overall body language was really terrific throughout the whole thing. His comebacks also really ruled - Kenny bumped for his signature moves so beautifully. In the end, that neck work which was the main focus of the match from start to finish ended the match as Kenny got him up for that One Winged Angel & hit it. Beautiful. I thought the Dome match was a really good spectacle w/ some absolutely breathtaking big time moves, but the dull first half is what kept it from being more than very good. Then the Dominion match. In that one it felt like nothing mattered except for the last 15 mins or so & those sure were extremely dramatic & good, but overall I didn't really like the match. Here they went only about 25 minutes & it felt like the match had a tight story right from the start with banged up Okada going against Omega who worked the crap out of that neck from start to finish. One of the greatest matches of all-time w/ flawless storytelling & performances from both men. *****

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well. It's about goddamn time.

 

As has been discussed and speculated since the announcement, the 30 minute time limit finally cut all the indulgent and dragging bullshit from their second (and first) match and we're left with the juicy, juicy, tasty lovely wonderful meat of the matches. From the frantic 100mph pace that opened the match with the finisher attempts playing into the rumors/speculation that this might end incredibly quick all the way to that brutal floor Reverse Rana that Okada sold LIKE DEATH. Props to Okada for really upping his selling game for the G1 because this may be the most consistent he's ever sold a body part in his entire career. In the past week alone, Okada's put in his two best ever performances in my opinion (vs. Suzuki and now vs. Omega). That Reverse Rana and the subsequent Dragon Suplex on the apron FINALLY added some real stakes to these matches they've been doing. For the first time, someone in these matches seemed legitimately vulnerable instead of two guys just trading a bunch of moves. Can I just say that Okada's German Suplexes are some of the grittiest most violent versions of the move I've ever seen? They're fantastic. Follow that up with a blistering hot finishing stretch with Okada's undoing being his compulsion to do sixty million Rainmakers in one match (same thing happened to Tanahashi the night before with his High Fly Flows) and Omega is finally able to get his elusive victory over the new Ace. YOU FINALLY DID IT, BOYS. I KNEW YOU HAD IT IN YOU.

 

*****

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a big fan of their first two matches (gave each ****) but this blows them away. In fact, this is probably the best match of the "new and improved" NJPW era.

 

This continues the theme of Okada being the superior wrestler but this time he comes in with a vulnerability which Omega targets with tremendous focus and to great effect. This featured a really great Okada performance, almost Misawa like. The neck selling ruled but the way he sold the peril and the desperation was so nuanced. He even made a Misawa style elongated, layered comeback after Kenny got cocky and gave him an opening. I also liked how they teased Omega blew the advantage near the end and it was business as usual for Okada but, this time, Omega was more determined and had one more burst.

 

The only part I disliked was where Okada hit a rainmaker, then a lariat but Omega counters a second with some rolling germans and then suddenly he is in control. That was a poor transition especially considering that was of one the big momentum shifts before the finish. The rest was pretty outstanding. I wish they don't have another match (for a while atleast) because this is such a satisfactory conclusion to the narrative they have been building all year. **** 1/2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The big failing of the June match, to me, was them not making the body part work factor into the match long term. And, boy did they make sure to not repeat that mistake. They establish Okada's neck as the weak spot early on, and stick with it for the whole match. I really liked the idea of using Okada's height against him with Omega doing seemingly basic spots, like the backbreaker, to create the whiplash effect on Okada. I just wish Omega hadn't felt the need to do the reverse rana so often, the first one was perfect, and it felt like the spot was cheapened by him going back to it so often. The Croyt's Wrath near fall was brilliant! Over the course of three matches, we've seen how easily that Okada can escape the One Winged Angel, and Omega finally had something up his sleeve to offset that. I sort of wish that the Croyt's Wrath had gotten the pin, only so as not to completely close the book on the story surrounding Okada and the One Winged Angel.

 

The only thing that match seemed to lack was drama, mostly because Omega's win seemed like a foregone conclusion, with there not being anything at stake this time. But, with the story of Omega mercilessly attacking the neck, and knowing that he's under the gun because of the shortened time limit, it wouldn't exactly jive to have Okada Hulk-Up and start firing back on Omega.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I had no intention of watching this but then on a whim I did. And I didn't regret it! I haven't seen their second match because no way I'm watching these two for an hour, but I did watch the January match (and liked some parts of it) and have a decent handle on the big picture of their rivalry. Even without that, though, I thought this managed to tell a really nice story in isolation. I don't like Okada much and in the four other Okada matches I've seen this year I thought he was pretty terrible, but this is by far the best I've seen him look in anything. I was a wee bit worried I was gonna hate it when they opened with the street dance/parity reversal routine as neither guy is Tajiri and likely to make me care about such things, but I suppose it fit with them being super familiar with each other's offence and all that by now. After that they won me over anyway, and I thought the first fifteen minutes were pretty excellent. Okada sold the neck great and I liked how Omega would really lean on it with a chin lock or just outright chop him across the neck, which even got some heel heat. The reverse rana on the floor was huge and the crazy apron dragon suplex felt like a real game changer as well. So many of the bombs in the first match felt inconsequential, but they took time to let the rana sink in and Okada's neck being vulnerable remained a factor right until the end. Okada being broken down even made his not-very-good strikes work, and there was one Rainmaker towards the end that looked like it had nothing behind it whatsoever and he kind of collapsed into the turnbuckle after it like that was as much as he could muster. At some point I started to lose some interest and the finishing stretch will probably never be my thing anymore, but it was right about on the line of what I can handle. It wasn't FULL on Step Up routine, and even if some of the transitions were abrupt and bordered on "doin' stuff," I don't think it went overboard. I still can't get by Omega's facial expressions but the part where he lost it after Okada kicked out of that awesome German suplex was great, like I truly bought that he was at the end of his tether and couldn't believe Okada still refused to stay down. All of the big spots and bumps were appropriately big (and man were some of those bumps BIG) and I never thought it got long in the tooth, so it was overall about as much as I'm going to get out of New Japan main event wrestling. I would put this behind the fourth or fifth best Hideki Suzuki match of the year, which is better than I was expecting going in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would put this behind the fourth or fifth best Hideki Suzuki match of the year, which is better than I was expecting going in.

 

 

I currently have this right above the Kawakami defense but behind three other Hideki Suzuki matches. But I really loved that Kawakami match (I'm probably in the minority there) so it may end up getting bumped down upon re-watch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tbf that line was more of a jokey way of saying I much prefer what Suzuki (as an example) is doing right now compared to New Japan main event style (or whatever we're calling it), but yeah, there are three Suzuki matches I definitely prefer (vs Sekimoto x 2 and vs Okabayashi) and a couple more that might not be better, but I'd rather watch them again than this.

 

I really did think this was very good, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okada coming in with the neck issue was a perfect way to segue right into the good stuff, with no 20 minutes to pre-work. Probably my favorite of the three (I did enjoy the drama and freshness of their first meeting), and a lot of the little things that bugged me in their first two matches were gone here as well. Doctor spot was weird given the result of the match, but maybe worked to better put over the final couple of moves. Even though I knew the results I was still on the edge of my seat figuring out how they were going to get there within 30 minutes. This was not excess Kenny either. ****3/4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really liked the first two matches (the Dominion one was a MOTYC for me), but this one corrected the issues with the first two: get rid of the fluff, focus on the action. And oh boy did they ever. I knew Omega was winning because the champion going to the finals would render the WK main event pointless, but they really had me believing at times that Okada would pull it off. Microstatistics brings up a good point about Kenny being a bit too quick to recover and counter the two Rainmakers, but I'm nitpicking at this point because I loved everything else. 24 minutes of balls to the wall action with some of the best drama I've seen this year.

 

*****

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, I'm sold. Another great match, another MOTYC, Omega really has come a long way since his overactive junior days. Great story, great selling, great spot progression (mostly, although I didn't like the piling up of neck spots after the huge reverse hurricanrana outside, this spot was enough to warrant a great nearfall), great execution (yes, it does matter), great drama. I love to be proven wrong in these matters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This one was a nice change of pace after the first two epics. A different dynamic here as it's a G1 block decider rather than a championship match. It's simple. Omega has to win. Something he hasn't been able to do in over 100 minutes of wrestling against Okada. Okada only has to last half an hour to advance. Something he'd done in the first two matches with relative ease. But here Okada doesn't have that champion's advantage and he's really banged up from the tournament. The pace is quick from the get go as you'd expect and doesn't really let up for 25 minutes. Okada really sells his neck injury well and at no point does he completely shrug it off. Falling into the turnbuckle after the second rainmaker was a good moment. This match is definitely the tightest of the three matches so far although I don't think the peaks are as high or memorable as the first two. There's still some great moments though. The dragon suplex on the apron was devastating. As Okada was champion, it seemed very unlikely he'd actually make the final. And with Okada in such a bad way physically, this was clearly Omega's best chance yet at beating him. They did a good job of making you think that Omega could miss this opportunity and get caught out though. And I really liked that the match ended inside 25 minutes rather than going another 5 and having Kenny squeeze by at after 29 minutes which they could quite easily have done. It may have been tempting to do that in order to manufacture more drama but it wasn't necessary.

Current rankings:

  1. 8/12/17
  2. 1/4/17
  3. 6/11/17

Less between the top two than I recalled though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was the world's best game of Fire Pro. Usually calling a match would be an insult, but them busting out of the big bombs straight was very logical as they went to a 60 minute time limit during their last bout and this has a time limit that is half of that. Omega works on Okada's neck and Okada sells wonderfully for Omega. Okada not being able to hit his kip up flawlessly put over well that he was in bad shape. This was a explosive sprint without any of downtime of the first two matches. 

★★★★½

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×