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[2017-09-24-NJPW-Destruction in Kobe] Kenny Omega vs Juice Robinson


Boss Rock
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If you needed any more proof that Juice Robinson is an elite level talent, here it is. Excellent story of Juice trying to keep up with Omega in the early goings and doing the honorable thing by not going for the surgically-repaired knee. But after escaping the One-Winged Angel, Juice realizes what needs to be done and starts working it over. The inner conflict Juice shows on his face is amazing as he looks guilty, almost hesitant at working it over. Juice is able to take control until Kenny hits an insane vertical suplex off the apron to the floor. Juice looks absolutely done and Kenny just blasts him with knee after knee. Kenny is toying with Juice a bit but by hitting so many knees you can tell he recognizes Juice's toughness and wants to make sure he stays down. Juice gets all sorts of fired up and pulls off one of the best babyface comebacks this year, nearly finishing Kenny with Pulp Friction. He attempts to hit Pulp Friction off the top rope but Kenny counters and hits an unbelievable One-Winged Angel off the second rope for the win.

 

While Juice has had a showcase year by taking Goto and Naito to the limit and rallying back in the G1, this was an absolute star-making performance. Kenny hit Juice with everything and yet he STILL came back and nearly pulled it off. I don't think it's hyperbole to say Juice is one of if not THE best babyface in wrestling right now. This felt like one of the few Kenny Omega matches where he took a clear backseat, but it was necessary. Kenny is already an established star who's getting "best in the world" accolades. He didn't need to look amazing in this match, Juice did.

 

My only real gripe was that the opening minutes of the match dragged and they could have gotten to Juice attacking the knee a lot earlier. But at the same time, I feel it was necessary for Juice to attempt to wrestle the match his way early on and only when it was clear Kenny was getting the better of him would he go for the knee. Really set up the internal conflict of Juice needing to do whatever was necessary to win.

 

****1/2.

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Funny because I have very similar thoughts to what you've written on this match but my rating is ***3/4.

 

I'm far less forgiving of that opening 15 minutes where it felt like almost nothing happened, I don't think you need anywhere near that long to tell the story of Juice's initial avoiding of the injury not paying dividends. In keeping with New Japan's current style the second half of the match really got great.

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