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[2018-03-25-NJPW-Strong Style Evolved] Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) vs Young Bucks

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Kenny Omega hesitates to harm The Bucks, even stopping Ibushi from going after Matt's back. Loved Matt's back selling throughout, making it the center for some of the match's biggest transitions. Particularly liked how it forced him to drop the Sharpshooter. Thought it was a nice little plot thread that ran through the match. Then they do crazy spots, and I'm sorry but I'm a sucker for crazy spots. And these didn't feel overkill, they transitioned from one to the other really well. We didn't get too many pinfall attempts til about the last 10 minutes or so.

 

I like how the crazier spots that stick out at least had significant character moments. Ibushi forcing Omega to V Trigger Matt. Matt not taking Omega's mercy and initiating the One Winged Angel. Matt switching directions at the last minute during the One Winged Angel to put Kenny through the table instead of completing the More Bang For Your Buck on Ibushi. Lots of great stuff all over.

 

****3/4

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This was just too damn long man. For every insane shit they did, they dragged it with bad acting and story I couldn't quite get into - the Bucks pretty much working babyface and Matt doing the best face performance since Gargano while Kenny struggles to leave them behind and do what it takes for the W - but the action was too damn fun to watch to not give this some deserved props. If this was 20 minutes I would probably be losing my shit right now but oh well, the match is clearly not meant for me in that regard.

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This was rubbish.

As a Match the structure was bad and counter intuitive. The match was nearly 40 minutes long and was fought under normal tag rules but a good 30 min of it was done tornado style With JR regularly commenting on how the match was out of control and tagging did not seem to matter. Then every so often they would do a Face in peril segment that would last a few mins before they go back to tornado stuff. Going into this match i assumed that it would be the golden lovers who were the faces and the bucks the heels but that changed several times over the course of the match with the bucks being heels at the start but then being babyfaces later Until changing again to take out omega before finally finishing the match as faces. It was a mess.

 

As for the work itself it was your usual young bucks and omega fare where everything looks very choreographed to the nth degree, but if they get things wrong everyone looks stupid which did happen several times during this match. There was one outstanding spot in this match though and that was the elbow through the table to the floor. Naturally however omega who took the move was up and in the ring within one minute, this happened twice with him in this match, he did nothing for the majority of the match took two huge bumps and then on these bumps was when he decided he would get involved again, completely ass-backwards selling. Also, do the young bucks have any offense that does not involve the corner in some way, be it jumping off the ropes, throwing somone into the corner, hitting a strike out of the corner etc.

 

Now we get to the 'story' and the 'acting' Good god this was bad, Shawn Micheals would look at this and think "you know what that is a bit much". At one point omega has Matt Jackson up for the one winged angel a move that hits the neck and shoulders, he hesitates and Matt begins to get free before screaming at Kenny to hit the move on him, Not in the way of a defiant blood-soaked babyface telling a heel to give them there best shot like a badass but like a screaming child, it felt to me first time that Kenny had messed up the spot and Matt was acting like Eddie in that ladder match with Rey screaming about Vickie. I had to watch that bit several times to understand what the fuck they were going for.

 

The crowd is also really nothing, they livened up at the really big spots like the elbow through the table but for the most part they were quiet. The best parts of the match were the aforementioned elbow to the outside and some of JR's confused calls such as talking about how tags don't seem to matter and that he did not understand what was going on, or him getting in the government mule line when they started to use the belts.

 

around 1/2*

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WOOOOOO, BABY. FIRED THE FUCK UP AFTER WATCHING THAT.

 

WHAT A MATCH. First of all - who would've thought that in a match that has Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi & Nick Jackson (who is the more athletic of the Jackson brothers), Matt F'N Jackson would be the best performer?! Holy shit what a performance from the man! He brought brilliant emotion to the match w/ his character work & EXCELLENT selling of the back. The storytelling in general was absolutely perfect w/ Kenny being cautious to start unleashing his offense on Matt - great moment w/ Ibushi kicking the crap out of Matt's back, which lead to Omega coming in & stopping him. This match was honestly full of these great moments; all 4 showed perfect amount of emotion, the match had perfect amount of drama & the holy shit spots were indeed just that. Matt forcing Kenny to do the One Winged Angel on him is one of my favorite single match moments ever. I thought nothing would top Almas vs. Gargano & WALTER vs. Thatcher, but here we are. These 4 did it. What a rollercoaster. I don't even know. There are only few matches that I've thought after (Danielson/KENTA, Danielson/McGuinness, Okada/Shibata) "that was the best match I've ever seen", and honestly, right now, this one is up there with them. *****

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It never ocurred to me while watching that other people might think they were experiencing an all-time match. I wasn't even sure it was a good match 25 minutes in.

 

In the end, it was bloated, hammy but effective.

 

Bad things first: I will never respond to the lack of tag structure and elaborately choreographed spots that are these guys' bread and butter. They don't build tension through the body of the match because there's very apparently nothing at stake in terms of ring positioning or moment-to-moment struggle. They just toss out a death-defying spot every few minutes and then reset.

 

The match was at least 10 minutes too long, maybe 15. If you had tuned out the entire middle, I'm not sure you'd have missed anything important.

 

Now the good: They certainly hit their overarching marks with the twin focus on Matt Jackson's back and the melodrama between the Bucks and Omega. Sure, some of Omegas's facial acting was cringey, as was the moment where Matt told him to go through with the One-Winged Angel. But the crowd was with them on that shit. It was like a Wrestlemania match in that sense. That last nearfall, with Nick bursting in for the save, really worked because it played on the key storypoints.

 

I also thought Ibushi did an excellent job as the fourth guy who wasn't involved in the central drama and needed to keep his partner on point.

 

And I give them all credit for taking a big swing at their moment.

 

This was not a match wrestled to my taste. But it clearly was a match wrestled to the taste of those in the audience and diehard fans of the product.

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The in ring was great, but the storytelling and character work was excellent. From omega not wanting to go overboard on the bucks to him stopping Ibushi from going after Matt's back to Matt forcing Kenny to give him a One Wing Angel. This match had everything and these four killed it.

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I loved the two Golden Lovers matches in New Japan a month or so ago but this one, not so much. I was really tired while watching it, to the point where it might warrant a re-match, but this was waaaay too long and even as a spotfest I didn't find it that impressive for any extended period of time. A couple impressive spots. Overall entertaining, but not close to great.

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It had enough chaos and out of nowhere spots to feel like a Young Bucks match. Loved the crowd eating up the near-falls, and above everything, it felt like we were watching something special. Can't really tell if it's ***1/2 or ****1/2, but when it comes to the YBs, it doesn't matter. Omega looked fantastic, what a way to close a very long show.

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The zeitgeist. Whether one like it or not is pretty irrelevant. To me it was certainly too long and excessive, but maybe if I had followed the whole saga, I would have enjoyed it more. Still, too much spots looking like death that served as transitions to me, but I'm from the 90's. Probably a great match, when all is said and done. Maybe not. Not sure. Kenny Omega is a star though, that's for sure.

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I like longer matches but this had ot much Bloat and was to hammy Shows Gedos stance on wrestling more than anything the was Not a New Japan match at hart this was a match right out of PWG with few elements of KIngs road style that new japan uses today **3/4

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For every cool spot this match has, there was about 5 average ones that didn't add much to the match. It just felt like they threw everything out and hoped that something would stick. This all leads to a very bloated match that felt like a chore to sit through.

 

I'm always a sucker for a good table spot and this match had two great ones.

 

Kenny Omega hesitating to hit the One WInged Angel one of the Bucks made little sense when he's spent the last half hour kneeing them into the next dimension.

 

I found the post-match stuff and the general Bullet Club/The Elite program rather enticing, it's just a shame the match doesn't hold up to the storyline.

 

★★¾

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Ok, they're called the Golden Lovers, they have a move called Cross Streams (or something) and JR was talking about "young lovers thinking of golden showers". Don't tell me this isn't a piss fetish gimmick.

 

Late to the party on this one. It was fun. Lots of huge spots, but overall too many. The match was double the length it should have been really, which meant I probably forgotten more high spots than I remembered by the time it got to the closing stretches. They never stopped moving but there were still times where I found myself looking at the clock. I had high spot fatigue.

 

Some of the sequences themselves were incredible, but there were also a fair few of those dance-y combinations that I kinda hate. Maybe some of the stuff would've come off less contrived if I was more familiar with the Bucks usual spots I guess. They would also go from selling death to go-go-go and back to selling death again a few times, which was annoying.

 

I will say that it was super cool how over they all were and how these guys have managed to make themselves stars, even if their style isn't really for me. I'm not really sure how 'new' a lot of it is though. Seems like Omega, Matt and Nick grew up loving later day Shawn Michaels. Some of the hammy acting would've been buried online a lot more if it was done by, say, Shawn or John Cena.

 

The story of Omega not wanting to hit the One Winged Angel was pretty ridiculous given that Matt had already been suplexed off the top onto his head and kneed in the face multiple times, but I guess that's the problem of finishers in wrestling more generally. I kinda hated that bit where Matt offered his arm so he would hit the move though.

 

There were lots of cool spots with incredible athleticism and smart choreography - German suplex on the apron, tornado DDT on the floor, elbow off the top through the table, a million flips and dives - but a lot of them ended up not really meaning anything nor being sold all that much. Again, people buried John Cena for not selling a DDT on the floor but these guys blew off way more. I can see why Dave loved this though.

 

Some people were claiming that this was the best tag team match ever but give me a high end traditionally structured tag or that Usos vs New Day cell match any day.

 

***3/4 because of the sheer amount they did.

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I enjoyed this a lot actually. Sure it was hammy and they really cheesed up the relationship between Matt and Omega, but I thought on the whole it was a lot of fun. Some of the action and the spots were really strong. It was very Young Buck-y in the chaotic way they moved through everything, but Omega and Ibushi take and deliver just about everything like it is death. Everything is paced out nicely (for the story) and while some of that I wish was more subtle, I more blamed the commentary for laying it on too thick.

 

Ultimately, this isn't an elite level match to me because some of the over the top drama stuff doesn't connect with me like it does some, but I think what they did they did really well.

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I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit. Perhaps it's because I disliked the Elite schtick...It was good to see this dream match happen. It's something to have Omega & Ibushi back together after helping usher in the new era of NJPW those years ago.

 

The match was indulgent but, I thought told a very good story. I'm OK with how they told it as well. It's not Jumbo vs Tenryu so, if they're gonna do all kinds of moves then let them do it. I guess it was about being the "best" tag team at the style that they wrestle. I suppose it was more of a competition than a grudge match. Maybe that's too much rationalizing :)

 

Perhaps I've grown accustomed to the Bucks but, I did not see anything overly excessive or redundant. I think they could have made this 25 instead of 45 but, they never truly repeated themselves. The mini story of Matt's back injury was really well worked as well.

 

It was a lot of fun and I bet it was a hoot live. I can't really rate it but, I'm glad I spent the time watching it. The big Omega matches are always worth checking out.

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Originally wrote this for the GWE project:

 

Given the over-indulgent tendencies of Kenny and the Bucks and the fact that this match went nearly 40 minutes, this could have been a misfire. Was it perfect? No. Did it get really schmaltzy and melodramatic at the end? You bet. But this was one of the most ambitious matches I've seen in the best possible way. As long and as over-dramatic as it was, the match never came off as a forced, self-conscious epic. It all felt natural and the spots really made sense where they happened. That's pretty dang impressive for this kind of match where 3 of the 4 competitors are known for being excessive. The selling by Nick Jackson was great, the offense was spectacular, the tension and conflicting emotions were prevalent throughout, and the finishing stretch was fantastic outside of the cheese.

 

Really strong contender for MOTY in a first quarter that has already produced several strong contenders.

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The ultimate test for matches of this kind is do they hold up on a re-watch, and while I didn't find it nearly as amazing as I did when I watched it the day after it happened, it's still absolutely amazing, and the storytelling, having followed the whole BTE drama, is simply fantastic. ****1/2

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