People criticising the opening sequence are missing the context of it being wrestling's two hottest high-flyers trying to one-up the other in showmanship. They were ego-driven the entire match. A lot of wrestling starts with flashy yet perfunctory work, this was just an extension of that feeling out process. I also think it's disingenuous to state the match as lacking a drive to win, when the rest of the match was exactly that. I'm not a fan of Ospreay's performance, if but wowed by his athleticism, but Ricochet let a lot of his spots breathe. Fair enough, it got cutesy, but they placed those spots toward the end where bomb-throwing finishing stretches usually lie. I'm not a fan of NJPW's house style for that very reason, and I think that's a problem endemic to a lot more styles than just the cruiserweight one. It seems rather disingenuous to deride these two, and not look at the bigger fault in wrestling, today.
I don't think I'm going to have the energy nor time to unpack that last sentence in comparison to other "generations", but I do agree with the basic principle that wrestling is evolving to bigger and bigger spots at the detriment to its quality. I'd argue, though, that such flaws are, in part, down to the business rapidly expanding and technology offering the ability for any old Tom, Dick & Harry to "become" a "wrestler". These guys existed in the 80s, it's just that to get recognition they had to be in bigger feds with exposure and to do so had to have talent. It stands to reason that wrestling will evolve to gymnastic acts when more and more wrestlers are using spots to get over rather than figuring out how to properly structure a match. Spots don't last, in a vacuum, and continual need to one-up your last hoorah is needed.
While true to bigger feds, and I'd assume most would point to the rapidly changing WWE style, I'd still wager its production in part of a generational/societal move toward being more attention-deficit/hyperactive in our consumption habits rather than a sheer drop in actual talent. There's a "discussion" on post-modernity within wrestling over on Voices of Wrestling, if that narrative is your thing, it isn't mine and I'll cease my conjectures here, thus. I'm merely here to offer reasoning for my praise of the aforementioned match.
I think comparing this match to my enjoy (or lack thereof) for Joshi may be an unfair one, but I'll get my comparison point out of the way, first. Ospreay/Ricochet was more entertaining, and better structured, than the vast majority of Joshi that I've seen. There's a weird dichotomy on other sites where the match is being derided yet praise is continually being bestowed upon Akira Hokuto (who I've found to be one of the more egregious workers within the style). I'm not sure I understand the difference between the two, beyond a bias toward a certain style and, perhaps, a lenience given to certain styles that expect different "wrestling rules/physics". The former is probably most true, and not all styles are created equal. I've touched on finishing stretches being fast-paced, and bomb-throwing AJPW is indicative of that, as is current day NJPW (for a quality comparison), but the problem in the instance of a high-flying match is that to setup the next spot, the breathing room between spots is mitigated beyond, perhaps, what it should be. There are guys who can work the style exceptionally (Rey), but I think it requires a helluva talent to master successfully. Ricochet does a good job, but there's a plateau.
I won't argue that this is a must-see spectacle, ready to grace many match of the year lists, but, for the style, it's a very good, if albeit pop-sugar, match. It's certainly better than quite a number of the juniour matches off of the Best of 2000s Puro poll. Perhaps that's due to the other not aging as well, but time will only tell here. I'm not hazarding this as timeless, it's not exceptional enough, but it feels more complete than the average Dragon Gate spotfest where the structure feels disjointed due to the my-turn/your-turn style they run. Sure, this match had a nefarious no-sell or three, but its parts slotted into the whole and the selling existed where need-be. I'd cheekily say that Ospreay made the obnoxious dueling forearms spot look better than Ishii, Zayn or Nakamura have this year, by simply latching onto Richochet's arm bands and using them to desperately stay afloat amidst the barrage. It was a sweet little moment, in a sequence I otherwise loathe.
I think it was interesting to see Regal defend this match, though I think the implication are obvious (WWE are courting the two), but I think that opens up a possible avenue for Will. I've never been sold on him, and he's still very cartoonishly outlandish here, but the kid has athleticism for days and no doubt would be a fabulous star to mold in the performance centre. He's certainly a better acrobat than Evan Bourne who, lest we forget, was dogging it on RoH shows in 2005/2006 only to "get it" and look like an absolute star a half decade later. Regal/Bourne from a Romania is still one of my favourite WWE house shows, and testament to what development can do to a talent.
All praise aside, lunatic spots and actual psychology (learned psychology of matches evolving as the series progresses) is all to be found in the Dragon Lee vs Kamaitachi feud. It's a pity that their work was quickly latched on to around the FantasticaMania show only to be forgotten so quickly. Ironically, I'd hazard it being due to Ospreay making a name for himself, but no matter. I'll wave the lucha flag all by lonesome, once more.