Re: The 2019 MOTYC Thread
Wrestle Kingdom 13 was in my eyes about on par overall with last year's show. I really thought the show was great, although the biggest issue I noticed was that it felt rushed at times, and a bunch of matches could have used more time. Seems like that will be taken care of next year though.
NO to Gauntlet Match for #1 Contender for 6 Man Tag Titles - **3/4
YES to Will Ospreay vs Kota Ibushi
One of the better PPV openers I’ve seen in a long time. This was an ultra athletic, explosive match full of amazing sequences and spots, and even some nice callbacks (the spot where Ospreay countered Ibushi’s middle rope german was tremendous, calling back to the tag match on that road to show). Loved some of the hard strikes they gave one each other, especially the nod to Nakamura when Ibushi just leveled Ospreay with a boma ye. They were even throughout the match, and it was interesting to watch Ibushi face somebody who held him in high regard almost as a role model, given how not too long ago he faced Tanahashi at the G1 as the student versus mentor.
Hopefully Ibushi is alright though, I heard he got a concussion, and it felt like it was that spot where he accidently hit his chin on the ringpost. Either that or the elbow, but I doubt that would be it.
NO to Roppongi 3K (SHO and YOH) vs LIJ (BUSHI and Shingo Takagi) vs El Desperado Yoshinobu Kanemaru
This obviously was hurt thanks to the lack of time, but it was still a wild fun sprint regardless. Loved the interactions that SHO and Shingo had, crowd obviously did too given their reaction, and I hope both of them get a chance to get a singles match at the BOTSJ this year.
YES to Tomohiro Ishii vs Zack Sabre Jr.
Literally, these two are incapable of having a bad match. Sabre controlled most of this bout, going after Ishii’s right arm like a hawk, which prevented Ishii from being on top of his game given that’s his main arm for striking. Ishii sold tremendously as always, but in true Ishii fashion, he still came back, fighting through the pain to hit some of his bigger moves. This felt similar to their match in the US title tournament given the length, but was just as great, and their chemistry is nothing sort of outstanding. Shame my stone pitbull didn’t win though.
NO to The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson) vs LIJ (EVIL and SANADA) vs Guerillas of Destiny (Tame Tonga and Tanga Loa)
This followed the other tag match in a similar style, starting as a normal match before devolving into a completely chaotic spotfest. It was fun and all, but almost confusing at points with just ten thousand things happening all at once. I did love SANADA getting a great hot tag and time to shine, I hope they give him a ton this year, fans clearly responded to him the most in this match.
NO to Cody vs Juice Robinson
I didn’t care for this much at all, it felt disjointed at times, and they didn’t really click. It almost felt like the match was mostly finisher attempts and Brandi getting in the way. Also, why have Cody win it at all if he’s just gonna drop it that quickly, seems kinda pointless when you could have just kept it on him the entire time. At least he looked as charismatic as ever here and looked good during the match, but Cody was just shit.
NO to Taiji Ishimori vs KUSHIDA
This felt like the Ibushi/Ospreay opener in style, although less explosive and oddly muted compared to the Jr. HW title matches from the last few years. This honestly was a good match, both guys athletically were really impressive, and there were some nice spots and sections of the match, but this also felt like a disappointment given the kind of match I think these two could have, given the quality of matches they’ve had with so many. Ishimori winning is nice though, we’ll see how he does with the title.
YES to Jay White vs Kazuchika Okada
I really liked the story they told here. We got Okada coming out as the original rainmaker again, wearing his signature trunks, and actually looking brighter and more like the Okada of old than he has since he lost the title. Given the grief White and Gedo gave him for months now, this story felt like the redemption and revenge of Okada where he finally starts working his way back to the title.
The match itself was very good also. White was cocky, yet smart, aided by Gedo in clever interference tactics, while Okada relied on his tricks of old, with the fans eating it up. It was paced really well, building and building till the last few minutes full of great counters and then White won almost out of nowhere, which shocked the hell out of me. He got a ton of heat throughout, and even more with that finish, and now has a clean win over Rainmaker Okada, so this push is very real and incredibly large. I’m curious where both of them go from here.
Still, this was one of the weakest big time Okada matches I can remember in forever.
YES to Tetsuya Naito vs Chris Jericho
Right off the bat, Naito was actually NOT tranquillo for once in a big match. Instead, he was angry and pissed off, attacking Jericho even before the bell, leading to a brawl which Jericho dominated for awhile, including a sick DDT on top of a table that stood Naito up like a top. The entire match however felt like Naito learning to work the match Jericho wanted, and getting the revenge on Jericho he desired.
The match itself was just a really fun street fight with a ton of weapons used, and in a way resembled last year’s match Jericho had with Omega, only I think everybody was way more into Naito as the underdog here than Omega, and the match itself was more refined. Jericho is money as this alpha heel character, the crowd loves to hate him, and he was a dick the entire match. The best parts I think were when Naito started playing Jericho’s game, giving Jericho baseball swings with the kendo stick, using chairs to his advantage, or even going full Yano with the turnbuckle. His work targeted Jericho’s neck exclusively, and everything felt more purposeful. The near falls were done really well too, and the crowd was really into the majority of this.
Overall really fun brawl of a match that had Naito looking better than he has in months, and I wonder what he does with the IC Title.
YES to Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kenny Omega
Well, they definitely went for the drama route. They told the story depicted in the promos leading up to this match, as the animosity between them remained given the early slaps to one another. However, it was Omega who controlled a vast majority of the first half of the match, focusing on Tana’s back as he gave a ton of stiff kicks to it. There was a great example of their philosophies when Omega went to setup the table, while Tanahashi completely ignored it initially and just put Omega back in the ring. It would bit Tanahashi in the ass to deviate from that, as the one occasion where he went Omega’s route he crashed and burned hard as he missed a high fly flow through the table.
As the match went on, Omega began to control less and less, as Tanahashi slowly worked in his signature moves, and also began working on Omega’s knee, a critical point that allowed him to make his way back into the match fully. The funny thing is Omega actually almost had a change of heart the longer it went to, refusing to take a count out and rolling Tanahashi back into the ring multiple times.
In the end though, it was a simple, effective story of the veteran in Tanahashi and the newer blood in Omega who thought that Tanahashi simply couldn’t hang anymore. They had a damn war over 30 minutes, and it does bear interest in that the one winged angel wasn’t hit once in the match, similar to the first Okada/Omega bout. Tanahashi though came out on top, completing the story he had told since the beginning of the G1, and the night ends on a highest of notes. A terrific, excellent match all around.