Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Japan Pro Wrestling 1/4/2018 - Wrestle Kingdom 12

New Japan Pro Wrestling 1/4/2018 - Wrestle Kingdom 12

I'll be doing selected matches here.

Jay White vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
I liked the technical wrestling and selling of the leg early on. I was sure this was what the match was going to be built around. They sold it for a little after they did it then they just stopped and forgot about it in classic Tanahashi fashion. Tana started doing multiple high fly flow's and didn't even once grab his knee or sell it and by the end of the match, it was liked it never happened. The match then went to the typical Japanese finisher stretch where both people try for big moves until Tanahashi hit his and got the win.

This was Jay White's chance to really make his name and I can't say he did here. Whatever the Switchblade character was supposed to be didn't come out here and first impressions are so important. Yes, he yelled at Tanahashi about being the ace and all, which I really did like that they caught, but I don't see where you really go from that here. On the in-ring end, he's fine, but personality/character/charisma > in-ring work. At the present, he's going to be a midcard guy hanging around with Iizuka and I don't think that was the original plan.

The match wasn't anything special, though they got the pace right. Can't really recommend going out of your way to see it.

Kenny Omega vs Chris Jericho
My dislike for Kenny Omega has been well documented multiple times. I haven't been a real big fan of Jericho since 1997, and I was a big fan then. During the mid-2000's, I used to be able to predict Jericho's every move due to how formulaic his matches were, even though they were good.

Kenny Omega came out wearing an Egyptian god costume here with a huge gun.

This was a good match. They started out quick with Omega jumping off the top through a table on the outside, nailing an announcer. Then Jericho got out of the way. He beat up the ref and his son and bashed Kenny off of a table and later a chair multiple times. Kenny got cold spray, blinding Jericho, while still in the Walls of Jericho, which they didn't sell that great. Tons more chair play here. Omega caught Jericho going on top with a V-Trigger, but Jericho held on, instead of falling through the table below. I didn't like this part as I didn't even know the table was there, so had Jericho just fallen it not only would have been a cool spot, but it would have been a surprising spot as well. Kenny mostly took control from there on out with Jericho grabbing onto the ropes to get out of a one-winged angel. They then went to the finishing stretch with Jericho going for a lionsault and Omega catching him with a one-winged angel on the chair for a cool finish.

Jericho carried this here. He got Kenny to work slower. He sold, he brought character to the match and really did try to take it to the next level. He was the glue to this match and was great the whole way through. Kenny was Kenny as usual. He did sell more to his credit, but he had his usual goofs. After going through a table and getting hit with chairs plus everything else, Kenny still sprinted through every move he did like Usain Bolt, totally killing any confusion of fatigue. Kenny also did a total moronic thing here. He was bloody at one point, making for a really cool look with his wild caveman like hair and blood going down his face. What does he do? He grabs some water, which washes the blood away and minutes later, his face looks as clean as day, killing a really cool visual.

The Tokyo Dome crowd wasn't the best stage for this match. It would have had a lot better in Budokan or Sumo Hall. Brawls and that like aren't getting as over here because people further back can't see it up close. And in the end, Japanese people react louder to Japanese vs Japanese than foreigner vs foreigner.

I did like the finish and I was into the match the whole way through. Jericho gave Kenny a wrestling lesson that I doubt Kenny will remember. Jericho brought everything to the match, while Kenny brought very little and had this match been with someone like a Suzuki or a Nagata who has the basics down, this would have been legendary. Nagata or Suzuki would have been so fired up and had that crowd so hard behind them had they been in it. Maybe next year? Probably the best match of Kenny's career and probably a top 5 solo performance of Jericho's career, though his WM19 match is always going to be his best match.

I truly feel vindicated after this match. I argued and fought with people all year who said Kenny Omega was the greatest wrestler and his series with Okada was better than any other match in the history of wrestling. The supposed GOAT laid an egg in the biggest match of his career with one of the best workers of this generation. This is the next Ric Flair? Really? This is the end to my wrestling hell where Kenny Omega is the greatest worker ever and I'm glad that people are finally going to see how limited Kenny really is. The love for this dude made me absolutely hate pro wrestling and I'm glad it's over.

Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito
Okada is wearing full tights here instead of trunks. I always like "big match" costumes, moves and entraces to make it seem more important. Crowd is into this from the start. Okada hard bleached his hair blonde here and looks older than usual.

The announcers talked about this match being predicted to be 5 and 6 stars here "by the oddsmakers", quoting Dave Meltzer and I wanted to vomit. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUCKING REAL YOU MORONS.

Didn't like this match at all. Naito worked Okada's neck early, Rude Awakening it against a barrier but they quickly gave it up and just went into a MOVEZ bonanza. They did every move in their arsenal in the first 30 minutes, not stopping much at all, then quickly started selling fatigue before going into the finishing stretch. Not a smart match by any means and I was done with this within 10 minutes.