Joined: 01 Aug 2006
|Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:16 am Post subject: Omega vs. Okada and Omega vs. Jericho
|I haven't watched much modern day wrestling in the past few years outside of the occasional WWE or Impact when there's nothing on. I watched some PWG and enjoyed it, but it is a bit repetitive in terms of the matches.
But, I decided to watch Kenny Omega vs. Sakakuchi Okada as Meltzer went nuts and gave it 6-1/4 stars. Later I watched Omega v. Jericho as the match was so well hyped by Jericho and New Japan.
I'm not overly familiar with Omega. I know Cornette ripped him to shreds for wrestling a blowup doll and an 8-year old girl. I don't blame Cornette and Omega has to live with the fact that he'll always be known for doing something stupid like that. My disagreement with Cornette is that the industry has been filled with people doing silly stuff to expose their own work and by proxy the business that Omega is the byproduct of what the business has become instead of being one of the culprits.
This match will get labeled as a spotfest by its critics. And it was, but I did not look at that as a bad thing. Outside of an opening sequence, the psychology was that they were going after each other right away and that Omega was trying to get the victory before the 30 minute time limit expired and Okada could have wrestled a match to let that 30 minute time limit expire but as a fighting champion he went toe-to-toe with the challenger.
The big thing was that the spots were mostly very plausible. Not only in the context of a match where you could believe the wrestler using the move, but they didn't start out with these ultra-devastating spots that should have ended the match. A lot of it started out with spots like springboard moves to strike the other wrestler with more force. It was not like they were doing top rope powerbombs in the first five minutes of the match.
They did rely on quite a few false finishes and that is where a lot of the modern wrestling falls short with me. There's a spot that modern wrestlers, particularly Omega, love to do where they kick out on a 2-7/8 count but they kick out so violently after just getting destroyed by the other wrestler. I blame Shawn Michaels for this as he was a frequent perpetrator of this move. It looks great once, but to do it repeatedly and then to have no fire afterward is just not believable.
It also ended on a huge finishing move and while that's not wrong in itself...I see too much of it in modern pro wrestling. When I think of all time great matches, I think of many of them that did not have that enormous finish like Davey Boy Smith vs. Bret Hart at Summerslam that ended on Hart trying to pin DBS with a crucifx and DBS catching him for a pinning combination. Or Tsuruta vs. Misawa 6/8/90 where Misawa stunned everybody by reversing a simple pin cover by Tsuruta.
But other than those complaints, it was an incredible match.
Meltzer's rating created a lot of discussion and then the debate of how to rate and how to define a 5 star match. I won't go too much into details, but I do not think a 5 star rating constitutes a 'perfect match.' The main thing I look for is how much into the action I was and how memorable that match was for me and likely others. It's been almost 25 years since Misawa vs. Kawada 6/3/94 and I still reemember the exact date. It's been almost 28 years since Tsuruta vs. Misawa 6/8/90 and I still remember the exact date.
This is a match I will greatly remember and I would not argue against it being a 5 star match. But, it's not the greatest match I've ever seen. I think this match is more along the lines of Mysterio vs. Guerrero at Halloween Havoc which was also quite the spotfest, but with great psychology and an incredible ebb and flow to the match while executing incredible spot after spot seamlessly.
Omega vs. Okada probably had more incredible spots than Guerrero vs. Mysterio. But I enjoyed the build of spots, the selling and the heel work of Eddy vs. Rey. I enjoyed the stiffer work and the big match atmosphere of Omega vs. Okada more. In the end, both matches really showed what great main event pro wrestling could be and how they could differentiate pro wrestling from MMA and actually gain fans from MMA instead of losing fans to MMA.
So, I think Omega vs. Okada isn't really better than Rey vs. Eddie at HH. But, I don't see how anybody can see it being better than Misawa v. Kawada 6/3/94. I was an enormous fan of puroresu, but Dave does get a bit loopy with rating matches from Japan or with Japanese wrestlers. I enjoyed Kobashi vs. Samoa Joe at RoH, but it's not a 5 star match. It was a 6 star crowd and a fun match that jived with the crowd.
After watching Okada vs. Omega my main reason for being intrigued by Omega vs. Jericho was the build and hype surrounding it. But, my trepidation was the feeling that Jericho could not hang with Omega athletically or from a move versus move perspective. The springboard triangle dropkick and the Lionsault really do not match up with the impressive arsenal of moves that Omega has.
And the early part of the match reflected that. But as the match went along Jericho showed more of the ability to hang with Omega. They also used the old trick of using chairs and tables to cover up for the discrepancy in athleticism and styles of wrestling.
Omega got color and some of the chair shots were on the head and with today's wrestling fan and the CTE scare I think that would turn the US audience off. The Japanese audience doesn't seem to give a shit about CTE.
But, this match still had those 2-7/8 violent kick outs that were over-done and are not believable. It also finished on a series of spots that led to the big finisher. Again, nothing wrong with that in itself...but Omega may want to start creating finishes where he does not use his finisher to make his matches a little more unpredictable at the end.
I don't follow promotions anymore, but I like a lot of what NJPW is doing and I think at this point in time the WWE may have some legitimate competition in the business.
NJPW is showing how a corporation can have great wrestling and make a profit. There's never been a corporation to do that in pro wrestling other than the WWE. And when the WWE went public, the quality of the product went down and their financials are not looking that great. The WWE kinda reminds me of McDonalds in the sense that it may be too big at this point to ever fail, but it has to rely on the occasional gimmick like serving breakfast all day to have some financially sucessful years and to be a company worth investing in.
Meanwhile, I cannot see any reason why Omega or any successful wrestler in NJPW would want to come to the WWE other than the potential income is greater in the WWE. But the WWE is so bad at this point and the top guys are so firmly positioned at the top that in all likelihood if you're successful in NJPW the WWE is likely to kill you off and it may become a net loss for the wrestler.
NJPW is clearly the cooler promotion at this point and unlike former 'cool' promotions like ECW...NJPW has the finances and history that it is here to stay and if anything, grow.
I also wanted to say that the announcer team of Kevin Kelly, Don Callous and the other guy (can't remember his name) was very good. I was never that nutty about Kelly as an announcer, but he was quite good here and Callous and the other guy were excellent. Matt Stryker doesn't do it for me as an announcer and it was much better without him.