New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Climax Tournament this year produced several match of year candidates. We saw why this company is hailed in many circles as the best wrestling promotion on the planet, especially during the quarter and semi finals. One match in particular garnered much attention. The Block B finals between long time rivals, Bullet Club leader Kenny Omega and Chaos member & IWGP world champion Kazuchika Okada. The match was an excellent showcase of Okada and Omega’s talent and in-ring chemistry. It also may have given us too much of a good thing.
That may sound ridiculous at first, but when looking back over the past year, it starts to make sense. The first match this year between Okada & Omega nearly tore the roof off of the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom in January. This was such a good bout that Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter gave it a six star rating. This surpassed his usual five star perfect matches. The match couldn’t be topped according to many insiders. However, their rematch at NJPW Dominion proved to be an encounter of epic proportions. Meltzer gave that match six and a half stars. Okada retained the championship in those two matches.
Their third match this year, at the G1 Tournament was unlike their prior matches. There was no slow build up to tell this story. Both men came out of the gates fast and furiously. Neither showed any sign of performance issues due to the prior near three weeks of action from the tournament. Okada sold his injured neck like no one’s business. He showed why he’s the top champion in pro wrestling today. Omega is poised to become the face of professional wrestling. He showed why he’s likely a future world champion. The big problem however, is that in giving the fans so many great encounters this soon, it’s spoiling future ones.
Okada and Omega have already had three five+ star matches this year. At this rate, they’ll likely have two more before Wrestle Kingdom next January. If they’re slated to compete for the IWGP world championship again, that means there will have been five match of the year contenders. And if they continue the feud after a likely title change, it will force them to have to keep upping the ante. I know that NJPW treats it more like a real sport, where sometimes you just may get top rivals that face each other several times throughout the year. But this is where I ask them to pull back from pro wrestling. They need to place their sports entertainment hat on for just a moment, for the sake of both men’s careers.
Both men are two of my favorite wrestlers and two of the best in the world today. Gedo and TPTB within New Japan need to cut back on the number of encounters between the two. A healthy Okada and Omega, who aren’t trying to kill each other over the course of a dozen matches throughout the year, is a good thing. A fanbase that isn’t burned out from the feud or having ridiculously high expectations, forcing the men to take it to a next risk taking level, is also a good thing.
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