If you are a fan of professional wrestling, chances are you know where this blog is going. In one of the most anticipated rematches in wrestling history, Kenny Omega once again challenged Kazuchika Okada last night for Okada’s IWGP heavyweight championship at the New Japan Pro Wrestling event Dominion.
Their first bout at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in January was one for the ages; a 47-minute war won by the champion Okada. We were only four days into the new year, but we were all pretty sure we had seen the match of the year.
That was, until the rematch happened.
Not only was last night’s rematch an instant classic, but Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada put on the greatest match in the history of professional wrestling.
No, I did not stutter.
Technical wrestling? Check. Hard-hitting wrestling? Check. High spots? Check. Storytelling? Check, check, check, and check. If you were to script out the perfect wrestling match (yes, I know they technically do that already), it would’ve been last night’s Omega vs. Okada match.
It had everything a wrestling fan would want and then some. Omega attacking Okada’s knee throughout the early stages. The resilient champion fighting through it, though, and getting back in the match.
The multiple teased spots of someone going through the table, bringing back memories of their first match in Tokyo.
Okada then hitting two rainmakers, leaving Omega limp. The Bullet Club coming out and almost throwing in the towel on Omega’s behalf, before the leader of the club rallied, culminating with him finally hitting Okada with his signature One-Winged Angel finisher.
But Okada gets his foot on the rope. And the match continued.
Then, chaos ensued for another 15 minutes before, once again, Okada hits Omega with the rainmaker, his fifth of the match. Both guys are completely gassed, though, and time runs out before Okada can get to the cover.
Yup, the greatest wrestling match of all time ended in a 60-minute time limit draw. Nobody won last night. And yet, you loved every…damn…second of it.
It has been a popular belief in the wrestling community that the greatest match of all time is between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25, and rightfully so. The match is a work of art, aided by it being on the biggest stage pro wrestling has to offer.
But if Undertaker and Michaels were playing checkers, Omega and Okada were playing chess.
Having to top their first encounter was already going to be tough. These guys somehow did that, though. Every spot in the last 30 minutes of the match felt important. The physicality of the match was second to none. You felt every punch and kick watching at home. There were multiple moments that left you saying “WHAT DID I JUST WATCH!?!?!” My jaw hit the ground a few times watching this spectacle play out in Osaka last night.
Whenever someone asks me why I love wrestling so much, I usually show them some of the all-time great matches. Undertaker-Michaels from WrestleMania 25, CM Punk vs. John Cena from Money in the Bank 2011, etc. Now, I add another match to the list: Omega vs. Okada at Dominion 2017 for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Bravo, gentlemen. Bravo.