Nearly a year has passed since Kenny Omega took on Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. This was their second time squaring off in the year, having had a match earlier in 2017 at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s biggest show of the year: Wrestle Kingdom 11.
People heralded their first match as one of the greatest of all time.
It was hands down the greatest main event in Wrestle Kingdom history. Bell to bell, a staggering 49 minutes of the hardest hitting and most compelling in-ring drama, nobody expected them to top it. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer even broke his rating scale for it, rating the match 6 out of a possible 5 stars. Every wrestling podcast from The Steve Austin Show, to Talk-Is-Jericho, to the Taz show was talking about how these guys raised the bar with one match. More eyes than ever were on NJPW after WK11, making it one of the most important matches in the companies history.
At Dominion on June 11th, 2017, Omega and Okada put on the greatest in-ring showcase of all time.
Not only did they put on what I believe to be the greatest match of all time, but also my favorite match of all time. They went to war with each other for a full hour. They hit each other harder, pushed themselves further athletically, they told more stories in the ring, pulled off even more potentially dangerous feats. Meltzer rated it an astounding 6.25* out of 5*. Doing everything that was considered impossible, they topped their previous bout.
By the end of it, I was both emotionally and physically exhausted. I can only imagine how it was to be in the crowd. Or hell, either of the 2 in the ring.
Courtesy of New Japan’s YouTube channel, that match is free this week. If you’ve never watched anything from New Japan before, this is where you start. You have no excuse, it’s FREE. It’s an intimidating match at such a long length, I know. But trust me when I say, this is the best it gets.
Okada and Omega are set to have their 4th match this weekend at this year’s Dominion in Osaka. Don’t miss that either.