By Travis Welch
I didn’t believe I was reading it right the first time I googled it, but there it was…
Unfortunately my regular job is an 11pm to 7:30 am grind, so the night of Wrestle Kingdom 11, I was on complete media blackout until I got home and could watch it, but that nagging curiosity was still there, so I had to at least see what wrestling guru Dave Meltzer gave the match, just to know if my expectations needed to be dampened a bit. Using all of my google-fu I stumbled across a non spoiler post with the now infamous 6 star rating.
I view Wrestle Kingdom as the Wrestlemania for smarks, where the emphasis is put back on the in ring product and not the “entertainment” aspect that the WWE pushes so hard. Stories are told in the ring, fighters are emotional messes after the bell rings, crowds are left with their jaws on the floors, this is Puroresu at its finest. Wrestle kingdom 11 didn’t disappoint, especially in the final 4 matches of the card. It might be unpopular but I still feel Naito/Tanahashi had the best match of the night, but that’s for another time. So I sit through the entire WK11 card, being drained from the stunts in the Kushida/Takahashi, then the insanely stiff and brutal Goto/Shibata NEVER openweight title match, which finally saw Goto get that elusive big time victory, and then Naito/Tanahashi putting on an old school clinic, selling body parts and injuries, shocking most with the legend and Ace of NJPW putting over the immensely popular heel, Naito.
So 6 stars, huh? We’ll see. I was going into this already a little disappointed because, in my smark brain, Omega is walking out of this with the IWGP title to help with the brands global expansion, and as much as I love Kenny, I think Okada is the best pound for pound talent in the world (and also my favorite wrestler). The beginning was slow, a tell that the match is going long, good. Too many matches try to make it a 20min spotfest, this is the main event for the second biggest ppv on the wrestling calendar. After 40+mins of back and forth, insane bumps, high risk offense, it finally happens….
But not one, FOUR rainmakers is what it takes to keep Omega down. That is unprecedented, the rainmaker is the most protected move in wrestling besides HHH delivering a pedigree, it just finishes matches. Period. I cant believe it, Okada retains, Omega is helped out by the bucks(also never hittitng the One Winged Angel, protecting his finisher, take notes WWE). Confetti reigns down. I’m in such disbelief at what I just saw, a match for the ages with an endiing even the smarkiest of marks didn’t predict. Okada looks like a king, Omega looks like the future. Then all the reports of Omegas contract coming up is released, not to mention the infamous tweets. So one of two things are happening right now, hes either leveraging Vince for more money and some creative control (he is the hottest name in wrestling right now), or he’s planning a return to NJPW as a babyface, maybe even leaving the bullet club to do so.
That’s where I have to voice an unpopular opinion on the matter, Kenny Omega SHOULD NOT SIGN WITH THE WWE! He is a worldwide star right now, casual and hardcore fans alike not only know who he is, but are actively seeking his matches out, NJPW World buy rates have increased, he still gets the freedom to book and work indy dates while working with NJPW, and he can set his own price. He is already the first Gaijin G1 climax winner, why not make it 2 in a row? Go on to face Okada at WK12 in what will be one of the biggest rematches in the past 20 years and make history again. I fully get the appeal of the big time, stepping into a WWE ring is a bucket list moment for any wrestler, and I’m sure at first he’ll be treated like a king, but lets look at current WWE booking.
AJ Styles had very questionable booking at first, losing to Jericho at his first Mania, but since then has had an mvp year, despite the garbage booking during the Ellsworth fued. Regrettably it appears he is about to drop to the midcard for Wrestlemania season so we can get big match John his unnecessary 16th title reign. Kevin Owens is the most poorly booked champion I can recall in a long time, Roman is coming for his belt at the Rumble. Big guys like Strowman and Corbin are getting pushes, Lesnar and Goldberg are gonna headline WM this year. Taker is back for no apparent reason….Any of this sound familiar? This is classic old school Vince booking, he ruined 205live by not letting HHH book it, and now it appears he has given up on the “new era” and is resorting to old tricks, “book ‘em big, keep ‘em strong”.
Is that what Kenny Omega wants to walk into right now? He is considerably smaller than AJ, Zayn, Owens, just barely beating out Balor. As much heat as he brings with him I don’t think the WWE and Vince will book him properly or as a big enough deal right now for a guy who can make the claim that he is the most talked about guy in the business, good or bad, right now. That’s why I hope, beg, plead, that Kenny signs at least one more contract with NJPW, wins the IWGP heavyweight title, becoming only the 7th gaijin to do it, helps expand the brand globally, THEN goes to the WWE with all the clout in the world to guarantee a successful and memorable run with the company. Guess we’ll have to wait and see…