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Match Review: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega (G1 Climax Final)




Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega

Tetsuya Naito, the founder of Los Ingobernables de Japon took on Bullet Club’s head honcho, Kenny Omega, to determine who would earn a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on January 4th.. Naito is the only wrestler in NJPW to hold the IWGP Heavyweight, Intercontinental, and NEVER Openweight Championships while Omega holds the inaugural IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship and is also a former Intercontinental and NEVER Openweight champion. These two competitors climbed their way to the top of the G1 Climax 27 tournament, the toughest tournament in all of pro wrestling. How will they measure up against one another?  

Naito enters the ring in a suit while Omega sets the stage clad in leather with his usual bravado. The crowd is raucous, barely able to contain the anticipation for the final result of this prestigious tournament. The tension is tangible in the arena.

The mind games begin early with Naito, leading to a frustrated Omega. First strikes are exchanged by Naito and also first to showboat. He works quickly to deflate and take the steam out of Omega.  As ever though, the Cleaner is dangerous in an instant. A moonsault from the outside shifts the fight, and it’s all Omega’s. That is until Naito executes a neck breaker on the edge of the ring and later sends Kenny Omega careening over the guard rail with a suicide dive. Naito proceeds to viciously piledrive Omega into the announce table, a move that would find more of the exposed concrete floor than actual table.  

Omega  finally finds some offense after an inspiring Terminator clap and knife edge chops that just beg for a, “WOO!” His formidable mat work is fully on display as he lays solid submission holds and a healthy dose of advantageous ring awareness. Hard Irish whips to the corner give Kenny Omega the opening for power moves leading to hard hits and a patented fireman carry in the corner.

However, Naito’s speed and high risk offense bring a change to the tides once more.  And yet! The terminator claps roaring through the crowd return once more to bring life back to Omega in a big way, nailing a diving senton to the outside! Omega’s classic head stomps from the top rope leave it looking like Naito is in a bad way. Kenny has begun to run away with this one, and victory is all but inevitable.

Naito’s tornado DDT says otherwise. The thunderous sound it creates is jaw dropping, and this is where a legitimate case can be made that Kenny Omega is in fact a T-1000 powered by Skynet. His power is regenerated… Only to be met by another acrobatic DDT.  The insane near fall sequence that transpires has to actually be seen to be believed. Omega seems to recapture control during a battle on the top turnbuckle, but Naito delivers what can only be described as a super hurricanrana. If that isn’t enough, it’s then done in reverse!

Omega stunningly endures and holds on. His moves, at this point, are born of desperation, yet still effective in slowing Naito’s momentum.  This is proven when he buries Naito with a double underhook piledriver. Omega’s knee attacks are second to none, and he’s teaching his opponent all about them, softening Naito up for a high impact sit out powerbomb. Feeling the match slip away, Tetsuya desperately pulls out yet another reverse hurricanrana followed by a sequence of German Suplexes.  Omega answers with a continued assault from the knees until Naito stops him dead in his tracks with a crushing reverse brainbuster DDT.

Exhausted, the competitors break down to trading blows, barely able to stand, until Naito gets another near fall with a full nelson bomb and back flip DDT. This is still not enough to put away the Terminator, The Cleaner, the indomitable Kenny Omega.  However, one final finisher from Naito leads to a win and a G1 Climax 27 victory.  Kenny Omega has been vanquished.

I did not expect a victory by Tetsuya in this match, in fact, I was hoping against it, but this grueling contest made us all winners. I’m interested to see where this takes Naito in coming contests. Will he be Okada’s next big challenger for the IWGP title?  In the moment, of course, the bad boy Naito was prepared to throw away his well-earned G1 trophy as if it meant nothing to him. The closing ceremonies were glorious, even involving a fist bump with Takahashi’s stuffed cat Daryl and the receiving of some support and respect from his fellow Los Ingobernables de Japon members.

There are many unanswered questions, namely, what is next for Kenny Omega? I look forward to discovering the answers.

via  @WrestlingJoey

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