Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito
August 13, 2016
Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan
NJPW G1 Climax 26 – Day 18
This gets my vote for match of the year so far.
I don’t know where to start, but perhaps the best analogy is to compare Kenny Omega to Shawn Michaels in 1994, and that this was his WrestleMania X ladder match with Razor Ramon, with a few differences: 1) It’s 22 years later and the moves were far more spectacular, 2) Tetsuya Naito is almost as good as Omega, whereas Razor Ramon was just another guy in the ring with Michaels, 3) There was no ladder.
Seriously, Omega put in a career performance and all but guaranteed his position as the best performer in the world. And Naito was just a hair below him. The execution displayed here was off the charts and at a level far above any other match on this list so far in 2016. Both of them were out of this world and this match was perfect in everything it set out to accomplish.
Omega bounced around like a rubber ball, and delivered a couple “holy shit” moments with his powerbomb through the table, his out of the ring flip off the top rope onto Naito in the crowds (landing on a bunch of chairs), and a dragon suplex on the apron that looked horrifyingly brutal. And there was more. Naito looked like he had been through Hell, and these guys definitely shortened their careers tonight as much as they had made their careers tonight.
Naito could’ve gone to the finals with a draw, so they teased going 30 minutes and it added to the drama of the match. It ended up going 28 minutes, which was really clever booking.
Truly amazing spectacle from start to finish, two of the best in the world, and two of my favorites turning in the kind of performance that makes careers. Omega became a force to be reckoned with and made people forget all about AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura for 30 minutes. The two received a round of applause after the match, and you will be too when you watch this at home.