Michael Elgin vs Kenny Omega
June 19, 2016
Osaka-jo Hall in Osaka, Japan
NJPW Dominion 6.19
IWGP Intercontinental Championship; Ladder Match
I don’t know for certain when the first ladder match in Japan was, but they’re still very much a novelty. Because of that, this match made a big impression with the crowd and it was a home run.
In that sense, it was reminiscent of Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon from WM10, because at that point nobody had really seen a ladder match on that scale before. Kenny Omega was almost comparable to Michaels here, which is enormous praise, and he’s been having quite the year inside the ring. I wouldn’t call Michael Elgin great, but he was more than good enough, similar to Ramon 22 years ago in that ladder match classic.
I hated the overbooked outside interference, but I can’t deny the crowd heat as the match built. The funniest spot was Red Shoes (ref) looking underneath the ring and finding the Young Bucks there. If you can handle the judicious use of gimmicks and foreign objects, outside interference, and unprotected shots to the head, this was among the best matches of Q2. Very American style, for better or worse, but it got a huge reaction and Omega worked his tail off. Elgin was fine, and while he may not be great just yet, he appears to be well on his way to getting there if his body holds up (and he did an amazing flip dive that got a big pop from me).