NJPW Sussudio Sessions: R.W. Andrews Reviews Kenny Omega vs KUSHIDA – Grandeur Grand Prix Part 2
Part II – The Challenge
Match 2 – Kenny Omega (c) vs KUSHIDA
Dominion 7.5 at Osaka Jo-Hall
July 5, 2015
We are treated to a gorgeous mountain peak tron – a towering display overlooking a long ramp lit like a landing strip. KUSHIDA’s excellent theme brings about a stir in the crowd as he appears before them in championship McFly’s and the 2015 Best of the Super Juniors trophy raised proudly. He enters the ring and stakes his claim to the canvas, his eyes never wavering from Omega when he makes his entrance. The champion is in a jovial mood, marching to the beat of his operatic Kratos sample track while sweeping the ramp in perfect tempo. The Young Bucks are out again, their expressions just as cocky as the champion. Along with the trophy, KUSHIDA has brought a set of balls with him, blocking Omega from entering the ring while shoving the trophy in his face. Marty wants to see how this one is going to play out just as much as the rest of us, so he quickly shoos KUSHIDA away so Omega can enter. “You’re the champion for a reason, Kenny,” a Jackson can be overhead as Omega gives Marty a little shove in the back.
Omega isn’t thrilled with the loud “KU-SHI-DA!” chant that breaks out, showing his displeasure with a loogie fired at the man’s face. KUSHIDA responds by evening the odds, hot-footing it to the corner with a handspring heel-kick that sends the Jacksons to the floor. He belts it over to Omega, but a Fale Special stifles his stride. He strikes back with an inverted Atomic Drop, hitting the ropes for a basement dropkick to Omega’s left knee. Always in motion, KUSHIDA cartwheels into position to dropkick Omega in the face while he’s down.
In desperate need of a breather, Omega reaches out and bundles up KUSHIDA’s skivvies to shove him outside. KUSHIDA drags him out with him, pouncing on an opportunity thwarted by an elbow to the face. A trashcan is tossed to Omega’s outstretched hands, caught in perfect position for KUSHIDA to dropkick it into his face. The impact sends Omega over the railing, his arm quickly snatched and slammed against it. Omega flees for the ring where he intercepts KUSHIDA’s missile dropkick back in with a high dropkick that sends KUSHIDA back out. Omega drops to the mat in T2 position as the Bucks bang the beat off the apron. He takes off smoothly, flipping over the top rope to wipe KUSHIDA clear out of view.
Omega rams KUSHIDA into the guardrail, mockingly grabbing his wrist to check the time. With Marty’s count mounting, Omega blocks KUSHIDA’s attempt at ramming his spine and hauls him up for a suplex but instead just lobs him upside-down and rib/knee first into the apron! Holy s-! That move completely stopped the count as Marty hightails it outside to check on KUSHIDA. Severely banged up, KUSHIDA tries to crawl to up the ramp to safety. But Omega stays on him, stripping away a bandage under his kneepad and hammer-fisting the limb as Marty begins his count. Omega hops in early, leaving KUSHIDA to struggle back in at eighteen only to stop the count and collapse back on the floor.
Omega eschews the count-out, heading floorside to lift KUSHDIA up for a shinbreaker and chuck him over the rail and onto the announcers table! Savage! Now he’s satisfied, rolling back in to receive a bottle of water that he sips pinky-out. KUSHIDA again beats the count, entering to a snapmare comboed with a basement dropkick to the back of his head. Another shinbreaker has KUSHIDA screaming in pain, a sound increasing in pitch from a figure four he has to fight through to reach the ropes. Omega – the strong bastard that he is – deadlifts KUSHIDA off the mat in shinbreaker position, taking three swift strides before lawn-darting him straight into the turnbuckle pad!
KUSHIDA tries to keep Omega at bay, chopping at his breastbone before a stomp to the knee drops him. Omega fights off a storm of forearms, countering with a fireman’s carry pickup to slam KUSHIDA to the mat before flipping to his feet and moonsaulting off the second rope. KUSHIDA howls in pain after blocking it with his knees, the counter-strike adding more pain than just calling for the fair-catch and taking the move. Marty, wearing his allegiance with pride, gives KUSHIDA a little knee massage before smacking him softly on the back. What the f-k was that, Asami?
Omega hoists KUSHIDA up for a vertical suplex, fighting off multiple knee strikes to hold him mid-air, but KUSHIDA counters with his own suplex. He tries bursting Omega’s temple with an enzuigiri from the apron before hitting a missile dropkick back into the ring. They trade standing switches before Omega takes off for the ropes, his movements closely tracked by KUSHIDA who hits a handspring heel-kick to knock Omega through the ropes. As The Young Bucks come to Omega’s aid, KUSHIDA heads up top, recklessly launching off with a swanton that clears the deck.
As Omega tries to reenter the ring, KUSHIDA connects with a dropkick to the side of the head followed by a moonsault from the top for two. He punts Omega in the arm, spinning around his body to try to sneak in the Hoverboard Lock, but gets caught and rammed into the turnbuckle pad. Omega tries to combo into a running powerslam, but KUSHIDA slides away. Omega pastes him across the chest with a chop, but KUSHIDA comes right back with a forearm to the face. He tries for another, but Omega blocks and goes for a Dragon Suplex, blocked and countered with a straight right from the windup. Omega ducks the pitch, sliding behind KUSHIDA to pack up his arms and snap him to the mat with a Dragon Suplex!
Omega storms the corner, but KUSHIDA catches and throws him head-first into the buckle pad. He backs up and measures his shot, running in with a punt that smacks against Omega’s left arm before dragging him to the mat with a Hoverboard Lock intact. Omega goes into a gator roll, managing to snag his foot on the bottom rope before KUSHIDA can lock him up. Omega barely gets out a gasp before his head gets rattles by another enzuigiri, his only chance at survival to kick KUSHIDA in the back of the knee.
At the corner, he perches KUSHIDA up top and bites his knee. The world’s darling. He lays in a brick-handed chop to the chest before scaling up high for a superplex. KUSHIDA shoves him off, but Omega high-jumps back with a knee to the face before packaging up KUSHIDA with a cross-legged superplex! Wow! He tries to power KUSHIDA up with a gut wrench, but falls exhaustively to the mat. Who in the hell can blame him!?
Omega hits a one-handed powerbomb, but can’t hold KUSHIDA down for the three. KUSHIDA slips away from a One Winged, countering with a Pele kick that causes the crowd to erupt! Omega recovers quickly, his V-Trigger blocked and countered with a straight right from the wind-up. KUSHIDA hits a Dragon Suplex, bridging for the pin but his knee gives out at two! Knee be damned, he heads up top and achieves a flawless rotation on a corkscrew moonsault that crashes and burns. Omega devours the side of KUSHIDA’s head with a V-Trigger! He quickly picks up KUSHIDA for a One Winged Angel, but KUSHIDA grabs his arm and fights for the Hoverboard Lock. Omega tries to power him off, but can’t stop the momentum from taking him down with the lock intact. He scampers for the ropes, but with a roar KUSHIDA rolls backwards, taking Omega with him with the lock cinched in! Omega taps after a hell of a war, one that leaves the new champion barely able to muster the strength to even raise his hand in victory!
Winner: KUSHIDA to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Impressions: Now that’s what the f— I was hoping for! That match was electric. Just an all–out assault of counters, aerial moves, and powershots. These guys gelled so well together and used the height/mass difference to perfection. Omega lobbed KUSHIDA all over the damn place, firing him onto tables and into buckle pads. KUSHIDA used his smaller frame to slip away from disaster on numerous occasions. Although Omega comes custom-fit with a spare oxygen tank, taking out KUSHIDA’s knee to keep up with his speed was smartly played. And that knee injury did come into play, saving Omega more than a few times in the match. Unlike last week’s championship match, this is a must-watch of the highest order.
So that was a lot to take in, wasn’t it? Well, while we’re here let’s get another syrupy thick dose of reality for all the new college grads out there. Quick story from ol’ Unca Dubya, then the reality. When I was a kid I had access to all manner of nonsense thanks to my parents returning from Germany, their penchant for hording every cable channel under the sun uncontrollable. Hell, they didn’t know any better. They were just happy to be freed from channels refusing to spit the King’s English. Granted, I was no idiot as the cable packages climbed higher and higher. As the channels mounted at my trigger-finger’s disposal, I knew that it was all bullshit and there was a bagel tray juuuust off from the camera’s range of vision. But I was at least invited to the party. Well, thanks to my wayward remote I remembered the harrowing reality of said party. As a belated graduation gift I’ve decided to spoon-feed you the truth for all you recent post-eighteen-year-old grads. BELOW is the truth. It sucks, but in a weird way we all do. It’s just a way of life. As the great patriot John McClain once said, “Welcome to the party, Pal.” This is the reality of trying to get a job in today’s cut-throat society where everyone has a college degree with bills mounting higher than the rabid bloodlust radiating by the bite of whatever it is we consider a “healthy protein”. Cheers, Bub. This is you now. Congratulations!
Grim enough? Well back to the show. Oh, and by the way, THAT is your future. But enjoy the little things while you have it. Wrestling, comedy, your dignity. Enjoy all of that before the pebble picks up steam towards you on its way to forming a monster to crush your ass firmly in the system. God willing you have a healthy pair of DSLs on you. God willing.
Oh those pesky Best of the Super Juniors champions. KUSHIDA’s time with the title gets put in immediate jeopardy as the 2014 tournament winner wants to get in on the gift exchange. The man who can claim that tournament is Ricochet, a challenger who defies logic with mind-boggling acrobatics and power moves to match. It may be good to be the king, but the crown weighs heavy when your head is on the chopping block.
Match 3 – KUSHIDA (c) vs. Ricochet
August 16, 2015
Ricochet comes out to “The Music Has Been Altered” – a Double Deuce inspired honkytonk number that has to be a joke. He enters with style though, using the top rope to propel himself up and over with a twist. Yep, that’s the level of my descriptions for this man’s dimension-bending physics, so enjoy. KUSHIDA gets the terrific Time Splitter entrance video before the rumble of drums displays home footage of a prodigy. He emerges to the sound of the crowd’s applause and the title wrapped around his waist. He too uses the top rope to flip into the ring, getting an “Oooh” from the crowd. I think it was a mercy “Oooh” considering the highlight reel waiting across the ring. Ricochet tries to get a chant going when the bell rings, but the mean-spirited pricks in the crowd douse him with a “KU-SHI-DA!” chant instead. Ah well.
They lock up and reverse positions on the ropes until KUSHIDA breaks clean, giving Ricochet a Good-Game on the rib cage before stepping back. Then all hell breaks loose. The entire Patches O’Houlihan playbook is unloaded as both men flip and cartwheel in a blinding burst of speed. KUSHIDA gets spit out of the whirlwind with a huracanrana that forces him outside. Ricochet feigns a dive over the top, bouncing off the ropes with a backflip as KUSHIDA flies back in with a missile dropkick.
KUSHIDA begins his assault on Ricochet’s arm, wringing it out and stomping the hell out of it. Ricochet rebounds with a spinning powerbomb that causes KUSHIDA to head back outside to regroup. He gets about a two-Mississippi before Ricochet dives over the turnbuckle, clearing it with enough room to do a front flip and careen into not only KUSHIDA, but the guardrail as well. Ouch. But he’s up first, finally turning the naysayers in the audience and receiving a well-earned round of applause.
He rolls KUSHIDA back into the ring and slingshots his body in with a front flip. They trade chops, but there is no Batsu as Ricochet wipes KUSHIDA out of frame with a kick to the chest. He hits a running back elbow transitioned to a snapmare that sets KUSHIDA in position for a sliding enzuigiri followed by a standing moonsault with a knee-tuck at the peak. Perfect score.
Ricochet lands a pair of nasty kicks to KUSHIDA’s chest, asking “What happened last time? Do you remember?” Whatever it was, KUSHIDA answers with a swarm of forearms before punting him so hard in the face that he virtually slides outside. A follow-up swanton splats him to the floor, leaving his trek back to the ring a grueling one in order to beat Marty’s count. He makes it in time – half of his torso breaching the safe zone for KUSHIDA’s dropkick to connect clean.
KUSHIDA rushes into a boot, followed by a leaping Russian Leg Sweep and a standing shooting star press for two. Yeah, that’s right, leaping Russian Leg Sweep. F—ing, c’mon! So incredible. As the cameraman picks up a photographer knuckle deep in his left nostril, KUSHIDA fights out of a Falcon Arrow, banking off the turnbuckle with a moonsault transitioned to a Hoverboard Lock. As Ricochet works for the ropes, KUSHIDA brings him back to the middle of the ring, powering him up with his arm still bent to hit a bridging suplex! He rolls over Ricochet, moving to his knees to try to wrench that arm back. But Ricochet manages to escape, getting KUSHIDA into a fireman’s carry pickup and flinging him off to fire out a kick that swallows his hove of vision. KUSHIDA ducks low, the kick ruffling his hair before he repositions to take a swipe at Ricochet’s arm.
Ricochet fights back with a forearm that pushes KUSHIDA into the corner before swinging outside to hit an enzuigiri comboed with a vault back inside. KUSHIDA leaps up to meet him, both men crashing to the mat with Ricochet caught in a cross arm breaker! Ricochet flails and flops, nearly getting caught in a triangle as he powers KUSHIDA high atop his shoulders to powerbomb him off! Good Lord!
They meet in the middle of the ring, briefly exchanging forearms before Ricochet connects with three straight European Uppercuts. Getting greedy, the fourth is caught and slammed atop KUSHIDA’s shoulder. Ricochet retaliates with a roundhouse, instantly triggering the Pavlovian response of a Pele Kick as the announcer screams “Saaaaaah”. KUSHIDA springboards off the ropes, his body corralled mid-air and stuck with a Northern Lights Suplex that Ricochet rolls through to hit another before rolling through AGAIN with a vertical suplex! After spinning out of the way of KUSHIDA’s misfired kick, Ricochet connects with an enzuigiri that sounded like a damn gun went off! As both men groggily get back to their feet, KUSHIDA winds back and throws a heater that implodes Ricochet’s jawline! He follows with a dragon suplex, bridging for two! F-k it. He hits a moonsault, but again only gets a two!
Ricochet stops the torque of a Hoverboard attempt mid-spin and heaves KUSHIDA off. His head-hunter kick gets blocked, then a payback enzuigiri cracks against his skull. KUSHIDA’s off to the races, sprinting into a leaping knee press that leaves him covering his mouth on the mat. Ricochet kisses the sky with a beautiful shooting star press, but is afforded only a two from Marty. He follows with a gorgeous 720, a visual marvel the finds nothing but canvas on the way down. KUSHIDA quickly goes for the Hoverboard Lock as Ricochet tries to scoot to the ropes, his escape route shut off as he’s rolled back to the center of the ring and forced to tap within seconds!
Winner: KUSHIDA to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
After the match, Ricochet meets KUSHDIA in the middle of the ring for an awkward exchange of fumbled hand slaps and miscommunication on an arm raise. The hell with it. They wrestled their asses off. KUSHIDA checks the time, his wrist assuring him that all is right in the world for now. Oh, and for some reason Taguchi just appeared at ringside rooting KUSHIDA on. He just kind of showed up like he was beamed there, his presence never picked up until that very moment.
Impression: It wasn’t a great match, but that’s just me. I think I had it so built up in my head that it never had a chance. I was just thinking about the best Prince Puma matches I’ve seen and the best KUSHIDA matches I’ve seen, putting them in a mental blender and expecting to find an instant classic. It wasn’t a bore by any stretch, it just wasn’t what I expected. Though I am willing to bet that they have a balls-out burner out there that I’ll come across eventually. The odds are just too good that it’s out there. That stated, I must say that this match can be skipped. Unless it turns out that this is the only match that they’ve had in a singles setting. If that’s the case…no, screw that. It’s out there. It has to be.
Next Week: KUSHIDA/Omega II & The Night the Hurricanranna Died
A Friendly Game of Mishegoss
So what to make of Stefon Diggs. I don’t know about you, but I’m a little stumped by this guy. The first two games of last season were big-time “oh shit, we’ve got something here”, followed by semi-consistent stat lines from weeks 3-10 before it all went downhill. I’ve read that the extrapolation pace was 120+ catches and over 1,000 yards. But that’s the thing. It was extrapolated for a reason. He suffered a groin injury in week 4 that haunted his season. Add in knee and hip strains during the back half and fantasy owners were repeatedly kicked in the balls down the stretch. Of course, not all of his inefficiency occurred due to injury. The resurrection of Kyle Rudolph and the emergence of Adam Thielen – both combining to make huge plays and assert themselves as viable red-zone targets for Sam Bradford – didn’t help the cause. But the reality is, at 6’0” 195 lbs., he’s essentially cannon fodder for LBs and brick shithouse strong safeties to tee off on.
At that size, maybe a nick and cut is to be expected – thus the stigma of being injury prone is going to stay cling-wrapped to his name. But the guy does have a good thing going. He is, at least as of this writing, the funnel for the offense. Regardless of OC, as proven last season, he has a smallish track record of being insanely valuable. And let’s face it, even though the o-line received a tweak in the offseason, I’m skeptical that the unit will fortify the run game into a yard-churning backbone. The TDs may never come, but if the run game continues to trickle out incompetence, Diggs has a reasonable shot at piling up catches and yards with a handful of week-winning outbursts as garnish. But lumped in with my beloved Donte Moncrief, Willie Snead, a returning Martavis Bryant, and Jamison Crowder, I’m not sure I’m willing to pay premium prices for garnish.