By R.W. Andrews
Part III: The Clause
With his first title defense out of the way, KUSHIDA finds himself facing a gauntlet of foes just waiting for the opportunity to pick him off. His head is consumed with all the possibilities. All the challenges. All the different ways to show the world why he is…ah shit, here comes Kenny Omega. The hell with the gauntlet, the former champ just cock-blocks the entire line, slapping that rematch clause against any chin jutting in his direction. And this time he’s not in a jovial mood.
Match 4 – KUSHIDA (c) vs Kenny Omega
Destruction in Okayama
Sept 23, 2015
The arena has a very classic looking setup, the crowd cloaked in a dark hue as all lights in the house are focused on the ring and the entryway. Omega steps out with a trash can in tow, the underside flipped so his hand can drum along to his theme. Ok, so maybe he’s a tad jovial. WWE’s well utilized – or so I imagine – Doc Gallows stalks behind the drumline with a mop cocked like a rifle. KUSHIDA gets the Back to the Future intro before the drums kick in for the crowd to clap to. Omega big-dogs him after he flips in the ring – fair enough considering what KUSHIDA did when he was the challenger. He comes armed with backup this time around, his Time Splitters partner Alex Shelly.
A hush falls over the crowd as Marty grabs the belt to present it for all to see. The reverence here. Omega greets his old prize with a smirk before quipping, “It’s coming home.” He wants a handshake to start, screaming at KUSHIDA to “Take it!” The champ presses palms with him, slowly levering it up and down. A clean break garners a massive round of applause from a crowd who can’t possibly believe that this match is going to be wrestled clean. I mean, seriously. Just look at Doc Gallows standing ringside with his face painted and a beanie overstretched on that massive skull like an unpinched reservoir tip. You’re telling me that THIS guy isn’t going to get involved? As Omega applauds the crowd’s applause – which is an awesome touch – KUSHIDA slides towards the corner to wipe his hand against the buckle pad.
They finally get to business, both men exchanging holds until KUSHIDA works Omega into a front facelock on the mat. Omega tries to gator roll, but his movements are mirrored fluidly, leaving him right back where started. KUSHIDA spins on Omega’s back, repositioning for a side headlock as one – just one – dude in the crowd gives them the proper applause for the display of mat wrestling. Omega pushes KUSHIDA up against the ropes as Marty barks, “Hey, Kenny, break!” The command is obliged, but not before a ball of phlegm splats against KUSHIDA’s face. Game on.
KUSHIDA sends Omega outside off of a springboard back-elbow and jumps onto Omega’s shoulders. With a face full of championship crotch, Omega quickly swings KUSHIDA into a fireman’s carry position before driving him to the floor and flipping onto his feet to leap off the guardrail with a moonsault. The move is as disastrous for the moonsaulter as it is for the moonsaultee, with KUSHIDA grabbing his knee while Omega holds onto his arm and begins coughing up all over the damn place. They both roll back in, deciding that it’s safer in the ring with Marty mediating the proceedings.
As Omega begins choking KUSHIDA in the corner, Taguchi suddenly enters the shot and begins banging on the apron. Where in the hell does this guy keep coming from? Omega whips KUSHIDA into the corner so hard that he goes airborne, the crash landing putting him in perfect position to get realigned in a camel clutch. The relief from a rope break is short lived as Omega scoops him off the mat to hit a backbreaker, covering for two as Gallows screams, “Yeah! Break his back!” Cobra Kai, Man.
Omega follows up with a stalling vertical suplex and connects like a mother—-er with a chop to the tits! He takes off for the ropes, tracked and smacked on the back of the head with a counter heel kick. “KUSHIDA!” growls Omega as he whiffs on a clothesline and gets an inverted atomic drop. KUSHIDA quickly thumbs through the playbook, choosing a basement dropkick combo’d with a cartwheel-kick to the face. Omega again rushes in, his face used as a bumper for KUSHIDA to backflip over the top rope and strike with an enzuigiri. KUSHIDA springboards back in with a clothesline, his feet planting for only a beat before landing a moonsault. Omega flips over a mad dash in the corner, packing KUSHIDA atop his shoulder to ram him into the buckle pad. He charges towards the other corner to hit Snake Eyes – well played – and combos with a leapfrog bulldog. But KUSHIDA counters, his knees braced for impact to halt the descent and latch on a cross-arm breaker! Amazing!
Omega flips to his knees, forcing KUSHIDA to transition to a Triangle Choke. His body is yoked into the air, leaving him to hang on for dear life as he rides a stumbled retreat into the ropes, transitioning to an upside-down Suzuki-style armbar while dangled above the apron. Marty tries to break it up, but is turned sideways and nearly pushed over the top by Omega’s forearm crammed against his jugular. Then Gallows gets involved, lumbering over to hammerfist KUSHIDA in the face until he breaks the hold. Shelley races over to help, his assistance brief as Gallows pops him in the face. Then Taguchi makes his second appearance, a moving chalk outline that gets flung from the fracas and into the guardrail. Gallows grabs KUSHIDA and Shelly by the scruff, screaming “Hey, Kenny! Get these two pricks!” Omega goes airborne as the Time Splitters break free, leaving Gallows the casualty of friendly fire. Screw it, KUSHIDA gets air with a swanton, leaving a wreckage of flesh on the floor.
Marty finally restores order with a count, the sound ushering KUSHIDA back in to ambush Omega with a kick to the earhole when he enters. Another moonsault lands flush as Marty dives out for the pinfall attempt. 1, 2, KUSHIDA transitions to a Hoverboard Lock on the kickout! Omega is determined to keep his fingers locked, forcing KUSHIDA to flip their bodies into position for a cross-arm breaker. But those fingers refuse to pry apart, making KUSHIDA roll back with so much force that Omega pops back to his feet with the champion hauled in a gut-wrench pickup powerbomb for two!
KUSHIDA fights out of a dragon suplex attempt, but falls prey to a thunderous chop to the chest that leaves a vapor trail of sweat off the ricochet! Enjoy the popcorn lung. He fights back with a forearm that makes Omega’s body shiver. Omega regroups, catching KUSHIDA napping with a flying knee that rocks him in the face! A last-gasp Pele kick connects, leaving both men whiskey-dicked on the canvas and unable to cover!
They fight back to their feet, growling in the international language of a Batsu game. Forearm by KUSHIDA, forearm by Omega, forearm by KUSHIDA, forearm by Omega that drops KUSHIDA to the mat and holding his face, KUSHIDA continues the game with a succession of forearms, Omega flurries back, KUSHIDA lands a collage of stiff kicks, putting an exclamation point on the win with one final kick that sends Omega flying into the ropes like it’s wire-work!
KUSHIDA springboards off the ropes with an elbow aimed for a head shot, but Omega grabs Marty by the back of the hair and uses him as a human shield! Both elbows are cocked back for contact, splitting the difference and blotting both Omega and Marty in the face! Asami is sent sliding to the outside, sparking Gallows to enter the ring and bang a right hook off of KUSHIDA’s jaw. Shelley flies into action with a cross-body that’s caught by Gallows. KUSHIDA dives off the top rope and dropkicks Shelley in the back, getting the assist and clearing all manner of riffraff from the ring!
He bangs Omega’s arm over his shoulder and takes off for the ropes, his body crumpling mid-stride from a flying knee from Steph Curry range! Holy shit! Omega goes for a One-Winged Angel, but KUSHIDA fights his way off of his shoulders after pelting him with a straight right. He steps back and punts Omega in the arm, hitting the ropes and going airborne to spin Omega into the Hoverboard Lock. Omega pumps the brakes, fighting to block as Karl Anderson – coming from the back but visually coming out of nowhere – dives into the ring! Omega throws KUSHIDA off of his shoulders and into a Gun Stun, quickly gathering him up for a One-Winged Angel as Anderson rolls what is left of Marty’s carcass into the ring to count the three!
Winner: Kenny Omega to regain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
After the match, Omega grabs the mic and laughs maniacally. “Something the matter, KUSHIDA?” he asks. “Came expecting to fight a madman, but instead found…a God!” His attention turns to the announcer’s table, finding Matt Sydal staring back like a drunk looking to make a stink at last call. Omega dresses him down, stating that he’s going to clean him up as Sydal moves in closer. “Hit my music! Hit my music!” Omega screams to no music. “Give me my title!” Again, to no action. “This is awkward. Good bye and Good night!”
Impressions: Chaos, chaos, and more chaos. I used to hate interference in matches, but this was so well done with a bevy of guys getting involved with two coming out of nowhere – Taguchi and Anderson. But unlike Anderson, Taguchi was of zero help. Hell, Asami’s ass did more as a human shield. As far as in the ring, both guys wrestled a solid enough match. And that f—ing flying knee sniper shot from deep space was a vision to behold! Gushing aside, stay away if you’ve been over served on outside interference. This match was rotten with it. I’ve been away from wrestling long enough that I didn’t mind it, but I could only imagine the frustration for those who have been watching without any gaps. All in all, enjoyable but not as good as their first match.
Reticulating Splines (The video below is NSFW)
When we last left Kenny Omega he was blackout drunk on power, immediately firing a shot across the bow of Matt Sydal before the title was even in his grasp. Given Omega’s proclivity for having a stellar match with anything tangible, I’m curious to see how this one plays out. Is the title cursed like the golden leavings of Roger Smith, dooming Omega’s reign to a harrowing one-and-done end? I doubt it, but I’m the new guy in all of this. Never say never, right?
Match 5 – Kenny Omega (c) vs Matt Sydal
Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena
October 12, 2015
Coverage on The World starts with the crowd basking in a neon-blue glow, a screen towering in the distance displays a picture of the title belt as game show music plays. Sonically gauche, the visual layout pumps a little blood into the presentation with two sloped rails tacked with pulsing red flood lights frame the screen to make it look like a flight of stairs. Very nice. Sydal is out first, taking a running start to slide in the ring feet-first. Omega’s entrance is a little more subdued, his pace brisk with Cody Hall riding shotgun to pass him a trashcan for some casual drumming. Solid on both fronts.
Marty is back in the hot seat, showing the title to Sydal before frisking the guys and calling for the bell. Sydal cuts off half the ring from Omega, forcing him into the corner to tie-up. Omega powers him to the ropes, breaking semi-clean with a slight brush of the face before stroking his hair in a side-headlock. Sydal counters a Fale Special with a huracanrana, a move met by another Special and a growled “F— you.” Omega scores with a shotgun blast to the breastplate before choking Sydal in the corner. Passed a bottle of water by Hall, he flexes his Catalina Wine Mixer manners, sipping like a dandy gent. Fully quenched, he hits a backbreaker on Sydal while calling his shot with a loud, “I’ll break ya!”
Omega hits another backbreaker as Hall screams, “Get it together, Marty” at the sight of Asami just kind of wandering around the ring. Sydal gets chucked into the turnbuckle pad, countering a body slam with a crossbody. He hits a gorgeous backflip legdrop, then a standing moonsault, both netting the deuce. He eats a boot in the corner, but stays on the offensive with a huracanrana for two. Omega tries to slam Sydal off the top ropes, but ANOTHER Huracanrana counters to send him outside. The crowd has been silent for all of this, with only the sound of a gentleman’s whistled nostril gusts greeting the aftermath of Sydal’s twisting flip over the tope rope to take out both Omega and Hall.
Back in the ring, Sydal leaps off the top rope knees-first, his body caught and heaved into the pad for a buckle bomb. Omega hits a stalling gut-wrench powerbomb for two, cackling to himself as his eyes frolic about the crowd. Hall pounds the T2 theme off the apron, a curious soundtrack for Omega’s stalled vertical suplex. Sydal counters the suplex with…a huracanrana. Ok, this is becoming butt stuff all over again. Omega’s frenzy of Fale Specials is killed off by a flying knee, his retaliatory knee dodged and countered with a reverse Frankensteiner that spikes his head to the mat! Ok, real quick. To me, a huracanrana and a Frankensteiner ARE different. A huracanrana has a rolling motion at the end, a tidy landing that gives both men room to move. But a Frankensteiner? A Frankensteiner just crinkle-cuts necks on the mat. But that’s just me.
Sydal heads up top for a shooting Star Press, crashing atop Omega’s knees. Omega glitches in and out of looking psychotic as he gathers up Sydal to bang the back of his head off the mat with a nasty-looking Dragon Suplex. Hell bent on getting a rise out of the crowd, he absolutely implodes Sydal’s skull with a V-Trigger! He goes for a One Winged Angel, absorbing repeated shots to the face to snatch the back of Sydal’s head and drop him to the mat for three.
Winner: Kenny Omega to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Impressions: Pass! I got my first glimpse of Matt Sydal and I came away never wanting to see another huracanrana again. I’m sure there is more to him after merely window shopping his work, but for this one the display was a little bare. The crowd stayed silent throughout the match, giving out a courteous “Ohhh” from a leg strike early until Omega got rolling at the very end. Never say never, my ass.
Next Week: Omega/KUSHIDA III – Dark of The Moon
Hang on. I just got an email from Dot Net’s legal department…
Next Week: Omega/KUSHIDA III – The Hex
It’s a little too “deep Netflix”, but it’ll keep me out of court.
A Friendly Game of Mishegoss
The horrors of Jeremy Langford are coming back in full force. Much like last season, with Jeremy Langford poised to start for Chicago amidst a myriad of questions, Ty Montgomery has been thrust into position to repeat the feat. An in-season replacement for a running back corps gutted by injuries, Montgomery – a wide receiver by trade – was given the all clear to take the job. I gotta say, not bad for a small sample size. Posting 457 yards and 3 TDs on the ground with 44 for 348 in the air – albeit a massive chunk came in one game against Chicago – he also proved to be one of the most elusive backs per carry in the league. Again, small sample size.
But good lord, the similarities. Can Montgomery fight off Jamaal Williams – a fourth round grinder tailor-made for clock killing – unlike Langford whose poor play and ankle injury caused him to be overtaken by the Bears fifth round grinder tailor-made for clock killing? Did the Chicago game skew Montgomery’s numbers in such a way that his true effectiveness remains a mystery, much like how one massive game against the Rams made Langford look more effective than he really was? Can Montgomery be 3-down material, especially when the team can taste the goal line? I think that was one of the first things draft experts said Jamaal Williams was built for, much like the man who pulled the reigns from Langford. And of course, can Montgomery pass block? You better believe Langford was murdered with that last season.
Well, two weeks into training camp and Jamaal Williams is already getting work at the goal line. And of course, two weeks into camp and Williams is flourishing at pass blocking while Montgomery is not quite there. But here’s the thing. Montgomery has been playing running back at the NFL level for less than a calendar year. We’re talking in-game, film study, offseason programs, and training camp. The guy has unquestionably some of the best hands of any running back in the league – which is a given considering the obvious. He bulked up in the offseason, making him the biggest back on the team. And for a guy who should be getting beat in pass protection drills by a guy who has been playing the position his entire life, it’s not like he’s been so poor that Mike McCarthy has thrown his hands up and said, “F— it, you’re a wide receiver. Go buddy up with Jeff Janis on the roster bubble.”
For proponents of Montgomery, like myself, I remain optimistic. The guy is a talent – a football player gifted enough to shift positions in the middle of a season and dedicate himself to being the best at his craft. I remain optimistic that he’ll figure out the nuances and thrive if given the opportunity. And I definitely remain optimistic that he’ll pick up pass blocking considering Running Back Rule #1 in Green Bay: Keep Aaron Rodgers upright and helmeted.
Given his current ADP – 3rd round Standard, 4th round PPR (Fantasy Pros) – savvy Montgomery hawkers should hope for Jamaal Williams to push him and net a fair share of praise. Let that stock price take a hit, because if you think for a second that a guy Mike McCarthy dubbed a “full threat” will not be on the field, you’re mistaken. Montgomery can line up in the backfield catching dump-offs ala Danny Woodhead, even if it sounds the alarm to every defense in the league that he’s not hanging back to block for QB1. A role like that could give him a potential stat line to finish as a strong flex if not a low-end RB2. Look, Montgomery might not be the Packers running back of the future – the 2018 RB class is going to take a lot of jobs from a lot of dudes – but I’m fairly confident that he will be more boom than bust this season. Just, uhh, make sure to handcuff him with Jamaal Williams. Safety first.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Court Bauer, who discusses MLW Saturday Night SuperFight, his mindset just days before the company's first pay-per-view, the $19.99 price point, future PPV possibilities, the free pre-show, former WWE and Lucha Underground creative force Chris DeJoseph joining the MLW staff, and more...