Hiromu Takahashi vs. KUSHIDA from NJPW 2017

This was for Kamaitachi’s IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.

This was the title match the company has been in desperate need of for YEARS. It got off to a HOT start with KUSHIDA interrupting the champ’s entrance by swantoning him (through a balloon).

KUSHIDA went for the kill right away after that with the kimura. Takahashi managed to get to the ropes though and then it happened. Takahashi straight up murdered KUSHIDA with a sunset flip powerbomb to the floor. KUSHIDA looked knocked the fuck out.

It was academic after that, and Takahashi finished him in the ring quickly. This was one of the shortest title matches in recent memory for NJPW, and the reaction from the crowd should prove the point that the company has been in need of doing something like this for years.

So many of NJPW matches feel like a “solved equation.” They need to take more chances with how they tell their stories. That is even more important given how re-match happy they’ve been with the title feuds. This was the perfect Chapter 2 of the Takahashi/KUSHIDA story that does not need to be concluded any time soon now. (****)


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