You can watch this match here.
While there obviously is a ton of fun to be had in professional wrestling when there are large amounts of shenanigans, tomfoolery, pomp, circumstance, and what have you, matches that allow themselves to just be strictly about in-ring competition can feel like such a tonic in a business that leans in the direction of excess far too much.
This match was about two wrestlers constantly trying to find openings and exploit newly appearing weaknesses to win a match. They sucked the audience in by establishing a competitive tone that was reinforced throughout by both workers always moving as if they were going for the win. While many wrestlers today try to accomplish the latter by going for/connecting on/kicking out of “finishers,” these two instead worked with what was presented to them to create a way to win based on the moment. Everything felt like it was unfolding organically.
One of the advantages of working a match in this manner is that it leaves so much room open for future matches between the competitors. Makabe may have won cleanly and clearly here, but there was however no sense of completion or finality to the end. In other words, they managed to create a wrestling match that was perfectly satisfying in the moment while opening new roads for them to explore together if they so choose. Lovely stuff. (***1/2)