10 Best Wrestling Matches Of 2017

2. Kazuchika Okada Vs. Kenny Omega - NJPW Wrestle Kingdom XI


The greatest trick this match pulled off was that it somehow left room for a sequel(s).

Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega did everything over the epic 46:45 duration: top-rope dragon suplexes, harrowing, dangerous table spots, sick top-rope dropkicks to the back of the head, insane moonsaults, V-Triggers delivered with the crunch of a watermelon exploding on concrete - it was a festival of content that, at first, seemed designed to compensate for the challenger's relative lack of presence on the company's biggest stage.

But it was all woven together with one simple, coherent narrative thread, perfect for the many new eyes focused on New Japan's biggest show of the year: could Omega ever detonate the One-Winged Angel, and could Okada withstand the blast?

Like the greatest works of art, the artists left that question unanswered - Omega never did hit it - and like proper workers, they mined as much heated drama from the space between moves, as much as the moves themselves. It was an athletic impossibility - hermetic and entirely botch-free, despite the ridiculous stamina required to pull it off. Okada's various escapes from atop Omega's shoulders were jaw-dropping. It was as if he was made from rubber at times.

The level of drama and emotion was so incredible that, as Okada celebrated with the IWGP Heavyweight Crown, the cameras captured crying members of the audience. The match was overwhelmingly good.

That sequel also did the impossible: it bettered the original...


Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on shop.whatculture.com!