When Twitter-bothering Wrestling Observer maestro Dave Meltzer dished out six of a possible five stars for Kazuchika Okada's iconic Wrestle Kingdom 11 IWGP Title defence against Kenny Omega in January 2017, he underscored how an embryonic workrate reinvention had seemingly reached maturation point.
A rating less about the number of snowflakes and more what they stood for, it pitched the contest in Meltzer's mind at least as wrestling's greatest ever. He'd dished out the accolade once before, but the absorbing All Japan Pro Wrestling effort between Mitsuharu Misawa and Toshiaki Kawada from 1994 was as iconic a representation of the future then as it was of the past over twenty years later. Like Misawa and Kawada, Okada and Omega had built on the increasingly dynamic skill levels of their contemporaries to craft something virtually futureproof. Five-monthsproof anyway - they topped it in June.
Meltzer was again forced into moving his already-widened goalposts. Omega and Okada's dream match earned ******1/4, and whilst their third and final match that year went half an hour and three quarters of a star less than the last, the trilogy was quickly considered wrestling's greatest hat-trick. A rematch this June subsequently has perhaps the largest expectations of any pay-per-view superclash ever.
They're not just competing with themselves - the ever-raising bar has continued to generate era-defining battles every other month. 2017 was presumed unbeatable, and yet 2018 has (punt) kicked it into a cocked hat...
We Need To Talk About Kevin (Nash).
Michael can be found in articles or on podcasts extolling the virtues of New Generation WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling or the new WWE angle they definitely definitely won’t ruin this time.