Welcome to the second edition of the super-prestigious award column that I like to call Mitch’s Match of the Week. The best match that I have viewed over this past week was found from the Land of the Rising Sun as IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Kazuchika Okada in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 9.
Before explaining what I liked about this match, I’ll divulge all of the wrestling programming that I’ve viewed over the past week so you know what I’m judging this against. I’ve watched the full NJPW/GFW Wrestle Kingdom 9 show; I’ve watched most of the Hulu version of Raw (streaming issues where too frustrating for me to finish the Ryback match); I’ve watched Lucha Underground, the first hour of TNA’s live Destination Impact show, and NXT. It’s been a FULL week of wrestling for me. Normally, I wouldn’t watch so much but there was so much great wrestling that it never felt like a burden.
Tanahashi and Okada was good for several reasons. Even though I’ve never seen their previous encounters I really felt like this was an all out war. The multiple High Fly Flows by Tanahashi really cemented how much devastation was needed to put away Okada. Also, as an English-speaker, the treat of quality announcing courtesy of Jim Ross and Matt Striker was a huge blessing. Lastly, the respectful Japanese crowd really added to the build of the show. They were so quiet at the beginning of the card and throughout most of the show, but when the IWGP Heavyweight Title was being contested they were sounding almost like an American audience. It provided a crescendo to Wrestle Kingdom 9 that helped me the viewer know which match was the most important.
Here it is, embedded below, in all of its glory. The in-ring action is right around 30 minutes and I think it will be talked about when it’s time to discuss 2015 Matches of the Year in about 11 months.
This was a great week of wrestling, so the Honorable Mentions run deep this week. Also from Wrestle Kingdom 9, Nakamura vs. Ibushi for the IWGP Intercontinental Title was amazing and would definitely be my second favorite match of the week. Rounding out my top three would be the Aztec Warfare match from Lucha Underground where Prince Puma was crowned their inaugural champion. Those three were all can’t miss matches so do yourself a favor and look them up. There are several other great matches that I feel bad for not mentioning, but the past week has just been so good that I have to.
While I have you here please give a listen to the most recent edition of my podcast, Mitch Nickelson Radio. Sgt. Damage, who is joining the show as a permanent co-host, talked with me for close to an hour regarding UFC, Wrestle Kingdom 9, and the WWE. Considering Jon Jones had to check himself into rehab regarding trace amounts of cocaine, it has been a week with plenty of interesting things to talk about.