All Japan Pro Wrestling
Korakuen Hall (Tokyo, Japan)
Triple Crown Championship (Decision Match)
Whatever All-Japan’s best laid plans were for the Triple Crown this year, things have almost certainly not unfolded accordingly. Unless of course, they were counting on Triple Crown Champion Akebono to come down with a bad case of pneumonia, be hospitalized and ultimately stripped of the Triple Crown. As evidenced by the Champion Carnival, however, sometimes Plan B’s are not all that bad. In this case, All-Japan was able to cap off the story of Omori’s unexpected career year in a way that is maybe more fitting than if he had faced Akebono for the title as seemingly planned.
As seen back at the Champion Carnival, Omori earning his first major tournament victory by defeating Akiyama was poetic in several ways. So it goes without saying that those same two guys wrestling for the Triple Crown in the match where Omori finally captures it is significant as well. Akiyama – particularly now that he is at least publically in charge of the promotion – is the face of All-Japan and has a long shared history with Omori. It is right that that Omori should knock yet a second item off of his pro wrestling bucket list this calendar year by beating Akiyama for a second straight time.
As a match, this was perhaps a small step below their Champion Carnival final. The layout and story of the two matches were relatively similar. In both cases (as it should have been) the story was Omori hanging tough and overcoming to get the pivotal victory. The timing in this match was spot on. These guys have some fun sequences and spots that they could execute in their sleep versus one another. The match built appropriately to a climax where Akiyama could not put Omori away nor could he keep him from continuing to fight forward. The match was a solidly worked, fitting conclusion to the story being told.
Where I think it suffered a bit was in the drama department. The Carnival victory had a greater sense of drama in the presentation which was echoed by the reaction of the fans. The Korakuen crowd was into the stretch run but not at the level one might think. There was a sense of urgency to Omori’s Carnival win. His Triple Crown win felt somewhat inevitable in the way the match was laid out. It is perhaps a small thing, but a noticeable one.
This might be one of those matches where fans are torn as to which was better as people have expressed opinions both ways thus far. There is not necessarily a correct answer. Both matches were well-executed matches from solid veteran wrestlers. In either case, they are far from the best that 2014 has produced thus far, but certainly worthwhile viewing for their historical importance to Omori’s career (if nothing else).
Japan Singles | Worthwhile | Historical Significance & Quality