(06/21) Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) © vs. Time Splitters (KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley)

Osaka Bodymaker Colosseum (Osaka, Japan)
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship 

The Young Bucks have run rampant over the New Japan junior tag team division since debuting with the promotion last fall.  Given that they have gone through every team in the thin division at least once in the past eight months, a title switch is more than due.  The Best of the Super Juniors was used to – among other things – push the Time Splitters as tag and singles contenders.  Shelley and Kushida both qualified for the semi-finals (with Kushida advancing to the finals).  In addition, both guys picked up first night wins versus the Jackson brothers during the tournament to set up this match and the imminent title switch.

The Time Splitters did leave Osaka as the new junior heavyweight tag champs, but that story took a backseat to the quality of the match.  The Young Bucks and Time Splitters produced one of the more enjoyable opening matches of 2014 in the form of a 15-minute, high octane, tag team sprint.

The style itself – quick paced, a lot of double teams, a lot of counters, big moves, and an extended finishing sequence – is in no way flawed, it is just hard to pull off because the margin for error is so small.  It is so easy to cross that line from “action packed” to “too much”.  It is also far easier to mess up in a tag match centered on high difficulty/high precision moves and sequences than it is in one built around a six or seven minute heat segment.  The Bucks have become quite the masters of this particular style, however, and are one of the few teams that can pull it off on a regular basis.  They showed that in New York in May versus reDragon and perhaps even more so in this match.

Matt & Nick Jackson have great timing and a very strong sense of where to place moves in a certain match.  There is a build to their spots – not only from beginning to the body to the end, but even within in the ending sequence.  They are not doing big time death moves and then continuing on for five more minutes of lower impact stuff (relatively speaking), which is a trap many guys fall into.  A lot of guys have spectacular spots.  The Young Bucks are getting quite adept at laying them into a tag team match in a logical progression.

The Time Splitters are great compliments for the Young Bucks.  Shelley and Kushida are probably more well-rounded wrestler than either Jackson.  At the same time, they are also athletic enough to keep up with the pacing and high spots of the Bucks.  Shelley and Kushida have some fun double teams and Kushida’s submission arm finish that he used throughout the BOSJ is really getting over.

Due to the high degree of difficulty working a match and style like this, it is not necessarily something that should be done on a regular basis.  There are a lot of individuals and teams that cannot pull it off and might be better off playing it safer.  These two teams are a couple of the exceptions however, and the result was an incredibly fun tag team opener.  This match replaces the May 3rd GHC junior tag title match as the best junior tag year-to-date.

Junior Tag | Watch It | Quality & Title Switch

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