KUSHIDA vs. Gedo
March 20, 2016
New Japan Pro Wrestling
Amagasaki Baycom Gymnasium (Amagasaki, Japan)
New Japan has done a fine job in varying up its house show lineups during the ongoing Invasion Attack tour. In addition to this unique pairing, this same show included a Ring of Honor TV title defense by Ishii as well as a NEVER Trios title match. The day before, Shibata defended his NEVER Open Weight championship against Satoshi Kojima on a normal house show. I had reached the point where I was skipping entire New Japan house shows on their digital service because there was not a lot of substance there. Not that I am canceling appointments to watch Ishii wrestle EVIL or anything now, but the effort has not gone unnoticed.
Anyway, this was one of those unique matches in the sense that they could have given KUSHIDA a couple of partners and ran a trios match with Gedo, Romero, and Beretta as a means of building towards KUSHIDA’s upcoming Junior title defense with new CHAOS member Will Ospreay. Instead we get this rare pairing that is filled with all kinds of on-paper possibilities. The match didn’t bowl me over like it had the potential to, however. I thought the first 80% of the match was rather pedestrian, save for Gedo amusingly swearing and trash talking in English. I saw this hyped as a great sub-10 minute match. When I think of good sub-10 minute matches, I think of matches that are wrestled with a sense of urgency and are wrestled differently than your typical 15-minuter. A lot of times short matches will have a sustained theme to compensate for the lack of time. Gedo and KUSHIDA largely wrestled a standard house show match. I was hoping for Gedo to work his Memphis tribute match or spend eight minutes on the mat with KUSHIDA, but instead it was more or less a standard throwaway Best of Super Juniors type match.
The last 90 seconds or so were very good I thought and elevated the match a little. They wrestled a frantic back and forth finish filled with pinning and submission reversals. Had they done more of that stuff elsewhere in the match, it might have made more of an impression on me.