Their first bout that many have hailed as the greatest professional wrestling match of the modern era will finally get its sequel, and it will happen this June at NJPW Dominion.
It has been five months since Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada battled in the main event of the Tokyo Dome in an epic battle for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. The match itself was rated “six stars” by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and in the aftermath, the match has proven to be very controversial and to say that it has split opinion would be an understatement. One thing that is for sure, both men can piece together a hell of match under the watchful eye of NJPW head booker Gedo. I for one have no doubts that this sequel will be another classic.
The recent rating of 6 stars has broken Meltzer’s fabled ratings scale, this scale has been the benchmark in Pro Wrestling since the early 80’s and a 6 star match is something that isn’t common. We haven’t seen the 6 star rating since Misawa’s classic against Toshiaki Kawada for the Triple Crown AJPW Title at the Nippon Budokan in June 3rd 1994, A match that is also certainly worth also checking out.
Since the January 4th Tokyo Dome show, both have gone their separate ways. Omega has wrestled two amazing matches against Tomohiro Ishii (A very underrated wrestler in my opinion, and my pick to win the G1 this year). These matches in any other year would be serious candidates for the highly contested Match of the Year spot but NJPW is on such a role this year and Omega is so highly thought of, these matches were just seen as business as usual.
Okada on the other hand has been very busy, he has successfully defended his title against the likes of Minoru Suzuki, Kota Ibushi (under the Tiger Mask W gimmick), Katsuyori Shibata and Bad Luck Fale. I’m sure you’ll agree, all very different threats and opponent styles but Okada in each of the matches, solidified the belief that he is in fact the ‘’Ace” of NJPW. He made them all stars and the matches were ranked great to classic matches. My personal favourite matches were the Suzuki and Shibata bouts as I’m a fucking mark for of those both guys (Yes, I said mark, get over it IWC).
In the closing moments of the Wrestling Dontaku show and following Okada retaining against Fale, Omega was seen assisting his Bullet Club brethren to the back, but it was the reigning champion that demanded he return to the ring. Omega obliged and after a stare down between the two, Okada made it official: it will be Okada vs Omega II at NJPW Dominion on June 11th, live from Osaka-Jo Hall. Who knows, 7 stars this time? I for one will be watching. Catch it on June 11th on New Japan World.