As explained in last week’s entry for Match of the Week, Tomohiro Ishii has a legitimate claim to being one of the best wrestlers in the world right now. He has been outstanding in this year’s G1 Climax, having taken part in arguably the two best matches of the tournament so far against Hirooki Goto and, as already mentioned above, Kota Ibushi. In discussing the best wrestler in the world right now, however, it would be remiss not to consider Kenny Omega, who had the other genuine match of the tournament (and year) contender against Tetsuya Naito.
It is with the above in mind that fireworks were expected in the match that was scheduled for Night 14 of the G1 between Ishii and Omega. Whereas Omega went into the match with a 6-0 record, Ishii (despite being in the incredible wars that he was in) had had an inconsistent tournament from a results standpoint with a 2-4 record. It seemed like Omega was unstoppable, and whilst he had already lost to Ishii in the past (one of three fantastic prior matches between the two), it looked like the momentum was firmly on his side going into this match.
As the match got underway, you got the sense that Omega felt that he already had the win in the bag, patronising Ishii by tapping him on the head whilst pinning him against the ropes. If they weren’t on his side already, this helped to immediately swing the fans in Ishii’s favour, more so when Ishii reacted with immense incredulity at what Omega had just done to him. Omega did not stop there, however, and mockingly slapped Ishii, further agitating the Stone Pitbull. Ishii then proceeded to goad Omega into hitting him with a forearm, only to return the favour with a stiff headbutt that sent his opponent crashing to the mat.
Proceedings eventually went to the turnbuckles, where Omega landed a number of chops that barely phased Ishii. After Omega whipped him into the opposite turnbuckle, Ishii merely bounced off and rushed at his opponent, sending him to the mat. This did not stop Omega’s taunts, as Omega continued to shove and slap his opponent. Ishii had once again had enough, however, and proceeded to hit Omega with a brainbuster suplex. Ishii then proceeded to once again return the favour, slapping Omega before hitting him with a number of brutal chops.
Omega swung momentum back on his side soon afterwards, raking Ishii’s eyes before launching him face first into the turnbuckle, to which Ishii reacted by bellowing out a primal scream in his opponent’s face, only for Omega to follow up with a sickening DDT that spiked Ishii right on top of his head, picking up a 2 count in the process. Omega then followed up with the You Can’t Escape for another 2 count. Not letting up, he then locked in a camel clutch on his opponent, followed by a number of kicks that Ishii did nothing but smile at. That smile was proof positive that Ishii was done playing, and promptly got up and did the same thing he did to Omega’s partner – a route one chop to the throat. After exchanging a series of chops with Omega, Ishii flung Omega across the ring with a huge powerslam.
Ishii then landed a series of elbows and chops on Omega in the corner, followed by a Saito suplex for the 2 count. A scary moment came right after, as Ishii lifted up Omega for a powerbomb, but nearly dropped him as Omega tried to struggle free from the move. The ropes came to both men’s aid, and Omega managed to get himself vertical again, avoiding what could have been a nasty incident. He then hit a snap rana on Ishii, followed by a Rise of the Terminator tope and a Kotaro Krusher for the 2 count. The 2 men engaged in yet another chop war, after which Omega landed a number of forearms on Ishii, which did not phase the man one bit, as Ishii then dropped Omega again with one stiff forearm.
A German suplex in the corner on Omega led to Ishii hitting a suspended top-rope brainbuster suplex, garnering another 2 count in the process. Ishii then went for a clothesline, but Omega managed to counter into a swing DDT, which he followed up with a V-Trigger soon afterwards. Omega tried to follow up further with another Kotaro Krusher, but Ishii dodged out of the way, and hit Omega with another suplex, followed by two consecutive stiff lariats for the 2 count. The fans were becoming noisier and noisier at this point, and Ishii looked to finish things off by hitting his vertical drop brainbuster finisher. Omega had other ideas, however, and fought out of it, only for Ishii to manoeuvre himself in such a way as to attempt to hit Omega with his own finishing move, the One Winged Angel. Omega managed to fight out of this, and hit his opponent with a spinning wheel kick to the back of his head, followed by a brutal looking V-Trigger that sandwiched Ishii’s head against the turnbuckle.
Omega looked to end things early, and hit Ishii with a Dr. Willy Bomb for the 2 count. He then planted a series of V-Triggers on Ishii, only for the latter to no-sell one after the other until Omega finally dropped Ishii with one hard enough one to send him loopy. He then followed up with a snap dragon suplex, but Ishii once again got up immediately! Omega needed more than that, and hit Ishii with a stiff clothesline for another 2 count. The crowd noise had only increased further at this point, and Omega, who was bleeding from the mouth at this point, felt like it was time to finish the match. He set Ishii up for the One Winged Angel, but Ishii managed to fight out of it and headbutt Omega, then hit him with a snap dragon suplex of his own…from which Omega himself managed to get up straight away, and went for the hurricanrana, which Ishii incredibly managed to counter into a powerbomb.
Both men were spent at this point, and struggled to get to their feet. Once they did manage to get up, they engaged in a strike-off, which culminated in Omega hitting his opponent with a reverse rana. Omega signalled for yet another V-Trigger, and landed one with authority, sending Ishii to the apron. Omega wasn’t going to let up, however, and hit a double stomp from the top rope onto Ishii on the outside. He then went back to the top rope, and hit Ishii with a springboard missile dropkick to the back of his head. He then hit the Aoi Shoudou for yet another 2 count, and went for the One Winged Angel once again. Ishii managed to fight out of it, as well as block a V-Trigger, which he pivoted into a German suplex, but Omega landed on his feet, which allowed him to hit a prone Ishii with yet another V-Trigger for the 2 count. A Jay Driller followed, but Ishii AGAIN kicked out at 2.
Omega was incredulous at this point, and wondered what it would take to beat this man. He decided to take the V-Trigger route, hitting Ishii with another brutal one, but Ishii YET AGAIN kicked out at 2. Although Omega went for the One Winged Angel once again, Ishii had other ideas, and incredibly countered into a crucifix bomb pin attempt that Omega just about managed to kick out of at 2.9999. The fans were all in behind Ishii at this point, as the EDION Arena seemed to rumble in unison. Ishii looked to continue on this momentum, and hit Omega with a series of stiff strikes, which Omega returned the favour for by means of another V-Trigger. Omega looked to land yet another V-Trigger as he bounced off the ropes, but Ishii merely lifted Omega up and headbutted him on the way back down! He then hit Omega with another headbutt, followed by a huge lariat for the 2 count.
Ishii signalled for the match-winning Brainbuster, but this split-second of posturing allowed Omega to hit a brainbuster of his own…but Ishii kicked out at 1!!! Omega once again bounced off the ropes, looking to hit another V-Trigger on his opponent, but as he reached the middle of the ring he was knocked right back down by another stiff lariat by Ishii. The two men proceeded to trade some more bombs, which Ishii came out on top from with an enziguri. He then proceeded to lift Omega up, and finally drop him with the vertical drop Brainbuster….1….2….3!!! Ishii won!! Omega’s perfect streak was over!!!!
My word. What a match. What a freaking match. Just when I felt like nothing could top what Ishii did last week with Ibushi, he only went and completely topped it with Omega. Both men were absolutely phenomenal in this match, and (as if we needed it), further proved that they truly are two of the best around. This match was fully deserving of the “higher than 5” star rating that was bestowed upon it by Dave Meltzer, and will take some beating as the best match of this year’s G1 Climax. Watch this damn match, you owe it to yourself.