At Best of the Super Juniors Night 6, the wrestling world got sent for a spin when Will Ospreay and Ricochet went at it in the main event. All anyone has been talking about the past two days has been The Match, with people ranging from Vader to William Regal chiming in. I even saw an article about it on the front page of Yahoo. If for some reason you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for?
A LOT of opinions coming in about the match are from people who obviously haven’t watched it. Instead, what they’ve seen are gifs. To be fair, this might be one of the most gif-able matches ever. In particular, there’s The Gif. I’m having trouble embedding, so click here if you haven’t seen it yet. There are two general reactions to that clip. It’s either “Holy shit that was awesome!” or “That looked ridiculous.” I fall firmly in the first group, and thought the match was amazing. Not as good as Kamaitachi vs Dragon Lee from earlier this year, but a match that will be far more remembered.
Before getting into the rest of the match, I’ll talk about that gif just a bit more. The main complaint, and the one Vader makes, is that there is no storytelling in the match, it’s just a bunch of flips, and no one looks like they are trying to hurt each other. Actually, the main complaint is that it’s not “realistic,” but that is a complaint that can be safely disregarded, as always. Remember, the most unrealistic move in professional wrestling is the Irish Whip. Anyways, people making the first complaint have most likely not watched the match, because it’s pretty obvious where the story is and why they do what they do.
Remember back in the 80’s and early 90’s, when Hulk Hogan or Lex Luger would get in the ring with some other big guy and they would do a Test of Strength. They would stand there and lock hands, and start to push on each other, muscles straining to prove they were the stronger man. Oftentimes, it would end a stalemate, the two staring each other down, muscles flexing as they tried to intimidate the other man. That’s EXACTLY what that sequence was. It was a sequence designed to see who the better aerial artist was, and ended with a taunt and staredown. The argument made that they aren’t trying to beat each other is bogus, because it’s 20 seconds into the match. Just like Hogan was never going to beat anyone with a Test of Strength, neither Ricochet or Ospreay was going to beat the other 20 seconds in with a headscissor.
The rest of the match, even the stuff that didn’t get gif’d, was excellent as well. It started early, with Ricochet flexing his pecs before they ever locked up, and Ospreay laughing it off. Then they went at it, rarely stopping to let us catch our breath until the end. There were lots and lots of great spots, but probably my favorite was one of the simpler ones. They went into the dreaded forearm exchange, a staple of New Japan and a sequence more suited for the brawlers of the NEVER division then Junior Heavyweights. I groaned when they started, but cheered big when Ospreay hit a brutal headbutt, no doubt inspired by his CHAOS stablemate Ishii. Like a big heavyweight throwing out a dropkick, the forearms and headbutt provided a great contrast for the rest of the match.
A couple years ago, Ricochet was in Ospreay’s spot. A young high flyer, making a name for himself for his amazing aerial abilities and taking the BOTSJ tournament by storm. Now Ricochet is the seasoned veteran, and it’s Ospreay who has come into the tournament with a ton of hype. It was a perfect example of how great the high flying style can be, and should be on everyone’s must-watch list.