Kazuchika Okada vs. Taichi (NJPW The New Beginning in Sapporo Night 2 2/2/20)

Match Reviews

This absolutely ruled.

I don’t hate Taichi as much as many online do. I do find him inconsistent though and a lot of his big matches of 2019 did not click for me at all. Wasn’t a fan of his matches with Naito and his bright spots in the G1 were few and far between. But I honestly don’t detest him and this was a fresh match up that I was curious about when it was announced. After all, Okada’s coming off two all time great performances in the Tokyo Dome so if anyone could get something out of Taichi, it’d be God King Okada.

The best Kazuchika Okada matches for me are the ones that force Okada to disrupt his typical formula. That’s exactly what Taichi forces Okada to do here. The previous night, Taichi attacked Okada and dropped him on the ramp with the Black Mephisto. As a result, Okada comes into this main event attraction match with an injured neck and shoulder.

Taichi has no time to waste and jumps Okada at the bell, going immediately for the bad neck. No slow, lifeless mat sections for us today, friends. Straight into heat and comeback segments. So good. Okada sells his ass off from the go too. Every time Taichi goes for the neck, it’s a problem that haunts Okada from bell to bell. It makes his comebacks all the more satisfying as the injury has him working as an underdog in this match which, if you know anything about Okada, is incredibly rare.

Taichi incorporates excellent heel spots to create transitions that allow him to work over Okada. He hides behind Miho Abe, he uses Iizuka’s claw, he gets a chair shot in, he puts his hands on Red Shoes. Just really well done and well timed traditional heel work that really puts a lot of doubt into what that result might be. Add to that the little wrinkle of Taichi using the offense of All Japan greats past like Jumbo Tsuruta’s back suplex hold or his trainer Toshiaki Kawada’s Dangerous Backdrop and Stretch Plum and that’s a little bit of nerd bait to make me chuckle. Taichi at least has some lineage to those names that doesn’t make me cringe when he draws upon that history. At the same time, it’s also a really douchey move as in the eyes of many, the character of Taichi is nowhere near worthy to draw inspiration from such legends.

Leave your Taichi hatred at the door. Or, you know what? Embrace it. This match rules either way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *