Featured image by @NAPP0Nx_x_x
So nice to have a match prove me right for once on this project. This match here is probably the clearest display of why Chris Jericho as the 2019 Wrestler of the Year makes absolutely zero sense if you actually pay attention. Twice in this match, Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho as a counter to Okada’s signature offense–once to counter a missile dropkick, the next to counter a Rainmaker. Both times, Jericho fumbles about like a teenager trying to unhook a bra in the dark. My god is Jericho bad in this match. Without a No Disqualification stipulation to hide his flaws, Jericho is laid bare in this match. Stalling with obnoxious heel taunts that come off more funny than arrogant, struggling to bump for Okada’s offense and to match his pace, all while boasting a Painmaker brawler persona that’s meant to evoke memories of Stan Hansen and Bruiser Brody while Jericho instead relies on chickenshit heel tactics instead? I’d love to see the match where Hansen breaks into a full sprint away from the babyface instead of just punching them in the face.
Okada tries his best here and while the man is a great wrestler he is certainly not a miracle worker. Okada’s time working against a lug like SANADA proves that if you bring nothing to the table, Okada is incapable of filling the void. Such is the problem here where Okada finds himself selling for crap offense but not in any spectacular fashion the way Naito and Omega did. Matches like this and the ones against SANADA did a lot to drag down Okada in 2019.
Kind of sad that two Osaka-Jo main events in a row feature a washed up heel unable to deliver on the expectations of their platform. Maybe if Jericho bladed, this would have been better.