Featured image by @high_kkk
Very much similar to the Shingo/Ibushi match in that it’s a very good match with some very noticeable flaws. The problem with this match is that Kazuchika Okada is still in the middle of a horrible year. However, Shingo does his best to work with what he’s given and there are some attempts to move around the severe limitations here.
Much of the early match is built around Shingo working over Okada’s back. The bad back has been a common thread through Okada’s G1 run and Shingo targets it well early. The better moments of this segment come from Shingo just powering Okada around. Big slams and bumps do well to highlight Okada’s bad back. The smaller moments with Shingo gingerly throwing some light elbows to the back are less enthralling and there’s enough of these moments to lend the early portion of this match a sense of sag.
There’s also the major problem of once Okada’s actually expected to start making his comeback, it looks horrid. Luckily, Shingo does bully him into some pretty decent stuff by the finishing stretch. Okada’s still dedicated to the horrible Cobra Clutch variation of his but there were a few embellishments here that were appreciated. The over-the-back backbreaker to lead into the Clutch was the best part of a somewhat dour finish and when Okada could be bothered to actually throw a lariat, he at least laid them in to make them pop. Still, Shingo looked great beating the piss out of Little Ole Kazu here.
This isn’t the all time classic it might have been in some other year but for a 2020 post-lockdown Okada match, I’d say it’s the best of the lot.