To wrap up this impromptu week of wrestling reviews, I thought I’d have it culminate in a match from today’s stellar Wrestle Kingdom 12 show. I didn’t want to go the stereotypical route and discuss one of the two main events, Kenny Omega vs Chris Jericho and Tetsuya Naito vs Kazuchika Okada. Those two matches were so great and so high profile that they will no doubt be discussed to death in the next month. No, instead I wanted to give a nod to a match which was easily one of my most hyped for this event; a fatal 4-way match for the IWGP Light Heavyweight Championship.
On paper this match just seems like a huge styles clash; Ospreay is high-flying, Scurll is more of a ground and pound guy, Kushida is fairly mixed, and Takahashi is just a wildcard who will do anything to win. This mix of different styles shouldn’t have worked so well, but there is an undeniable chemistry between all of them that it worked in spades.
Kushida and Takahashi already had a built in rivalry spanning the past few months for the title, as did Ospreay and Scurll. When you mix in the faction battle between Ospreay’s CHAOS and Scurll’s Bullet Club, this match gets another added layer of meaning to it. It’s a very simple story of 3 guys wanting to take the belt, but it just works. As I’ve said before, nothing in wrestling needs to be too complicated.
The match itself is a fantastic display of 4 young guns at their best. Ospreay was pulling off some athletics and acrobatics that simply amazed me. His moonsault off the lighting rig made me literally gasp. Takahashi’s powerbomb off the apron that he delivered to just about everyone is absolutely deadly, and the way it’s sold every time really sells it as a move to be reckoned with.
Mary Scurll continues to find himself in ring and discover what kind of style he should have. He delivers a super nice mix of beating down his opponent with hand-focused submission moves ala his finger-snapping spot. It all adds a lot to his plague doctor Villain gimmick, which again should not work as well as it does.
In the end Ospreay won, securing the title once again. However everyone here came out looking like a million bucks. Every competitor was given a chance to shine and show off what they have in their arsenal. Takahashi’s powerbomb spot was solidified even more as a deadly move. Kushida gets some much needed momentum after losing to Takahashi recently. And Scurll continues to get more and more over; I’m almost positive he will find his way to the Heavyweight scene before long.
All in all a great, though overshadowed match. The entire card was great top to bottom, and the two main events definitely stole the show as was expected, but you shouldn’t sleep on this match or any of the 4 guys here.
The first 4 way dance in IWGP Light Heavyweight history gets a 4/5 from me.