Another year in professional wrestling has come and gone. As we look forward to the squared circle magic in 2018, 2017 had several stellar events.
New Japan Pro Wrestling delivered the goods in spades while WWE churned out some fun moments. ROH and the independent scene are on fire like never before as a new era of wrestling is coming around.
All lists of this nature are subjective. My rankings don’t mean any more or less than anyone else’s rankings. These are my picks for the top five wrestling events of 2017.
New Japan Pro Wrestling put on three absolutely amazing matches last weekend as a part of the G-1 Climax semi finals and finals. Tetsuya Naito defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the block A and Kenny Omega defeated Kazuchika Okada to win block B, setting up a Naito/Omega final.
Naito/Tanahashi was a great match that was overshadowed by a stellar third Okada/Omega encounter. Omega was in a must win situation and had to do it in less than thirty minutes. Okada, however, could advance to the finals with a win or a draw due to a one point differential in his favor.
Okada went into the match with an injured neck he suffered in previous tournament bouts. Omega targeted the injury right from the onset and was relentless in his attack. Okada fought him off with everything he had but with a little over three minutes left in the match, Omega hit the One Winged Angel for the pin.
The finals of NJPW’s Best of the Super Juniors 24 has been determined.
Will Ospreay emerged as the Block A winner when he pinned Hiromu Takahashi on Tuesday in Osaka. KUSHIDA cemented his place on top of Block B by defeating Volador Jr. last night, thus punching his ticket to the finals.
It’s one of my favorite times of the year as New Japan Pro Wrestling will kick off the Best of the Super Juniors 24 (BOSJ) on May 17th at Korakuen Hall. This tournament will span two weeks, which culminates on June 3rd at Yoyogi National Gymnasium.
The winners of Block A and Block B will face off to decide who will get a shot at the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title on June 11th at Dominion. That is of course, if the current champ, Hiromu Takahashi should win the tournament.
The brackets are very interesting. Block A is so stacked that I almost want to skip the Block B matches…Almost.
- Jushin Thunder Liger
- Will Ospreay
- Taka Michinoku
- Hiromu Takahashi
- Dragon Lee
- Marty Scurll
- Tiger Mask IV
- Ryusuke Taguchi
- Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- El Desperado
- Volador Jr.
The match that many have called the greatest of all-time will get its second chapter. Kenny Omega will lockup with Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Title at NJPW Dominion on June 11, at Osaka-Jo Hall.
The match was made on Wednesday at Wrestling Dontaku when Okada called Omega into the ring after defeating Bad Luck Fale. Omega entered the ring for a staredown, looked to the camera and said that Okada is not the champion that people want.
Okada defeated Omega in January at Wrestle Kingdom to retain the championship in a 45-minute classic, which earned an unprecedented six-star rating by famed journalist Dave Meltzer. Those who missed out on their first encounter will no doubt look forward to the sequel.
In a long overdue move, Shinsuke Nakamura is finally on the WWE main roster. Nakamura debuted on the post-WrestleMania edition SmackDown last night following a segment involving The Miz and Maryse.
As the couple was finishing up their mockery of John Cena and Nikki Bella, a violinist was in the aisle way and Nakamura came out to a huge reaction. He did his signature poses in the ring without speaking a word to the audience tunes of “NA-KA-MURA.”
The strong style of Japanese wrestling isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you prefer your squared circle theater to fiercely resemble the combative variety, New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom 11 was topped off with a quadruple crescendo that will be impossible for any promotion to top or duplicate.
Hiromu Takahashi vs. KUSHIDA, Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata, and Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi would all be match of the year candidates if it weren’t for the main event.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer newsletter gave Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega his first six star rating. Many are calling the 46 minute classic the greatest match in the history of professional wrestling.
Adam Kohn and I ring in the New Year with our review of NJPW’s annual January 4th spectacular, which emanated from the Tokyo Dome. Every title in New Japan was on the line as the 11 match card was streamed live on New Japan World.
New Japan Pro Wrestling announced the complete line-up and match order for Wrestle Kingdom 11 at a press conference on Monday. For the uninitiated, the Tokyo Dome show is New Japan’s equivalent to WrestleMania and has been traditionally held every year on January 4.
New Japan Rumble – To be honest, I usually skip this match. It’s a Royal Rumble style match without any real stakes. It’s simply a vehicle to provide some warm up entertainment before the real show begins.
Tiger Mask W vs. Tiger the Dark — This match is a promotional tool for the Tiger Mask anime show that airs on TV-Asahi. I don’t know if Koto Ibushi will be W this time around but that mask looks to be difficult to work in.
IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks (c) vs. Roppongi Vice – Thank goodness it’s not a Fatal Four Way this time around. A straight up tag match should give all four wrestlers more time to shine, which hopefully make the match mean more instead of the usual eight-person spot fest.
The Lowell Memorial Auditorium was once again treated to an action-packed night of squared circle mayhem as Ring of Honor brought their All-Star Extravaganza pay-per-view event to the Mill City. The best way to describe the ROH product for the uninitiated is to call it pro wrestling with a side of sports entertainment.
WWE’s presentation favors the reverse ideology, but there is a die-hard fan base that ROH caters to that’s not into all the pomp, circumstance, and melodrama. The storylines are simple enough to follow, but it’s the matches that keep the ROH faithful coming back for more.
My fellow wrestling promoting partner in crime, Ryan and I attended the show with piqued interest since neither us of go to Ring of Honor shows that often. In fact, this was only my third ROH live experience and my first in twelve years. Plus, some of the biggest moments in wrestling history have occurred in Lowell, and All-Star Extravaganza could provide another. Continue reading
Fourteen matches over two weeks in multiple cities have brought us to the final round of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors. A Block winner Ryusuke Taguchi faces B Block winner Will Ospreay. There is a lot of hype on Ospreay as he is one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch. While Taguchi’s antics makes him easy to overlook, he knows when to buckle down and get to work. Continue reading