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Thread: Sir Sam's Court: Kenny Omega v Chris Jericho: Judas in my Mind

  1. #1
    Senior Member SirSam's Avatar
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    Sir Sam's Court: Kenny Omega v Chris Jericho: Judas in my Mind

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    Kenny Omega v Chris Jericho: Judas In My Mind

    You are beautiful on the inside
    You are innocence personified
    And I will drag you down and sell you out
    Run away

    I am cold like December snow
    I have carved out this soul made of stone
    And I will drag you down and sell you out
    Embraced by the darkness, I'm losing the light
    Encircled by demons, I fight

    What have I become, now that I've betrayed
    Everyone I've ever loved, I pushed them all away
    And I have been a slave to the Judas in my mind
    Is there something left for me to save
    In the wreckage of my life, my life

    I'm becom-, I'm becom-, I'm becoming
    I'm becom-, I'm becom-, I'm becoming
    Judas in, Judas in my mind


    These words, penned by Chris Jericho and sung by his band Fozzy, have been rattling around my brain since watching the barnstorming Wrestle Kingdom 12 co-main event between Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho last week. Jericho chose them to be the refrain that introduced his return to NJPW late last year, they were the words he chose to accompany him to the ring at the Tokyo Dome and they have been the words I keep coming back to every time I start thinking about the match itself.

    Like many, Wrestle Kingdom 12 was the first time I had ever tuned in to a full NJPW show. I came to it with a sense of anticipation for what was to come and the match between Omega and Jericho was top of the list of reasons I wanted to watch. Jericho has always been one of my favourite wrestlers and Kenny Omega was someone I was very keen to get to know more about, having watched his trilogy with Kazuchika Okada but not a whole lot else. By the time Jericho attacked and bloodied Omega at Sumo Hall I was sold on the match and it is safe to say that come Wrestle Kingdom 12 I was able to witness a masterpiece not just in pure wrestling but also in character and story.

    The 35 minute match the two constructed can only be described as a chaotic brawl, I was as excited as anyone by the sheer brutality of the match that unfolded and on the night quickly declared it the best on the card. However what really struck me on my second watch through was the superb character performances that Jericho and Omega displayed and the story that they told. A story Jericho has seemingly already penned a number of lines about in his song Judas.

    “You are beautiful on the inside
    You are innocence personified
    And I will drag you down and sell you out
    Run away”

    The basic theme of the entire match can be summed up in these opening lines: innocence, being corrupted and order being disrupted.

    In 2017 Kenny Omega put together some of the best matches ever wrestled inside the squared circle. His efforts broke Dave Meltzer’s famed five star rating system not once but an incredible four times. Off the back of pure wrestling performance and without the corporate hype machine of the WWE, he dragged himself from an underground indy star to being the hottest name in all of wrestling. In the ring he is a pure wrestling talent: incredibly quick, a massive gas tank and capable of pulling out just about any move in the book; his signature offence is hard hitting and executed crisply. However despite his athletic gifts his biggest matches still rely on natural psychology, an escalation in pace and action and tell a fluid albeit simple story. Kenny Omega, wrestling the way it should be done.

    At Wrestle Kingdom 12 Kenny Omega represented the pure pro wrestling he had excelled at in 2017, a style untouched, uncorrupted and innocent of the excesses of the WWE. In the lead up he tried to take the high road, accepting Jericho’s challenge to meet at the Tokyo Dome in good faith. He was blindsided though; after being busted open at Sumo Hall he even said he was naive to treat Jericho with the kind of honour he does his normal NJPW opponents.

    However despite Jericho’s attempts to drag him down to his level throughout the match (more on that later), Omega constantly came back to those traditional, crisply executed moves that won him such acclaim and ultimately brought him to the Tokyo Dome Main Event. As soon as the match started Omega was able to outpace Jericho while running the ropes and in their brief chain wrestling. It is only Jericho pulling the ref in the way that allowed the antagonist his first piece of offence. This motif of Omega gaining the upper hand with his wrestling, only to be interrupted and undermined by underhand tactics is one that would repeat throughout the match.

    The vast majority of times Omega strayed away from his normal wheelhouse he would be the one caught out. This was exemplified by Omega’s cross body onto the commentators table, a classic WWE move and one that would see Omega crash and burn, missing Jericho and going through the table and monitors. After the brawl outside the ring and brief dominance inside the ring by Jericho it would be a more orthodox snap hurricanrana, clothesline and suicide dive that would get Omega back on the front foot. In the chaos and insanity of the No DQ stipulation it was these moves that Omega would use to regain the ascendancy in the match. Even when he put Jericho through a table it would be off the back of a trademark V-Trigger knee.

    "I am cold like December snow
    I have carved out this soul made of stone
    And I will drag you down and sell you out
    Embraced by the darkness, I'm losing the light
    Encircled by demons, I fight"

    In contrast to Omega’s innocence and strength amongst order, Jericho would be the one to pull the bout down from his opponent's lofty standards. Jericho had once been in Omega’s shoes, breaking away from the pack of wrestlers and setting a creative mark beyond where anyone had gone before. That was 10 years ago though and after multiple comebacks and years within the WWE machine, what was left was a bitter man, jealous not only of the new bar Omega was setting but also the freedom Omega got to express his pure pro wrestling outside of the corporate trappings of the world’s biggest wrestling organisation. Jericho came to NJPW not just to win a match but to drag down this new poster boy who now represented everything Jericho couldn’t be.

    This version of Jericho would revel in the chaos of the No DQ stipulation, the first bit of offence he got would be as a result of throwing the ref into Omega, momentarily distracting his opponent. The disrespect and anger towards not only his opponent but the entire NJPW organisation would be brought to the fore so emphatically in the chaos he created on the outside of the ring. After goading Omega into flying through the announcer's desk he would destroy the whole booth, threatening the entire broadcast when he pulled out the sound for the English Commentators. He would attack the beloved referee Red Shoes Unno and then put Unno’s son, a NJPW rookie, in the Walls of Jericho. On the outside Y2J was at the center of a beautiful tornado of chaos, throwing tables, monitors and chairs at his opponent.

    That kind of chaotic action couldn’t help but reference back to the WWE Attitude Era, a comparison made even more clear by the emotional work of the commentators Kevin Kelly and Don Callis who could be heard screaming in the background at Jericho’s dastardly acts, even when unplugged. Jericho not only lived through the Attitude Era but rose through the ranks of the WWE during it, no wonder that when he created these surroundings he was able to dominate a man who was only a wide eyed teenager at the time.

    Once they made it back in the ring Jericho made it his mission to deflower Omega throwing him into a chair until blood appeared, sullying Omega, destroying his pristine nature for the second time in the feud.

    "What have I become, now that I've betrayed
    Everyone I've ever loved, I pushed them all away
    And I have been a slave to the Judas in my mind
    Is there something left for me to save
    In the wreckage of my life, my life"

    “We’re seeing a whole new side of Kenny Omega tonight and by God Chris Jericho has pulled it out of him.”

    Not just a Fozzy quote this time but also Don Callis, the colour commentator for the NJPW English broadcast. I mentioned the commentators before but special mention does need to be made to how they elevated the emotion and intensity of this match. With this particular line Callis managed to succinctly sum up the ending that saw Omega take his wrestling strength and combine it with the the violent lessons he learnt from Chris Jericho throughout the No DQ match.

    After Jericho saved himself from the first One Winged Angel with a veteran rope break Omega would go back into another finishing sequence but this time incorporate the chair Jericho had previously been brutalising him with. After a series of V-Triggers he would throw the chair at Jericho, hoist his opponent up on his shoulders and at the last moment deftly flick the same chair to the center of the ring with his foot and then deliver the One Winged Angel onto it for the win. This ending perfectly combined the crisp and fluid in ring moves Omega is known for with the No DQ stipulation, allowing Omega to put his own twist on the gimmick to finish the match. In the story of the match Jericho would ultimately fail to completely pull Omega down to his level but Omega would indeed learn a new move or two from the veteran performer.

    "I'm becom-, I'm becom-, I'm becoming
    I'm becom-, I'm becom-, I'm becoming
    Judas in, Judas in my mind"

    If you haven’t seen this incredible match you owe it to yourself as a wrestling fan to seek it out. My first watch through left me with my mouth agape for much of the match as these two weaved this brutally chaotic tale. Omega and Jericho not only stole the show, they did it with something completely different to the other matches on the card. If Kenny Omega ever wanted to audition for the WWE then this tape is his calling card but honestly why would he want to go there when the WWE’s top stars are now coming to him? Jericho was also elevated with the performance and it looks like he is going to be involved in future NJPW shows as well. When he returns to the WWE he will be all the better for it.

    For various reasons I don’t give matches star ratings but just four days into the year I think Omega and Jericho have set a bar that is going to be tough for anyone to beat in 2018.

    But over to you LOP, what did you think of Kenny Omega v Chris Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom 12?
    Last edited by SirSam; 01-11-2018 at 08:05 PM.

  2. #2
    LOVE the formatting in this. It reads so easily.

    ...dammit Cesaro!

  3. #3
    Senior Member JacobWrestledGod's Avatar
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    This is smooth, concise, and the examples are apt. I think the match is better than WK11's KO vs Okada, I think Jericho who was praised for his character work in WWE last year was not given a chance to show his in-ring capabilities, it's obvious that WWE keep a leash on their wrestlers' in ring action, every one can be a lot more amazing in the ring if only wwe let them.
    And Jacob wrestled with God.






  4. #4
    The Brain
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    Gotta come back and give this a proper read when I've finally had a chance to check out WK12!

  5. #5
    Member 205 Clive's Avatar
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    Howdo, Sirsam.

    First of all, your journey into this match and the PPV itself is very similar to mine with regards to the long time fandom of Jericho and the minimal exposure to Omega, so I can relate to your excitement going into the event.

    Regarding your dissection of both mens' character performance in the match, I know Jericho very well so it was evident to see in my 1st (and so far only) watch of the match. I like your description of Omega's purist wrestling being brought down to Jericho's primeval assaults and how he couldn't get the upper hand because of these attacks; something I'll definitely be paying attention to in future sittings. That particular story certainly brought to the fore that WWE vs NJPW argument of violent brawls vs beautifully choreographed battle.

    With your point here - "Jericho came to NJPW not just to win a match but to drag down this new poster boy who now represented everything Jericho couldn’t be", you have encapsulated the bout, the styles, and the build up to the feud in one succinct sentence. Technically you didn't need to write the rest of the column!

    Nice little tribute to Don Callis as well. Purists from western shores might think the native commentary adds to the alure of the product, but when you have someone as passionate and articulate as Callis calling the match, one can't help but be happy with NJPW's version of the Spanish Announce Table ™!

    Excellent piece Sam. Outside of your series to finish 2017, this is up there with your best work.
    Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @rickyandclive, or listen to "The Ricky & Clive Wrestling Show", part of the Social Suplex Podcast Network

  6. #6
    Samuel Plan
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    You know from a private conversation what I think of this Sam, but it bears repeating in public: you're really hitting your stride and I think this was absolutely your best piece yet. You're developing a real mastery over your style that's identifiable in some of the very best to ever do it here and I'm looking forward to shining a spotlight on this "up top" on the MP. The dissection of the lyrics, of the themes and characters; it was excellent. The rest you already know from what we've discussed!

    This was the closest thing to convince me to check out Jericho vs. Omega when I get an opportunity to, and once all of the hysteria has died down a little bit. I think I'd prefer to get a handle on it outside of that environment honestly, as I sometimes find it mildly off-putting and unfairly sets my mind against a match.
    101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die: The Book is now available to buy on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Amazon Europe! Just search for "101 WWE Matches" and it'll pop up!

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  7. #7
    Senior Member SirSam's Avatar
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    Time for some feedback. Big thanks to everyone who checked it out I loved watching the match and I hope I was able to add to your enjoyment of the match. I was fortunate enough to have 'Plan spotlight this on the main page which was very exciting but you guys are my column writing family so I wana give extra feedback here.

    @Burn thanks for the feedback, it did go through a few iterations before I settled on this format of the column so I'm glad to hear I made the right choice.

    @JWG it is kind of weird that the WWE do so obviously tether some of their performers, I guess they would suggest it is their 'style' not to overdo it. With the blood and more hardcore spots obviously the two companies are trying to appeal to different demographics which is what probably dictates what they do.

    @mizfan as always I look forward to reading your thoughts.

    @205Clive thanks for the read and feed. I wonder how many of us are on that sort of tipping point. I had such a fun night and while it will take a lot for the WWE to not be my go to wrestling promotion because I am already so bought into a lot of their stories and performers Omega's work and also what Jericho is now doing have me really heavily interested in NJPW as something I watch more regularly. I personally loved the English commentary team and thought they added a tremendous amount of energy and excitement to all the bouts, they were especially good in this one too. The whole Japan v English commentary debate seems like a bit of a circlejerk as to who can be the most indie and least mainstream. Screw that. I want my commentators to tell the story but if people want to listen to what is essentially an added audio track of words they can't make out and it adds their enjoyment then good for them.

    @Plan Dude thanks for going out a limb for me with this one, really appreciate your feedback including telling me to polish this sumbitch up a little after I initially posted it. I dunno who can tell but this thing may well have something like 20 edits as I found more errors and corrected them. When you do get around to watching this match or indeed the whole WK12 card I'd love to know what you thought of it. Even if it doesn't make a column it would be cool. Anyway, big thanks once again. Sam.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    This was bang-the-fuck-on Sam. Excellent work, and the exact story that hit me when I rewatched Omega/Jericho the day after WK. Love how you played it against the Fozzy lyrics too, which really added to the whole column. Lovely work.

    I'm not sure this has quite gone beyond Naito vs Okada for me. I'm not sure exactly what it is, as I think the story of it is told amazingly well, but there's something about Naito vs Okada, and particularly Naito's performance in it, that makes me absolutely adore it. I'd easily put that match on a level with what Okada and Omega did last January, but I know others wouldn't.

    Like 'Plan, I am finding it a little hard to detach myself from the hysteria around this one just a tad, and especially all the 'best match of Chris Jericho's career' talk, which I think is not completely wide of the mark but is doing a bit of a disservice to the work he's put in before which I would certainly consider on a level with this.

    One of the things that sets this apart, though, is that there's not a moment wasted in there. They hit everything at 100% and barely let up, which I love.

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