Hiromu Takahashi vs. KUSHIDA vs. Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll (c) – Four-Way for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship – Wrestlekingdom 12 – January 4th, 2018
I know, I know, I just did one about NJPW. I try not to repeat promotions so quickly, but I wanted to make sure some time was taken to speak about this excellent match that has to compete for press with Omega/Jericho and Naito/Okada. One of the best things about New Japan is its devotion to the title scene and the staff’s ability to recognize the best contenders therein. WWE and other American promotions seem to lose track of belts within stories, instead of using the narratives to help build the importance of them. At first glance, New Japan might seem to be weighed down by both the amount of titles and the weight restrictions placed on each, but these elements ultimately serve to keep divisions fresh and provide opportunities for wrestlers to develop into true superstars. This is no more evident than in the Junior Heavyweight division.
This match expertly uses the long standing faction structure in New Japan, KUSHIDA representing New Japan prime, Takahashi from the white-hot Los Ingobernables de Japon, Ospreay from Okada’s reinvigorated CHAOS and the champ Scurll, a member of The Elite side of the Buh-buh-Bullet Club. Not only this, but the pairs of KUSHIDA/The Ticking Time Bomb and Aerial Assassin/Villain would have been strong enough feuds to run a title match off of alone. As this match is only a few days old and many have not yet had the time to view it, I’ll keep my description short. All four competitors possess unique and spectacular styles, showing that a lighter weight division does not need to focus on high spots and acrobatics. In this match, each wrestler was given the time not only to exhibit their prowess, but their characters. I was not a huge fan of KUSHIDA until the past twelve months or so as he truly came out of his shell character-wise. Scurll and Takahashi have never had that problem, and their unique personas also get the spotlight here. Ospreay might need a little more work in that particular area, but he is fun enough to watch that you forget. Look for some brutal moments and wonderful acrobatics. This match is about as balanced as it gets.
This match, along with the excellent complete Wrestlekingdom 12 card, is most easily accessed through NJPWWorld.com