72. Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Jay White (IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match, NJPW Dominion 2022)

Am I oblivious to the talents of Okada? For years I’ve heard he’s the best in the world, a once-in-a-generation wrestler. He was one of the reasons I opted to subscribe to NJPW World (why no Android app, by the way? So frustrating!). However, I’ve watched a handful of his matches, and have still yet to be impressed with him. More than anything, his opponents seem to outshine him. That was definitely the case with his match against Jay White at NJPW Dominion 2022.

I’ve watched two of his matches against Zack Sabre Jr., one against Tetsuo Naito from Wrestling Dontaki 2022…and another one that I can’t bring to mind. Of course, four matches is nothing to judge a wrestler by. But each time I see him, he looks nonplussed, as if he can’t be bothered to wrestle. And these four matches each follow the same pattern: the first ten minutes is a bit of chain wresing, working on a body part. Then the bloated midsection with a few hugh spots thrown in, usually ivoling Okada getting the snot beaten out of him. To finish, a usually exciting sequence that involves kicking out of finishers, and Okada plucking a victory out of thin air.

A modern day John Cena, perhaps? Maybe I am late to the party. I’ll watch Okada’s bouts with Omega soon. But, as of now, he’s good, even very good at times, but not great. Once again, I was more impressed with his opponent, this time Jay White. He’s a fantastic heel, isn’t he? His mannerisms, his in-ring psychology, even his moves, all a part of what makes a heel a heel. He’s done his homework (his post-match promos are something to behold, as well). White kept me engaged throughout the match, which is more than I can for Okada.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with the bout, either. It just follows the same formula as the other Okada bouts I’ve seen. Overly long, an attempt to make an epic bout without justifying the length, and a bored-looking Okada. White is the shining star here, but this is still an above-average, good but not great, match. Am I missing something with Okada? I need to find out…

Hammy’s Rating: *** (out of 5)

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One thought on “72. Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Jay White (IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match, NJPW Dominion 2022)

  1. Tanish Shrivastava June 22, 2022 / 4:21 am

    Maybe he is passed his peak? That can happen.

    Or maybe he decided that a formulaic match is easy to pull off.

    Liked by 1 person

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