95. Will Ospreay vs Shingo Takagi (NJPW G1 Climax 32)

So, my first foray into the G1 Climax 32 left me disappointed. Tanahashi and KENTA contested a mediocre match. The only match I’ve heard a lot of hype about from the event thus far was between Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi. Dave Metlser rated it 5.5 stars!!! I’m sure he rates matches over 5 stars just to rile to IWC up. But then again, if Spinal Tap can turn it up to 11, then Meltzee can do whatever he wants. While I thoroughly enjoyed the match, I wouldn’t class it as a 5 star match…

I’ve only seen Will Ospreay in battle a few times, and from those few contests I can tell he values high spots and constant counters over storytelling. I could be wrong, of course, thanks to my limited exposure to him. But this match only contributed to my opinion of him. Apart from a half-hearted attempt by Takagi to damage Ospreay’s arms, there’s little to no psychology here. That attempt looked out of place, and (funnily enough) only served to hinder my enjoyment of the match.

Because, no doubt about it, I was hooked. Regardless of story or psychology, this was a spectacle to behold. These two set a superhuman pace from early on, and rarely wavered. Counter after counter, rapid exchanges after rapid exchanges…everything was ceaseless. These two have incredible conditioning, and pushed each other to the limit (and beyond). It was one of those matches that you watch, mouth agape, wondering how the wrestlers can do it. And for everything to go so smoothly, without a botch in sight, as they whizzed along at 100mph.

Yes, I was blown away with it whilst watching it. But, upon reflecting on it a few hours afterwards, I could barely remember any of it. Honestly, I couldn’t even remember who won the match! That’s a consequence of matches like this: all style, little substance. Overwhelming and awesome in the moment…but afterwards, little sticks in the mind. Well, apart from the lazy attempt at working over a limb that stuck out like a sore thumb.

So, not a 5 star match. It lacked the emotion and story for that. However, it was a clear 4 star match, an almost superhuman effort, with effortlessly speedy and smooth counter after counter. Yes, at times it looked overly choreographed, more of a dance than a fight, but it’s impossible not to be in awe of what these two accomplished. And all just over twenty minutes…

Hammy’s Rating: **** (out of 5)

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