122. FTR (c) vs Aussie Open (IWGP Tag Team Championship, NJPW Royal Quest II 2022)

The Revival was my favourite tag team in the original NXT (well, alongside DIY). Of course, as soon as they reached the main roster, they were soon misused and forgotten about. After being released by WWE, they soon regained all the potential that Vince McMahon squandered. This year, they’ve had three 5* matches, as rated by Dave Meltzer. Their latest 5* match took place at NJPW Royal Quest, in good old England! I caught it on NJPW World, although I would have loved to have been there.

But was it a 5* match? Almost, in my humble opinion. FTR, as The Revival are now known, have refined their craft. They have perfected their old school wrestling style, making the basics thrilling and the complicated effortless. As for their opponents, the Aussie Open…I hadn’t even heard of them before seeing Meltzer’s rating. They proved they were just as good as FTR, playing the crooked heels that FTR used to play back in NXT (although I couldn’t tell you which one was which).

Together, they followed the template of a great tag team match perfectly; Aussie Open isolating a member of FTR, building the anticipation of a hot tag…and that hot tag being denied until the time was just right. It feels paradoxical saying this and not rating the match 5*, but this should be a match any budding tag team should watch. The timing of the tags, the heel work, the babyface work, the hot tags…everything was spot on.

The escalation towards the end of the match was superb, each using the other team’s finisher, the high spots and blood adding to the drama. Yet I felt it was almost too excessive towards the end. The teams were feeding off the red hot crowd (there’s nothing quite like a British crowd, is there?!?!) and their chants of ‘Fight Forever’ and ‘This Is Awesome’. As a response to the crowd, I felt the teams extended the duration of the match after a natural end point.

While I shouldn’t nickpit an almost flawless match, while both teams were striving for greatness, they fell a little bit short. They packed in too much at the end in too short a period. Shave off even a few minutes, and this is a sure-fire 5* match. I’ll look forward to the rematch!

Hammy’s Rating: **** (out of 5)

(Click here for more of ‘A Wrestling Match A Day‘)

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