Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay (NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXIII May 27, 2016)

Apparently this match ruined wrestling forever for everyone.  I honestly don’t get it.  I guess the main argument is that it was just flips and no selling and the match didn’t tell an in ring story  I suppose is a fair conclusion to come to if you just watched the GIFs of the opening flurry of offense and assume that the remaining 15 or so minutes of the match must be exactly the same, but to do such a thing is kind of stupid.

The story being told is super straightforward.  The two men are competing in a tournament to determine who the best super junior is in the world.  The two men in question are on paper evenly matched and wrestle a very similar style.  One a cocky veteran, the other a rising star.  I honestly have like zero knowledge of Will Ospreay and know Ricochet more from his time in Chikara as Helios and Lucha Underground as Prince Puma, so how did I know that these two guys are evenly matched competitors who wrestle a very similar style?  Because that opening volley of moves and counter moves.  They were going move for move and countering everything the other one threw at them.  Was the Power Ranger / 1970s Kung Fu movie pose at the end of that exchange cheesy?  Maybe, but it wasn’t really any cheesier than Hulk Hogan hulking up or Dolph Ziggler selling moves by bouncing around like a superball.  Plus it gave the audience time to applaud and holy shit did they applaud the athleticism on display there.

After that opening exchange Ricochet and Ospreay worked a more straightforward match.  Sure it was fast paced, but there were also submission holds, a bit where after a dive to the outside, both men were almost counted out and most importantly Ospreay getting visibly frustrated that no matter what he threw at Ricochet he couldn’t keep him down for a three count.  Again this is the story that was told by what was happening in the ring.  How did I know Ospreay was getting frustrated?  He had a look for frustration on his face when Ricochet kicked out for the 20th time.

In the end Ospreay gets the win, and it’s something of an upset.  He’s the less experienced of the two and Ricochet is livid.  He gets all up in Ospreay’s face and demanded a rematch and after some back and forth Ospreay agreed.  So not only did this match tell a story during the match, but it set up a feud so that the story between these two men can continue.

The flips?  The selective selling of moves?  These things are merely window dressing that an individual may like or dislike in the same way that a person may like or dislike deathmatch wrestling or comedic wrestling or more mat based wrestling, but claim that because of the flips and lack of selling in one 30 second clip the match was garbage and told no story is ridiculous.  Besides, who can hate on a match that includes someone screaming, “Cheerio motherfucker!” while countering a move?

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