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Posted in: Just Business
Just Business presents SirSam’s Court: Kenny Omega v Chris Jericho: Judas In My Mind (An LOP Columns Forum Spotlight)
By Samuel 'Plan
Jan 13, 2018 - 9:15:18 PM




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Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my book, 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die, from the LOP Store or Amazon today! Simply click here to find mine and a host of other books and merchandise on offer, all courtesy of LOP, or on the icon to the left to be taken directly to Amazon!




Just Business presents SirSam’s Court: Kenny Omega v Chris Jericho: Judas In My Mind (An LOP Columns Forum Spotlight)


You may have noticed recently the sudden appearance of my plugging the LOPForums’ Columns Forum (CF) in my weekly pieces here. I do so for a reason. It’s home to some great writers and the very place all LOP writers cut their teeth and improve their game before making it to this main page.

It is also a tremendous community, filled with great folks and writing covering wrestling from all manner of promotions, not just WWE. Many of the current regulars in the CF are incredibly ‘well read’ fans on that front.

They’re also a talented bunch. One writer in particular arrived on the scene in mid 2017 and has quickly been making a name for himself as a quality contributor. It is inevitable you will one day see him writing on this very page alongside the likes of myself, The Doc, Tito, Maverick, SkitZ et al. His name is SirSam, and what follows is his latest: a unique look at WrestleKingdom 12’s hit encounter between Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho, as seen through his eyes.

SirSam is already a two time Columnist of the Month award winner. His favourite wrestler is Dean Ambrose and if you ask him his favourite match he’ll tell you one you haven’t heard of: Falco vs. Syd Parker at Hunter Valley Wrestling. But he’s also a big fan of Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13 – and you’ve probably heard of that one! You can catch him as a regular contributor in the CF and in the upcoming CSI writing tournament due to start on January 15th (and which you can be a part of if you want, simply by signing up – just click here!).


***


SirSam’s Court: Kenny Omega v Chris Jericho: Judas In My Mind


You are beautiful on the inside
You are innocence personified
And I will drag you down and sell you out
Run away


I am cold like December snow
I have carved out this soul made of stone
And I will drag you down and sell you out
Embraced by the darkness, I'm losing the light
Encircled by demons, I fight


What have I become, now that I've betrayed
Everyone I've ever loved, I pushed them all away
And I have been a slave to the Judas in my mind
Is there something left for me to save
In the wreckage of my life, my life


I'm becom-, I'm becom-, I'm becoming
I'm becom-, I'm becom-, I'm becoming
Judas in, Judas in my mind


These words, penned by Chris Jericho and sung by his band Fozzy, have been rattling around my brain since watching the barnstorming Wrestle Kingdom 12 co-main event between Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho last week. Jericho chose them to be the refrain that introduced his return to NJPW late last year, they were the words he chose to accompany him to the ring at the Tokyo Dome and they have been the words I keep coming back to every time I start thinking about the match itself.

Like many, Wrestle Kingdom 12 was the first time I had ever tuned in to a full NJPW show. I came to it with a sense of anticipation for what was to come and the match between Omega and Jericho was top of the list of reasons I wanted to watch. Jericho has always been one of my favourite wrestlers and Kenny Omega was someone I was very keen to get to know more about, having watched his trilogy with Kazuchika Okada but not a whole lot else. By the time Jericho attacked and bloodied Omega at Sumo Hall I was sold on the match and it is safe to say that come Wrestle Kingdom 12 I was able to witness a masterpiece not just in pure wrestling but also in character and story.

The 35 minute match the two constructed can only be described as a chaotic brawl, I was as excited as anyone by the sheer brutality of the match that unfolded and on the night quickly declared it the best on the card. However what really struck me on my second watch through was the superb character performances that Jericho and Omega displayed and the story that they told. A story Jericho has seemingly already penned a number of lines about in his song Judas.

“You are beautiful on the inside
You are innocence personified
And I will drag you down and sell you out
Run away”


The basic theme of the entire match can be summed up in these opening lines: innocence, being corrupted and order being disrupted.

In 2017 Kenny Omega put together some of the best matches ever wrestled inside the squared circle. His efforts broke Dave Meltzer’s famed five star rating system not once but an incredible four times. Off the back of pure wrestling performance and without the corporate hype machine of the WWE, he dragged himself from an underground indy star to being the hottest name in all of wrestling. In the ring he is a pure wrestling talent: incredibly quick, a massive gas tank and capable of pulling out just about any move in the book; his signature offence is hard hitting and executed crisply. However despite his athletic gifts his biggest matches still rely on natural psychology, an escalation in pace and action and tell a fluid albeit simple story. Kenny Omega, wrestling the way it should be done.

At Wrestle Kingdom 12 Kenny Omega represented the pure pro wrestling he had excelled at in 2017, a style untouched, uncorrupted and innocent of the excesses of the WWE. In the lead up he tried to take the high road, accepting Jericho’s challenge to meet at the Tokyo Dome in good faith. He was blindsided though; after being busted open at Sumo Hall he even said he was naive to treat Jericho with the kind of honour he does his normal NJPW opponents.

However despite Jericho’s attempts to drag him down to his level throughout the match (more on that later), Omega constantly came back to those traditional, crisply executed moves that won him such acclaim and ultimately brought him to the Tokyo Dome Main Event. As soon as the match started Omega was able to outpace Jericho while running the ropes and in their brief chain wrestling. It is only Jericho pulling the ref in the way that allowed the antagonist his first piece of offence. This motif of Omega gaining the upper hand with his wrestling, only to be interrupted and undermined by underhand tactics is one that would repeat throughout the match.

The vast majority of times Omega strayed away from his normal wheelhouse he would be the one caught out. This was exemplified by Omega’s cross body onto the commentators table, a classic WWE move and one that would see Omega crash and burn, missing Jericho and going through the table and monitors. After the brawl outside the ring and brief dominance inside the ring by Jericho it would be a more orthodox snap hurricanrana, clothesline and suicide dive that would get Omega back on the front foot. In the chaos and insanity of the No DQ stipulation it was these moves that Omega would use to regain the ascendancy in the match. Even when he put Jericho through a table it would be off the back of a trademark V-Trigger knee.

"I am cold like December snow
I have carved out this soul made of stone
And I will drag you down and sell you out
Embraced by the darkness, I'm losing the light
Encircled by demons, I fight"


In contrast to Omega’s innocence and strength amongst order, Jericho would be the one to pull the bout down from his opponent's lofty standards. Jericho had once been in Omega’s shoes, breaking away from the pack of wrestlers and setting a creative mark beyond where anyone had gone before. That was 10 years ago though and after multiple comebacks and years within the WWE machine, what was left was a bitter man, jealous not only of the new bar Omega was setting but also the freedom Omega got to express his pure pro wrestling outside of the corporate trappings of the world’s biggest wrestling organisation. Jericho came to NJPW not just to win a match but to drag down this new poster boy who now represented everything Jericho couldn’t be.

This version of Jericho would revel in the chaos of the No DQ stipulation, the first bit of offence he got would be as a result of throwing the ref into Omega, momentarily distracting his opponent. The disrespect and anger towards not only his opponent but the entire NJPW organisation would be brought to the fore so emphatically in the chaos he created on the outside of the ring. After goading Omega into flying through the announcer's desk he would destroy the whole booth, threatening the entire broadcast when he pulled out the sound for the English Commentators. He would attack the beloved referee Red Shoes Unno and then put Unno’s son, a NJPW rookie, in the Walls of Jericho. On the outside Y2J was at the center of a beautiful tornado of chaos, throwing tables, monitors and chairs at his opponent.

That kind of chaotic action couldn’t help but reference back to the WWE Attitude Era, a comparison made even more clear by the emotional work of the commentators Kevin Kelly and Don Callis who could be heard screaming in the background at Jericho’s dastardly acts, even when unplugged. Jericho not only lived through the Attitude Era but rose through the ranks of the WWE during it, no wonder that when he created these surroundings he was able to dominate a man who was only a wide eyed teenager at the time.

Once they made it back in the ring Jericho made it his mission to deflower Omega throwing him into a chair until blood appeared, sullying Omega, destroying his pristine nature for the second time in the feud.

"What have I become, now that I've betrayed
Everyone I've ever loved, I pushed them all away
And I have been a slave to the Judas in my mind
Is there something left for me to save
In the wreckage of my life, my life"


“We’re seeing a whole new side of Kenny Omega tonight and by God Chris Jericho has pulled it out of him.”


Not just a Fozzy quote this time but also Don Callis, the colour commentator for the NJPW English broadcast. I mentioned the commentators before but special mention does need to be made to how they elevated the emotion and intensity of this match. With this particular line Callis managed to succinctly sum up the ending that saw Omega take his wrestling strength and combine it with the the violent lessons he learnt from Chris Jericho throughout the No DQ match.

After Jericho saved himself from the first One Winged Angel with a veteran rope break Omega would go back into another finishing sequence but this time incorporate the chair Jericho had previously been brutalising him with. After a series of V-Triggers he would throw the chair at Jericho, hoist his opponent up on his shoulders and at the last moment deftly flick the same chair to the center of the ring with his foot and then deliver the One Winged Angel onto it for the win. This ending perfectly combined the crisp and fluid in ring moves Omega is known for with the No DQ stipulation, allowing Omega to put his own twist on the gimmick to finish the match. In the story of the match Jericho would ultimately fail to completely pull Omega down to his level but Omega would indeed learn a new move or two from the veteran performer.

"I'm becom-, I'm becom-, I'm becoming
I'm becom-, I'm becom-, I'm becoming
Judas in, Judas in my mind"


If you haven’t seen this incredible match you owe it to yourself as a wrestling fan to seek it out. My first watch through left me with my mouth agape for much of the match as these two weaved this brutally chaotic tale. Omega and Jericho not only stole the show, they did it with something completely different to the other matches on the card. If Kenny Omega ever wanted to audition for the WWE then this tape is his calling card but honestly why would he want to go there when the WWE’s top stars are now coming to him? Jericho was also elevated with the performance and it looks like he is going to be involved in future NJPW shows as well. When he returns to the WWE he will be all the better for it.

For various reasons I don’t give matches star ratings but just four days into the year I think Omega and Jericho have set a bar that is going to be tough for anyone to beat in 2018.

But over to you LOP, what did you think of Kenny Omega v Chris Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom 12? Let me know in the comments below or why not head down to the LOP Forums and let me know there.




Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my book, 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die, from the LOP Store or Amazon today! Simply click here to find mine and a host of other books and merchandise on offer, all courtesy of LOP, or on the icon to the left to be taken directly to Amazon!





Click here to add me on Facebook!

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