Editor's Note: Every day this week, we'll take you back to one of Dave Meltzer's top-rated matches of the past year, starting with No. 10 and going through No. 1. What follows is an edited version of Dave's writeup of that match from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter with the context relatively intact.
Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada
G1 Climax B Block Finals | August 12
The highest caliber G-1 Climax tournament in history had perhaps the most predictable ending. We had 37 of the 91 matches rated **** or better, and that was a low figure since the consensus I’ve seen was 40. The A block with the ridiculous depth had 23 of 45, while the B block had 13 of 45, with the championship match being the 37th. That’s far beyond any other tournament of its type in history. There have been tournaments with a lot of great matches, but not with this level of depth.
Kenny Omega pinned Kazuchika Okada in 24:40 to win the B block
This match was just off the charts and easily one of the most spectacular matches there’s ever been. Once again, they did a different match and told a different story. The key was that Omega (6-2) had to win in under 30:00 or Okada (6-1-1) would go to the finals, and Okada only needed the draw. But in the story, Okada made it clear he wasn’t looking to coast for the draw, and he was about to get the win after their previous draw.
Both came out trying to win right away, but missed their big moves. After Omega blocked the dropkick the first time, Okada hit it on Omega, who sitting on the top rope, knocking him to the floor. He whipped Omega into the barricade, knocked him over it, and did a running crossbody over the barricade which caused Omega to fly over the front row seats into the second row.
Okada was selling his neck which was all taped up, so Omega kept chopping it. Omega used a pescado and a missile dropkick to the back of Okada’s head, followed by a running Billy Robinson backbreaker. Omega got his knees up on a senton and Okada got his knees up on the You Can’t Escape/moonsault combo. Omega hit a Frankensteiner and teased the Terminator dive, but Okada jumped in the ring and hit a flapjack. Omega went for a springboard, but as he stood on the top rope, Okada dropkicked him to the floor. That was crazy timing. Then Omega did a reverse Frankensteiner on the floor on Okada, who landed on the top of his head. That played off more since the story of the match was working the neck and the doctor came out to tease stopping the match.
Omega used a snap dragon suplex on the apron and later hit two V triggers, causing Gedo to tease throwing in the towel. Omega continued to work on the neck but Okada blocked a V trigger. Omega came back and went for the One Winged Angel, but Okada reversed it into a tombstone piledriver. Okada followed with a missile dropkick and a Woo dropkick. He then hit one of the most amazing dropkicks you’ll ever seen, the photos of which are mind-blowing.
After a German suplex, Okada went for a Rainmaker. Omega ducked and dropped him on his neck with a uranage. He went for the One Winged Angel but Okada escaped and hit the Rainmaker. He went for another and Omega cradled him and also hit a backslide. Okada hit another Rainmaker, but Omega ducked the next one. Omega hit two German suplexes, the second a high angle one. Omega hit another reverse Frankensteiner for a near fall. Okada blocked a One Winged Angel but from that position of Okada escaping, Omega hit a German suplex, the Crunch Warp. Okada hit another dropkick, went for the Rainmaker, Omega ducked it, hit the V trigger, then followed by a Jay Driller, another V Trigger and the One Winged Angel for the pin.
Again, this tournament was the best in history, but there was nothing up to this point, not even Tanahashi vs. Naito, that was at the level this was.
Omega vs. Okada was the third match of what had been as good a first two matches as you’ll ever see. This is very much the modernized Flair vs. Steamboat 1989 program with the three national matches where people have debated which of the three was the best because all were classics and completely different. Because of the 30:00 time limit, it was faster paced with the Omega time limit/Okada draw storyline. I was told that Omega considered this the best of the three matches. To me, I felt this was every bit as good as their Tokyo Dome match, but there is a drama of building for 60 minutes that you can’t do in 24:40. But, it’s all taste. The match built off the first two, was faster paced, and was more dynamic.
If you’re not into the building of the match and drama of exhaustion and just want fast-paced explosive action, this was the best of the three for you.