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Dave Meltzer's top-rated matches of 2018: Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi

Omega vs. Ibushi

Throughout the week leading into December 31st, we'll take you back to some of Dave Meltzer's top-rated matches of the past year, starting with the five star matches and ending up with a seven star classic.

15 matches got the five star treatment while six matches garnered ratings above that level.

What follows is an edited version of Dave's writeup from the match from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, available in full for subscribers. Also, we want to give a big shoutout to Cagematch.net who makes research for this list ridiculously easy. 

Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi
NJPW G1 Climax Semifinals | August 11, 2018
*****1/2

"Omega vs. Ibushi was huge and drew the biggest next-to-last night crowd in G-1 history. Part of that was it was the larger Budokan Hall, but it has been years since the next to last night sold out the big configuration at Sumo Hall, and it was easily the most anticipated block final match since the mainstream 90s heyday.

It drew 12,023 paid, a sellout with standing room. There was a stage and such so they didn’t have the number of seats opened in the All Japan sellout days, or even the 90s set-up when New Japan used the building. Usually the second night of G-1's last three does around 7,500, so this really speaks to the drawing power of Omega vs. Ibushi as much as anything, especially since it sold out in advance and demand got stronger after no tickets were left.

The fans were way behind Ibushi at the start. Omega did sick chops and Ibushi did hard kicks. Each did middle rope moonsaults and the other countered with knees up. The story here is that these two were training partners and knew the spots before they came. They traded Frankensteiners. Ibushi got out of a One Winged Angel off the apron and Omega got out of the power German superplex. Omega came back with a tombstone on the apron and a missile dropkick to the back, a chop to the back of the head and a V trigger to the back of the head. Omega brought back Croyt’s Wrath, which starts as a One Winged Angel and ends up as a German suplex. Omega hit a running V trigger, a tornado DDT, and hit the Terminator dive. Ibushi used a Pele kick with Omega on the middle rope. Omega teased a piledriver off the top rope and Ibushi blocked and turned it into a Super Frankensteiner. Ibushi hit a top rope moonsault to the floor. Ibushi did a devastating looking standing moonsault into double knees to the chest.

Then came the trademark spot of the match.

Omega went for the dragon superplex that he did in the first Okada match, and did it, but Ibushi flipped in mid air and landed on his feet. The next several minutes were just insane with big moves, killer lariats, and sick V triggers. Omega hit the Rites of Passage for a near fall,. He tried a One Winged Angel off the middle rope but Ibushi hit elbows and then did a double foot stomp from that position. Ibushi then won after a Tiger driver and the Kamagoye.

The creativity here was incredible and the explosions in the strikes and all the offense was unreal. The scary part is that I was told live this was Omega-Okada level because you couldn’t appreciate just how hard they were hitting while watching."