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    Monday, July 10, 2017

    #MustWatchMonday: Kenny Omega vs. Tomohiro Ishii (IWGP US Championship)

    On July 2, NJPW held the second night of their two day G1 Special in the United States. This second night featured Hiroshi Tanahashi defending his IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Billy Gunn (a match that is the complete opposite of a must-watch), and the finals of the tournament to crown the inaugural IWGP United States Champion.

    The semi-finals were held during the first half of the show, and had Kenny Omega beating Jay Lethal and Tomohiro Ishii defeating Zack Sabre Jr. to set up the main event (if you have the time and the means to watch these matches, I highly suggest that you do). This match would mark the third time these two wrestlers have met in 2017, the first being a New Japan Cup tournament match which Omega lost, and a rematch at Wrestling Dontaku where they evened up their record. That being said, this match, while being the tournament final, also acts as the rubber match for the two wrestlers.

    Omega and Ishii had huge expectations placed on them owing to the critical acclaim their first two matches received, as well as the looming shadow of being the first IWGP U.S. Champion. Boy, did they deliver. Omega has such a compelling way of dishing out his offense, and Ishii is just such an amazing underdog that you can't help but root for him. If I had to choose one spot as my favorite, it would be Ishii biting down on the ropes to try and stop Omega from suplexing him to the floor through the apron. That defiance and passion really keeps your eyes glued to the screen, and leaves you wanting more.

    Omega ends up winning this match, and becomes the first IWGP United States Champion. This is huge because this tournament—and that championship—doesn't only act as some random prop to trot around when they go to the United States. It represents New Japan's resolve to expand to a global audience. Whether or not this attempt will work remains to be seen, but placing the title on Kenny Omega, who is probably the most recognizable wrestler outside of the WWE right now—barring former WWE talents who have been future endeavored—is definitely the right first move.

    While I've provided a stream for this video, I highly recommend subscribing to NJPW's streaming service: NJPW World. You can subscribe for a fee of only PhP 440 per month.

    What did you think of the match? Do you think NJPW's expansion to the United States will succeed? Leave a comment below!


    Brandon Sy is a PhD student in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics currently based in Sydney. Since he wasn't allowed to watch wrestling as a kid, he's been overcompensating ever since. Despite being a huge fan of Japanese wrestling, he still holds a soft spot in his heart for WWE's Kane. He's good for recommending matches from pretty much anywhere, whether it be Japan, Europe, the US or Mexico. He'd be ecstatic if you watched Dragon Gate though.
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    Item Reviewed: #MustWatchMonday: Kenny Omega vs. Tomohiro Ishii (IWGP US Championship) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: bodonium
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