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    Wednesday, May 13, 2020

    The Supercard (5/13/20): Is it Really A Match?


    Wrestling matches used to be simple. A couple of men agree that they will pretend to fistfight. You get someone to play the referee. You have a few people to watch. You've got a wrestling match. Nowadays, it's not that simple.

    In 2020, there exists a conflict in the wrestling fandom. At the center of that conflict remains a single question: is it a wrestling match? With wrestlers and promoters all over the world looking for the next cool style, there comes a little tension from wrestling purists on what and what shouldn't be considered as pro wrestling.

    This week on Supercard, I present to you three matches that turned heads and changed the game. Whether one is against that or not, no one can deny these matches of the polarizing effect they had in getting people to talk about wrestling in new and different contexts.

    Undercard: Yoshihiko (Doll) vs Kota Ibushi (c) in a singles match for the KO-D Openweight Championship



    Kayfabe is something of an unspoken rule in wrestling but has been proven time and time again to not be a 100% requirement. Promotions and wrestlers have stretched kayfabe to make stylistic decisions to what works and what doesn't in their own canon. Although DDT Pro-Wrestling in Japan is known for its stretching of what kayfabe means, this match on paper can be considered as the epitome of "unrealistic."

    If you didn't know, the modern-day Adonis known as Kota Ibushi has indeed, in fact, wrestled a doll. This is not a rib. The same man who faced Okada at the Tokyo Dome this year legitimately believed that wrestling a doll would get over. Mind you, this was for DDT's top prize.

    Despite what people think, I believe that this just proved how damn good Kota Ibushi is as a wrestler. The man can look like a million bucks while literally fighting an inanimate object by making said object look like an actual threat. It can be argued that a less skilled wrestler would have made this a straight laughing stock. When you add someone as talented as Ibushi, it becomes a laughingstock with a purpose.

    Will Ospreay vs Ricochet in a singles match, Best of the Super Juniors


    The team formerly known as the Revival's gimmick is very much based on the old school mentality a lot of old school wrestlers have on the current in0ring product. "No Flips, Just Fists" is exactly the mindset one is expected to have if a more catch wrestling grappling style is what they grew up on.

    Big Van Vader, a wrestling legend, had quite a lot to say concerning this match between two of today's premiere "flippy" guys. This caused a very heated Twitter feud between Ospreay and Vader, which sparked the conversation amongst wrestling fans old and new on what in-ring style should be seen as legitimate.

    In my opinion, if you look at the match, although the style is different for some people, the storytelling and psychology that's at the core of wrestling is still present. This is why I consider this to be a wrestling match and a bloody good one at that. Both men's fast-paced style, complimented by the hard-hitting ways of New Japan, make for an exciting match to watch and one you could see over and over again.

    Plus, the Ricochet and Ospreay superhero landing spot (you know the one I'm talking about) is just plain badass.

    Matt Hardy vs Jeff Hardy in The Final Deletion,  Impact Wrestling


    What started off as a bitter blood feud between the legendary Hardys became something much more integral to wrestling history. The Final Deletion is that integral piece.

    The premise of the story is centered around Matt Hardy's descent into madness due to the jealousy he feels for his brother. This causes the brothers to face off but it was never really clear as to how they would. Impact Wrestling then blessed us to the first of what would be called "cinematic matches." Without this match, there would arguably have been no Boneyard Match or Firefly Funhouse Match at Wrestlemania 36.

    (I know I did firsts last week but they overlap so I'm rolling with it.)

    From this single video, we got the lore behind the Broken Matt Hardy character. Señor Benjamin, King Maxwell. Vanguard 1. The Lake of Reincarnation. The word 'Deletion'. These story elements will be the base for what will be known as the 'Broken Universe' moving forward as it would spread to different promotions.

    The content of the actual match is something I cannot spoil to the uninitiated. I will just say this: it still blows my mind that any wrestling promotion tried to something like this. And looking back, I am undeniably grateful that they did.

    Photos and videos from New Japan Pro Wrestling, DDT Pro Wrestling, and Impact Wrestling

    *****

    Jacob Tambunting is a freshman at the Ateneo de Manila University currently studying BS Psychology. In his high school years, he authored plays for competitions, essays for projects, and fan fiction for fun.  He currently lives with his two parents, his two siblings, and his two dogs, and is probably writing something angsty on his 10-year-old laptop.
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    Item Reviewed: The Supercard (5/13/20): Is it Really A Match? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jacob Tambunting
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