Prince Devitt vs. Davey Richards
11 December, 2010
Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium: Osaka, Japan
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match
Davey Richards is one of the most divisive wrestlers in the world right now. He seems to be a guy that fans love his style, or they seem to hate it, with very few people anywhere in the middle. I think part of it may be because he reminds people of Chris Benoit in his build and mannerisms - so they perhaps project their disgust at the Benoit tragedy at Richards. I don't know. Personally, I am not vary familiar with his work.
I can actually say the same thing about Prince Devitt. I met Devitt at the NWA Convention in 2005 in Nashville, and he was a pretty cool dude. He is now the ace of the New Japan Junior division, but I am not real familiar with his work, outside of his stuff from this year's Super Junior & G1 tournaments.
It is kinda weird, seeing the highlight package that opens this video, because both men speak English, so it comes off perfectly fine to an English speaking audience. Which brings me to a tangent: Why is no American promotion doing their television like this? You know, showing highlights of the wrestlers, and then short lockerroom promos mixed in with the highlights. That is something you might see on an NBA broadcast, or on an NFL pre-game show. It is very ESPN. In US wrestling, it seems like everyone thinks the fans wont pay attention unless they stand in a ring and talk for twenty minutes. I am absolutely serious when I say this; If you cannot watch that highlight package and figure out that Devitt is hurt because Richards deliberately injured his ribs, thus giving him and advantage in a championship match, then you are stupid.
Playing off that, Devitt attacked Richards at the outset of the match. I would like to point out that the babyface attacked the heel before the bell, and it made sense. It was logical. Too many people say things like "A babyface can never attack a heel first", which is a good rule-of-thumb, but should never be treated as a hard rule to follow. The beauty of professional wrestling is that anything can happen, if done logically. That is the essence of psychology. In this case, Devitt was injured by Richards in a cheap way, and him attacking early isn't unsportsmanlike or being a dick - it is payback.
Devitt takes a crazy amount of abuse from Richards in this match. I like a nice hard hitting match, but at some points, I thought it was a little ridiculous. I do not like when everything is so rapid fire that there isn't time to sell, and get over the pain and damage being done to the crowd. There were some points, such as when Rochards was kicking the shit outta Devitt in the corner, that I thought it was ridiculous. Yeah, Richards was kicking Devoitt really hard and it was making a loud sound, but Devitt didn't get a chance to put over the kicks, because they were just rapid fire. If it was part of a combo, that is different. But, Richards just nailed him with about twenty kicks in twenty seconds, and then went for a cover. At the end of the day, doesn't that make those kicks look weak?
All in all, I liked the match, but it wasn't really anything special. It certainly did have a big fight atmosphere though, and the Japanese crowd actually gave heat to Richards, and popped for Devitt, so the fans were into the match. Devitt certainly took a beating, and he looked pretty good here pulling out the win against a tough challenger. I will say that this match didn't really sway me in any direction on Richards though - he certainly seems to be an intense wrestler though, and I do enjoy that aspect.