Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Project 33" - Match #135: Devitt vs. Ibushi

Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi
13 June, 2010
Korakuen Hall; Tokyo, Japan
2010 Best of the Super Junior - Finals

This was a damn good match.  This was the final match of the 2010 "Best of the Super Juniors" tournament, which is held almost every year by New Japan Pro Wrestling.  Because of the mixture of wrestlers from different promotions, regions, and nations, it is often a unique tournament where a lot of different styles mesh together; which usually means that it is pretty cool to watch.  NJPW has been putting up "Digests" of the 2011 tournament, and it looks to be an exciting tournament once again. 

This match was interesting, because there is not a lot of "psychology" behind it.  So often people stereotype different styles of wrestling, but so often the misconceptions of the fans ends up breading a total misunderstanding of what a certain style is actually all about.  For example, people tend to think of puroresu as matches filled with nothing but guys getting dropped on their head, and ridiculous kicks.  Fans will often talk about how psychology-filled matches are in Japan, and how much wrestling in the US needs to be more like Japan, with the pure sports build. 

Perhaps, but this match is none of those things.  This match features two guys going out there and killing each other.  The psychology isn't a heel working over a babyface's body part for ten minutes, for the babyface to make a grand comeback.  No, instead we have a crowd wanting to see one wrestler, Devitt, beat the other, Ibushi.  So the two duke it out, going blow for blow, move for move, with the odds escalating higher and more dangerous.  The crowd gasps every time Ibushi makes a cover, and sighs relief when Devitt kicks out.  The fans pop when Devitt nails a great move, only to feel Devitt's frustration when Ibushi does not stay down for the count. 

Psychology, in reality, is about drawing the crowd in and making them believe.  A good wrestling match should give you that same feeling as a tie game with the clock running down, and there only being time for one play, one shot - left.  There are many ways to get there, and in this case, Ibushi and Devitt do it well.

The only thing that takes away from this match, to me, is the stoppage of the match at the end, when officials check to see if Ibushi can continue.  To me, that killed the momentum of the match.  Maybe if it was only the referee checking, and the other officials plead with him from ringside, it wouldn't have been as drastic.  But, with a handful of people in the ring checking on Ibushi, all it did was tip the hand that Devitt was going to win.

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