It’s what many professional wrestlers crave, the perfect five-star match rating. Over the past decade few North American wrestling matches have been awarded the certificate of perfection, the most recent being Davey Richards versus Michael Elgin from Showdown in the Sun day two which occurred on WrestleMania weekend last year in Miami.
Other notable matches to have received the feat include Bret Hart versus Stone Cold Steve Austin’s WrestleMania 13 “I Quit” match where Austin passed out due to the pain of the Sharpshooter and featured the famous double alignment turn, Bret Hart versus Owen Hart’s WrestleMania X clash which opened the show and AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe’s Unbreakable Triple Threat match for the X-Division Championship.
As in the field of film, a rating is a largely subjective affair that may take into account the amount of action, as opposed to restholds, the difficulty and variety of moves used, the history of the workers and their feud, the development of an in-match storyline based on the wrestling moves and how they affect the wrestlers, and the overall reaction of the crowd.
Dave Meltzer is recognized as the official bearer of Five-Star Matches in professional wrestling by all wrestling publications including the Wrestling Observer, Pro Wrestling Illustrated and in the 1990’s even by WWE and Jim Crockett Promotions/World Championship Wrestling – WCW would only receive a single Five Star Match rating under their name, that being the 1992 War Games.
Having watched the match only moments ago Tanashai and Okada are deserving of the rating. Having witnessed two of their previous singles meetings the duo have a CM Punk/John Cena like chemistry with one another, like their American counterparts their situations are very similar, with fans in Japan favoring the heel Okada over the face of NJPW and all around good guy Hiroshi Tanashai.
Okada will be recognized by some as the short-term sidekick of Samoa Joe in 2010 in a parody of the then recently released Green Hornet film. Upon returning to Japan Okada adapted a “Rainmaker” becoming an overnight top bad guy, defeating Tanashai for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in February of 2012.
Over the past year Okada has garnered a large fan following, Tokyo Sports magazine even rating him as the MVP in all of puroseu, the Japanese style of wrestling sometimes referred to on the American independent circuit as American strong-style, adapted by several workers, most notably Davey Richards.
The match can be found above on Dailymotion, it is from last Sunday’s NJPW iPPV Invasion Attack which could be seen live on uStream for those outside Japan. NJPW are currently in the process of setting up an English broadcast for iPPV events, something which will enhance the production of their shows for foreigners.
Also on the card, Alex Shelley and KUSHIDA, The Time Splitters defended their IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team titles against Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi, Apollo 55, and NWA World Heavyweight Champion Rob Conway faced Satoshi Kojima.