Will Ospreay (c) VS Marty Scurll - NJPW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship 4/1/2018
JJZ: This was a no brainer for me. In my top three matches of the year. Ospreay is one of the best in the wrestling world right now, he has evolved into a complete wrestler that tells you a story that you never want to end. Now Marty, I'm 50/50 on the Villain. He can be great or he overstays his welcome. But that isn't the case in this match at all. This match is a present for you Chris. I hope you enjoy it.
CJD: I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth. There's a lot about this match I loved. But as was the case with previous Ospreay/Scurll matches I've seen, I think they took things too far. This match told a complete story, reached a logical conclusion. Then it kept going for a few more minutes and it made so much of what they worked so hard to build feel less important. Make no mistake that for almost a half hour these are the best babyface Will Ospreay and maestro Marty Scrull performances I've ever seen. I feel similarly on the Villain, I often think he's a great entrance and cool character on paper who doesn't translate in the ring. That wasn't the case here, he was methodical, nasty, everything he did in the ring had purpose. Ospreay's selling and sometimes inadvertent continuous punishment to his neck was reminiscent of an action movie like Die Hard or Shoot 'Em Up. It just kept getting more ridiculous but it worked. But by the end I wanted a little less. I know you don't feel the same, but that's my honest opinion.
JJZ: I knew the only way I could get you to watch this match was to force it on you. I couldn't disagree with you more about the end stretch. I think they nailed it with this match. These two always went too far. Sometimes so far I didn't even want to watch the finish. But when the finish happened in this match I was like "Yes! They got it perfect this time."
CJD: In order to continue this conversation I'm going to have to touch on some vague spoilers, so if our readers don't want to know how this match ends, then proceed no further until you WATCH THE MATCH...
CJD: I think they were close but I don't think they nailed it. They went so far above and beyond selling the neck that they made it difficult to convince me Ospreay could win. Scurll didn't just have him beat. He had him brutalized and utterly defeated. If they wanted this to be Ospreay's big upset over Scurll, there needed to be more of a triumph or a shocking moment.
JJZ: In regards to the neck selling, it's been an injury for months so the Villain going after it so ruthlessly made perfect storytelling.
CJD: That makes my point even worse though. Ospreay shouldn't have been able to perform at a basic level by the end of the match!
JJZ: I totally understand what you're saying but just disagree with it being a negative. I viewed the end of the match as Ospreay barely grabbing victory with the jaws of defeat about to bite down.
CJD: You felt it was believable that Ospreay beat Scurll when he did and how he did?
JJZ: Yeah. He hit him with his finisher in a slightly surprising and different way.
CJD: Fair enough. I'll let it marinate and go back and watch another time. Either way, even if it had to be forced on me, I'm glad you got me to sit down to this one.