KUSHIDA (c) vs ACH
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
2300 Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
(reviewed 05/30/2016) This easily has the potential to be a MOTY but I somehow doubt it’ll end up being one. From the outset, it’s clear that ACH is going to play more of a heel-ish role, which is interesting. They start with some basic grappling and chaining, which really isn’t ACH’s strong suit. Likewise, they do a bit of a comedy spot where KUSHIDA hits ACH with the Stone Cold Stunner, usually ACH’s move, and it comes across pretty flat. Thankfully things pick up a bit when they start to fly and play to the strengths both of them have, as opposed to trying to adapt to what only one of them does well. It sort of falls apart again when they transition into armwork, though, with KUSHIDA looking to soften ACH up for the Hoverboard Lock. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like these two are doing their respective regular shticks with just barely less energy than they usually do it, but that small lack of emphasis and impact makes all the difference in the world. Like, I love watching these two wrestle and think they’re two of the hardest-working guys in wrestling today, but this match underachieves on every level, and it’s hard to tell why, and it’s clear that both of these guys realize they’re sort of shitting the bed and hate it. Business picks up towards the end when they start hitting signatures and going into falsies, but it’s too little too late.