Jabroni Journal: Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay

The Match That Has The Internet Talking

June 1, 2016

If you're not satisfied with the current American pro wrestling climate, or you just want to check out what's going on elsewhere, here's a great place to start. For those unfamiliar, New Japan Pro Wrestling is the current leader in Japanese pro wrestling. It's where wrestlers like Shinsuke Nakamura and Finn Balor got their start, and it's where veterans like Luke Gallows and AJ Styles have gone to reinvent themselves. Here in the states, NJPW has a cult-like following with diehard fans that prefer the hard-hitting and fast-paced in ring action. In Japan, though, it's quite the phenomenon. As the leader amongst a handful of Japanese wrestling companies, it's not uncommon for their larger Tokyo Dome shows to attract upwards of 50,000 attendees. 

One of the signatures of NJPW is the super-junior style. In America, this style would be referred to as "cruiserweight" style, where high-flying "smaller" wrestlers have their chance to shine. Wrestlers like Chris Benoit, Jushin Thunder Liger and Chris Jericho are veterans of the NJPW Best of the Super Junior Tounrament. The tournament has been dormant for a number of years, but due to the increase in popularity of their product - much thanks to their online streaming network "New Japan World" (think WWE Network of NJPW), they have brought it back to life. On May 27th, a match between British standout Will Ospreay and one of the most exciting wrestlers to watch today, Ricochet (aka Prince Puma from Lucha Underground) caught the eye of some grizzled wrestling veterans. 

After watching a short clip of the insanely acrobatic, athletic feats performed by both men, veteran beast Big Van Vader said the following on Twitter, among other comments. 

"Blantant acrobatics,no story,is there anything done in this video that relates to winning u could get 2 high school gymnast and put ona show"

Fans and wrestlers reacted quickly, either agreeing with Vader and saying the business is going down the toilet with "flippy, dippy, nonsense" or coming to the defense of Ricochet and Ospreay, claiming that the business is evolving from where it was. 

I can see where Vader is coming from, as this style of wrestling isn't for everyone. A good amount of the action in ring looks mighty pre-rehearsed and choreographed, but at the same time, you cannot deny the pure athleticism of the match. Plus, if you actually watch the entire match, which you have the option of doing above, you can see that they tell a pretty decent story throughout the competition and it's not just flippy stuff for the sake of doing flippy stuff. The story shows two of the most entertaining, show-off high flyers in the rin today trying to out shine each other with their cocky, showboat, high-speed, high-intensity style. There is hard hitting action, crazy suicide dives and a ton of near falls. 

I don't want to see every match on a card try to duplicate this style, but I think it damn sure has it's place and deserved to be in the running for match of the year. But what do you think? Do you think this is all just a display of gymnast prowess and not pro wrestling? Or do you enjoy seeing the over the top feats of insanity? But don't judge the match off a 5 second clip you saw on Twitter (like Vader did), watch the full match above and become informed of what the future looks like.