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#MustWatchMonday (6/4/18): The Modern-Day Broadway


In the carny insider language of pro wrestling, a "broadway" is a code word for a match to go to an hour-long draw. Back when mainstream wrestling was slower—almost as slow as time itself—the idea of fighting for an hour to a draw was way more common, keeping both men equal while the crowd stays on their toes.

One would think that there isn't really a place for something that long nowadays. Any wrestling show more than three hours is already way too long for us—what more an hour-long match? With no decisive finish, at that? You can make all the arguments about TV and music eroding the individual attention span in this century, but long is long. How would you go about it?

New Japan Pro Wrestling found the answer in last year's Dominion event: you stick two of your best guys in the ring, and the hour will take care of itself. When Kenny Omega failed to defeat the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada at last year's Wrestle Kingdom 11, he found his way back to the title picture after the champ allowed him another shot.

We now know that the resulting broadway by Omega and Okada is one of the best matches of 2017 anywhere in wrestling—and a week before the fourth match in their hot series on this year's Dominion show, NJPW found it in their hearts to give us the full match. For free.


If you've got an hour to kill, I highly encourage you to watch this match. It's your typical NJPW main event style: real wrestling in the first half to establish themselves as athletes, then the fun, dramatic, more choreographed stuff in the second half. You know the drill.

This second entry in their rivalry is much better than the first—where the first meeting was but a blank canvas for them to establish themselves, in this one you can pinpoint the exact moments Omega's hubris led to the draw. It sets up their next meeting, the Block B finals of last year's G1 Climax (which is much shorter) well.

But going by this match, everything that's happened to Kenny since then, and the fact that this will be two out of three falls, this year may finally be the year of Omega. We'll eat our hats if it isn't.

Photo from NJPW

*****

Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry, one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, and is associated with Philippine Wrestling Revolution. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul. He likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account.

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