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31 Days of Wrestling (12/25/18): Golden Love and War

Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2018 produced for us.

Let's get this out of the way: there was no way that this match between two of the best in the world isn't going to be a part of our annual look-back. 

Together, they wreak havoc in the entire tag team scene as the Golden☆Lovers—two freakishly athletic ikemen (translation: hot dudes) who are always down to fight whoever is in their way, even a blowup doll. Individually, Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi continue to raise the hairs at the back of our necks by raising the bar of how great wrestling matches should be (as seen in our past 31 Days of Wrestling entries that featured both guys more than once). 


They say that the best teams make better rivals, and boy that statement can't be any more true between the Best Bout Machine and the Golden Star.


Six years removed from their first match at Nippon Budokan and lots (and I mean lots) of other things in between, the duo once again found themselves on the opposite ends of the ring with much higher stakes. After Tama Tonga screwed up both of their second to the last (and very crucial) G1 matches, Ibushi is in a must-win situation over Omega in order to advance to the Finals. Omega, who is as determined to make history, only needed at least a draw to go reach the Finals for the third time in a row.

The match starts off with Omega and Ibushi seemingly wrestling mirror images of themselves. They know each other so well that they have counters for every attack, the result of being each other’s wrestling soulmate, the piece that completes each other’s puzzles.



Omega had Ibushi’s number during the first few moments of the match, displaying the right amount of physicality and cold calculation to show how and why he is the reigning champion. 

As the match progressed, it becomes evident why they dreaded the day they had to face each other again. They knew they would pour their hearts out every time, and they are scared of what the other is capable of doing.



In the end, Ibushi once again stood tall over his partner. But one thing is certain now: they are indeed stronger together.



Omega and Ibushi's story continues to withstand their brutal tête-à-tête's. The athleticism of both men certainly added an awe factor in their matches, but it is always the storytelling—the smallest of details—that will leave a mark to fans.


***


31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2018.

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