Wrestlemania is around the corner, and the two biggest matches on the card so far involve a total of one full-time wrestler (Roman Reigns), and he is just not over with the crowds as the WWE wants him to be. This got me thinking about what it is we as fans want to see. We want to see big events. We want to see competitive matches. We want to see things we haven’t seen before. We want to see once-in-a-lifetime matchups. We want to see things we never thought we’d see. Not just the culmination of a storyline, but something epic.
That is what Wrestlemania used to bring. Hogan versus Andre. Angle versus Michaels. Rock versus Cena. Savage versus Warrior. Undertaker versus Lesnar. Warrior versus Hogan. Savage versus Flair. These were all dream matches that we wanted to see. The WWF/WWE made them happen in spectacular fashion, not always with the result we hoped for, but we watched excitedly.
Let me touch on that last one I mentioned for a moment, Savage versus Flair. I remember back in school I used to get into arguments with friends of mine about who would win in hypothetical matches between the WWF stars and the champions of other companies, most notably Ric Flair with the NWA and Rick Martel for a time with the AWA. I even remember one of the wrestling magazines dedicating a three-part series to a fantasy round-robin tournament between WWF champion Hulk Hogan, NWA champion Ric Flair, and AWA champion Rick Martel (Which, if I remember correctly, ended with each person having one win and one loss. What lousy fantasy booking.). Of course, whomever was arguing the case for Flair would normally win the argument.
Then Flair went over to the WWF and all of a sudden we had a chance to see some of these dream matches actually happen. And we ate it up. We bought the PPVs, looked forward to the live events, had heated discussions with our friends over who was going to ACTUALLY win these dream matches. It was fun and we were able to suspend our disbelief because we were engaged with these characters in ways I don’t feel engaged with now.
I started thinking about what dream matches are left out there. There could be some pretty big matches with some of the NXT folks as they come up to the main roster. In much the same way we are seeing AJ Styles versus Chris Jericho now. I think when Styles first debuted, everyone got excited about seeing such a dream matchup. But I think we can all agree their matches have been underwhelming. It is probably because Jericho in 2016 is not Jericho in 2006, and we dreamed of the match with both superstars in their prime.
So the NXT folks could come up and have a ton of great matches. I know I am looking forward to seeing more of Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, and Finn Balor. I am looking forward to seeing Shinsuke Nakamura wrestling everyone in WWE. But what matchups would be dream matchups for me? Where the two competitors are in their prime and we haven’t seen it a hundred times before. I really had a hard time coming up with something that would meet the level of awesome as those I mentioned before.
With one exception. Neither of these wrestlers are even in the WWE at this time. That would obviously make a Wrestlemania event non-existent, but I don’t even care, because I really want to see these two battle. And not even just once. I want to see a series of matches between these two. Because I think they would be the best thing in wrestling in a long, long time. I am talking about Ring of Honor Heavyweight Champion Jay Lethal and the IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. And given the working relationship between ROH and New Japan Pro Wrestling, maybe someone can read this and pass it along to make it happen. (Hey, I can hope, right?)
Here is how I see it going down:
- Jay Lethal and Truth Martini push for a title match for the IWGP Heavyweight title using the logic that Lethal beat AJ Styles and sent him running off with his tail between his legs. By extension, he is deserving of a title shot. Lethal could wrestle a few more matches in New Japan to really build him up, and finally Okada would accept the match.
- Lethal would win the match and the IWGP Heavyweight title in a bit of a surprise through some outside interference from Truth Martini and the House of Truth. Okada would be stunned and vow to regain his title.
- Okada and Gedo would challenge Lethal to defend the title in Japan at a big event. The match would headline the card and Okada would come away with the victory and the title. It would come down to some Truth Martini interference backfiring and Gedo interfering to help Okada retake the belt.
- The loss would drive Lethal mad, and he would demand another shot at Okada. Okada and Gedo would agree to another match, but not for the IWGP Heavyweight title, but for Lethal’s Ring of Honor Heavyweight title. A similar lead up could occur with Okada spending some time in ROH, winning some high profile matches until Lethal agreed to the match at a big ROH event.
- Okada would win the third match between the two with multiple Rainmakers after a long match, leaving Okada with both belts.
- Lethal would demand a rematch, even going so far as to attack Gedo to make Okada accept.
- The rematch for the Ring of Honor Heavyweight title would see Lethal winning with multiple Lethal Injections. This would bring back the status quo with Okada holding the IWGP Heavyweight title and Lethal holding the Ring of Honor Heavyweight title and each man holding two victories over the other.
- At this point, there could be a prolonged storyline develop between Ring of Honor and New Japan. The ROH wrestlers would be cocky about Lethal being the better wrestler and the NJPW wrestlers would be adamant that Okada is the better wrestler. These arguments would play out in several confrontations between the two groups, leading to a number of spectacular matches and sub-storylines (e.g. where would Michael Elgin’s loyalties lie, etc) Other storylines would continue through this time with Okada and Lethal continuing to defend their titles and really bringing their championships to a super-high level.
- Finally, Lethal and Okada would wind up in the ring together in the middle of a crazy brawl. Both men would nod at each other and leave the ring. They would also leave their managers behind. Gedo and Truth Martini would try to talk to them individually, but neither man would listen.
- Lethal and Okada would announce one more match, neither title would be on the line, and neither man would have their seconds with them. It would just be Okada versus Lethal to find out, once and for all, who is the best wrestler/champion in the world.
- The match would be hyped to the moon with both ROH and NJPW touting their champions and their organizations as the best. The event could be huge if done right, rivaling any Wrestlemania event the WWE could present.
- And who would win that last match? Honestly, I wouldn’t care. It would be a long, exciting, intricate, one-on-one match with no outside interference. It would be the great culmination of their previous four matches, with several callbacks to previous spots. And at the end, both men would be spent. No matter who won, they would shake hands and embrace at the end of the match, each man returning to their organization as their unquestioned ace.
Anyway, that is the dream match left out there in my mind. What are some of yours? Leave comments below and let me know what I’ve forgotten.
Until next time, I’ll leave you with the greatest moment in TNA history…
Tags: IWGP Heavyweight, Jay Lethal, kazuchika okada, new japan pro wrestling, njpw, Ring of Honor, ROH