This weekend saw the collision of two of Japan's biggest stars over the last two years. Takagi defeated Okada in 2021 for the IWGP World Championship after Ospreay vacated the title only to drop it that very man, Kazuchika Okada, at Wrestle Kingdom 16. I'm covering this match as part of my Cagematch 9+ in 2023 challenge, it's currently sitting at 9.51 after 157 votes.
My quick personal viewpoints don't sit with that Cagematch rating at all. To gain a 9.51 rating you have to garner loads of 10/10 ratings; thereby it should be one of the best of all time or one of the best of the year... Cagematch ratings have grown to mean the latter, but neither is true of this match. I believe it gained the buzz that leads to a 9.51/10 via the Okada formula.
That formula is when Okada keeps the match running pretty slow for the first ten minutes, smatters in some intrigue in the middle of the match before ramping things up in the last phase. Don't get me wrong, the last ten minutes of this match are tremendous, but i was flirting with boredom before we got to the 22nd minute.
Kazuchika Okada is one of my top 5 wrestlers of all time. He's been in some of the legitimately greatest matches of all time; vs Tanahashi, vs Omega and vs Shibata. But there are different ways to structure matches and he could do with switching it up. (In my opinion!)
Below you will find the in-ring statistics from this match along with graphics illustrating the structure/performances and comparisons between this match and other matches between the two men as well as other great matches from this year.
Kazuchika Okada vs Shingo Takagi - In-ring Statistics/Analysis
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