Wednesday Wrestling Review: Kevin [Owens] Steen vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Last night on Smackdown the WWE promoted the "first time ever" meeting between Kevin Owens and Shinsuke Nakamura. That's only correct on a technicality.
That technicality is the fact that it was the first time that Kevin Owens (under that name) wrestled Nakamura. Or you could even go as far to say that it was the first time meeting in a WWE ring. What I can tell you is that it wasn't the first time they had a professional wrestling match together.
How's that saying go? Wait, hold my beer!
I wasn't the only one to notice. My friends with Ring of Honor released the full first time meeting between Owens (Kevin Steen) and Nakamura from ROH's War of the Worlds 2014 event.
The War of the Worlds show took place just over three years ago on May 17, 2014 inside of the Hammerstein (or HammerSteen as Steen use to call it) ballroom in New York City. The idea was simple...take the biggest ROH stars and match them with the biggest stars from New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW).
ROH and NJPW have grown their relationship over the last few years and this has become a yearly concept. The most recent joint shows just took place in Detroit, Toronto, Philadelphia and New York in May.
One of the reasons why they have grown so much is the idea of utilizing dream matches. ROH and NJPW did that on the first show with Steen and Nakamura.
Former ROH World Champion Kevin Steen would look to defend his home promotion against one of the top stars in NJPW and the IWGP Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion Shinsuke Nakamura.
In front of a crazy, New York City crowd the two fan favorites were met with a "this is awesome" chant before the bell even rang. Both guys in the early parts tried to one-up each other while the crowd completely ate it up.
Truthfully there was a lot that these guys had to live up to. They were a part of the main build to the show, two of the biggest stars of each promotion, and they were under the pressure of having that one first-time dream match. The issue here is that they were only given about 12 minutes to work with.
What's wrong with a 12 minute match? Nothing but these two guys thrive on storytelling. They did what they could in the time constraints and managed to get all of their stuff in as well. For the live crowd, they saw everything that they expected to see. It ended up being a fast-paced match.
Watching it on DVD when it first came out, and again on YouTube when ROH released it, something just seems to be missing. The match delivered but it also left a feeling of knowing that they could have even done more. If they had about 10 more minutes to just slow down and told a little more of a story I think it would have benefitted.
My gripe is more-so on the timing of the match than the execution of it. It feels like most first-time dream matches are given all the time they need to develop and give the crowd everything. This came off more like "we have 12 minutes, get your main moves in, make it a car crash, and go."
Don't get me wrong...I love those car crash wrestling matches. I didn't expect it going into this match. Admittedly, that probably spoiled me from enjoying it more.
But I'll be the first in line when these guys are given a PPV match and allowed to go 15 minutes or longer. I have a feeling it would be everything that everyone would want. Both guys are that great.
Fun match. Did what it had to do in the time, but falls a bit short for me.