New Japan Pro Wrestling's biggest show of the year, Wrestle Kingdom 9, took place early Sunday morning here in the North America and received rave reviews.
I somehow managed to stay away from Twitter long enough to remain spoiler-free by the time the replay was shown at 7 p.m. ET in North America.
I usually go through all of the results from a show that I partake in, but since the show took place almost two days ago, I figure everyone already knows what happened and don't need me to run through that again.
Despite that, I still feel the need to give my thoughts and observations on this event.
Simply put: The year is only four days old and we may have already seen the top show and two of the top matches of the entire year. Wrestle Kingdom 9 was that good.
But first, let's begin with the commentary, as Jim Ross made his long-awaited return behind the microphone during a wrestling show alongside Matt Striker to provide the English commentary.
Since I watched this on traditional pay-per-view, I was able to listen to Ross and Striker for the duration of the event and I was impressed with the performance they put on.
I thought Striker sort of over-explained certain things about some of the wrestlers in the ring, but other than that, I had no complaints about the job he and Ross did.
By the way, boy was it nice to hear Ross call a wrestling show again, as his voice only added to the emotion and physicality of each match, especially the big ones.
It's refreshing to hear two distinct voices on a broadcast focus on the action in the ring and the significance of it instead of cracking jokes and making a million plugs.
Speaking of the action in the ring, there was plenty of it. The two matches I'm going to focus on in the piece is IWGP Intercontinental Championship match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Kota Ibushi and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship match between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada.
First up is the Nakamura-Ibushi match. I try very hard not to speak in hyperbole. I really do, but this was one of the best matches I have ever seen.
There have been better matches in wrestling history, but I don't know if there was any match that left as many vivid images in my head as this one.
To say this match was physical would be a gross understatement. It looked at times as if it was a shoot between Nakamura and Ibushi. Some of the strikes looked that painful.
I vividly remember Ibushi stomping Nakamura's forehead while he lied on the mat. It was brutal to watch at times. And anytime Nakamura hits the Boma Ye (a running knee strike), it looks devastating each and every time.
The Tanahashi and Okada match was just as much a spectacle as it was a fantastic match athletic exhibition.
Ross did a tremendous job on commentary playing up the significance of the rivalry between Tanahashi and Okada as the top two guys in New Japan, and the two combatants lived up to their respective billings.
I was kind of surprised that Tanahashi got the victory, as I thought it would be time for him to pass the proverbial torch to the younger Okada, but upon realizing the series between the two mega-stars now stands at 3-3-1, it made me believe that there will be yet another main event between these two where that tie will be broken.
Overall, it was nice to watch an even devoid of popcorn matches and silly gimmicks that insult your intelligence. It was great for some people to finally be exposed to a product for the first time where the outcomes of the matches are still important, as Okada showed by openly crying after his loss to Tanahashi.