I’m sorry, but it takes a lot for me to get into a Tanahashi match, with only a few coming to mind I truly got into, and this was not one of them. Much less, the finish and Jay White’s moment of becoming champion. Something felt off. Rushed? Awkward? Untimely?
Tracing back the storyline, it all makes sense. Came back to face Tanahashi at WK12. Lost. Beat Kenny. Wins over Tanahashi and Okada by nefarious means in the G1. Beat Okada clean at WK13. Now beat Tanahashi clean at New Beginning for the championship. It’s all right there. A nice year long run to the title. Except it feels like it was a quick title change from Kenny-to-Tanahashi-to-Jay White. I think I would have rather Jay White gone over in the G1 becoming the 2nd Gaijin to win the tournament, and then beat the guy who did it 1st at WK and who he outsted as Bullet Club leader.
Moving things form Kenny to Tanahashi in the storyline they did was fine for me, even as a huge Kenny fan, because it felt monumental. Tanahashi reclaims the throne after years of trying to prove he still has it. But really this was a move from Kenny to Jay White without the exact interaction needed and their match was for the 3rd (not even?) most important title months ago. So yeah, this felt incomplete as a story.
Alas, In Gedo We Trust. I have zero idea who makes the next most logical opponent for Jay @ MSG. I went from being hopeful we’d get Omega-Ibushi for the title at The World’s Most Famous Arena, to expecting Tanahashi vs Okada on US soil, with the outside possibility of Tanahashi vs. Jericho as a dream match, or the story of Ibushi coming back to avenge Kenny’s loss and beat his God-Tanahashi.
NOW we have Jay White as champion fresh off clean wins vs. Okada and Tanahashi, with no Omega or Jericho in the picture…If this wasn’t New Japan I would throw out the ideal of Marty Scurrl challenging because he’s going to be the biggest North American star on the card that night, but he’s a Jr. in New Japan (is he even still in New Japan?). Sure they have the New Japan cup, but does ZSJ vs. White do it for anyone (ZSJ also won last year so can’t see him winning again). Maybe Osprey wins to inject some adrenaline into the match but he’s hurt and I can’t see him as a viable challenger to win. Anyone looking for a Juice Robinson rematch vs. Jay White…that isn’t exactly MSG worthy if I’m booking New Japan’s first show there. Okada rematch is questionable when the much bigger match would have been with the opposite outcome this morning and Tanahashi retaining and Jay having a great claim to be Okada’s first challenger even after losing today.
I’m confused, torn, disappointed for the first time in New Japan booking.