Kenny Omega vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo is 2023’s match of the year

Kenny Omega vs. El Hijo Del Vikingo is 2023’s match of the year

The idea that there could be “smart” wrestling debate is probably high comedy to any non-wrestling fan, given the perception that they probably have for creatures like us (not all that inaccurate either). It’s becoming pretty farcical in the wrestling world as well these days, given the split between AEW and WWE fans. Everyone’s in their trench, and Wonder Woman ain’t coming to bridge the divide.

There was no better display than the lead-up to last night’s Dynamite main event between Kenny Omega and El Hijo Del Vikingo, making his US television debut. Somehow, a match that was only about introducing the younger Vikingo to American audiences generated an exhausting and truly bewildering discussion about why this match mattered or not because it didn’t have any build or story other than, “El Hijo Del Vikingo comes to the States.”

Where this “debate” started is anyone’s guess, but most likely it came from the most New York-pilled fans the internet can find posing as AEW fans or not even bothering. Anyone who follows even the slightest bit of wrestling outside WWE had at least heard the name of El Hijo Del Vikingo, and had heard he was setting the luchador world alight with his galactic work at such a young age (25). Most knew that Omega was supposed to face him in Mexico in 2021 but his injuries got in the way of that. While a majority probably hadn’t seen a number of his matches, or maybe even one, they’d almost certainly heard the name and knew about the buzz being generated.

Whatever fans didn’t know about VIkingo’s introduction to American audiences should have been answered by the fact that his very first match was against the best wrestler AEW has, and quite possibly still the best wrestler in the world, in Omega. If that’s who the company wants to put Vikingo against mostly sight unseen, it’s clearly an indication that this kid fucking rips. And boy does he!

The first shot of this highlight package is just killer. The camera pans back to show Vikingo isn’t waiting around to get things started, and goes for a suicide dive outside the ring while still in his full Viking regalia, which makes it look like he morphed into a pterodactyl during the run-up to it. The match never really lost any pace from there, with both men pulling off some unfathomable execution of moves that would have caused wrestlers from even 15 years ago to stroke out. Vikingo especially showed off what had been generating headlines and whispers and excitement across borders simply by word of mouth. Like, what the fuck is this?

(This contained the highlight of the match for me, Tony Schiavone on commentary simply giving up on trying to comprehend anything he was seeing with an understated, “Jesus…”)

For those who care about such things, or more accurately are just waiting around to yuck someone else’s yum, the match itself told a fine story of Omega struggling to come to grips with the pure athleticism and bravery of his much younger opponent, but using his experience to finally come to grips with the unholy force he was dealing with and finally overcome him. It wasn’t just a series of flips and dives signifying nothing, as it will assuredly be derided as by those wearing Randy Orton t-shirts.

It is yet another notch in the unmatched belt of Omega, who has wrestled exactly two singles matches this year (the other being against Will Ospreay at Wrestle Kingdom) and both of them will certainly finish in everyone’s top five matches of 2023. The Wrestle Kingdom match has probably already made itself at home atop most everyone’s list. While Omega still hints at retiring, he did so again right after this match, and rumors swirl about his contract status with AEW, he’s still putting on the best matches anyone’s seen for the sixth or seventh year running.

All the prematch horseshit did was show the increasing divide between WWE fans from the rest of wrestling fans. If AEW or anyone else needed to see some half-assed build jammed into the bloodstream leading to a match that will probably look a lot like ones we’ve seen before and not live up to what it could be, everyone can easily tune into whatever the fuck Triple H has Asuka and Bianca Belair doing before Mania. But because WWE fans are so unaware of anything outside the New York realm, and in fact quite proud of that, they had to sneer at something that would never happen in WWE and guise it as criticism of some imaginary “build” to justify their willful ignorance and inflexibility.

The whole point, from the very announcement, was to give El Hijo Del Vikingo a platform to announce himself and make people want to see more, while also giving Omega another chance to enthrall in a way only he can. And they did that. If there are fans out there still grumbling about it “just being a wrestling match,” that’s their loss.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.