Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has heaped praise on the war between Shingo Takagi and Will Ospreay from Wrestling Dontaku. During a recent edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, the esteemed journalist named the match as “without a doubt” one of the ten greatest wrestling matches he has ever seen.
In their fourth singles match to date, Shingo Takagi and Will Ospreay finally faced off for a championship. Despite their time spent together in the junior heavyweight division, their Wrestling Dontaku main event was for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship.
The match has been almost universally praised by fans, journalists and critics alike. New Japan Pro-Wrestling English commentator Kevin Kelly described it as ‘The greatest match I have ever called‘. Kelly has worked with NJPW since 2015, calling celebrated bouts such as Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi and many, many more.
Despite writing about professional wrestling for four decades, Meltzer had similarly high praise for the match:
“Their match in 2019, which is an incredible, incredible match – Best of the Super Juniors final, it was match of the year that year – this match was certainly better than that match. And that match was incredible. I know people who have said, you know, one of the best three matches of all time. I don’t know if I would go that far but I wouldn’t argue with anyone who says it. I mean, it was one one of the greatest matches – it is one of the great matches I’ve ever seen, without a doubt. I mean, top 10? Without a doubt top 10, you know. Top 3, maybe not […] if someone said “that’s the greatest match I’ve ever seen in my life” I would not argue.”
With such high praise, it seems inevitable that the match will earn another rating that breaks the Observer’s five star scale. The highest match in the Takagi vs. Ospreay series thus far is the BOSJ final, which earned five and three-quarter stars. The praise from Dave Meltzer for the work between Takagi and Ospreay has earned it an exceedingly rare accolade.
Currently, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has awarded only two pairs of wrestlers a minimum of five stars in each of their singles matches in a series; Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada are the first, whilst Shingo Takagi and Will Ospreay are the second. Though the latter two men have not reached the heights of the first pair (Okada and Omega achieved a minimum of six stars in each of their matches), they have nevertheless achieved an incredibly rare feat.
Will Ospreay will now face off against former Chaos stablemate Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Grand Slam. The show takes place in the Tokyo Dome, where Okada defeated Ospreay earlier in the year, on the 29th of May. In the six singles matches between the two men so far, Ospreay has picked up just a single victory.