Photo Credit- Impact Wrestling
I have to say, I was impressed by the Impact World Championship match between Christian Cage and Kenny Omega. I expected that the match would be good. When you have “The Best Bout Machine,” and the “Instant Classic,” squaring off, solid ring work is a given. However, I thought that the storytelling within the match was in fact the strongest aspect of their clash. In this article, I’ll break down the story told by focusing on the final four minutes of Christian Cage vs Kenny Omega.
Throughout the match, Kenny Omega was playing the role of the younger, fitter and (crucially) overconfident heel champion. As is to be expected, his explosive offence dominated much of the match, with the veteran babyface fighting as an underdog. However, Christian had the better strategy and had clearly done his research, which led to his ultimate victory.
I’ll now analyse the final four minutes of the match, highlighting the storytelling. You might be wondering, why only the final four minutes? Well, I believe that a good story is one that has elements that are consistent throughout, and the ending is the perfect place to highlight them. It’s almost like a little summary! There were two near-falls in the final section of this match, so I’ll be breaking it down in three sections.
We join the action with Kenny Omega hoisting Christian Cage into the electric chair position, looking for the One-Winged Angel. Christian immediately hammers him with shots to the head before shifting out of the electric chair. This is significant because this is the exact same counter that Rich Swann and various others have used to escape the OWA. Therefore, this sequence demonstrates Cage’s intelligence and planning as well as a weakness in Omega’s arsenal.
Kenny reacts quickly, seizing Christian in a waistlock and setting up for Croyt’s Wrath. Adapting, Christian clings to the corner ropes before elbowing the champion and nailing a springboard sunset flip. The Belt Collector rolls through and charges in for a V-Trigger, but Captain Charisma rolls out of the way before hitting a spear for a 2.5 count. Again, Christian demonstrates his planning and foresight as well as his ring awareness by exploiting Kenny’s own moveset against him.
After that near-fall, Kenny asserts his dominance again. After a snap dragon suplex and a full dragon-suplex, he begins to taunt Cage, performing his signature “BANG!” hand gesture. However, this little theatrical interlude costs him valuable time. Christian dodges another V-Trigger by moving outside of the ring, tangles Kenny’s arms up in the ropes and snaps Omega’s neck into the ropes. Christian then hits a frog splash for a 2.99 count. Cage takes advantage of Omega’s cocky theatrics by moving out of strike range. Omega’s overconfidence blinds him to Christian’s carefully laid trap in the ring ropes. It’s also worth noticing that so far Christian Cage has exploited two of Kenny Omega’s most noticeable weaknesses: his reliance on V-Triggers and the complicated set up for the OWA. Kenny has not adapted his strategy despite seeing that Christian knows how to counter the V-Trigger, revealing his overconfidence.
In the final minute, Don Callis distracts the referee, allowing Kenny to hit a low blow. The Young Bucks slide a chair into the ring and Kenny sets up the One-Winged Angel once again. However, Christian slides out of the electric chair (again) and reverses it into a Killswitch onto the steel chair. As the crowd erupt, Christian Cage pins Kenny Omega, winning the match and the Impact World Championship.
This match was awesome. Both men looked strong. Christian was clearly the smarter competitor, using his veteran experience to exploit Kenny’s overconfidence. Despite his inflexible strategy (which cost him twice), Kenny kicked out of the spear and the frog splash, which have won Christian matches before. Ultimately, it was Christian’s more effective strategy and Kenny’s weaknesses which won him the match, as opposed to being a “better wrestler.” That’s why I believe that Kenny Omega vs Christian Cage was indeed an “instant classic.”