NJPW News: Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega voted Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Feud of the Year for 2017
What’s the story?
2017 was a year of great feuds in wrestling, but it appears that one stood tall above the rest. Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega both took home an award to share betwixt themselves, as their rivalry won the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Feud of the Year Award for 2017.
In case you didn’t know…
This award goes to that feud/rivalry which generates the biggest amount of discussion and interest among wrestling fans in a given year, as well as the one that has the biggest impact.
But unlike other awards, which seem to have a strong bias towards Japanese wrestling promotions, previous winners of this award have been feuds taking place in multiple different wrestling promotions.
Previous winners have included: Steve Austin vs Mr. McMahon, WCW vs The NWO, Kurt Angle vs Brock Lesnar, John Cena vs CM Punk, El Generico vs Kevin Steen, and several feuds between UFC fighters as well.
The heart of the matter
In a rather surprising twist, the 2017 winner of this award won by a massive landslide. According to most recent reviews, the feud between Okada and Omega was miles ahead of any other feud.
The one that got second place – Floyd Mayweather vs Connor McGregor – didn’t even receive one-tenth of the votes that Omega and Okada did. The others rounding up the top five - Tanahashi vs Naito, KUSHIDA vs Hiromu Takahashi and Jones vs Cormier - received significantly less votes as well.
In an unusual twist, very few people appear to have voted for the feud between The Usos and The New Day, despite that being one of the best feuds WWE put on in 2017.
Furthermore, the feud between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman is also notably absent, despite it leading to some of the most memorable moments in WWE during the 2017 calendar year.
Kazuchika Okada is still set to maintain his spot atop NJPW’s heavyweight division as both its ace and world champion. He has made 10 successful title defences as IWGP Heavyweight Champion (defences are very rare in NJPW), with his most recent victory being against SANADA at the New Beginning in Osaka on 10 February.
Omega, meanwhile, appears to have his hands full with what appears to be a major power struggle within the Bullet Club. He lost his IWGP United States Championship to Jay White recently, and appears to have his eyes set on Cody, who appears to be trying to take over the Bullet Club.
Furthermore, Omega also appears to be preparing for a major showdown with his close friends the Young Bucks, as the Bucks will be taking on Omega and his erstwhile friend and rival Kota Ibushi in a tag team match at Strong Style Evolved on March 25th, 2018.
Omega and Okada had an outstanding feud that did wonders for New Japan Pro-Wrestling on an international level. It got the world talking in a major way and brought in a significant number of non-Japanese viewers to the NJPW product, many of whom have now become regular viewers.
Although they only had three singles matches thus far (each one of them has one win, one loss and a draw), this was enough for Omega and Okada to not only create a memorable rivalry that will go down in wrestling history, but also leaves the door open for one final showdown between ‘The Rainmaker’ and ‘The Cleaner’.
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