By now you’ve probably heard all you can stand to hear about Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 11, a match so immediately beloved that it’s already been dubbed one of the greatest matches of all time, and an easy match of the year contender just four days into the new year. If you haven’t seen it yet, and you live in the United States, congratulations: Tonight, AXS TV will air this instant classic in it’s entirety, featuring commentary from legendary play-by-play man Jim Ross.
If you don’t already watch New Japan, Ross’ commentary alongside partner Josh Barnett is an excellent gateway. Having gotten serious acclaim for his announce work at Wrestle Kingdom 9, Ross was given the job for the weekly AXS show last year, and helped make it arguably the best wrestling show on television.
Ross is a master, and hearing him call Omega vs. Okada is a real treat. A DDT off the barricade isn’t just painful or dangerous, it’s a “nasty, toxic maneuver.” A brief pause in the action has Ross describing Kenny Omega “praying, contemplating, strategizing.” “Oh for the love of god!” Ross exclaims after a particularly shocking high spot. “Omega in the lights!” JR makes it seem effortless, never changing the tone of his voice until the most impactful moments. Alongside Barnett, he gives the Tokyo Dome main event the big match feel it deserves.
New Japan Pro Wrestling airs tonight at 8 p.m. EST on AXS TV.
Paul DeBenedetto is Paste’s assistant wrestling editor.