Dominion is often one of the biggest shows of the year for New Japan Pro Wrestling, coming behind only the Tokyo Dome shows and possibly the G1 Final, and this is no different.
IWGP Heavyweight champion, Kazuchika Okada will defend his title against Chris Jericho, The IWGP Jr Heavyweight champion and Dragon Lee will face the Best of the Super Jr. tournament winner Will Ospreay for the Jr Heavyweight Championship. Also on this show is IWGP Intercontinental champion Kota Ibushi facing off against long-time rival Tetsuya Naito plus a lot more.
Shota Umino vs Jon Moxley
- Moxley has a great entrance as he has a guitar playing for his entrance music and he appears in the crowd, this gets a good reaction, then he makes his way to ringside. Shota dives on Moxley at ringside to start the match. Moxley takes over quickly and beats down Shota, giving him a bloody lip. Shota got his dropkick in and a German suplex but it put away quickly with a double-arm DDT for the win. Winner: “Death Rider” Jon Moxley in 3:52.
*NOTE: After the match Jon Moxley announces he wants in the G1. He then helps carry Shota to the back.
Shingo Takagi vs Satoshi Kojima
- This is the first step for Shingo to step up to the heavyweights. With Shingo and Will Ospreay possibly moving to the heavyweights, that could leave the Jrs short. This is were Don Callis started to deliver some of his classic lines, calling Charlton Kevin Kelly‘s “production assistant.” The match is hard hitting as Kojima takes it to Shingo. Takagi turns it round with a DVD on the apron. Kojima comes back from that quickly and takes out Shingo’s leg on the apron, Shingo lands on his back on the apron, then Kojima DDTs Shingo on the apron. Kojima gives Shingo everything, even a Koji-cutter from the second rope but Shingo fights back. This got really good with some great back and forth and this showed what Shingo can do against a heavyweight. Shingo won this after a great sequence of moves ending with a Last of the Dragon on Kojima. Winner: Shingo Takagi in 11:14.
*NOTE: After the match Shingo gets the microphone and announces he wants in the G1 too.
Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr vs Jyushin Thunder Liger & YOSHI-HASHI
- Suzuki and Zack attack YOSHI-HASHI and Liger before the bell. YOSHI-HASHI and Zack start in the ring as Suzuki beats up Liger at ringside. ZSJ tags in Suzuki and they both grab holds on YOSHI-HASHI. YOSHI-HASHI trys to fight Suzuki but, with one giant forearm, Suzuki knocks YOSHI-HASHI across the ring. Liger comes in and slaps YOSHI-HASHI because he wants a tag! YOSHI-HASHI finally fights back and tags out. This is basically a build up match for Suzuki vs Liger later on, while hopefully building YOSHI-HASHI up in the eyes of fans to face ZSJ for the British Heavyweight Championship. Liger reverses Suzuki into the barrier at ringside as YOSHI-HASHI fights back in the ring but ZSJ quickly fends him off. YOSHI-HASHI “rolled up” ZSJ in what looked like a regular pin for the win. Winners: YOSHI-HASHI and Jyushin Thunder Liger in 9:40.
Switchblade Jay White, Taiji Ishimori & Chase Owens vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Juice Robinson
- Chase and Juice start the match but Juice isn’t playing around anymore so Chase tags Taiji Ishimori in. Taguchi tags in and he fights Ishimori as everything breaks down at ringside. They get the heat on Taguchi until he tags in Tanahashi. They then got the heat on Tanahashi until Tana makes a comeback against Chase Owens and hits something to win. The finishing move seemed botched but he basically had Chase in a headlock and dropped and spun onto him, mostly missing. Winners: Tanahashi, Taguchi and Juice Robinson in 9:50.
Never Openweight Championship Match – Taichi(c) vs Tomohiro Ishii
- At the bell Ishii looks ready to go and Taichi has his back to Ishii. After all the taunting on the way to the ring, and throwing the title belt at Ishii, Taichi leaves the ring. Ishii lays down and Taichi gets in the ring. Ishii doesn’t move and Taichi starts to kick Ishii so Ishii knocks Tauchi down with a heavy forearm. This quickly turns into a striking battle and Taichi gets the upper hand, kicking the leg of Ishii then slapping him to the floor. This got teally good leading up to the ten minute mark. The referee takes a bump but it doesn’t lead to anything. Taichi, in a great exchange, hits two big clotheslines on Ishii and puts Ishii in the stretch plum hold and they tease a finish. Taichi goes for Black Mephisto but Ishii reverses it to a powerbomb, then Taichi reverses that into one of his own and Ishii kicks out. Ishii hits a powerbomb then sliding lariat but Taichi kicks out. Ishii picks up Taichi and hits a huge brainbuster for the win and the championship. Winner: Tomohiro Ishii in 16:11.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match – Los Ingobernables De Japon; EVIL & SANADA vs Gorillas of Destiny(c)
- At the beginning of the match, SANADA stands on the ropes to gage how much people will cheer for him. SANADA offers Tama the ropes and he recieved a mix of cheers and boos. SANADA back on the ropes and the crowd goes wild. After that, the match started. About five minutes later The GOD have taken over on EVIL. SANADA eventually gets a tag but GOD get heat on him too. It’s been a long time off GOD in control. In what feels like the thirtieth minute but is actually only the twelfth, LIJ finally make a comeback. At this point all four wrestlers are in at once but Tama and EVIL are legal. EVIL gets Tama Tonga in a sharpshooter as SANADA gets Tanga Loa in a Skullend and Jado pulls the ref out. Jado gets in the ring, using his kendo stick against EVIL, BUSHI runs in and sprays Jado with mis and dives on him. Out of nowhere, Tama rolls up EVIL and with a handful of tights, gets the pin. Winners: Gorillas of Destiny, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa in 16:39.
*NOTE: Shibata comes out and points back to the entrance. After a longtime, KENTA comes walking out. The music changes and the crowd are wild. Shibata holds the ropes open for KENTA and Shibata gets the mic. Shibata introduces KENTA. KENTA takes the microphone and thanks Shibata for the opportunity and says he wants to show NJPW his pro wrestling, and he will do it in the G1.
IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship Match – Will Ospreay vs Dragon Lee(c)
- Ospreay comes to the ring with his new BOSJ trophy and his sword. This starts with a fast trade off, ending with a double dropkick and nip up. After that things for faster and more awe inspiring. They are obviously both very and they show it constantly. Dragon Lee puts Ospreay on the railings and dives like a torpedo into the chest of Ospreay, sending both into the Japanese announce team behind them. Ospreay hits a corkscrew moonsault from the ropes to the outside onto Dragon Lee, then a Bloody Sunday in the ring. So many big moves. Dragon Lee hits a reverse rana but Ospreay comes back with a Spanish fly. Dragon Lee has Ospreay on the apron and jumps over the ropes to deliver a rana but Ospreay lands on his feet at ringside, you can see Kevin Kelly screaming at ringside which I enjoyed so much. Dragon Lee hits a draping double stomp onto Ospreay to the outside. Will gets in at 19 and takes a knee from Dragon Lee. Ospreay reverses the Desnucadora but takes a destroyer into a running knee strike but kicks out. Ospreay the Super Oscutter from the top rope, holds on and rolls over, lifts up Dragon Lee and hits the Stormbreaker to win the match and the championship. Winner: Will Ospreay in 20:07.
*NOTE: After the match they hug. Dragon Lee puts the belt around the waist of Ospreay and holds Ospreay’s arm in the air. Ospreay calls out Robbie Eagles for Super Showdown in Australia on commentary after.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match – Tetsuya Naito vs Kota Ibushi(c)
- It is pointed out on commentary by Don Callis that Ibushi is in incredible shape, and he is. It’s not long until Naito takes over by jumping Kota from behind and stomping on him, the crowd boos. Ibushi comes back and they fight back and forth. They trade moves in the ring.. and then they get on the apron. Tetsuya Naito gives Kota Ibushi a German suplex on the apron and Kota’s head crushes against the ring as he falls off backwards. Tetsuya Naito then delivers a reverse rana from the top rope and Ibushi bounces off his head. Kota then gives Naito a jumping tombstone after reversing a Destino. They trade strikes and Naito headbutts Kota in the face, leaving a mark and a huge swollen eye socket. Naito hits Destino but Ibushi kicks out. Ibushi somehow hits the last ride powerbomb on Naito for a two count. Leaping DDT from Naito for a double down. Swinging reverse DDT from the second rope onto Kota’s head. One final Destino onto the top of Kota’s head and finally Naito had killed Kota to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Kota is in obvious pain, holding a an ice pack on the hematoma on his face. Possible broken eye socket for Kota. Winner: Tetsuya Naito in 22:06.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match – Chris Jericho vs Kazuchika Okada(c)
- Chris Jericho comes down to “altered” music due to international music rights. Listen to his entrance music HERE. As Okada make his way onto the stage Rainmaker Dollars float through the air. Okada holds Jericho against the ropes and slowly let’s go so Jericho pokes him in the eyes. Jericho reverses a top rope dropkick into the Walls. Okada crawls to ringside, escaping the Walls but receives a dropkick sending Okada across the announce tables. Jericho DDTs Okada on a table at ringside. Jericho then pulls out a table but doesn’t use it yet. Jericho takes a camera and looks round the arena with his middle finger up. Jericho mauls Okada for a while. Okada comes back with a flap Jack to Jericho and takes over from there. At ringside Okada sends Jericho over the barrier and goes for a running crossbody but Jericho hits a code breaker on Okada as he flys. Later on Okada finally hits a tombstone but when he goes for a Rainmaker, it’s reversed into a powerbomb. The finish came when When Jericho set up for the Judas Effect but Okada ducked. Okada went for the Rainmaker but Jericho reverses into a powerbomb but Okada ends up sitting on Jericho’s chest. Okada grabs the legs of Jericho and pins him. Okada retains but Jericho beat up Okada afterwards, wrapping a chair around the head of Okada and continues to beat Okada up at ringside. Tanahashi jumps the railings to help his mate, Okada. This will set up Tanahashi vs Jericho at some point and leave Okada with his belt. Tanahashi helps Okada out to the back and when the crowd realised that they wouldn’t get any post match speech they boo loudly. Winner: Kazuchika Okada in 25:44.
And that was the end of the show. Really good show here with very few matches that didn’t over deliver. My personal favourite was Will Ospreay winning the Jr belt from Dragon Lee with the main event in a close second. Kota and Naito took too many risks and that, for me, took away from what was an amazing match.