We’ve only just finished Best Of The Super Juniors but we are only a few short days away from another big New Japan show.
Even though the main event is the headline act, it’s not just all about ‘Rainmaker vs Painmaker’. A Junior Heavyweight title clash as BOSJ winner faces the champion, a litany of other title matches, Moxley’s first singles match post-title victory and Shingo’s opportunity in the heavyweight division.
But who will come out on top? Here are my predictions for this Sunday’s Dominion event.
Jon Moxley vs Shota Umino
Well…this one is quite easy isn’t it? Whilst Umino has shown small flashes of brilliance and he is clearly destined for great things- he’s going up against Jon Moxley who is currently the most important name in wrestling. The ‘Death Rider’ as he has been most recently christened came into New Japan a few days ago and won the IWGP United States Championship on his first night against the established Juice Robinson. That man is not losing in only his second singles match outside of WWE. Sorry Shota – I hope you survive.
PREDICTION: Jon Moxley
Satoshi Kojima vs Shingo Takagi
Much like the match prior, this one seems pretty easy to call as well. Whilst we all love Kojima and his Bread Club and we are all definitely loyal members, Shingo Takagi just reached the finals of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament on a flawless record until eventually falling in a Match of the Year contender to the very game Will Ospreay. However, it’s ok. Satoshi may lose but at least he’ll have some lovely Hovis after the match.
PREDICTION: Shingo Takagi
YOSHI-HASHI and Jushin Thunder Liger vs Zack Sabre Jr and Minoru Suzuki
This is the first match on the card, in my opinion, that is hard to call and could go either way especially due to the members of both teams. Liger is currently going through his retirement tour as he, at the end of last year, announced he would be finishing his historic career at the end of 2019. And many people, myself included, feel that New Japan are moving forward into a Jushin Thunder Liger vs Minoru Suzuki match so this tag match is incredibly important. Who gets the upper hand? Who asserts their dominance? And who looks weaker moving forward? My thought process is have Yoshi-Hashi be pinned by Suzuki and have Liger come out and challenge Minoru to a singles match to prove his dominance, even in the twilight of his career.
PREDICTION: Zack Sabre Jr and Minoru Suzuki
Ryusuke Taguchi, Juice Robinson and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Taiji Ishimori, Chase Owens and Jay White (Bullet Club)
Much like the previous tag match, the members of the teams for both sides make this one incredibly hard to call. Do you go with Taguchi Japan due to both Juice Robinson and Hiroshi Tanahashi taking huge losses at the Best of the Super Juniors Final show? Two of the highest profiles stars of a promotion rarely take two losses in a row, even in a tag match. Or, on the flip side, you can go with two people who picked up victories on that night and continue their roll at one of the biggest shows of the year. Taiji Ishimori and Jay White won their respective matches – with White beating Tanahashi – and I think that is the best model to go with. Keep having Bullet Club regain their power and have Jay White be one of the most dominant leaders in the stable’s history.
PREDICTION: Bullet Club
NEVER OpenWeight Championship Match- Taichi (c) vs Tomohiro Ishii
For me, this is quite a short line of logic so, as a result, there won’t be a lot of analysis. Taichi (BOOOOOOOOOOO) is going to lose to Tomohiro Ishii. He’s the best. That’s my prediction.
PREDICTION: Tomohiro Ishii
IWGP Tag Team Championship Match- Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa (c) vs EVIL and Sanada
All the tag matches are hard to call! Both teams in this situation could be argued adequately that they’re going to win. Guerillas of Destiny, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa, are on an absolute tear of the New Japan Tag Team ranks. Both wrestlers have staked their claim as one of the best tag teams in the world and are pivotal in the revival to the top of the card of Bullet Club. Whereas the members representing Los Ignobernables De Japon – EVIL and Sanada – aren’t exactly strangers to tag team gold. However, I would argue that currently LIJ don’t need the tag belts. The Samoans are doing incredibly with them right now and I feel it would be foolish to take the titles from them.
PREDICTION: Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa
IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship Match- Dragon Lee (c) vs Will Ospreay
Well this is a big one! The stories here are incredibly simple and that’s what makes them special. Dragon Lee has risen to the top of the division after the horrific injury that Takahashi suffered at the hands of Lee which left a gap for the Dragon to fill. Whereas, on the other side, Will Ospreay is fresh off of winning his second Best of the Super Juniors trophy, one matched removed from a potential Match of the Year candidate and has announced his decision to move to Japan in order to fully focus on the company. As a result it all points to an Ospreay win for me. The man deserves a final run with the Junior belt before finally ascending to the Heavyweight division and going after the main prize.
PREDICTION: Will Ospreay
IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match- Kota Ibushi (c) vs Tetsuya Naito
This is, personally, the match I am most excited for. With Kota Ibushi being one of my favourite wrestlers in the world and Tetsuya Naito being one of the most captivating, these two men are sure to put on a wrestling clinic against each other. Already doing so earlier in the year at the G1 SuperCard, they both have a lot to live up to but they absolutely can. With Ibushi signing a long-term deal with New Japan earlier in the year, it would be logical to assume that he is retaining here. However, Naito is currently proclaiming he will soon be a ‘double champion’. First the Intercontinental Championship and then moving onto the Heavyweight Title. And Ibushi at Dominion is the first hurdle of that plan. I don’t see it happening. I feel Kota is going to keep a hold of the belt for a few more months, perhaps losing it to Ospreay later down the line, having a fantastic run.
PREDICTION: Kota Ibushi
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match- Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Chris Jericho
One year ago, if you told a wrestling fan that Okada vs Jericho for the IWGP Championship was going to be happening, you’d probably have been laughed at. But now it is a very real match that we are only days away from seeing. ‘The Rainmaker’ vs ‘The Painmaker’. ‘The Alpha’ vs the man at the top of Japanese wrestling. The ‘Best in the World’ vs The man to beat in Japan. And it’s absolutely going to be a classic. I honestly believe that – despite Jericho’s age. We’ve seen him put on fantastic matches against Naito and a double against Kenny Omega, despite being 48. It most likely will be more of a brawl, as most Chris Jericho matches of the last 18 months have been, which instantly creates an air of mystery as this is massively out of Okada’s comfort zone. But who is walking away with the belt? For me, it’s The Rainmaker. For a very simple reason: New Japan won’t crown the All Elite Wrestling poster-boy the top champion in their company. Regardless – it’s going to be great.
PREDICTION: Kazuchika Okada