In the wake of Best Of Super Juniors, New Japan have another massive event with a lot on the line.
Will Opsreay looks to dominate the junior heavyweight division again, Naito wants to reignite his love/hate relationship with the IWGP Intercontinental Title and The Painmaker looks to rethrone the Rainmaker. Here’s what went down.
Jon Moxley vs Shota Umino
Result: Jon Moxley wins via pinfall
Thoughts: A Jon Moxley showcase following his victory over Juice Robinson for the IWGP United States Championship. Umino started off strong but the Moxley took complete control, winning with the Death Rider.
Jon Moxley also asked to be in G1 Climax this year. Yes please.
Shingo Takagi vs Satoshi Kojima
Result: Shingo Takagi via pinfall
Thoughts: These two had a very nice, hard-hitting contest. Loved the 19 count because the two were hitting eachother constantly, and these two went for it from the opening bell. Kojima no-selling the Pumping Bomber and kicking out of a short lariat at one. Shingo finishes Kojima off with The Last Of The Dragon.
Shingo also asked to be a part of the G1. Again, yes please. Shingo could be a break-out star in two divisions in one year.
YOSHI-HASHI & Jushin Thunder Liger vs Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki
Results: YOSHI-HASHI & Jushin Thunder Liger via pinfall
Thoughts: This was a standard tag match to set up two matches for the future; Liger vs Suzuki and for whatever reason, YOSHI-HASHI vs Sabre Jr. for the British Heavyweight Championship. YOSHI-HASHI rolled up ZSJ for the win and I do not want to live in a country where YOSHI-HASHI is our heavyweight champion.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Bullet Club (Jay White, Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori)
Results: Tanahashi, Robinson & Taguchi via pinfall
Thoughts: This match was just there, it was your normal mid-show six man tag. Tanahashi was struggling with his elbow injury, especially during the finish where he hit a thing (similar to the Final Cut but not) to Owens for the win. Hopefully, he’s not re-injured the arm again.
NEVER Openweight Title – Tomohiro Iishi vs Taichi (c)
Results: Iishi via pinfall to win the title
Thoughts: My second favourite match on the card. A hard-hitting affair that showed Taichi as a big deal, going toe-to-toe with Iishi. It tooke a while for the crowd to get into it but once there was a ref bump, the crowd bought in. Iishi rallied and hit the vertical drop brainbuster to win the title.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles – Guerillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (c) vs los Ingobernables de J Japon (EVIL & SANADA)
Result: Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa via pinfall to retain the title
Thoughts: This was an okay undercard tag title match, with a screwy finish where Tama rolled up EVIL with the tights. It was just there, which shows the sad state of affairs in the heavyweight tag division. Nothing is going on, hopefully something (Villain Enterprises) gives it a shot in the arm.
Following that, Katsuyori Shibata came out. Shibata pointed to the entrance stage and KENTA appeared. Oh my god. KENTA announced that he also plans to be in the G1. OH MY GOD. This could be the most stacked G1 ever.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title – Will Ospreay vs Dragon Lee (c)
Result: Will Ospreay via pinfall to win the title
Thoughts: The best match on the show, and Ospreay has now had two MOTY candidates in one week. This was an unbelievable spectacle, both men putting it all on the line. Dragon Lee took out several people with a suicide dive and nearly broke his leg doing a double stomp to the outside. Ospreay landing on his feet from an apron hurricanrana was absolute insanity. Ospreay wins the title the same way we won BOSJ; with a Hidden Blade, a top rope Os-Cutter and a Storm Breaker.
IWGP Intercontinental Title – Kota Ibushi (c) vs Tetsuya Naito
Result: Tetsuya Naito via pinfall
Thoughts: Kevin Kelly put it best when he said these guys wrestling eachother is ‘scary’. They seem to be set on trying to end eachothers career, which is shown by Naito german suplexing Ibushi onto the apron and Kota’s head slamming off the side of the ring apron. Disgusting. Naito picked up the win with a second Destino. A spectacle, in the best and worst sense of the world.
IWGP Heavyweight Title – Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Chris Jericho
Result: Kazuchika Okada via pinfall to retain the title
Thoughts: This was a solid match, with a finish that was out of nowhere that made perfect sense storyline-wise. Okada out wrestled Jericho, who constatly kept trying to turn the match into a brawl. A great counter from Okada’s outside dive into a codebreaker was a big highlight, but I wasn’t as invested into this match as some of the others. The finish caught me massively off-guard.
Post-match; Jericho attacked Okada, hitting him with a chair. However, before Chris Jericho could put Okada through a table, Hiroshi Tanahashi made the save and carried Okada away. The crowd were not happy with the end to this show.
Overall Grade: B+
Thoughts: It was the weakest Dominion I’ve seen in a few years, but that is going from amazing to very good. Ospreay vs Lee and Taichi and Iishi were tremendous, and Ibushi vs Naito was a spectacle to watch. The finish of the show really left a bad taste in your mouth and everything else was across the board good.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @MattyID. Thanks for reading!