On 9th June in Osaka, NJPW hosts Dominion live from Osaka-jō Hall and streamed live on NJPW World. The already announced matches have the potential to make this the show of the year, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it could be one of the greatest shows of all time.
The main event for Dominion is Kazuchika Okada (C) vs Kenny Omega for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in a 2 out of 3 falls match with no time limit. The expectations for this match are immeasurable; last year these 2 wrestlers met 3 times in singles action and the matches took first, second and third place for Match of the Year 2017. Okada won the first match at Wrestle Kingdom 11, their second match at Dominion ended in a 60 minute time-limit draw and Omega finally got the big win over Okada at the G1 Climax in their third meeting; leaving the score at 1 win, 1 draw and 1 loss each. Come 9th June Okada will have been the Champion for an unbelievable 719 days which already makes him the longest reigning Champion by 230 days. This is a match that can truly go either way. Okada has beaten every challenger for his title for almost 2 years to the point he had ran out of new challengers so he took it upon himself to challenge Kenny which could be the brash Champions undoing. Is it time for Okada to be dethroned? It seems like it’s time for Kenny to get his chance at the top. He has consistently been one of New Japan’s top performers for years now, perhaps the top performer and it feels right that he should get the opportunity to hold the prestigious IWGP Championship; It feels like it’s time.
Heart says – Kenny Omega
Head says – Kenny Omega
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Chris Jericho is heading back to Japan to face Tetsuya Naito (C) for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Jericho is an attraction for the Japanese audience and has helped put Western eyes on NJPW that may not have cared too much. I expect we will see something akin to Jericho’s match versus Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12; that the match with Naito will be more of a brawl than a wrestling masterclass. Not to say that either competitor cannot put on that type of match, however they will run a serious risk of being overshadowed by Okada/Omega; I don’t think there are any 2 wrestlers on the planet that would want to try out-perform the main event. Jericho is coming into this one as the foul-mouthed foreign heel against Naito, the beloved leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon.
Heart says – Tetsuya Naito
Head says – Chris Jericho
The Best of Super Juniors has just finished with a 5 star match; clocking in at 34 minutes and 9 seconds Taiji Ishimori and Hiromu Takahashi had the longest match in the 25 year history of the tournament culminating in a big win for Takahashi. He was clearly the fan favourite at Korakuen Hall which now means current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay will be defending his Championship against the BOSJ winner Hiromu Takahashi. “The best” is always up for debate but the discussion for best high-flyer in the world cannot take place without Ospreay’s name, however as of late he has been proving he has more than just flips and is consistently delivering matches with great story-telling, including his successful defense of the title versus Marty Scurll at Sakura Genesis.
Heart says – Will Ospreay
Head says – Will Ospreay
Rey Mysterio will be wrestling in NJPW for the first time in a 6 man tag match as he teams up with the legendary Jushin Thunder Liger and Hiroshi Tanahashi. Rey was originally scheduled to face Liger at Strong Style Evolved but had to pull out due to injury and is now having a second shot at stepping into a NJPW ring in another match that will hopefully help pull Western viewers in. Facing the iconic trio will be Bullet Club members Marty Scurll, Cody Rhodes and Adam Page. This match promises to be fun with a lot of talent in the ring who know how to work a crowd.
Heart says – Team Mysterio
Head says – Team Mysterio
The Young Bucks will be making their first challenge for the IWGP Tag Team Championships since moving up to Heavyweights as they go up against LIJ’s Evil & Sanada. The change of division shouldn’t have much impact on the Bucks’ style but it will be interesting to see if they can win the titles after being such a prolific Junior Tag Team. Evil & Sanada have held strong with the titles since beating Killer Elite Squad at Wrestle Kingdom. New Japan are the best in the world at long term booking so it seems more logical for LIJ to win this match and have The Young Bucks play out as the underdogs until they can win the titles further down the line.
Heart says – The Young Bucks
Head says – Evil & Sanada
Hirooki Goto will be defending the Neverweight Championship versus Michael Elgin and Taichi in a match that might easily be lost in the shuffle. Unless these 3 competitors have something special planned it is likely this match will be over shadowed by the grandeur of the rest of the card.
Heart says – Hirooki Goto
Head says – Hirooki Goto
Chaos’s Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano will be taking on Suzuki-Gun’s Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr in a tag team match. It’s always fun to see when the comedy of Yano meets the brutality of Suzuki as it can always go either one. Most of the time it ends with Suzuki victimizing Yano but every so often Yano is sneaky enough to get the upper hand. Ishii & ZSJ are two of the consistently best wrestlers in the world, and whilst this match doesn’t have any longterm booking it will no doubt be a solid match up. A card is never completed without a Suzuki entrance which gives the chance to sing along with his iconic theme, Kaze Ni Nare!
Heart says – Suzuki-Gun
Head says – Suzuki-Gun
Taguchi Japan’s Juice Robinson & David Finlay team up to take on Chaos’ IWGP United States Champion Jay White & Yoshi-Hashi in another tag match. Whilst it’s likely this match will be quickly forgotten, if either Juice or David can pick up a win over Jay White it could lead to a title shot down the line.
Heart says – Juice Robinson pins Jay White
Head says – Chaos
In usual fashion, the IWGP Junior Tag Team Champions will be defending their titles in the opening match as Suzuki-Gun’s El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru attempt to defend their titles against Roppongi 3K members Sho & Yoh. The Juniors always kick off shows with face paced action and we can definitely expect that from Sho & Yoh who are two highlights in the division and put in a great string of matches during BOSJ.
Heart says – Roppongi 3K
Head says – Suzuki-Gun
– Ciarán Hayward