Preview: Dominion

img_20190606_0921155518680753754874964.jpgWhen – Sunday June 9th @ 16.00 JST (9.00 GMT/8.00 BST/3.00 EST/00.00 PST)
Where – Osaka-Jo Hall, Osaka
Overview – The biggest event on the NJPW schedule since Wrestle Kingdom in January promises to be unmissable. This year sees the return of Chris Jericho who will be challenging for Kazuchika Okada‘s IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Elsewhere, Kota Ibushi and Tetsuya Naito will add another explosive match to their on-going rivalry as Ibushi looks to succesfully defend his IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Fresh off winning the Best of the Super Juniors, Will Ospreay will be looking to reach the summit and take the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship from Dragon Lee. And in an interesting opening match, Jon Moxley will be competing against Shota Umino.

0609_iwgp_okada_jericho4771128612105027966.jpgKazuchika Okada (C) vs Chris Jericho – IWGP Heavyweight Championship
In his first appearance in Japan since January 4th, Chris Jericho will be challenging for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the first time in his career against an opponent he has never stepped in the ring with, Kazuchika Okada. Momentum benefits both men, with Jericho fresh off a monumental victory over Kenny Omega in AEW and Okada getting his first defense under his belt with success against SANADA. Okada has an innate ability to wrestle the style of whoever he is in the ring with and often better them, so it will be interesting to see what approach he takes against the enigmatic Jericho who has been a wildcard during his time with NJPW.
Who I think will win – Okada
Who I want to win – Okada

0609_ic_ibushi_naito5314380463110556529.jpgKota Ibushi (C) vs Tetsuya Naito – IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Ibushi has plans to make his title equal to the Heavyweight title, much like one of his self-professed “Gods” Shinsuke Nakamura did years ago. Naito wants to make history and become the first man to hold both the IWGP Intercontinetal and Heavyweight Championships at the same time. But at Dominion, somebody’s dreams will hit a roadblock. The pair have already met twice in 2019 with Ibushi coming out on top on both occasions, the last time winning the Intercontinental title in the process at G1 Supercard. As 2 of the most popular stars in NJPW you can expect the crowd to be booming in a match that promises both men leaving with their necks worse for wear than when they walked in.
Who I think will win – Ibushi
Who I want to win – Ibushi

0609074920628761130419200.jpgDragon Lee (C) vs Will Ospreay – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
This match comes as a result of the Best of the Super Juniors final that saw Ospreay conquer the undefeated Shingo in a match many are touting as match of the year. But now having a feel for slaying dragons, Ospreay faces another challenge in the form of Dragon Lee. These 2 men met during BOSJ26 but have both made tremendous progress since then, adding a variety of weapons to their arsenals. This match will promises to be fast-paced and hard hitting, especially with Ospreay out to prove that the Juniors should not be underneath the Heavyweights. This affords both men the opportunity to show what the Junior division is all about on a card that only contains 4 other Junior Heavyweight competitors.
Who I think will win – Ospreay
Who I want to win – Ospreay

0609064083014632586089220.jpgGuerrillas of Destiny (C) vs EVIL & SANADA – IWGP Tag Team Championship
Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa are on fire at the moment. Not only are they the IWGP Tag Team Champions but they are also the ROH World Tag Team Champions. They will be coming up against familiar faces in their 3rd title defence in EVIL & SANADA who beat G.O.D. at Wrestle Kingdom for the titles before G.O.D. earned the titles back at Honor Rising. Despite having a 3-2 record to their advantage, EVIL & SANADA will need to be at their best if they hope to dethrone the cocky champions who will be looking to settle the score and even up those wins.
Who I think will win – G.O.D.
Who I want to win – G.O.D.

0609_never_ishiitaichi2085642210383974275.jpgTaichi (C) vs Tomohiro Ishii – NEVER OpenWeight Championship
Taichi surprised everybody in his match against Tomohiro Ishii during the New Japan Cup as he competed with fighting spirit, something he is not known for. But in the end he came up short, so perhaps he will have learnt his lesson and resort back to his usual mischievous tactics. But when it comes to Ishii, all he wants is to fight. So whether Taichi wants to or not, he will be inevitably be forced into throwing blows with the Stone Pitbull who will be hoping to earn his first singles title in NJPW since losing at Wrestle Kingdom 10. TAICHI GONNA GET BIT BY STONE PITBULL 141.
Who I think will win – Ishii
Who I want to win – Ishii

0609048729957092126879523.jpgHiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Jay White, Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori
This is a very interesting tag match, teaming together 2 men who just lost big at the BOSJ final. Tanahashi will be hoping to avenge his loss at the hands of White from Wednesday whilst Juice Robinson will be looking to gain some momentum after losing his title to Moxley. Robinson gave an impassioned speech after his defeat, hinting that we could see the more serious side he showed against Moxley stick around. In the other corner the Bullet Club will be gloating. White seems perched to challenge the winner of the main event and Ishimori will be challenging for the IWGP Junior Tag Team Championships in the near future.

0609034311734105177388055.jpgJushin Thunder Liger & YOSHI-HASHI vs Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr
Suzuki and Liger will be reigniting their rivalry that has been playing out over recent months and be at each others throats. As for YOSHI-HASHI, he has his eyes set on challenging ZSJ for his Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship. The winners of this one will earn a well deserved boost of confidence with singles matches very likely in the future.

0609026329394075821289244.jpgSatoshi Kojima vs Shingo Tagaki
Despite losing to Will Ospreay in the BOSJ final, Shingo demanded to be put in the ring with a Heavyweight for this show and the NJPW office has delivered in the form of Kojima. Fans and critics alike have been vocal that Shingo treads a fine line by being a Junior Heavyweight and think he could easily make an impact in the Heavyweight division. This is his time to prove it. But it won’t be easy as he goes up against the legendary Kojima in a match that see’s Shingo’s Pumping Bomber be put to the task against Kojima’s Cozy Lariat. 

060901448834257756151468.jpgJon Moxley vs Shota Umino
I absolutely love that Moxley will be in the opening Young Lion match. It helps integrate Moxley into the NJPW system rather than appearing as a one-off attraction and it puts eyes on the future star that is Shota Umino. Whilst the outcome seems like a foregone conclusion, don’t expect Moxley to get through this easily. Shota may only be a Young Lion in the New Japan system but he is more than capable of putting on exceptional matches. Moxley will be feeling the effects of his match against Juice Robinson and he may be looking past Shota who will look to take advantage.

What’s Next?
The NJPW schedule carries on with Kizuna Road kicking off on Friday 14th June through to the 25th. Expect announcements about matches for the 10 shows a few days after Dominion. The roster then makes the trip to Australia for Southern Showdown at the end of the month before the G1 Climax 29 kicks off on July 6th in Dallas.

– @CiaranRH

Top 5 matches from Best of the Super Juniors 26

5 things I want to see happen in NJPW

Chris Charlton Interview (August 2018)