I’m just gonna get to the point here – I’m super excited about this event. There is like four great matches here and there is nothing awful on the card either. Dominion could be show of the year.
Mind you, I said that about NXT Takeover: New Orleans and I was slightly disappointed…even though it was a fine show. So I’m not gonna get my hopes up…I’m just going to watch Dominion and take it all in…
El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Roppongi 3K for the IWGP junior heavyweight tag titles was a good opener (3.5/5) I liked the story of the match, with Roppongi 3K counteracting all the cheating of the champions, until a Kanemaru whisky bottle shot cost Roppongi 3K the match. It reminded me of one of favourite ‘underrated’ matches in Asuka vs Emma at NXT Takeover London in 2015…I love it when you think the heel is going to cheat to win, only for the faces to outwit or counter them every time. The last few minutes in this match were great…
Jay White & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay was decent (3/5) if just a vehicle for the Finlay and Juice vs Jay White feud to continue. This time, Juice pinned White and posed with his US Title, setting up a match on July 7 at the G1 Climax Special in San Francisco. The action was good, but nothing you have to go out of your way to see.
Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (3.5/5) was just a war between Suzuki and Ishii. Both men were fighting throughout the match and even after the bell with vicious strikes. I was entertained by the pull apart brawl and like to think they are still fighting in the streets in Osaka somewhere. A functional match, but the work building the feud between Ishii and Suzuki was superb.
Hirooki Goto vs. Taichi vs. Michael Elgin for the NEVER Openweight title (3/5) was a OK match between three guys I’m not keen on. I wasn’t keen on Taichi’s stalling, but I thought the usual three way match trope of ‘one guy rests while the other two wrestle’ wasn’t exploited too much in this one. Again, the finish was pretty good too (Elgin bucklebombed Taichi into Goto, then powerbombed Taichi for the win) and a Elgin vs Goto match was alluded to, which I think will be an improvement.
I figured EVIL & Sanada vs. The Young Bucks for the IWGP tag titles would be the sleeper match of the night, second to Omega vs Okada. Maybe my hopes were a little high, but I’d still go to 4/5 for this one. The story of and focus on Nick Jackson’s foot injury (incurred after kicking a ring post instead of Sanada) was fantastic and I got into the false finishes in the end. I think you could make the argument, that these two teams are the best tag teams in the world at the moment, given Team DIY’s split, The Revival’s fall into irrelevance and Bobby Fish’s injury.
Rey Mysterio, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Marty Scurll, Cody & Hangman Page was more an exhibition with Scurll’s feud against Liger and Mysterio underpinning it. It was an alright match, but more like one of the multiman tags you see on a tour show. I’ll go 3/5 as the action was decent, but again there was nothing essential here.
I also had high hopes for between Will Ospreay vs. Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP junior heavyweight title and I’m not sure that they were met. There was some great wrestling with unbelievable, fast moves and counters but I did feel like it was sometimes moves for moves sake. I felt Ospreay’s match with Marty Scurll at Sakura Genesis was slightly better as the focus on Ospreay’s neck and the rivalry with Scurll added to the intensity of the match. Still, it’s 4/5 for me, as the wrestling itself was sublime.
Tetsuya Naito vs. Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental title was more story than match, but I loved the story. Chris Jericho in New Japan has been one of the highlights of the year and watching him terrorize New Japan officials and wrestlers has been great. Watching him ambush, dominate and beat an off-guard and unassuming Naito was fantastic – you don’t see Naito beaten down like this and I’m left wondering what the follow up wlll be. Another 4/5 for me – I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this match as much as I did and would love to see more of it.
Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega in a 2/3 Falls, No Time Limit Match for the IWGP heavyweight title couldn’t really fail to be a classic – you have two of the best wrestlers in the world in a epic rubber match to finish up a storied rivalry. I loved this – the pace was perfect, with the match maintaining my interest for it’s duration I liked the story too, with Okada’s resistance finally wearing away and Omega finishing him with the One Winged Angel to win his first IWGP Heavyweight Title. It’s a brilliant match and one I can’t really do justice to with words but I’ll go 5/5…for me, it’s up there with Golden Lovers vs Young Bucks at Strong Style Evolved for Match of the Year so far…
Verdict – Dominion was a fine show, full of great matches and was a show that lived up to it’s potential. On the whole, I’d say it met my lofty hopes for this show…overall rating is 3.66/5.00, which is a good rating for any show. There was a 5/5 match, three 4/5 matches and no match went under 3/5. That’s a really consistent card and it makes me excited about the next New Japan show in San Francisco next month. I think New Japan has been consistently good this year and heading into the G1 Climax, it’s picking up steam….