By Anish Vishwakoti, Prowrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “Dominion”
June 9, 2018 in Osaka, Japan at Osaka Jo Hall
Broadcast live on New Japan World
Part of NJPW’s big four, Dominion 2018 featured a number of heavily built up matches with Japanese and international significance. With Chris Jericho making his return to NJPW to face Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP IC title and Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada doing battle for a fourth time. On top of that Will Ospreay faces Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Jr HW title and Rey Mysterio made his NJPW debut in a tag match alongside Jushin Thunder Liger and Hiroshi Tanahashi to take on the Bullet Club.
1. El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. “Roppongi 3k” Sho and Yoh (w/Rocky Romero) for IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Championship. The match started with Sho and Yoh catching Suzuki Gun off guard and throwing them out of the ring for a dive. Yoh attempted to control Kanemaru in the ring, but was blindsided by Desperado when he attempted a springboard move. From here Kanemaru left Yoh lying outside the ring, only to barely make it back to the ring.
Desperado and Kanemaru used quick tags to maintain control of Yoh and kept knocking Sho off the apron so that Roppongi 3K had nowhere to go. When attempting a kick, Yoh caught Desperado with a dragon screw that gave him enough space to make the tag to Sho, who then hit Kanemaru and Desperado with a double clothesline and started doing battle with Desperado. He hit Desperado with an impressive series of German Suplexes including a deadlift. Sho then got caught with a Spinebuster and an impressive Kick/Thunderbomb combination for a two count.
Desperado and Sho then exchanged holds, both attempting a Gutwrench of some sort. Sho and Yoh got the better of it and they both mounted a rally although it was cut short by Kanemaru. In the midst of the chaos and some manipulation of the referee Sho managed to take advantage and hit Desperado with a savage powerbomb backbreaker although it only got a two count. When Sho mounted a final offensive, Desperado whipped him into Yoh and used a trapping roll up to get the victory and retain…
El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Sho and Yoh to retain the IWGP Jr HW Tag Team Championship.
Anish’s Take: Very fast paced opening match. Considering it was a title match I was surprised that it didn’t get more time as the four men certainly had chemistry that they could have used to keep the match going for longer. No doubt they will do battle again, so for now their match was a pretty good one to kick off Dominion.
2. David Finlay and Juice Robinson vs. Jay White and YOSHI-HASHI. Juice and HASHI started off in the ring, however White caught a distracted juice off guard and made the switch and hit him with a clothesline. Juice and White started the match trading chops and kicks. Juice quickly tagged in Finlay and they hit a double bulldog on White.
Finlay used his athletic stature to keep control of White for a while, although White eventually hit a back Suplex and tagged in HASHI. Finlay received a standing Suplex from HASHI and a Backbreaker from White to start, and the two CHAOS members went back and forth wailing on Finlay. HASHI eventually got hit with a dropkick and both men tagged out, leaving Juice and white kicking and chopping each other once more. HASHI tried to interfere but Juice trapped him and white in a corner hung tree-of-woe and hit a Rolling Senton on them.
Juice hit a cross body for a two count and called in Finlay for a double Flapjack, White escaped another double team move and hit a Suplex on Juice. The two went at it once more with Juice coming on top with a clothesline. All four men entered the ring and exchanged signature moves, ending with White hitting a Blade Runner on Finlay, allowing Juice to sneakily hit him with Pulp Friction and get the three count victory.
Juice Owens and David Finlay defeated Jay White and YOSHI-HASHI.
Anish’s Take: This match stayed exactly as long as it needed to. Perfect example of a short and meaningful undercard match. Juice and Finlay looked strong, and with Juice waving about White’s IWGP US title belt after the match it highlighted that his feud with White is not over just yet. All men looked impressive, and the crowd were just getting more and more into the show.
3. Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr vs. Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano. Before the match TAKA Michinoku got on the mic and riled up the crowd in typical Suzuki Gun fashion. He asked the crowd who is the best and if there is anyone that can beat Suzuki Gun. He stated that ZSJ is the submission master and that he will make everyone yell “Just Tap Out” before calling out Ishii and Yano.
As soon as Yano and Ishii got in the ring, Suzuki attempted to brawl with Ishii, only being held back by the referee. Once the bell rung, they wasted no time, with Suzuki and Ishii trading blockbuster kicks and strikes, ending with Suzuki catching Ishii in a Rear naked choke. Using the choke, Suzuki forced Ishii into the corner where ZSJ tagged in and trapped Ishii in a devastating looking Bow and Arrow lock. Ishii escaped and hit Suzuki with a clothesline on the apron much to his surprise and tagged in Yano.
Yano hit ZSJ with a shoulder block, but ZSJ caught him in an arm wrench submission and muscled him to the ropes to tag in Suzuki. Here the two Suzuki Gun members quite entertainingly tagged in and out, with painful looking submissions to Yano. As Suzuki looked to continue wearing down Yano, he got caught with an Atomic Drop and Yano tagged in Ishii. Ishii hit Suzuki with chops and no sold any offense from Suzuki. He then ran full steam at Suzuki and smashed him with a shoulder. Suzuki stood straight up and once again the two exchanged strikes for days.
The two kept striking until eventually they both collapsed from the force of the blows. Yano and ZSJ then rushed the ring and ZSJ caught Yano in an Octopus Stretch. Yano escaped and tried to hit ZSJ with the Corner Buckle. When he then tried to low blow ZSJ, he got caught in a Jim Breaks Armbar and tapped out.
Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr defeated Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii.
After the match, Suzuki went on a rampage hunting Ishii and the two did battle with chairs and had to be pulled apart. Very effective in rising and crashing the crowd so that they were prepped for the next match.
Anish’s Take: NJPW have got this undercard really right. Suzuki and Ishii especially put on a spectacle of a match, while ZSJ and Yano played great supporting roles. Short and sweet and got the point across that Suzuki hates Ishii and will stop at nothing to destroy what he hates.
4. Hirooki Goto vs. Michael Elgin vs. Taichi for the NEVER Openweight Championship. The triple threat started with Goto and Elgin driving Taichi out of the ring. Once they then tried to lockup, Taichi dashed back in and tried to roll up Goto, but was then whipped back out for his efforts. Elgin and Goto started striking and exchanging Shoulder Blocks, but Taichi once again slithered into the ring, only to be thwarted by Goto and Elgin once more. Taichi then attempted to use his ring girl as a distraction for Goto and Elgin but they didn’t bite. They continued battling and Elgin hit Goto with a kick.
In the confusion, Taichi entered and he and Goto inadvertently double teamed Elgin. Taichi attempted to formally ally with Goto but was refused and Suplexed as a response. Elgin then got back up and took control of the match, hitting Taichi with a grand German Suplex. Taichi was pulled out of the ring by Goto and Elgin hit a giant dive onto the outside. He then dragged Taichi into the ring and hit a Lariat, although Goto then snuck in and hit a Suplex. Taichi kicked Goto the moment he got up and when he attempted another kick, got hit by an Ushigoroshi and a two count.
Goto then placed Taichi on the top rope all three men brawled for position on the top rope, eventually resulting in Elgin hitting a Sunset Flip Bomb on Goto who hit Taichi with a Superplex. Elgin then tossed Taichi out of the ring and he and Goto exchanged Clotheslines and Forearms. Elgin hit a unique looking Electric Chair drop pinning move but got a two count. He and Goto then exchanged kicks and a headbutt before Goto hit him with an Ushigoroshi, and a two count.
Taichi once again used his ring girl to distract the ref and then used his staff to smack both Elgin and Goto. To loud boos from the crowd, Taichi covered Goto multiple times before he was eventually Powerbombed by Elgin into the corner onto Goto. Elgin then picked him up quickly and hit one final Elgin Bomb to get the pinfall victory and become NEVER Openweight Champion.
Michael Elgin defeated Taichi and Hirooki Goto to become NEVER Openweight Champion.
Anish’s Take: Very interestingly put together match. Goto didn’t look weak at all in defeat due to the triple threat nature of the match and he and Elgin will certainly do battle in the future. Taichi as a snake in this match was extremely effective and the crowd were wholly behind Elgin winning the title.
5. Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson) vs. SANADA and EVIL (c) for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles.
SANADA and Matt Jackson started the match off in the ring. They locked up and very quickly engaged in a high flying series of throws and strikes, with Matt getting the better of SANADA. They both then tagged out and The Bucks double teamed EVIL and SANADA both hitting Superkicks and then a dive to the outside.
EVIL then managed to drag Nick out of the ring and threw him to the guard rail. He and SANADA then tagged in and out to maintain control with SANADA hitting an impressive looking Moonsault on Nick, and then a Senton by EVIL. The two LIJ members did well keeping The Bucks away from each other, Matt only tagged in after a desperate dive by Nick. He rushed the ring and hit a Corkscrew kick /Arm Drag combo to regain control of their opponents.
Matt then attempted a kick on the outside from the apron on EVIL, but missed and hit the outside of the steel turnbuckle. EVIL took advantage and Screwed Matt’s knee onto the apron, after which, Matt immediately started selling the knee. EVIL and SANADA then double teamed Matt in the ring, attempting a Magic Killer, but they were thwarted by Nick, who quickly jumped in the ring. Nick attempted a Superplex which inevitably resulted in a Tower-Of-Doom spot.
The four men struggled on the floor, with Nick and SANADA picking the action up. The Bucks attempted a Meltzer Driver but were foiled by LIJ who sacrificed position and took a Dropkick to avoid getting driven. The Bucks then attempted another Meltzer Driver, that was unsuccessful as Matt was unable to Springboard due to his knee. A brilliant spot that resulted in LIJ almost getting the pin with a Magic Killer if it wasn’t for Matt breaking it up.
Nick then rolled up EVIL and hit a jawbreaker and a Clothesline on SANADA. SANADA then lifted Nick up and executed an impressive spinning Dragon Sleeper on Nick. The Bucks then rushed the ring and hit a series of Superkicks on LIJ. Through sheer force of will, The Bucks then steamrolled EVIL an impressive “More Bang for Your Buck” to pick up the victory and win the IWGP HW Tag Team Championships.
Nick and Matt Jackson defeated EVIL and SANADA for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles.
Anish’s Take: Seriously effective storytelling in this match. Nick and Matt especially told an amazing story. Matt sold his knee like a champ and elicited a lot of crowd support from this. The Bucks reached a major milestone and won their first IWGP Heavyweight titles, and celebrated appropriately after the match.
6. Jushin Liger, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Rey Mysterio vs. Marty Scurll, Cody Rhodes and Adam Page. Rey Mysterio entered to huge cheers from the crowd with custom music and wearing custom NJPW inspired gear, and the ropes held for him by Tanahashi and Liger. The Japanese commentators remarked how he was a legend in WWE for being a cruiserweight that won the Heavyweight Title. Liger and Scurll started the match off in the ring but before they could exchange holds, Rey tagged in. They then repeated this with Adam Page and Tanahashi and these were the two that started wrestling.
Tanahashi kept ahold of Page’s neck and then quickly hit an elbow on him. Page tagged out to Cody and he and Tanahashi circled each other. Cody taunted Tanahashi with push ups and then Tanahashi did the same. The two exchanged Armdrags and kicks before Tanahashi tagged in Rey and Cody tagged Scurll. Rey hit Scurll with a series of high flying throws and then tagged in Liger who locked in a Romero Special on Scurll. Bullet Club broke this up, allowing Scurll to do the same to Liger. Bullet Club then tagged quickly in and out while hitting Liger with Suplexes and stomps.
Unlike a lot of the time, Bullet Club were clear heels here, and no one dared boo Tanahashi, Liger and Rey. Liger managed to find some space and tag in Rey who hit a Springboard Senton on Scurll to deafening cheers from the crowd. He then marauded Scurll with a number of Hurricanranas and Knee Drops. When attempting a 619, Page broke it up and he and Tanahashi resumed their battle. Page and Tanahashi exchanged strikes and then tagged in Liger and Cody. Whle they were doing battle, all 6 men rushed the ring and in the chaos, Rey hit Page and Scurll with the first ever NJPW 619. While this drove Page and Scurll out of the ring, Cody was able to take advantage and knock Tanahashi and Rey out of the ring and hit Liger with the Cross Rhodes for the victory.
Cody Rhodes, Adam Page and Marty Scurll defeated Jushin Liger, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Rey Mysterio.
Anish’s Take: Very fun match, and a great way to debut Rey in NJPW. All six men got a fair amount of time in the ring to show their stuff off, and the crowd especially took to Rey. Interesting to note is that this was a very short match, and more importantly, Rey and Cody never touched in the ring. Could definitely see those two having a one on one match in NJPW in the near future.
7. Will Ospreay vs. Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship. The match started fast and hard with Ospreay and Takahashi flying at each other and dodging and weaving strikes and whips. The two brawled to the outside where Ospreay hit a sensational flying Senton from the ramp to the floor. Ospreay and Takahashi then continued to battle in the ring, each hitting chops and kicks before Ospreay hit a Corner Dropkick for a two count.
Ospreay then hit Takahashi with some European Uppercuts and locked in a nasty looking Armbar pinning combo which Takahashi barely escaped from. Takahashi is noticeably selling his arm now. Ospreay sees this and whipped the arm into the outside of the steel turnbuckle. He then continued to target that left arm but was countered and was eventually hit on the outside with a flying Dropkick from the apron.
Takahashi and Ospreay continued to go back and forth, with Takahashi catching Ospreay in a Powerbomb. He then forced the Englishman to the corner where he chopped him. Ospreay managed to force Takahashi to the ropes and hit a top rope 619. He couldn’t maintain control however as Takahashi locked in a rope hung Head Scissors.
They battled to the outside where Ospreay hit a diving Moonsault.He then dragged Takahashi into the ring and hit a reverse DDT for a two count. Ospreay attempted an Os Cutter but was caught by Takahashi with a German Suplex. The two exchanged strikes on the ground as Takahashi laughed and Ospreay grimaced.
As they continued to groggily batter each other, Takahashi managed to hit a Superkick, and eventually another German. They then exchanged Poisoned Frankensteiners, and finally a Rolling Powerbomb by Takahashi put Ospreay down for two. They crawled to the apron and once again wailed on each other with strikes. Takahashi attempted a Time Bomb, but Ospreay reversed and hit a Superplex followed by a rope hung Shooting star press, and a Corkscrew Shooting star for a two count. Ospreay then attempted a Stormbreaker, but Takahashi countered and hit Ospreay with a rolling triangle.
Ospreay struggled in the triangle for a while, but eventually escaped by hitting a Powerbomb, followed by a spinning kick. When Ospreay attempted a Springboard move, Takahashi caught him with a diving Powerbomb to the outside, which resulted in a two count. When he then tried for another Time Bomb, Ospreay hit a Superkick and they both fell to the ground.
Ospreay then attempted another Stormbreaker but was caught in a Triangle. Just as Ospreay attempted to reverse with a Powerbomb, Hiromu caught him and hit a Death Valley Driver into the corner. From here he quickly followed up with a Time Bomb and made the cover for the pinfall victory to win the title.
Hiromu Takahashi defeated Will Ospreay for the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship.
Anish’s Take: The crowd absolutely loved this match and for good reason. Takahashi ended the match celebrating with his BOSJ trophy and his newly won IWGP Jr HW title, as Ospreay was carried out limp. The two men put on an amazing show and this was one of the matches of the night. Like many Jr matches, there was a built in story here, just two men trying to prove that they are the best, and it worked like a charm. The crowd bought into every move they made and it resulted in a very dynamic title victory for Hiromu.
8. Tetsuya Naito vs. Chris Jericho for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Before the match a really well done promo played showing the fallout from Jericho’s match at Wrestle Kingdom and his motivation for wanting to take out Naito. The leader of LIJ had a smooth promo segment in the promo as well where he played off Jericho’s threats like thy were nothing.
Jericho entered the Osaka-Jo hall to grandiose applause again, in what seemed to be “A Clockwork Orange” Inspired ring gear. Naito entered in his typical all white suit, but of course he didn’t make it all the way as Jericho intercepted him and assaulted him with a guard rail and a Suplex to the concrete. The two did battle on the outside, with Jericho Powerbombing Naito through a table and taunting him and the crowd, calling himself “The Alpha.” Jericho then lifted Naito up onto a table ringside and hit a DDT, before autographing what seemed to be the commentators notes in a sarcastic manner.
Jericho tossed Naito into the ring and ordered the bell be rung. He taunted Naito to the crowd and began to undress Naito from his suit. Naito rallied and attempted to push Jericho off but was met with a Backbreaker and a Lionsault for his efforts. Jericho continued to taunt Naito to boos from the crowd and chopped him in the corner. Jericho was faced with fleeting offense from Naito but was ultimately able to keep control for a good while. Jericho expertly deflected any cheers he got into boos by wailing on Nato with a Liontamer. Naito slapped Jericho and hit him with a Spear and a Dropkick to buy himself some time. Naito slowly stripped himself of his suit and battled Jericho with a rough buttoned shirt and trousers for a while, hitting Jericho with a Neckbreaker on the apron.
Naito himself received some boos as he used his shirt to choke Jericho. Clearly this was no longer about any character but simply about two superstars trying to destroy the other. Naito continued his assault by hitting Jericho with a table piece and then hitting him with a Piledriver on the commentary table. Naito then tossed Jericho in the ring and tried to hit a top rope Hurricanrana. However, Jericho muscled him to the ground in a nasty faux Piledriver and locked in another Liontamer. Naito was able to escape and used the little space he had to hit a Tornado DDT.
Jericho and Naito then went back and forth with pinning and submission attempts, with Jericho eventually locking in the Walls of Jericho. Naito crawled to the ropes slowly with the support of the crowd and barely made it to the ropes. Jericho was then hit with a German Suplex and a series of strikes by Naito and a Destino.
Jericho rolled to the ropes and only escaped Naito’s pin due to a ropebreak. Both men lay disheveled in the ring and walloped each other with fatigued strikes. Jericho reversed a whip attempt by Naito and caught him with a Codebreaker. He was unable to make the cover however and he continued to strike back and forth with Naito. Jericho attempted another Lionsault but Naito got the knees up and this led to a flurry of offense from the champion. Naito attempted a Destino but Jericho pushed him off and kicked the referee away. By doing this Jericho was able to hit a lowblow and a second Codebreaker to get he pinfall and win the IWGP IC Title.
After the match, Jericho wailed on Naito with his leather belt, but was stopped by EVIL who made the save. Jericho slithered out and left the arena celebrating with the IWGP IC title.
Chris Jericho defeated Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
Anish’s Take: This match was very Jericho and I say that in the best way possible. The Canadian legend always brings something unique to his matches, and this was no different. He and Naito put on an amazing match in the short time they had to entertain the crowd and garner a huge response from them. Jericho proves once again why he is one of the greatest of all time and lays out a strong story in Osaka.
9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega in a best of three falls match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Before the match, a great promo played, with Omega especially laying out the story, saying that Okada is crazy for challenging him to a no time limit match when he knows that Omega has more stamina than him. Before Omega came out, an awesome package played for his entrance showing all of his frustrations leading up to reuniting with Kota Ibushi. Omega was dressed in all black, and a white feather landed at his feet for him to look up and see Ibushi, and all the things their relationship went through.
Ibushi asks him if he’s ready and what he has given up for this, a Bullet Club logo then evaporated, and Omega says everything. Omega then walks out with Ibushi by his side. Okada entered to his normal grandeur with money raining down and Gedo by his side. Omega gave Ibushi a last hug and then stared down Okada. The two circled each other and locked up, starting by exchanging arm wrenches and hip tosses. Omega and Okada wrestlerd slowly and calculatedly, allowing the tension to build with each Chin Lock and Roll.
Omega grabbed a front Face Lock, but Okada tripped the leg, dropped an elbow on Omega’s thigh and the two grappled to the ropes. Okada and Omega patted each other in the corner and then went fast and hard, each trying for their signatures, Tombstones, Rainmakers andOneWinged Angel’s were all reversed as the two showed just how well they know each other. They continued to battle on the outside, with Okada whipping Omega to the guard rail and attempting a diving cross body over it. However, Omega reversed this and caught Okada with a knee before slamming him onto a nearby guard rail. Omega then tossed Okada back into the ring and elbowed the hell out of Okada’s shoulder. Omega kicked Okada’s back slow and hard with the champion riling him on.
Omega then chopped Okada in the corner and hit him with a Backbreaker to keep him grounded. He seemed to be targeting Okada’s torso, as he next locked in a Camel Clutch to wear the champion down. Okada then battled back, going strike for strike with Omega, although he was still on the backfoot until he hit a Flapjack and bought himself some space. Using this space, Okada hit a running Clothesline and a DDT to earn a two count. Okada then grabbed Omega in a Chin Lock, however Omega rolled to the outside and was hit with a dive by the champion. They continued to exchange strikes in the ring as Okada hit a kick and was then caught with a Frankensteiner.
Okada rolled to the outside to escape, but Omega hit a huge Springboard Cross Body over the guard rail to keep Okada down. Omega tossed him back into the ring and hit a Kotaro Crusher to gain a two count. Omega then lifted him up and landed a spinning Fisherman Suplex. He couldn’t follow up however as Okada thwarted his next moves and hit a German Suplex. They then battled to the top rope where Omega attempted a Superplex. However, Okada got himself down and forced Omega to lift him back onto the top rope facing away from the ring. Okada slithered out and managed to hit a deathly looking Tombstone onto the apron, leaving both men gasping for recovery.
Okada then hit Omega with the first dropkick of the match and knocked Omega off the apron into the guard rail. He followed Omega outside and used forearms to wail on himbefore throwing him into the ring for a jumping Dropkick. This got Okada a two count and the champion continued his assault with a diving Elbow. He then attempted a Rainmaker although Omega quickly reversed with a German, followed bya dive to the outside. Omega rallied on the outside, tossing Okada into the ring and hitting a Dropkick to his back for a two count. Omega then lifted him up for a One Winged Angel, and while he didn’t hit it, he managed to execute a German Suplex anyway. Omega followed up with a V-Trigger and another One Winged Angel attempt. Okada saw this coming and hit a Pair of Dropkicks to knock Omega off balance.
Okada then tried for a Rainmaker, but Omega just kit another V-Trigger. The two exchanged moves with Okada hitting a Tombstone, and when he attempted a Rainmaker, Omega shifted to pull off a Crucifix. However, Okada telegraphed this and caught Omega in a pinning attempt and won the first fall.
Gedo and Ibushi rushed the ring to help their respective fighters. Omega looked frustrated and Okada looked cocky after the first fall. When they locked up again, Omega rushed in with a kick, but Okada just tossed him to the top rope and Dropkicked him to the outside. Okada then followed Omega around the ring, chopping him and whipping him into the guard rail. Okada then picked up Omega and hit a Spike DDT from the guard rail to the floor. Omega slowly limped back to the ring and attempted to strike Okada, but Okada shrugged his strikes off and retaliated with a boot. Okada then grabbed a Chin Lock and muscled Omega to the mat.
Omega then managed to rally and toss Okada to the outside with a table on top of him. He hita Stomp from the apron onto the table and the two rolled into the ring. Okada tried for a Senton but Omega got the knees up and reversed with an Death Valley Driver. Okada then hit a Dropkick and went up to the top rope where the two exchanged strikes. Omega managed to hit a Superplex but couldn’t cover Okada. Omega hit a Steamroller but was foiled when he tried to follow with a Moonsault as Okada got the knees up and hit a flying Forearm. Okada leans on the ropes and spots the table on the outside. Omega reversed a whip into a running DDT and he then spots the table. The two men fought on the apron with Omega trying for a German. They struggle on the apron and eventually they fell off and Omega hit a Poisoned Frankensteiner.
Okada just makes it back into the ring as the count hits 19 but is met with a V-Trigger and a One Winged Angel attempt. Okada hit a Tombstone and when he tried to follow up with a Rainmaker, Omega hit a Rock Bottom type move. The two got up and smacked each other with Forearms and Chops once more. They exchanged Suplexes and Kicks and eventually omega hit another set of V-Triggers and a Piledriver for a two count. A frustrated Omega rallied and hit another V-Trigger before hitting a One Winged Angel and winning the second fall via pinfall.
The crowd went silent here and sat in anticipation that the score was tied up. Brilliant storytelling was allowed to breathe hear and very calmly, both Ibushi and Gedo entered the ring and helped their fighters recover. As soon as the bell rung to restart the match, Omega hit a V-Trigger and attempted a One Winged Angel, however Okada reversed and hit a Rainmaker. Okada crawled to a cover but only got the two count. The two men slowly rose and attempted to grab control of the match. They both tried for a Tombstone, and eventually resorted to Slaps and Uppercuts. Okada tried for a Dropkick but Omega saw it coming and left Okada to fall. Omega used a series of palm strikes to knock him down and hit a Styles Clash on a surprised Okada.
This only got a two count, and the Japanese commentators made much of the fact that Omega used AJ’s move. The crowd chanted AJ Styles and Omega used this momentum to hit aother V-Trigger and tried to lift Okada for a One Winged Angel. He made it to the center but Oada shifted his weight and Omega used Ibushi’s standing package piledriver. Ibushi looked in awe and when Omega crawled to the corner they exchanged words. Omega then made his way to the top rope and attempted a Phoenix Splash in the vein of Ibushi. Okada rolled out the way however and hit a Dropkick, when he tried to follow up with a Tombstone, Omega hit multiple V-Triggers to wear him down. Okada caught the last one and then hit multiple Dropkicks. He then attempted a Rainmaker and in an astonishing spot, Omega was saved as Okada’s strength gave out and his Rainmaker landed with little force.
Both men lay prone and the crowd roared as they edged to their knees. The two then exchanged strikes from their knees and Omega hit a headbutt to gain an advantage. Okada hit a surprise Rainmaker to leave Omega down and followed up with a second. He then attempted another, but Omega reversed it and hit a German. Omega then rallied with a series of German Suplexes but Okada hit one of his own and attempted one more Rainmaker. Omega broke the stalemate with a Poisoned Frankensteiner and when he tried for a V-Trigger, Okada surprised him with a Dropkick. Okada tried for a Rainmaker but Omega reversed it directly into a One Winged Angel. Omega couldn’t make the cover and instead hit a massive V-Trigger followed by one more One Winged Angel to make the cover and win the IWGP Heavyweight championship.
Kenny Omega defeated Kazuchika Okada to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
After the match, the crowd went crazy, the commentators went crazy, and I went crazy. This match was spectacular and the story being told was all the better because of how long it had been going on. From Kenny’s relationship with Ibushi to the Bullet Club Civil war to his rivalry with Okada who himself was on a quest to be the greatest IWGP HW Champion of all time.
The Young Bucks, Ibushi and Omega celebrated in the ring with all of their belts. Omega grabbed the mic and said that he will speak a little in Japanese. He said that these last 10 years he was on the quest to be the strongest and win the IWGP HW title. He states that now that he has this belt he won’t let it go. He said that the people here saw in this ring the future of Pro Wrestling. Omega said that Pro Wrestling gives him this great feeling and that his next step will be being a great Champion in NJPW along with the Young Bucks. Omega said that with Ibushi by his side there is nothing he can’t do and he thanked the crowd.
Omega switched to English and stated that he won’t listen to all the people that say he can’t do anything. He made fun of Naito with a “Tranquillo” reference and said that in his way, he makes his own rules and that with his friends and lovers by his side he can do anything. The show ends with Cody coming down the ramp and the commentators stating how much Cody is being booed. Cody sees this and leaves halfway down the ramp to leave The Young Bucks and Ibushi hoisting Omega on his shoulders.
Anish’s Take:. A fantastic show, this genuinely felt as important as a Wrestle Kingdom. There were a lot of highlights and every match played a part in putting together a solid show. The undercard matches didn’t overstay their welcome and if you can, definitely check out the Suzuki Gun vs. Chaos match as well as Mysterio’s debut match. Of the title matches, it is absolutely worth checking out the final three matches. The Jr HW’s proved once more why they might be the most exciting division in NJPW, Jericho and Naito put on an awesome co-main and set up some really amazing things to come.
Okada and Omega might have put on their best match yet and any Wrestling fan would be doing themselves a favor by watching this match. I find it hard to believe that this was their last match and I seriously can’t wait for Omega’s title run. There are a lot of directions they can go in, and with people like Omega and Okada at the helm NJPW looks in fantastic shape.
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