By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “Dominion”
June 9, 2019 in Osaka, Japan at Osaka Jo Hall
Broadcast live on New Japan World and FITE.TV
Kevin Kelly, Don Callis, and Chris Charlton were on English commentary…
1. IWGP U.S. Champion Jon Moxley vs. Shota Umino in a non-title match. Umino dove from the ring and onto Moxley at ringside as Moxley was making his entrance. Moxley eventually took control and won with his DDT finisher. Callis said the win wasn’t intended for Umino, it was meant for everyone in the locker room. Moxley took the mic after the match and declared that he wants to be in the G1 tournament. Moxley returned to the ring and picked up Umino and brought him to ringside, then put his arm around him and brought him to the back.
Jon Moxley defeated Shota Umino in 4:05 in a non-title match.
Powell’s POV: Fun stuff with Umino throwing caution to the wind with his early attack on Moxley, who regrouped and dominated Umino as expected. Moxley’s G1 tournament announcement was somewhat expected and still cool at the same time. I heard about Moxley’s new ring gear before I saw it and the description worried me a bit, but it actually works well for him.
2. Satoshi Kojima vs. Shingo Takagi. Kojima and Takagi went to ringside and traded forearms and rushed back to the ring when the referee’s count reached 19. Late in the match, Takagi blasted Kojima with a running lariat. Takagi followed up with the Last of the Dragon finisher and scored the clean pin. Takagi took the mic afterward and cut a promo in Japanese. The broadcast team noted that Takagi also wants to be in the G1 tournament. Kelly plugged ticket information for the first G1 event that will be held July 6 in Dallas, Texas.
Shingo Takagi defeated Satoshi Kojima in 11:15.
Powell’s POV: A good undercard match that gave the legend Kojima a decent amount of offense before Takagi put him away.
3. Jushin Liger and Yoshi-Hashi vs. Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr. Suzuki blasted Yoshi-Hashi with a forearm or elbow to the face. Yoshi crumbled and then sold while Sabre tagged in and taunted him. Suzuki and ZSJ were dominant throughout the match, but Yoshi-Hashi caught Sabre with an inside cradle and scored the upset pin. Sabre tried to attack Yoshi-Hashi after the match, but Yoshi-Hashi clotheslined him. Yoshi-Hashi and Liger celebrated in the ring while Suzuki and ZSJ threw tantrums at ringside.
Jushin Liger and Yoshi-Hashi vs. Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr. in 9:35
Powell’s POV: I didn’t see that one coming. The upset was well received. Kelly also noted that this was the last time that Liger would compete at Dominion with his retirement scheduled for the Tokyo Dome in January. It would have been cool if they gave Liger the upset win, but I’m guessing they have something planned for a followup involving Yoshi-Hashi and ZSJ.
4. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jay White, Taiji Ishimori, and Chase Owens. Late in the match, Tanahashi hit Owens with a clumsy move and then pinned him. Tanahashi sold elbow pain afterward. Robinson didn’t raise Tanahashi’s arm while they were all standing together in the middle of the ring afterward.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, and Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Jay White, Taiji Ishimori, and Chase Owens in 9:50.
Powell’s POV: A basic six-man tag match with Tanahashi getting a win after putting over Jay White earlier in the week at the Best of the Super Juniors finals. Tanahashi was really playing up what is hopefully just a worked elbow injury. Kelly also noted that Robinson didn’t have as much flair as usual given that he lost the IWGP U.S. Championship at that same show.
5. Taichi vs. Tomohiro Ishii for the Never Openweight Championship. Taichi sang on his way to the ring. Fortunately, the audio feed was cut. Taichi stalled at ringside. Ishii responded by lying down on his back in the ring. Taichi avoided a clothesline from Ishii and thew the ref into him. REF BUMP!!! Ishii connected with a couple lariats and the referee recovered to make a two count. Taichi came back with lariats of his own and rolled Ishii into nice pin attempt that resulted in a good near fall. Taichi applied a submission hold. Taichi eventually released the hold and blasted Ishii with a kick.
The wrestlers fought for position and Taichi connected with a kick and a Last Ride powerbomb for another good near fall. The wrestlers traded strikes. Ishii no-sold a kick, then connected with a lariat for a near fall. Ishii picked up Taichi and set up for the brainbuster, but Taichi slipped out and threw more strikes. Ishii powerbombed Taichi and followed up with a lariat for another two count. Ishii followed up with the vertical drop brainbuster for the 1-2-3…
Tomohiro Ishii defeated Taichi in 16:15 to win the Never Openweight Championship.
Powell’s POV: Really good work down the stretch with some believable near falls. I enjoy watching Ishii, but I have only slightly more interest in the Never Openweight Championship than I have in the Never Openweight Six-Man Tag Titles. This is the fourth time the title has changed hands in 2019, and the sixth title change since November. I’m a believer in less is more as far as title belts are concerned and both NJPW and WWE have gone overboard.
6. “Guerrillas of Destiny” Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa (w/Jado) vs. Evil and Sanada for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles. Before the match, Jado hit the ring announcer with a kendo stick. There was a long stretch with the GOD duo isolating Evil. Sanada finally tagged in and went on the offensive briefly before he ended up being isolated. Sanada dropkicked his way free and tagged in Evil, who performed a superplex on Tonga. Sanada followed up with a standing moonsault on Tonga, then Evil put him in a Sharpshooter, which Loa broke up.
A short time later, Sanada applied Skull End on Loa while Evil put Tonga in a Sharpshooter. Jado pulled the referee from the ring and then Tonga tapped out, but the referee was down. Jado entered the ring and hit Evil with the kendo stick. Time stood still as Jado wound up with the kendo stick before Bushi finally entered the ring and stopped him from using it. Bushi sprayed mist into the face of Jado and then worked him over at ringside. Evil and Sanada set up for the Magic Killer on Tonga, who kicked his way out of it and then rolled up Evil and held his tights while pinning him…
Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa defeated Evil and Sanada in 16:40 to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: Meh. A decent match with a clunky finish that felt out of place on the big event.
Katsuyori Shibata came out wearing a suit. He walked halfway down the ramp, then stopped and pointed at the stage. Kenta (f/k/a Hideo Itami) walked out wearing a t-shirt that read “Takeover” (not an NXT shirt). Kenta spoke to the crowd in Japanese while Charlton translated. Kenta announced his entry in the G1 tournament. Kenta sat down in the ring while Shibata posed behind him…
7. Dragon Lee vs. Will Ospreay for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. Lee and Ospreay started with a fast paced exchange where they took turns stuffing big move attempts from the other. It ended with both men performing simultaneous dropkicks, then kipping up with Lee standing and Ospreay striking a pose on his knees. Lee dropkicked Ospreay while he was down. Later, Lee sat Ospreay on the barricade at ringside in front of the Japanese broadcast team. Lee returned to the ring and performed a suicide dive that speared Ospreay off the barricade and both men tumbled onto the broadcast table (the referee was in the process of counting out Ospreay and was leaning on the middle rope, which helped push it down slightly while Lee dove between the ropes). Damn. By the way, Hiroshi Tanahashi was sitting in on commentary with the Japanese crew.
Back inside the ring, Lee tied up Ospreay in the tree of woe and then went up top. Ospreay sat up and they traded punches. Lee set up for a double stomp, but Ospreay kicked him in the face and freed himself. Ospreay went to the top rope and performed a corkscrew moonsault onto Lee at ringside. Ospreay came up selling his ribs. Ospreay brought Lee back inside the ring and picked up a two count. Ospreay set up for a Storm Breaker, but Lee countered into a DDT. Ospreay regrouped and hit the Storm Breaker moments later. Both wrestlers got to their knees and traded forearms, then got to their feet and continued with the forearms. Lee performed a reverse huracanrana, then ran the ropes and Ospreay put him down with a standing Spanish Fly for a near fall.
Lee performed a huracanrana that flipped Ospreay off the apron, but Ospreay landed on his feet. Lee charged Ospreay, who picked him up and dropped him back first onto the apron. Back inside the ring, Ospreay performed a shooting star press for a near fall. Ospreay went for an Oscutter, but Lee caught him with a knee instead. A short time later, Lee caught Ospreay in the tree of woe and then double stomped him. The broadcast team made a big fuss over Lee’s leg buckling when he landed on the floor. Lee got back to his feet and rolled back inside the ring. Ospreay stumbled as he made an attempt to get up, then beat the referee’s 20-count to avoid the count-out.
Ospreay set up for a powerbomb, but Lee reversed it into a Canadian Destroyer. Lee followed up with a running knee that led to a good near fall. Lee lowered his right kneepad and went for another running knee, but Ospreay blocked it. Lee tried a second time and connected. Lee set up for Desnucadora, but Ospreay landed on his feet and went on the offensive with a series of strikes. Ospreay performed a top rope Oscutter, then hoisted up Lee on his shoulders and performed a Storm Breaker and scored the clean pin.
Will Ospreay defeated Dragon Lee in 20:10 to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
After the match, Ospreay helped Lee to his feet and they embraced in the middle of the ring. Lee put the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title around Ospreay’s waist and then raised his arm. The sound was muted (presumably due to the entrance music) and apparently Ospreay told the broadcast team that he wanted to face Robbie Eagles in Australia later this month.
Powell’s POV: A hell of a match and easily the best of the night thus far. Ospreay is among the very best in the world and everything points to him being a future IWGP Heavyweight Champion if he stays with NJPW. Lee has always held up his end whenever I’ve seen him booked against other world class workers. He is a terrific wrestler and hopefully he will be spending more time in NJPW and ROH via their working relationship with CMLL (Lee will be on the ROH Best in the World pay-per-view later this month in a match against Dalton Castle).
8. Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. A few minutes into the match, Ibushi performed a huracanrana that sent Naito to the floor. Ibushi performed a corkscrew dive over the top rope and onto Naito at ringside. Back inside the ring, Naito came back with a one-legged dropkick. Ibushi had Naito on the apron and set up for a deadlift German suplex, but Naito blocked it and set up for a tombstone piledriver, but Ibushi escaped that position. Both men fought on the apron. Ibushi ran into a big boot, then Naito set up for a German suplex, but Ibushi held onto the top rope to block it. Naito eventually performed a German suplex from the apron. It was a sick spot with Ibushi’s head hitting the side of the apron before both men crashed to the floor. WTF?
Ibushi somehow got up and beat the referee’s count. Naito placed Ibushi on the ropes and performed a reverse huracanrana from the ropes that led to a two count. Naito set up for his Destino finisher, but Ibushi blocked it and performed a nasty tombstone piledriver. A short time later, the wrestlers traded punches in the ring until Naito ended with a headbutt. Naito delivered several more headbutts, then Ibushi came back with a palm strike and a clothesline that turned Naito inside out. Ibushi set up in the corner and paid tribute to Shinsuke Nakamura before going for a Bomaye running knee, which Naito avoided. Naito performed a dragon suplex and a Destino for a near fall. Ibushi came back and performed a Last Ride powerbomb for a near fall. Ibushi pulled down his right kneepad and set up for a knee strike, but Naito countered into a DDT.
Naito performed a tornado reverse DDT from the middle rope that led to a near fall. Naito went for a Destino, but Ibushi countered by hoisting Naito onto his shoulders. Naito ended up performing a poison huracanrana and followed up with Valentia for a near fall. Naito performed a Destino and scored the clean pin. After the match, Naito put his foot on the head of Ibushi while posing with the title belt. Naito left the ring and then looked at the title belt, while Kelly noted that Naito has had a love/hate relationship with the title belt since he won it the first time…
Tetsuya Naito defeated Kota Ibushi in 22:10 to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
Powell’s POV: A strong match and yet it also begged the question of whether the risk is worth the reward. Fortunately, Ibushi seemed fine despite the sick apron bump and then from landing on his head when Naito followed up with the reverse huracanrana from the ropes. Of course, that doesn’t mean that these insane head and neck bumps are not doing long term damage. Does this free up Ibushi to eventually make a play for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship?
The video showing all previous IWGP Heavyweight Champions was shown on the big screen. A video package aired on the main event. It included footage of Chris Jericho dubbing himself The Painmaker and challenging Okada to a Rainmaker vs. Painmaker match for the championship. Jericho rose from under the ring and posed with his back to the audience before turning and making his entrance. Jericho wore his hat and makeup. Kelly said the IWGP Heavyweight Championship is the only major title that Jericho has not held. Kelly also noted that Jericho beat Kenny Omega two weeks ago (he did not mention that it happened at an AEW event). Okada made his entrance while Okada bucks flew around him…
9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Chris Jericho for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Jericho poked the eyes of Okada during an early rope break and then went on the offensive. A short time later, Jericho sent Okada to ringside and ended up performing a DDT onto a table. Jericho pulled a table out from underneath the ring and set it up at ringside. When referee Red Shoes got in Jericho’s face, Jericho responded by pie-facing him away dismissively. Jericho set up for a powerbomb, but Okada stuffed it. Jericho knocked Okada down, then grabbed a camera and filmed the ringside scene briefly before turning around and yelling into it (they were inexplicably showing another camera shot at the time).
Back inside the ring, Jericho put his foot on Okada and struck his pose, then taunted the crowd and cupped his ear. Jericho suplexed Okada and covered him for a two count. Okada came back and had Jericho on the other side of the ringside barricade. Okada dove at Jericho over the barricade, and Jericho performed an ugly Codebreaker as Okada was in mid-air. Jericho came up limping. Back inside the ring, Jericho clotheslined Okada in the corner and then set up for a tombstone, which Okada reversed, then Jericho, and finally Jericho countered into the Walls of Jericho. Okada teased tapping, then reached the ropes to break the hold. Jericho went after the referee and knocked him down in the corner. Jericho barked at Red Shoes, then turned into a dropkick from Okada. Okada performed a tombstone piledriver. Jericho ducked a Rainmaker attempt and then powerbombed Okada for a two count.
Later, Jericho slammed Okada’s head on the turnbuckle while Okada was standing on the apron. Jericho followed up with a dropkick from the middle rope that knocked Okada to ringside. Jericho set up for a superplex, but Okada shoved him off and then performed a top rope elbow drop. Okada struck the Rainmaker pose. Okada went for the move, but Jericho ducked it and caught him with an enzuigiri. Both men got to their knees and traded forearms as they got to their feet. Okada got the better of it and went for a dropkick, but Jericho hold the ropes and then performed a Lionsault for a two count. Okada came back with a dropkick and then worked over Jericho with kicks in the corner. Okada shoved the referee away. Okada charged at Jericho, who caught him with a Codebreaker that led to a near fall.
Jericho barked at Okada to stay down. Jericho went to the corner and removed the turnbuckle pad, which he threw into the front row. Jericho picked up Okada and tried to throw him into the exposed corner, but Okada slipped away and gave him a German suplex. Jericho ducked a Rainmaker clothesline, then Okada ducked one from Jericho, and Okada performed a Codebreaker of his own for a near fall. Okada scooped up Jericho and gave him a leaping Tombstone piledriver. Jericho ducked another Rainmaker and countered into the Walls of Jericho. Okada powered up and started to crawl to the corner, so Jericho pulled him back and turned it into a Liontamer briefly. Okada rolled onto his back and punched Jericho before flinging him away at 25:00. Jericho shoved Okada into the exposed corner and clotheslined him. Jericho set up for his Judas Effect elbow, but Okada ducked it. Jericho avoided a Rainmaker and went for a Codebreaker, but Okada sat down and pinned Jericho.
Kazuchika Okada defeated Chris Jericho in 25:45 to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Jericho attacked Okada with punches right after the pinfall. Jericho went to ringside and barked for Okada’s music to be cut. Jericho returned to the ring with a chair, which he hit Okada with. Jericho posed with the chair. Jericho waited for Okada to stand up, then hit him with the Judas Effect elbow to the face. Jericho set up the chair and sat down on it while heeling on the crowd. Jericho pulled Okada to ringside and wrapped a chair around his neck before shoving him into the ring post.
Jericho set up for a powerbomb with a table in front of him on the floor. Suddenly, Hiroshi Tanahashi left his broadcast table and attacked Jericho to break up the powerbomb attempt. Several young lions stepped in and held back Tanahashi. Jericho took the mic and taunted Tanahashi about what happened to his “little buddy” Okada. Jericho said The Painmaker never loses, The Painmaker always wins. Jericho said he is the greatest of all time, “even here in this bullshit country of Japan.”
Jericho dropped the mic a short time later and headed up the ramp. The young lions released Tanahashi, who checked on Okada. Meanwhile, Jericho picked up some of the Okada bucks and put one on his forehead, then shoved some down his pants and then pulled them out and shoved them into a camera. Okada was eventually helped to the back and the fans booed at the lack of an Okada promo at the end of the show. Kelly wrapped up the English commentary broadcast to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A decent main event brawl that never managed to sell me on Jericho being a threat to take the title. And that admittedly would have been a tough sell because I would have bet the house on Okada retaining going into the show, but they just didn’t get me with any near falls or any of Jericho’s submission attempts. The post match angle was solid in terms of Jericho getting his heat back quickly and setting up his next feud with Tanahashi. The main event was a slower paced brawl that wisely played to Jericho’s strengths in 2019 rather than attempting to be an Okada in-ring classic style match.
Like the main event, Dominion was a good event rather than a great event. It flew by time wise compared to the WWE Super ShowDown main card that was roughly the same length and yet felt like it was two hours longer than it actually was. 2019 Dominion didn’t have the all-time classic match that the 2018 version had with the Okada vs. Omega best of three falls match, but the big three matches were entertaining and the undercard was mostly solid. The buzz coming out of Dominion will be for the G1 tournament, as Will Ospreay also announced in an interview that did not air on the pay-per-view that he wants in as well. There are already some great match possibilities just based on the wrestlers who discussed their involvement on this show. I will have an audio review of Dominion available for Dot Net Members on Monday.
When you think of New Japan Pro Wrestling, you can’t help but think of Disco Inferno. No? Anyway, check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Glenn “Disco Inferno” Gilbertti, who discusses how being a good heel doesn’t stop outside the ring, a trait that big name wrestlers have in common, his male chauvinist persona, why he didn’t work for WWE after the WCW sale, and more.
The Best of The Boom features Eric Bischoff joining Jason Powell in this March 20, 2019 discussion on whether there are similarities between Verne Gagne's booking during the AWA's dying days and Vince McMahon's WWE booking today, AEW, a Turner network shakeup, and more...