By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “Dominion”
June 12, 2022 in Osaka, Japan at Osaka-Jo Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton provided commentary. The building appeared to be packed.
1. “United Empire” Franesco Akira, TJP, and Aaron Henare defeated Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Tenzan at 10:30. The announcers pointed out that a boxer named Jessie Vargas joined the United Empire to ringside, while Nakanishi joined Taguchi’s team as corner man. Master Wato hit a flip dive to the floor early on TJP. Henare unloaded punches to the gut on Taguchi and got a nearfall at 4:00. Taguchi hit his flying butt attack and tagged in Wato, and he hit a nice German Suplex for a nearfall. TJP hit his frogsplash on Wato for a believable nearfall, but Tenzan made the save.
Wato hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker over his knee on Francesco. Henare and Tenzan squared off at 8:00 and traded stiff blows, and Tenzan hit a suplex for a nearfall. Henare hit a spear for a nearfall. Henare then applied a Full Nelson, and Tenzan tapped out. Solid opener with the right winner.
2. “Bullet Club” Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo, and Ace Austin defeated “LIJ” Tetsuya Naito, Bushi, and Hiromu Takahashi at 8:04. Hiromu carried his Best of Super Juniors trophy to ringside. The Bullet Club immediately began beating up Naito in their corner. Hiromu finally made the hot tag at 3:30, and he hit his shotgun dropkick into the corner. He traded forearm shots with Ishimori. Hiromu hit a superkick and a clothesline. Ishimori fired back with a shotgun dropkick into the corner.
Bushi tagged in and hit a missile dropkick on Phantasmo at 6:30, then a DDT for a nearfall. ELP fired back with a superkick on Bushi for a nearfall. Austin hit his punt kick on Naito from the ring apron, then he nailed the Fosbury Flop to the floor. Meanwhile, in ring, Phantasmo hit his modified Styles Clash on Bushi for the pin. Really good acton; they got a lot in for this being so short.
3. Toru Yano defeated Doc Gallows at 4:10. Gallows kicked him in the gut before the bell. They fought to the floor, where Yano tried to hide under the ring. Back in the ring, Yano tried for a bodyslam at 2:00 but couldn’t pick Gallows up. Gallows hit a Mafia Kick to the face for a nearfall, then a chokeslam move for another nearfall. Yano hit a low blow, got the rollup for the pin, and immediately ran out of the ring before Gallows could get his revenge. What you’d expect here.
4. EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, and Sho defeated Zack Sabre Jr., Desperado, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru at 9:57. They brawled at ringside before the match started. This is a heel-heel matchup, so ZSJ’s team are the de facto babyfaces. Sabre made a hot tag at 5:30 and quickly got some good offense on EVIL. Kanemaru applied a Figure Four on Sho, but Yujiro made the save. Desperado hit a spear on EVIL, then a spinebuster at 8:30, and suddenly everyone was down. Kanemaru hit a moonsault on Sho for a nearfall. However, Sho apparently has a loaded boot now, because when he kicked Kanemaru in the ribs, Kanemaru sold it like he had been shot. Sho then hit his package piledriver on Kanemaru for the pin.
5. Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan beat Chase Owens and Bad Luck Fale to win the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles at 10:54. GOK and Chase started with mat reversals. Fale gave GOK the Tongan Massage Parlor, standing on his back, then he surfed on GOK’s back, mocking Cobb. Owens went for a rollup using the ropes, but Cobb knocked his feet away. Cobb and Fale finally squared off at 5:00, and Cobb hit a massive bodyslam that got a nice applause. Fale hit a running shoulder tackle, and they were both down. Cobb hit the Spin Cycle side slam on Owens for a nearfall.
The Bullet Club began working over Cobb. O-Khan entered and hit thrusts to the throat of both opponents. Owens hit a pair of hard knee strikes on Cobb. The heels hit some more team moves on Cobb. Fale hit the ropes, accidentally causing Owens to get crotches in the corner. GOK hit a suplex on Owens, and Cobb immediately followed it up with the Tour of the Islands/swinging powerslam for the pin on Owens.
Seconds after the match ended, Rocky Romero hit the ring and attacked O-Khan and Cobb, but they beat him down. They kneeled over him, showing off their newly-won tag titles.
** Competitors for the G-1 Climax were announced. Non-regulars announced include: Jonah, Tom Lawlor and Lance Archer. Archer’s name got a particularly huge pop. Also, El Phantasmo, who has worked as a junior, is entering the heavyweight tournament. Kelly and Charlton explained this year’s field will be 28 men, with four blocks of seven competitors each.
6. Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Hirooki Goto to qualify for the AEW Interim Title match at Forbidden Door at 12:39. Mat reversals to open. They fought to the floor, where Goto hit a hard clothesline at 3:00. In the ring, Goto hit a running bulldog for a nearfall, and he applied a sleeper hold. Tanahashi hit a dragon screw leg whip at 7:00. They traded hard slaps. Got hit a backbreaker over his knee, and Tanahashi sold it like he’d been shot. Goto hit a side slam out of the corner, and they were both down at 11:00.
Tanahashi hit a mid-ring Sling Blade clothesline for a nearfall, then a top-rope crossbody block. Tanahashi then hit a top-rope frogsplash for the win. A decent match, but with the stakes of the match, there was no doubt who was winning this match.
7. Shingo Takagi defeated Taichi (w/Miho Abe) to retain the King of Pro Wrestling Trophy at 10:00. Shingo should be above the silliness of this trophy. To me, it would be like Randy Orton running around and chasing the 24/7 title-holder. We have a 10 minute clock counting down in the corner of the screen, and it is keeping track of every ‘count’ a wrestler gets in the match. (Thus, a two count is worth two points.) They opened by trading chops. Taichi hit a spin kick and they were both down. Shingo jumped to a 5-2 lead. Shingo hit a hard clothesline for a nearfall at 4:00 and now lead 7-2.
Taichi fired back with a series of kicks and got a nearfall to narrow the score to 7-4. Taichi hit some Yes Kicks to the chest and a Saito Suplex for a nearfall to make it 7-6. Shingo hit a hard clothesline in the corner at 7:00. Shingo got a rollup for a three-count, making it 10-6. They hit simultaneous clotheslines with neither man going down. Shingo nailed the Pumping Bomber clothesline for a one count, and it was now 11-6 with a minute left. Shingo pummeled him with forearms. Taichi got a rollup for a two- or three-count, then another rollup for a one-count, but the time limit expired, with Shingo retaining 11-9 or 11-10. (They didn’t display the final score.) Good action, despite the quirky rules.
8. Karl Anderson (w/Luke Gallows) defeated Tama Tonga (w/Jado) to win the NEVER Openweight Title at 16:33. Tonga ran in the ring and immediately hit a running dropkick. They brawled on the floor, then up the ramp, where Karl hit a bodyslam. Tonga hit a snap suplex on the thin mat at ringside at 2:30. However, Karl hit a stunner across the top-rope. Gallows gave Tonga an (awkward looking) chokeslam on the ring apron. Tama barely got back in the ring before being counted out at 5:00. In the ring, Karl hit a senton, and he was in charge, applying a headlock on the mat.
Tonga and Jado worked together to slam Gallows’ head into the ring post on the floor. In the ring, Tonga hit a crossbody block. Tonga hit a dropkick at 9:00 and he ripped off his chest protector and was fired up. He hit a Stinger Splash in the corner for a nearfall. Anderson nailed a spinebuster for a nearfall at 10:30. Tonga hit a jumping DDT for a nearfall. He went for the Gun Stun, but Anderson blocked it. Anderson hit a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall at 12:00. Tonga hit a spinning faceplant for a nearfall.
They traded stiff forearms. Tonga missed another Stinger Splash attempt and Anderson hit a standing neckbreaker. This has been really good. Anderson tried a Gun Stun. Anderson hit a piledriver-type move for a believable nearfall. Tonga hit his rolling Death Valley Driver and a frogsplash for a believable nearfall at 16:00. Gallows got in the ring, but Tonga hit him with a Gun Stun. However, Anderson caught Tonga with a stunner to score the pin. Really, really good match that topped all my expectations.
9. Will Ospreay defeated Sanada to win the vacant IWGP U.S. Title at 12:49. Champion Juice Robinson recently had appendicitis, and was stripped of the title because he wasn’t able to defend it here. Ospreay came out wearing the Rev Pro title around his waist. This is Sanada’s first match since he got injured in the New Japan Cup against Ospreay months ago. Quick reversals at the bell, and Sanada hit a dropkick and a plancha to the floor. So good to see him back in action. In the ring, Ospreay hit a Mafia Kick for a nearfall at 2:00.
Ospreay hit a spinning backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall. Sanada tied him in the Paradise Lock at 5:30 and hit a dropkick to his butt to get a nearfall. Ospreay hit a top-rope corkscrew moonsault to the floor at 7:30 (cool spot got a rare instant replay). Ospreay hit a springboard flying forearm for a nearfall in the ring. They traded stiff forearms. Ospreay went for the OsCutter but Sanada blocked it. Ospreay hit a spin kick to the face, then he nailed the OsCutter for a believable nearfall at 10:30.
Sanada put Ospreay on his shoulders and spun him to a faceplant for a nearfall. Sanada then nailed a Tiger Suplex for a nearfall. He went for a top-rope moonsault, but Ospreay got his legs up. Ospreay immediately hit a Hidden Blade to the chin for a believable nearfall at 12:00. Sanada got an O’Connor Roll for a nearfall. Ospreay nailed a Hidden Blade to the back of the head, then the Stormbreaker/spinning faceplant for the clean pin. Really good match that could have easily gone much longer than this.
10. Jay White (w/Gedo) defeated Kazuchika Okada to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Title at 36:03. Gedo joined White to ringside. An intense lockup to start. Gedo tripped Okada, allowing White to take an early advantage. They brawled on the floor. White hit a DDT as they re-entered the ring at 4:30. They went back to the floor, where Jay whipped Okada into the guard rails. He tried to smother Okada with the ring apron. White dominated in the ring. Okada finally hit a Mafia Kick at 9:00, and they were both down.
They fought back to the floor, where Okada hit a Mafia Kick against the guardrail. Gedo attacked Okada, so Okada beat him up too. In an impressive spot, Okada leapt over the guardrail and hit a crossbody block on White at 12:00. They brawled back to ringside, where White shoved Okada into the guardrail. The referee, who had abandoned counting at this point, suddenly started to count out Okada, but Okada got back in at 16:00. In the ring, White immediately hit a Blade Buster faceplant, and he remained in control. White hit a Flatliner, then a German Suplex. He dumped Okada over the top rope to the floor at 18:30 and they brawled briefly on the floor.
Back in the ring, White hit a Rock Bottom for a nearfall. Okada hit a top-rope missile dropkick at 21:30, and they were both down. Okada then hit a shotgun dropkick and a top-rope elbow drop, but he was selling a rib injury. White hit a dragon screw leg whip and began twisting the left leg. He applied a reverse Figure Four leg lock, with Okada stomach-down on the mat. White released it but applied a Sharpshooter at 25:00, but Okada eventually got to the ropes. White unloaded several chops. Okada fired back with a picture-perfect dropkick to the face at 26:30, but he was now selling his leg injury. Okada applied the Money Clip sleeper hold; White escaped by shoving Okada into the ref in the corner, so the ref was down.
Okada shoved White into Gedo on the ring apron, and Okada again applied the Money Clip. Okada hit a forearm that sent White rolling to the floor to stall a few seconds. White re-entered, and they traded forearm shots at 31:00, until White collapsed on the mat. White hit a Dragon Suplex. White then hooked the leg and hit a belly-to-back suplex for a nearfall at 33:00, then a brainbuster. He went for a Blade Runner faceplant, but Okada avoided it and hit a clothesline, and they were both down again.
Okada avoided another Blade Runner, and he hit a tombstone pilediriver, then another clothesline. However, White avoided the Rainmaker clothesline. Okada hit another dropkick and a Michinoku Driver, and he again set up for the Rainmaker. However, White hit a Blade Runner out of nowhere to score the pin. Eight or so members of the Bullet Club ran into the ring to celebrate with White, drinking some beers, while Okada was helped to the back.
White got on the mic and said “‘Hangman’ Adam Page, you want Okada? You can f’n have Okada, because you aren’t getting this,” as he showed off the title. He taunted the crowd to say something at him. He reiterated that he has single-handedly sold out Madison Square Garden and the United Center, and he talked about being the leader of the Bullet Club. He ended by saying “now is the Switchblade Era.” The confetti cannon went off to bathe him in gold streamers.
Final Thoughts: A fantastic main event, and I didn’t see this title change coming. Ospreay-Sanada is second-best, with Anderson-Tonga third-best. The United Empire remains hot, with Ospreay winning the IWGP U.S. Title, Cobb and O-Khan winning the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles, and TJP/Akira moving closer to getting an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Title shot.
Don’t overlook that Anderson-Tama Tonga match. Tonga has consistently shown he’s really good in singles matches, and even with the interference finish, it was a top-notch match. Tanahashi-Goto was solid but admittedly on the low end of what you’d expect between them, and again, that is likely because everyone knew that with the stakes of the match, Tanahashi was winning.
With Jonah’s Impact Wrestling contract having expired, I wouldn’t mind if Jonah becomes a more permanent member of the New Japan roster, much like Jeff Cobb, mixing in U.S. shows when he can. This was a long show, going more than three-and-a-half hours.
If that means we are still getting Okada vs Page at Forbidden Door, will Jay White be wrestling as well? If that guy could just get over his Ricky Bobby hands, he could be a massive star.
I think it means we’re getting Jay White vs. Hangman Page. I suppose a four-way that includes Okada and Adam Cole is possible.
I hope Okada is having some kind of a match on the card, and preferably a one on one encounter. If not Adam Page how about with Danielson?
Zack Sabre Jr has called out Danielson, and Danielson has previously mentioned wanted to wrestle ZSJ so it seems he is more likely to face Danielson than Okada is.