NJPW “Dominion” results (6/9): Vetter’s review of Taiji Ishimori vs. El Desperado Best of the Super Juniors final, Jon Moxley vs. Evil in a lumberjack match for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship

By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Dominion”
June 9, 2024 in Osaka, Japan at Osaka-Jo Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World

This show features the finale of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament in the main event. This is an arena with a good-sized crowd. Walker Stewart and Chris Charlton provided commentary.

1. Tetsuya Naito defeated Callum Newman at 8:47. Newman entered first and he kicked Naito as Tatsuya entered the ropes, then hit a Triangle Moonsault onto him! Naito still has his full red suit on! Callum hit a shotgun dropkick on the floor. (The bell sounded at 0:40 which makes no sense; Callum is in the ring but Naito is on the floor and has not officially entered the ring. Just zero consistency in the rules here.)  Naito got in the ring and he hit a standing neckbreaker on the ring apron; he finally removed his vest as Newman recovered on the floor.

In the ring, Naito hit a basement dropkick to the back and he tied up Newman on the mat. Newman hit his running Mafia Kick at 5:00. Callum hit a penalty kick for a nearfall. Naito hit a Frankensteiner. Newman hit a mid-ring Frankensteiner, then a Tiger Suplex for a nearfall. Naito hit a Destino for a nearfall at 7:30; the commentators were shocked at the kickout. Callum hit some forearm strikes. Naito hit a second  Destino for the pin. Official bell-to-bell time is closer to 8:05, as I always start my stopwatch at the bell OR first contact, whichever is first.

2. “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Zack Sabre Jr. and Kosei Fujita and Robbie Eagles defeated LJ Cleary and “Bullet Club War Dogs” Drilla Moloney and Clark Connors at 9:44. I have seen Cleary on a handful of UK shows but I think this is his NJPW debut. All six brawled at the bell. Connors hit a powerslam on Fujita. Fujita got a rollup on Connors for a nearfall; the same way Kosei shockingly beat Clark last week! Drilla grabbed Eagles’ ankle at 2:30, allowing Connors to hit a Pounce on Eagles, and the heels began working over Robbie in their corner. Eagles hit some chops on Drilla, who no-sold them. Drilla hit a spinebuster and a doublestomp to the chest. Eagles hit an enzuigiri and they were both down at 5:30.

Fujita got the hot tag and battled Clark. Fujita hit a springboard dropkick for a nearfall. Sabre finally entered at 7:00 and hit a series of European Uppercuts on LJ Cleary. Zack applied a cross-armbreaker; Connors and Drilla jumped in the ring and stomped on Sabre to break it up. Cleary got some rollups for nearfalls. He went for a springboard spin kick, but Sabre caught the leg and applied an anklelock, and Zack hit a German Suplex, then a Michinoku Driver for the pin. Good action.

3. Great-O-Khan defeated Yuya Uemura to win the KOPW Title at 10:35. Yuya immediately applied a crossarm breaker. O-Khan applied a sleeper but Yuya reached the ropes. Yuya began targeting the left elbow and he hit a bodyslam for a nearfall at 4:00. Yuya bit O-Khan’s ear! Yuya hit a belly-to-belly suplex that tossed O-Khan over the top rope and to the floor, and they were both down at 6:30. In the ring, Yuya snapped O-Khan’s arm over his shoulder. O-Khan fired back with a swinging uranage, and he tied up Yuya on the mat. Uemura went back to a crossarm breaker. Yuya hit a belly-to-belly suplex. O-Khan hit a half-nelson suplex and he applied a Claw over his face and slammed Yuya to the mat for the pin! New champion is the former champion. I’m fine with this, as I previously have called for Yuya to drop what is essentially a comedy belt.

4. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Bushi, Hiromu Takahashi, and Yota Tsuji defeated Boltin Oleg, Toru Yano, and Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the NEVER Six-man Tag Team Titles at 8:31. Tanahashi’s team won the belts in a four-team tournament in April in Taiwan. Hiroshi and Tsuji opened and this crowd was loud. Bushi and Hiromu hit some team offense on Yano. Hiromu hit a basement dropkick on Yano, and Yota slammed Hiromu onto Yano for a nearfall at 3:00. Oleg made the hot tag and hit some big shoulder tackles, then a splash to the mat on Yota for a nearfall. He spun Yota around in his arms before hitting a gutwrench suplex; his strength is unreal. He hit a double suplex on Bushi and Hiromu.

Oleg went for his Kamikaze/forward Finlay Roll but Yota escaped, and Yota slammed Boltin to the mat. They got up and traded forearm strikes and Oleg hit a shotgun dropkick. Hiroshi tagged in at 6:30 and hit some body blows on Tsuji, then a second-rope summersault senton for a nearfall. Yota set up for a spear but Yano grabbed his ankle to block it! Hiroshi missed the High Fly Flow frogsplash. Yota immediately nailed the spear on Hiroshi for the pin! New champions! A bit on the short side; I expected this title change but interesting to see Hiroshi take the pin instead of Yano. Oleg continued to jaw at Yota after the bell and I’d love to see that as a singles feud.

5. Jeff Cobb defeated Tomohiro Ishii to retain the NJPW TV Title at 11:48. I haven’t seen Ishii in at least a month now, as he didn’t work any of the undercard matches during the BoSJ tournament. A reminder we have a 15-minute time limit. They charged at each other at the bell and traded shoulder tackles. Cobb hit a flying crossbody block and he ‘surfed’ on Ishii’s back. Ishii hit some loud chops. Cobb hit a hard elbow into the corner at 3:00. Ishii hit a delayed vertical suplex. Cobb hit a second-rope superplex at 5:30. Ishii hit a German Suplex and a back suplex. Cobb hit a belly-to-belly suplex and a headbutt, then a standing moonsault for a nearfall at 7:30.

Ishii avoided a Tour of the Islands and hit an enzuigiri. Cobb hit a uranage and a diving forearm. Ishii hit a sliding clothesline for a nearfall at 9:30. Cobb hit a dropkick. Cobb put Ishii on his shoulders and spun him to the mat. Cobb hit the Spin Cycle but he again couldn’t hit a Tour of the Islands. Ishii hit a huracanrana that popped the crowd and commentators, then a clothesline for a nearfall at 11:30. Ishii set up for a brainbuster, but Cobb escaped, immediately hit the Tour of the Islands, and scored the pin. Just fantastic.

* The G1 Climax Tournament announcement tells us the tournament is shrinking back to just 20 wrestlers in just two blocks. Last year featured 32 men in four eight-man blocks. I loved the format, but I think most people preferred the smaller 20-man blocks. (The problem last year wasn’t the format, it was too many guys we didn’t care about. If you fill the tournament with some top AEW or TNA stars instead of Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi, then the 32-man format is just fine.)

6. “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls defeated El Phantasmo & Hikuleo (w/Jado) and “Bullet Club” Kenta & Chase Owens and “Bishamon” Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi in a four-way elimination match to win the IWGP Tag Team Titles and NJPW Strong Tag Team Titles at 16:26. Kenta and Owens entered the IWGP Tag Team Titles while ELP and Hikuleo came in with the NJPW Strong Tag Titles; the belts have jumped around so much they are now utterly meaningless. This is tornado rules; all eight fought at the bell with no one having to tag in. Hikuleo hit a DDT on Nicholls. Bishamon hit a team shoulder tackle on ELP. Haste hit a standing moonsault on Yoshi-Hashi at 2:00. Kenta hit a Helluva Kick on ELP with Owens getting a nearfall on ELP.

Hikuleo hit a double clothesline at 4:00, then a bulldog powerslam. ELP hit a Lionsault on Haste, then a top-rope moonsault to the floor onto five opponents at 5:30. Haste hit a DDT on Hikuleo. ELP accidentally superkicked Hikuleo! TMDK immediately hit the Tankbuster team faceplant move to pin Hikuleo at 6:25! Kenta and Owens snuck up behind TMDK and rolled them up for nearfalls. On the floor, ELP and Hikuleo argued about what happened and Jado had to get in the middle of them; they walked to the back but clearly new tension between them. Kenta hit a top-rope doublestomp on Nicholls’ chest for a nearfall. Chase and Goto hit simultaneous clotheslines at 10:30.

Goto hit his neckbreaker over his knee on Goto, then Bishamon hit the Shoto team slam to pin Owens at 11:12, and we are down to just two! So, both of our tag champs have been eliminated! Yoshi-Hashi hit a superkick. Goto hit a clothesline to Nicholls’ back. They set up for Shoto at 14:30 but Haste made the save. Haste hit a uranage for a nearfall. TMDK hit another Tankbuster for a nearfall, then a second-rope Tankbuster to pin Yoshi-Hashi.

7. Shingo Takagi vs. Henare ended in a draw at 14:36; Shingo retains the NEVER Openweight Title. They immediately traded forearm strikes. These are familiar opponents in the past two years, and worth reiterating that Henare just returned to action after getting injured in a cage match earlier this year. Henare hit stiff kicks to Shingo’s spine at 3:00. They traded headbutts and Shingo hit a standing powerbomb, then a DDT. Henare hit his Rampage football tackle at 5:30 and they were both down. They got up and Henare hit some roundhouse kicks to the chest, while Shingo countered with chops. Heare hit a springboard spin kick. Shingo hit a Pumping Bomber clothesline and they were both down at 8:30.

Henare hit a fisherman’s brainbuster and they were both down again at 10:00. Henare hit a running knee in the corner. Shingo hit the Made in Japan powerbomb and they were both down. Shingo fired up and hit some forearm strikes and an enzuigiri. They traded slaps to the face, then headbutts. Henare hit a lying headbutt and they were both down again at 14:00. Neither man got to their feet before the 10-count, and the ref ruled it a draw! These guys went more than 30 minutes in a prior match, so I certainly didn’t see this outcome coming.

8. Jon Moxley defeated EVIL in a lumberjack match to retain the IWGP World Title at 25:59. The House of Torture attacked Moxley as he walked to the ring. They both got in the ring and the bell sounded at 1:00 even. It appears we only have maybe 10 total lumberjacks at ringside, as Shota Umino is joined by the guys he teamed with last week: Yuji Nagata, Tiger Mask, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Togi Makabe. Moxley rolled to the floor and beat up the HoT. Moxley and EVIL went over the guardrail and brawled near the fans. Back in the ring, Moxley applied a Figure Four Leglock, but EVIL reached the ropes at 5:00. EVIL took control and choked Moxley with one of Moxley’s T-shirts.

Moxley got tossed to the floor, where the HoT whipped him with belts at 7:30! In the ring, EVIL applied a modified Figure Four. They traded forearm strikes and chops. EVIL hit a discus clothesline in the corner at 12:00. Moxley hit a piledriver for a nearfall. EVIL went to the floor to hide among the HoT, so Moxley dove through the ropes onto all of them at 14:00. Jon grabbed the belt and whipped EVIL with it. Moxley set up a table on the floor. Powder was thrown in Moxley’s eyes! EVIL put a chair around Jon’s neck and he hit that chair with another chair at 16:00. In the ring, EVIL hit a top-rope superplex for a nearfall, and he applied an Anaconda Vice on the mat.

EVIL grabbed the ref; the ref attempted to slap EVIL but wound up slapping Moxley! EVIL hit the Darkness Falls powerbomb at 18:30 and they were both down. EVIL set up for Everything is Evil/uranage but Moxley blocked it. Moxley applied a Crossface on the mat. Ren Narita jumped in the ring, so Shota Umino jumped in the ring and blocked him. Dick Togo choked Moxley with his chain. Togi Makabe hit a double clothesline. All of Moxley’s group tied up members of the HoT. Moxley hit a Death Rider on EVIL. He set up for another one, but Ren Narita nailed him with the push-up bar! EVIL hit a low blow on Moxley! The ring emptied out. EVIL hit a Shield-style team powerbomb through the table at ringside at 22:30.

Back in the ring, EVIL hit a Death Rider double-arm DDT for a believable nearfall. Moxley hit an Everything is Evil uranage! He grabbed some of the HoT’s weapons but then tossed them aside. He went under the ring and got a massive barbed-wire bat and that popped the crowd! Moxley hit members of the HoT with the bat! EVIL got the bat but swung wildly, and Moxley immediately hit a stunner at 25:30. Moxley hit two blows to the gut and one to the back with the bat. He hit a Rollins-style Stomp to the head, then another Death Rider for the pin. Again, official time is about 25:00 sharp.

* Moxley got on the mic and said he’ll defend the title “at any f—en time in any f—en place against any f—-en body.” Tetsuya Naito came to the ring. He said it’s his fault he lost the belt, so it’s his job to take it back. He challenged Moxley to a rematch at Forbidden Door. Naito turned and left the ring with no punches thrown.

9. El Desperado defeated Taiji Ishimori to win the Best of Super Juniors tournament at 23:34. El Desperado (7-3) won the A Block and Ishimori (8-2) won the B Block, and I will reiterate that neither man has won BoSJ before. A feeling-out process on the mat early. Ishimori hit a top-rope moonsault to the floor, then he rammed Desperado shoulder-first into the ring post at 2:30. Back in the ring, Ishimori removed a corner pad while Desperado clutched at his shoulder on the floor. In the ring, Ishimori immediately whipped Desperado into the exposed corner. Ishimori applied a cross-armbreaker on the damaged arm. Charlton talked about Ishimori’s neck injury at the end of last year’s tournament and how it’s really the first time he’s had to take time off due to injury.

Desperado hit a back suplex then a flip dive through the ropes at 7:00. In the ring, Desperado hit a suplex for a nearfall and was in charge. Ishimori hit a sliding German Suplex as Desperado was against the ropes at 9:00. Ishimori missed a 450 Splash, but he hit a Lungblower to the chest. Desperado hit a back suplex and a Dragonscrew Legwhip. Ishimori again rammed Desperado shoulder-first into the corner, then he hit a shoulder-breaker over his knee at 11:00. Desperado applied the Stretch Muffler but Ishimori quickly escaped, and Ishimori hit a Poison Rana. Desperado immediately hit a Spinebuster and they were both down. Nice sequence.

Taiji hit a handspring-back-spin kick at 12:30. Desperado slammed Ishimori’s knees on the mat and applied the Stretch Muffler. Ishimori snapped Despe’s left arm backward. Ishimori applied the Bone Lock in the center of the ring and this crowd was LOUD in support of Desperado; Despe escaped and applied a Stretch Muffler right at the 15:00 mark (the official clock is nearly right-on.) Ishimori hit a Canadian Destroyer and they were both down. Desperado mouse-trapped the arms and got a believable nearfall. Ishimori hit a low blow mule kick, got a Gedo Clutch rollup, and a nearfall at 17:30. They traded forearm strikes while on their knees, then while standing.

Ishimori hit a jumping knee to the sternum at 20:00. Desperado hit an Angle Slam and a spear, then the Angel’s Wings for a nearfall. Ishimori swung Desperado and slammed him face-first to the mat. Desperado shoved Ishimori back-first into the exposed corner at 23:00. He nailed a Jay Driller! He held on and hit another Angel’s Wings for the pin! An excellent, absolutely excellent, tournament finale. Walker said he can see “grown men crying in the front row.” Charlton said it has been a “10-year climb.”

* Desperado got on the mic and praised Ishimori. He was cut off by Sho, who stood at the top of the entrance ramp and taunted Desperado. Sho had his title belt in his hands and he wants a match against Desperado. Desperado teased him for not even making the playoffs. Desperado challenged him to a one-on-one match in a steel cage! Sho was shocked and taken aback! Walker and Charlton noted that in the last steel cage match, “someone nearly died.” (Henare had severe blood loss, and Alex Coughlin has retired without ever wrestling again.) Sho retreated to the back, and Desperado posed with the trophy and a flag as he was covered in streamers to close the show.

Final Thoughts: If you’ve read my columns, you know I thought we should have had El Desperado vs. Mike Bailey in last year’s finals, but both men lost in the semis, and we’ve still been robbed of seeing that match. (Gedo decided last year to give Master Wato an Erik Watts-style push, shoving him down the fans’ throats even though no one wanted to see him win.) Justice was restored this year, with Desperado getting his BoSJ trophy. A stellar match that easily could have gone either way. Notable that Ishimori never hit Bloody Cross in that match, which has been such a well-protected move.

Moxley-EVIL was fun; it was what you expect from the House of Torture shenanigans, but I did sense a possibility that EVIL could win this match. I loved the Cobb-Ishii match, and Cobb’s victory really did come out of nowhere. Henare-Shingo was good but the draw was a flat finish. Having two tag belts has diluted the value of being champion, and having the belts be a hot potato, going from one team to the next, has hurt, too. The only solution is for TMDK to hold onto these belts at least three or more months, preferably most of the rest of 2024. Also, I called for Uemura to quickly lose that KOPW belt before he is covered in the stench of having comedy matches, so his loss here is a good thing.



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