NJPW: Dominion 06.09 in Osaka-Jo Hall

Dominion 6.9 took place from the beautiful Osaka-Jo Hall and it was a banger! What looked like a card of the year candidate on paper more than lived up to the hype. Not only did we see stories resolve but we also got to witness the beginning of entirely new ones. Matt and Brendan both watched the event multiple times and decided to split the matches to give the best analysis. Mean Matt will be represented in black and Bad Brendan in red. Let’s get into the action!

Roppongi 3k vs. Suzuki Gun (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships):

Sho and Yoh were again the stars between the two teams but the veterans were able to secure the victory under typical heel antics with a roll up after a whiskey bottle strike behind the refs back!!

Not much else to report here. The only real meat on the bone here is that RPG3K kind of had the vibe that they weren’t long for the tag team world. After their amazing performances in the Best of the Super Juniors, singles is definitely their future patch.

Winner: Suzuki Gun

Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Chaos (Jay White & YOSHI-HASHI):

A little bit of story developing here as switchblade is working overtime as a heel and Yoshi doesn’t quite know how to deal with his teammate’s antics.

And the finish of the match sets up Juice for a shot at the US title as he hits Switchblade with Pulp Friction and pins Jay White!

The two will now face-off at the G-1 Special from the historic Cow Palace for the United States Championship.

Winners: Taguchi Japan

CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) vs. Suzuki Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.):

Much like with the Taguchi Japan/CHAOS tag match earlier this one is used to further the individual stories of its combatants. The big stories in this match are the ungodly toughness of Suzuki and Ishii. Throughout the bout, both men would beat the living hell out of the other. Whether it was slaps, chops, forearms or the later use of chairs, both Suzuki and Ishii earned their tough guy stripes at Dominion.

The other big story was the submission offense and cohesion between Suzuki and ZSJ. We all know both have great submission games but Dominion was a hell of a showcase. several times during the match we saw Suzuki/ZSJ trading off submissions and even working several dual submission moves. The finish came under that exact scenario as Sabre had Yano locked up and as Ishii was about to break it up Minoru rushes in and locks him in a hold as well.

I can definitely see Ishii/Suzuki going toe to toe at either the G-1 Special or even holding the match off until the actual G-1 Climax in July.

Winners: Suzuki Gun

Hirooki Goto vs. Michael Elgin vs. TaiChi (Never Openweight Championship):

Some really great big man spots from Elgin including a double buckle bomb, TaiChi never quite felt in place in this match, and Goto really laying some stiff shots on everyone involved. Would’ve enjoyed this match much more as a one on one especially since multi-man matches like this are pretty rare. TaiChi even tried some patented Suzuki gun heel tactics no avail. Elgin hits the Elgin bomb and in a shock, the result is he becomes the NEW never Openweight Champion.

Elgin’s first defense is already on the calendar as he’ll give Goto his 1 on 1 rematch at Kizuna Road this weekend.

Winner: Michael Elgin

The Young Bucks vs. Evil & Sanada (IWGP Tag Team Championships):

Their big stage debut into the Heavyweight division was not an easy night at the office. Matt is still nursing the back injury he suffered all the way back at Wrestle Kingdom and it would rear its ugly head again at Dominion. The biggest complaint I always see about the Young Bucks is that they can’t tell a story and are just flashy moves. Matt has been selling this injury for SIX MONTHS!!! Also, this match would further add to crush that narrative.

Matt tweaks his back early on in the match and Nick now has to carry the weight of the team. Nick is like a house of fire working both members of LIJ and gaining a quick control over the match. The match turns though as Nick goes for a kick to Evil on the outside and winds up kicking the ring post. This would be a turning of the tide for the Bucks as now both are injured and are fighting from behind.

Evil and Sanada have fully taken over the match at this point and are working the Bucks over. Going for multiple finishes but to be countered by the Bucks is proving frustrating for LIJ. Matt goes for the Indytaker but Nick can’t springboard due to his injured leg. LIJ hit the Magic Killer but Nick is able to break up the pin. The Bucks muster enough energy for a Superkick Party which then leads to the finish as Nick and Matt nail the finisher that made them famous, More Bang for Your Buck. The Young Bucks are now the IWGP Tag Team Champions!

The rematch is already booked for the G-1 Special in San Franciso.

Winners: The Young Bucks

Bullet Club (Scurll/Cody/Page) vs. Rey Mysterio/Liger/Tanahashi:

This was a fun as hell match and a nice break from dramatic title matches we’ve seen and are about to see. This was a great display for all 6 men involved. None had to work too hard to get their story across but we leave the match with numerous possible stories for the future. Scurll and Liger kick things off and Liger quickly tags in Mysterio which sends Scurll running for the hills. Page finds himself in the match and instantly starts calling for Tanahashi to tag himself in.

Cody tags himself in and right off the bat tries to challenge Tanahashi to a pose-off and push-up contest. Tanahashi firmly wins that battle with ease. We finally get the Scurll/Mysterio tandem and Rey looks like a million bucks. His time away has been a wonder and it looks as if he’s shaved 20 years of wear and tear off his body.

The Bullet Club begins to take over the match with frequent tags and cutting the ring off from the opposing team. The pace picks up as both teams are working quick tags and are all going for high impact offense now. Tanahashi is able to avoid Page’s Rite of Passage with a Twist and Shout. Rey nails a double 619 and Tanahashi hits a Slingblade. It appears the Legends team is about to get the victory but Cody hit Liger with the Cross Rhodes for the win.

Coming out of this match I could honestly see Cody/Liger, Marty/Liger. Marty/Rey, Cody/Tana, Page/Tana. Just so many different routes that NJPW could go with these six men. But the immediate future sees Cody challenging Omega for his newly won IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

Winners: Bullet Club

Will Ospreay vs. Hiromu Takahashi (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship):

If you’ve seen any of my BOSJ coverage you know I’ve been riding the Ospreay hype train pretty regularly, but Hiromu is not a talent to be slept on, his downright dangerous style of offense led to an instant classic 5.5* match with Ishimori for the BOSJ finals.

And again no time wasted between the two and it’s to be expected, they always work at a blistering pace. Ospreay hitting a senton off the walkway showing Hiromu he can be just as dangerous, really exerting his size advantage early and through the match as it develops, showing a more aggressive side he started to pick up as BOSJ went on.

Hiromu finally starting to find his own rhythm with an incredible reversal of Stormbreaker to take control of the match, Hiromu locks in the triangle and Ospreay escapes by a move that can only be described as attempted murder by dropping Hiromu directly onto the back of his head. This stretch of moves places the crowd firmly behind Takahashi and he starts to ride the momentum again reversing the Stormbreaker into a choke and follows it up into a butterfly piledriver.

After all the punishment Hiromu suffered at the hands of Ospreay, he powers through it and nails the Timebomb and secures the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the third time. Hiromu and Beruto-San are reunited.

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi

Chris Jericho vs. Tetsuya Naito (IWGP Intercontinental Championship)

Holy hell what a match! This thing is a barn burner before the opening bell can even ring. As Naito is making his entrance Y2J jumps him and begins to beat him all over Osaka-Jo Hall. Jericho is using anything that isn’t bolted down to beat Naito. This culminates with Jericho using a powerbomb to send Naito through a table. Jericho begins taunting Naito and the crowd actually much to the delight of the fans. Jericho continues his assault as he DDT’s Naito onto another table.

Jericho throws a bloodied Naito into the ring and Red Shoes finally starts the match. This match is all Y2J as he just continues to beat the hell out of Naito, even locking in the Walls of Jericho, but Naito is able to get to the ropes. Naito finally gets some momentum and begins to give Jericho a fight. Naito hits a pair of neckbreakers the first on the apron and second onto the floor and he’s back into the match.

Naito sends Jericho into the barricade and then picks up a piece of the broken table from earlier and cracks Jericho in the head. A second headshot with the shard of table and Naito gets Jericho onto a table and crushes Jericho’s neck with a piledriver. The match finds its way back into the ring where Naito continues his dominance.

Naito tries to put Jericho away with a top rope Hurricanrana but Jericho catches him and drops off the ropes into a Walls of Jericho. Naito fights out and after some back and forth he succeeds at the top rope Rana. Naito hits a Destino but Jericho is able to get his hand on the rope to break the count. Naito seems to be close to retaining as he hits an enziguri and Gloria.

He goes for another Destino but Jericho pushes Red Shoes and low blows Naito. One Codebreaker later and Chris Jericho is the new Intercontinental Champion. Jericho is now a 10x IC Champion!

There doesn’t seem to be any plans for Jericho in the near future as he won’t wrestle in the US due to his respect for Vince McMahon. He got into a scuffle with Evil after the match so that may be his next program, just no idea when.

Winner: Chris Jericho

Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega  2 Out of 3 Falls (IWGP Heavyweight Championship):

A common thing I hear amongst WWE fans is that they watch wrestling for the story. Well, folks, if a story is what you want, this match is chock full of story, oh and of course the absolute best professional wrestling on the planet, no contest bar none.

I’m not even gonna try and do play-by-play for this match as it goes for a marathon pace of one hour (yes, one freaking hour). So I will focus on the story and the simple yet effective storytelling that Gedo & company bring to the table.

One of the most important wrestlers in the story isn’t even involved in the match. Kota Ibushi accompanies Kenny to the ring and plays an important part of Kenny’s entrance. The story here is that Ibushi is possibly the missing piece of the equation, the “x-factor” that could propel Omega to the top of NJPW. Yes, Omega is a cardio machine, the “Best Bout Machine” is just as talented as Okada, but the Rainmaker has always had his number.

Kenny needs Kota by his side to vanquish the last remaining demon in his path. Kota even factors into the finish, almost costing Kenny the match by convincing him to attempt a Phoenix splash (Kota’s signature move) which misses and brings Okada right back into the match.

Kenny and Kota have previously discussed stepping up Kenny’s training regimen in an attempt to wear out Okada. And Okada attempts to counter this by scoring an early fall and overall trying to end the match early while he’s still fresh. Although the match goes for an hour, Okada is no slouch and is almost able to keep up with Omega, but at the vital moment, Okada is unable to hit the Rainmaker, his body can no longer conjure up the strength to put Kenny away.

Kenny seizes upon this opportunity to hit the One-winged angel and finally defeat Okada with everything on the line, ending the 720(!) day reign of the Rainmaker and proving that yes, Ibushi was the missing piece of the puzzle. Kota completes Kenny.

Winner: Kenny Omega

The Young Bucks then come out, and apparently free of the apparent spell that Cody had over them, embrace Kenny and appear to have mended broken connections, this later being reinforced in the post-match conference with the founding of the “Golden Elite.”

Speaking of the American Nightmare: Cody does come out briefly, possibly to try and ruin Kenny’s moment. But, he looks lost, he sees his crumbled empire in front of him. Unable to comprehend the situation, he soon returns to the locker room. Kenny has returned to his rightful place as leader of the Bullet Club, Kenny has conquered the NJPW heavyweight division, Kenny Omega, Kota, and the Young Bucks have united as The Golden Elite. And this newfound team is looking to CHANGE THE WORLD.

I couldn’t imagine anything topping this year’s Wrestle Kingdom, but somehow with a triple main event again (and arguably a quadruple main event if you count the amazing match the Bucks and LIJ put on) they somehow continue to go above and beyond. 2018 is an absolute banner year for New Japan Pro Wrestling, and there’s never been a better time to be a fan of the sport.

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