For the first time since New Years Dash back in January, I finally got to lay eyes on a New Japan show again. Or a show other than a WWE show for that matter. This time around, it’s basically their version of SummerSlam, known as Dominion. Now after enduring such a boring, dull and insipid product with WWE the last few months, this was a refreshing and really good show put on by their eastern counterpart, including two great matches and a bunch of decent to good matches up and down the card. One being the highly anticipated rematch between Okada and Omega from Wrestle Kingdom. Did it deliver? I’ll get to that in just a bit. As for the rest of the card goes, as I said, mostly decent to good, and two bouts that were great. Let’s find out what those were.
Togi Makabe, Yuji Nagata, Tiger Mask & Tiger Mask W vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Kakanishi & Jushin Thunder Liger
First, we have a usual multiple-man tag opener. Pretty decent overall. Some good stuff by Tiger Mast, Kota Ibu-oh, I mean Tiger Mask W and Makabe, but that’s about it. Good back and forth action. Again, your usual multiple-man opener. Makabe, Nagata, Tiger Mask & Tiger Mask W win after a knee drop from Makabe onto I believe Tenzan. Decent at best overall. Nothing much else to say.
Gauntlet Match: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Bushi, Evil and Sanada) (c) vs. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano and Yoshi-Hashi) vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Zack Sabre Jr.) vs. Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson, Ricochet and Ryusuke Taguchi (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Title)
Next we have another schmazz match of sorts, but in a good way. This was a tag team gauntlet match for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Titles, held by EVIL, Sanada and Bushi of Los Ingobernables de Japon. This was a pretty good match overall. A little messy because of the 6-man gauntlet stip but everybody got their shit in. Ricochet and Zach Sabre Jr. were particularly good here, as always, as were the Bullet Club guys. Short story short, Los Ingobernables de Japon wins and retains. Again, nothing mind-blowing, but pretty good overall.
Roppongi Vice (c) vs The Young Bucks (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title)
Next we have the first of two really solid Tag Title matches. First one with the junior heavyweights in The Young Bucks and then-champions Roppongi Vice in a very good, competitive, back and forth match with a lot of really cool spots. It’s a Young Bucks match so what else could you expect? Superkicks galore, flips, dives and a few comedic spots here and there. It’s a Roppongi Vice match so what else could you expect? Anyway, pretty good match with what you can expect from both these teams and the Young Bucks pick up the win and the titles with a sharpshooter of all things. Cool.
War Machine (c) vs Guerrillas of Destiny (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title)
On the the heavyweights. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champs and one of the best tag teams out there right now, War Machine defend against sons of the legendary Haku, Tama Tonga and Tonga Roa aka the Guerrillas of Destiny. Another really good match between two intense, hard hitting teams. Some of the stuff Hanson can do is really impressive for a guy his size and him and Ray Rowe have really come into their own as a team and are becoming one of my favorites on he indies and in Japan. This was a good back and forth bout with kind of a crappy ending, but it is what it is. It was still good for what it was and it got enough time to get some shit in. The end comes when Ray Rowe gets clocked in the head with a chair by Tama Tonga allowing Roa to get the pinfall. New champs! Again, good match and hopefully a better rematch will be had.
Cody vs Michael Elgin
I was looking forward to this match particularly because Cody Rhodes has been killing it since leaving WWE. I wasn’t big on him in WWE, but he’s really grown on me lately. Great heel and great in the ring. This match showcased that even further. This was a solid match. I’m not the biggest Michael Elgin fan, but he wasn’t bad here either. Overall, it was an enjoyable back and forth match that saw Cody pick up the win. He then proceeds to challenge Okada for the IWGP title through a commentary headset. Interesting.
Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs Kushida (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title)
This is the first of the two matches that will be getting my highest praise for this show. I’m not a big fan of Kushida, I think he’s a bland cruiserweight at best and Takahashi is okay, but these two managed to put on a brutal, hard-hitting and all-around excellent fucking match! This one was chock full of really sick bumps, crazy spots and these two just beating the everloving dogshit out of each other from bell to bell. A true strong style match. Kushida comes out on top and becomes the new Junior Heavyweight champion. Great match and only rivaled by the main event! Looking forward to the rematch.
Lumberjack Death Match: Minoru Suzuki (c) vs Hirooki Goto (NEVER Openweight Title)
Next we have kind of a disappointment of a match. A Lumberjack ”Deathmatch” for the NEVER Openweight Title. The lumberjacks being members of the Suzuki Gun and Chaos stables. This was disappointing because not only did it not live up to it’s title of a DEATHMATCH, but the match itself was very boring and dull. I like Minoru Suzuki but this wasn’t his best match by any means. It was just bland and nothing special took place, aside from when Suzuki taunted Jushin Thunder Liger a bit, causing him to throw a chair at him. Pretty funny. Suzuki wins and retains the title. Not much else to say here. I know it’s a different era and business, but if you’re going to advertise a deathmatch, make it a deathmatch!!
Tetsuya Naito (c) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (IWGP Intercontinental Title)
In what I say is the third best match of the night, we have one of NJPW’s current best Tetsuya Naito defending the IWGP Intercontinental Title against Hiroshi Tanahashi. Great match! You can always expect these two to put on a clinic and they did. Especially Naito. Excellent showing by both these guys and would have been the show stealer if not for Kushida and Takahashi. In a surprising twist, Tanahashi picks up the win and wins the gold. Thought for sure Naito would retain, but oh well. Still an excellent match that served it’s purpose.
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Kenny Omega (IWGP Heavyweight Title)
And finally, we have the mother of all rematches! The sequel to the ”6-star” classic that had all eyes on New Japan in early January. The one I actually made a rant on due to the fans hyping it up to being the greatest match in the entire existence of wrestling. Did it live up to the original?
In all honesty, I have to say that this one was better than the first one. Not only because of the match itself but also because of how it was booked. With a match as good as the first one, the best way to follow it up would be to make it more chaotic this time around. The way it was presented with both guys being pretty much babyfaces, but more so Kenny Omega and the Bullet Club guys showing up and surrounding the ring and cheering Kenny on, was so well done. The whole thing with Cody trying to throw in the towel, I can only assume will play into his title match against Okada at the upcoming G1 show in Long Beach, CA. Should be interesting. Anyway, the match itself was phenomenal and had a very shocking, unexpected ending. It ended in a time-limit draw. It went 60-minutes and neither were able to get the win. Wow. It was worth it though because it was a great match and it leaves the door open for another rematch. When will it happen? Who knows, but it should be worth the wait. Overall, these two killed it yet again and I sure as hell was pleased despite the way it ended.
That wraps it up. Overall, it was an excellent and refreshing show all around. I say refreshing because if you consider the crap WWE has been feeding us lately, it sure as shit was. I don’t get to watch New Japan as often as i’d like to, but when I do, it’s usually well worth the wait. Great show and i’ll hopefully be reviewing the G1 special in August as well.
Until next time.