PREVIEW: NJPW Dominion ’18 (9/6)

Added by Luke Hickey

The Dominion in Osaka events go back to 2009, while it has taken place in Osaka Jo-Hall since 2015. But this current card is stacked, featuring the debut of Rey Mysterio alongside New Japan legends in Liger and Tanahashi to take on a trio from Bullet Club. One of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Chris Jericho taking on the L.I.J leader, the tranquilo, Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship and in Omega vs Okada IV, we have a mouth-watering 2/3 fall match with no time limit for the historic, IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

Last year, there was 4 title changes, the IWGP Junior Tag and Heavy Tag, IWGP Junior singles and the IWGP Intercontinental. It also featured the amazing 2nd clash between Omega and Okada which finished in a Time Limit Draw at 60 minutes.

In 2016, there was another 5 title changes, IWGP Junior Tag and Heavy Tag, Never Openweight Championship, IWGP Intercontinental and IWGP Heavyweight when Okada won the belt for his current reign.

In 2015, there was 3. IWGP Heavy Tag, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

In the history of Dominion at Osaka Jo-Hall, we’ve seen titles change 12 times. I think we’re guaranteed a title change, but which one or will there be multiple new champs?

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru defend against Roppongi 3K

The Suzuki-gun pairing are currently on their only reign as champions defeated Roppongi 3K back at the 46th Anniversary Show.

Roppongi 3K are former 2x Champions and were last years Super Junior Tag Tournament winners, in terms of tag team gold they hold the advantage over Despe and Kanemaru but they lose out on experience, plus the Suzuki-gun pairing won’t shy away from nefarious tactics to remain champions.

I’d like to see a retention, mainly due to my belief that El Desperado deserves more than he gets, had a fantastic tournament in BOSJ. But I can see NJPW thinking that R3K might be the ones to break the Young Bucks Jnr Tag records. SHO & YOH are homegrown, young and can lead a division for the next few years until they go their separate ways or move to the heavyweight division.

My heart says Suzuki-gun, but my logic, with frequency of title changes and the ability of SHO & YOH, we could see 3x Jnr Tag Champions.

Special Tag Match: Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs YOSHI-HASHI & Jay White

The US Championship isn’t being defended so we’re probably going to see Juice Robinson get the win here to set up a future title shot, or he challenges White post-match. The inclusion of YOSHI-HASHI and David Finlay is probably for one of them to take the pinfall.
I just don’t see much in this beyond story, my gut says it’ll be setting up Juice Robinson vs Jay White.

Special Tag Match: Toru Yano & Ishii vs Zack Sabre Jnr & Minoru Suzuki

Tomohiro Ishii took Zack Sabre’s RPW British Heavyweight Championship back at their show in New Orleans. Minoru Suzuki lost his IWGP Intercontinental Championship to Naito at Wrestling Hinokuni in April.

I suspect, as usual, Suzuki-gun will be in violent, sadistic mood. Which will be broken by spells of Toruism and shrugging.

To me, the result of this plays on will Suzuki-gun do in their title defence. If they win, I think this will be a loss. But Minoru Suzuki needs a big win to offset his loss to Naito.

Never Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto vs Taichi vs Michael Elgin

Goto defends his title in a triple treat after first accepting Elgin’s challenge and then Taichi. I believe Taichi is after moving up to the Heavyweight division. Michael Elgin won the IWGP Intercontinental Championship in Osaka Jo. Goto is a 2x Never Openweight and 2x Intercontinental Champion.

I would personally love a long reign for Goto, carry on the importance that I felt Shibata put on the belt which was followed by a great reign by Suzuki.

I’m fairly confident in a successful defence. If not, please be Elgin and not Taichi.

IWGP Tag Team Championship: SANADA & EVIL vs The Young Bucks

Defending Champions, SANADA & EVIL were last years Tag League winners and beat KES for the titles at Wrestle Kingdom. Currently on 194 days as champions.

Young Bucks on the other hand have just moved up to the Heavyweight division but are 7x Junior Tag Champions in NJPW with a hoard of titles from elsewhere, most notably 4x PWG and 3x ROH.
They’ve also won the Junior Tag Team Championships at this event twice in the past.

History and experience favours The Young Bucks. If anyone is to dethrone SANADA & EVIL, I think it’ll be them but whether its now or later, I don’t know.

Special 6-man Tag: Rey Mysterio, Thunder Liger & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bullet Club (Cody, Hangman Page & Marty Scurll)

Rey Mysterio is set to make his NJPW debut after being injured during the time of Strong Style Evolved, I believe. It marks his first match in Japan since 1996 after wrestling for the WAR promotion. He teams with the legendary Tanahashi and Liger against Scurll who challenged the legends of NJPW at BOSJ Final Day, Scurll is flanked by Cody and Hangman Page.

Wrestling logic to me dictates that a debuting wrestler usually loses, but as nothing is on the line perhaps Rey Mysterio might get the win here. Please Gedo. Onegaishimasu/お願いします.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay vs Hiromu Takahashi

Will Ospreay defends against BOSJ winner, Hiromu. Hiromu’s single, amazing reign lasted 158 days, Will’s current and 2nd reign is at 155. If memory serves me correct, Will Ospreay wanted to make this belt worth more and not seen as lesser than the Heavyweight Championship. Either men could win this and make this belt mean a lot, preferentially I’d like it to see Belt-san reunited with Hiromu Takahashi.

This could be a MOTY candidate regardless of who wins.

IWGP Intercontintental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs Chris Jericho

‘L.I.J, kiss my fucking ass’ and things about turtles that I can’t quite remember. Chris Jericho certainly knows how to build a feud. Jericho has a history in Japan but I think his current commitments in America may interfere with him holding championships as things stand.

I think, like Omega, his sole purpose here is to get the worldwide appeal that his name brings, so a successful defence for Naito here I reckon.

IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega

Both men have a history in this building previous to last years epic match, Okada has won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship here, twice. Kenny Omega has lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight to Kushida and the IWGP Intercontinental Championship to Elgin.

As things stand it’s a win a piece with 1 draw. Things will decided here in a 2 out of 3 falls match with no time limit.

This match was set up by Okada, as he recalled his fallen challengers. Wait, there’s one draw? Kenny.

History favours Okada, winning the belt twice here…. But Kenny’s only lost belts at Dominion in Osaka Jo Hall. This is about winning.

I want an Omega win, but are NJPW ready to stop Okada’s history making reign?