NJPW Dominion 2018 Review

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Star Ratings:

  • Desperado and Kanemaru defeat Roppongi 3K via pinfall @9:50 ***
  • Juice Robinson and Dave Finlay defeat Jay White and Yoshi-Hashi via pinfall @7:35 ***
  • Zack Sabre Jr. and Minoru Suzuki defeat Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii via submission @8:50  ***1/2
  • Michael Elgin defeats Tai-Chi and Hirooki Goto via pinfall to win the NEVER Openweight Championship @13:55 ****
  • The Young Bucks defeat Evil and Sanada via pinfall to win the IWGP Tag Team Championships @15:11 ****1/2
  • Bullet Club(Cody, Page, and Scurrl) defeat Rey Mysterio, Jyushin Liger, and Hiroshi Tanahashi via pinfall @11:35 ***1/2
  • Hiromu Takahashi defeats Will Ospreay via pinfall @20:22 to win the IWGP Jr Championship ****3/4
  • Chris Jericho defeats Tetsuya Naito via pinfall @17:50 to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship ****1/4
  • Kenny Omega defeats Kazuchika Okada in a 2 out of 3 falls match via pinfall (2-1) @69:30 to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship *****

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Kanemaru and Desperado(c) vs. Roppongi 3K for the IWGP Junior Tag Titles

Desperado, SHO, and YOH are straight off very good runs in Best Of The Super Juniors. However, none of that showed here. While this match was a good opener it wasn’t as good as it should’ve been. Since The Young Bucks left, the JR Tag division has been lacking and Roppongi 3k should have the titles to carry the division and in a night of MANY title changes, this was not one. This match worked like a normal Suzuki Gun match as there were crowd fighting and cheating to win. SHO carried most of this match and like the BOSJ shocked me in showing how good he is. In the end, Desperado takes down the ref and Kanemaru hits a cheap shot so Desperado could roll up SHO for the win. ***

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Juice Robinson and Dave Finlay vs. Jay White and Yoshi-HASHI

This match was solidly decent. The match continued the very good Jay White vs. Dave Finlay rivalry and had some work rate moments. Juice looked really good in this match as he was in the ring most of the time. Unfortunately, Yoshi continued to blend in and not do anything of note. Hopefully, a G1 run will fix Yoshi’s run recently. There was a good ending sequence with everybody hitting their signature move and Juice pins Jay with a Pulp Friction to win. After the match, Juice grabbed White’s US title and disrespected him after taunting with the title. This foreshadows a match for the title later on which Juice should win. ***

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Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr and Minoru Suzuki

This match was the first to break into great territory. In this match, Suzuki and Ishii stole the show, their strikefests and back and forths were amazing. Toru Yano was his normal comedic self and ZSJ was able to shine a little bit with his technical work. There’s not much to complain about here. ***1/2

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Michael Elgin vs. Hirooki Goto vs. Tai-Chi for the NEVER Openweight Championship

This match exceeded my expectations by far. I’ve been heavily down on Tai-Chi but his character in this match was actually pretty good. Big Mike looked very good in this match too. Early on, Elgin hit a Tope Con Hiro which amazed me because he’s almost a super heavyweight. Elgin also lead an amazing springboard powerbomb chain suplex spot. There were some believable near falls when Tai-Chi distracted the ref and hit a stiff superkick to Hirooki Goto for a near fall. The ending was fantastic too, Elgin buckle bombed Tai-Chi picking him up off of a roll up on Goto, Elgin then powerbombed Goto into Tai-Chi and then hit a finishing powerbomb on Tai-Chi to win the title. Although an Elgin vs. Goto clash would probably be better, and their stare off post-match might mean that comes later, these three worked very well together. ****

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Evil and Sanada vs. The Young Bucks for the IWGP Tag Team Championships

This is the Young Bucks’ first title match in their new run as Heavyweight Tag Champions. Also, the Tag Titles have changed hands at Dominion 4 years in a row and this year makes 5. The highlight of this match was the selling of the leg from Nick Jackson and the back from Matt Jackson. Mid-match, Nick went for an apron superkick to Evil, Evil ducked allowing Nick to smash his leg into the post. These injuries helped make the Bucks look like legitimate underdogs. There were some very close near falls too, off of a Magic Killer towards the end by LIJ and when LIJ hit the IndyTaker. These teams worked very well together and this match makes me very excited for the Young Bucks Tag Reign. ****1/2

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Rey Mysterio, Jyushin Liger and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bullet Club

The Highlight of the match was Rey Mysterio’s mask. Rey had a mask resembling the Lion Mark logo of New Japan. It was REALLY cool. The rest of this match was mostly, “I’m Cool, look at me” versus “I’m a Legend, Look at Me”. This match only had a couple of spots and it had potential. Every match this night didn’t need to be a banger. This was still really cool to see as it was Rey’s NJPW debut. If you know me, Cody is my favorite all-time wrestler so I would’ve booked this differently. I would have Marty and Page face Hiroshi and Jyushin in a tag match and Cody vs. Rey in a separate match.***

340d54a22b4610ccdfcc103f1cc47a9fe3ec5738v2_hqHiromu Takahashi vs. Will Ospreay for the IWGP JR Championship

Hiromu won the Best of The Super Juniors to get to this match while having some VERY good matches on the way. This was also a rematch from February when it won my match of the month. Unfortunately, this match got outshined tonight but it was still fantastic. The match started FAST and Ospreay hit a flipping stage dive off the ramp. Ospreay does have to maintain a slower pace after the stage dive in order to spread out the spots. Hiromu’s missile dropkicks continue to be some of the best in the game. There were also some insane sequences here which aren’t rare in either of these guys matches. The Stormbreaker got reversed into a Code Red by Hiromu which was awesome. Hiromu hits a Canadian Destroyer into a Triangle Hold, the submission sequence off of the Triangle hold was fantastic and Ospreay powered up Hiromu and dropped him straight on his head. There was a botched spot in which Hiromu Sunset Flipped Ospreay onto the exposed floor but Ospreay just landed on padding but sold it like he landed on the concrete. Hiromu hits a Piledriver, Death Vallet Driver into the corner then a final Timebomb for the win. The Japanese crowd loved Hiromu winning but I disliked it. Will has worked wonders for the JR division on this last run holding the title through some of the best cruiserweight matches ever. Hopefully, Hiromu can continue this with the division. ****3/4

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Tetsuya Naito Vs. Chris Jericho for the IWGP IC Championship

Starting off, it shocked me how good Jericho was here. He can still GO. The Clown Makeup was weird AF though. Jericho attacks early and puts Naito brutally through a table set up on the barricade. Jericho DDTs Naito onto the announce table. NJPW Jericho is unleashed and can do whatever he wants. Jericho surprised me by hitting a very solid lionsault at his age. Jericho is dominant early on but Naito switches the pace. At this point in the match, Naito has a cut in his eye that starts to bleed. It looks crazy brutal. On the top rope, Naito tries to go for a supercanrana but Jericho drops him on his head and transitions into the walls of Jericho. Naito fights out. Destino hits but Naito can’t capitalize. A Codebreaker catches a forearm by Naito which leads to a believable near fall. Naito goes for another Destino which Jericho reverses, takes out the ref, low blows Naito and hits a closer codebreaker. Jericho pulls off a shock win in a very good match. This means we get to see more of the great NJPW Jericho. I also predict that Naito moves back up into the Main Event scene. ****1/4

 

Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match for the IWGP Heavyweight Title

This is the match of the year, maybe all time. This match combines a story, amazing work rate, and genuine emotion to make a masterpiece. Obviously, this is the 4th match in their series and the idea behind this match is that it will be the last. Whoever wins here is crowned one of the best of all time and a tie isn’t possible. The 2 out of 3 falls stipulation fits these guys so perfectly. Going into this match Okada held this title for 700+ days. Omega is the perfect person to take it off of him too.

Let’s talk about the match, this match spans almost 70 minutes. The match starts with a long resthold period but as soon as the pace picks up it launches. Okada tries his suicide dive over the barricade but Omega catches it in a V-trigger. Omega misses a plancha dive but Okada runs back in the ring to hit a plancha dive of his own. Okada dropkicks Omega off the apron sending him brutally into the barricade. Omega hits his Rise of the Terminator spot. There was a sequence of v-triggers and german suplexes and rainmaker reversals that led to some very close near falls. Especially when Okada rolls up a v-trigger attempt leading to a very near fall. Okada goes for the Rainmaker but Omega fights out but Okada fights into a roll up to get the first fall.

I love what NJPW did with the intermissions, in between falls there were 2 minutes of free space allowing the wrestlers and the viewers to take a breather. Once the intermission is over the fight is back on. Omega hits a reverse huricanrana ringside and Okada gets back in at 19. The Rainmaker was reversed into a Spike Uranage which was a cool spot. V Trigger and a One-Winged Angel closes the second fall and now the third fall decides the winner.

Out of the gates, Omega hits another V-Trigger and One Winged Angel gets reversed into a finally successful Rainmaker for a one-armed very near fall. Kenny Omega hits a Styles Clash for another near fall and the Japanese crowd chants “AJ Styles” which is a very sweet moment. A worn out Okada hits a Rainmaker without any followthrough and both collapse. Here I thought they would end this in a double countout pulling a Styles/Nakamura but I was so relieved it didn’t happen. My favorite moment in this match, Okada went for another Rainmaker which then gets immediately reversed into a One-Winged Angel. This looked sick and snap fast. There is a great visual where both men are exhausted in the corner sitting together. Omega hits one last One-Winged Angel for the much-deserved win. 

This was the kind of match you could only dream of. This match had spots nobody else could ever do. These two solidified themselves as some of the greatest of all time. I almost gave it 6 stars but decided not to break the system even though it more than deserved it. *****

Show Grade: A+

Last Word: This show goes hand in hand with NXT Takeover as the best PPV of 2018. Every Match was good especially the last 3. The best match obviously is the main event which will go down as one of the greatest ever. 

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