The second biggest show of the year from New Japan Pro Wrestling is upon us, this event looks like it may surpass Wrestle Kingdom 13 in terms of both match quality and overall appeal. Dominion is the event where Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada took place the past two years, effectively staking NJPW’s claim as the “King Of Pro Wrestling” and making legends out of the main event competitors. Okada still stands at the top of the company, only he’s complete once again as a much different Canadian looks to dethrone “The Rainmaker” this time. Chris Jericho is a former IWGP Intercontinental champion but now he wants the top prize, rubbing it in the NJPW faithful’s eyes in the process. The other title matches at Dominion have the makings of match of the year contender’s like Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito. There will be five championship matches at NJPW Dominion so let’s break all the action from Osaka-Jo Hall on njpwworld.com.
Jon Moxley vs Shota Umino
The biggest match in the career of this Young Lion is a title match where Umino faces someone that could seriously put the breaks on all of his momentum this past year. The New Japan Cup was Shota Umino’s debut in a major tournament, if Umino can grapple with Hiroshi Tanahashi for ten minutes than he should fare somewhat well against Jon Moxley. Juice Robinson lost the IWGP United States championship to Moxley in a war at the Best Of The Super Juniors 26 Finals. That match showed how much Moxley is willing to throw at his opponents in a less censored environment with tables, blood and big moments. The odds are that Shota Umino holds his own for a little while before he is completely destroyed and a new road is formed for the son of the NJPW top referee. Moxley has been challenged by Minoru Suzuki via Twitter so expect a wild title run for Moxley.
Prediction: Jon Moxley wins.
Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr vs Jushin “Thunder” Liger and YOSHI-HASHI
The interactions between Liger and Suzuki are the moments to watch in this match, no doubt a major singles match between the two is set for Wrestle Kingdom 14 in six months time. Suzuki has berated Liger and intimidated him into a rematch from their mixed martial arts encounter in Pancrase circa 2002. Liger will have some extra fire behind him in this tag team encounter, frustrating Suzuki won’t be enough for Liger. YOSHI-HASHI got a pinfall victory at the Best Of The Super Juniors 26 finals, a British Heavyweight title shot is coming to “The Headhunter.” Liger should pick up the win as Suzuki–Gun looks to gather their bearings before big singles matches looming.
Prediction: Jushin “Thunder” Liger and YOSHI-HASHI win.
Shingo Takagi vs Satoshi Kojima
Shingo Takagi made it all the way to the finals of the Best Of The Super Juniors tournament after impressively pinning every opponent in his block but Will Ospreay would hand Shingo his very first singles loss in NJPW. Now “The Dragon” will finally test himself against heavyweight competition and a legend no less. Former IWGP heavyweight champion Kojima probably has plans to slice through Shingo with his heavy Lariat like he would a slice of bread but it won’t be that easy. Takagi has the Pumping Bomber Lariat to combat the final strike of Kojima. It would be a shocker if Kojima got the win here no matter how beloved he is by the NJPW faithful, Takagi has so much motivation that he may also plow through this year’s G1 Climax tournament if he’s invited.
Prediction: Shingo Takagi wins.
Bullet Club (“Switchblade” Jay White, Chase Owens and Taiji Ishimori) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson and Ryusuke Taguchi
Jay White made his record against Hiroshi Tanahashi 3-2 in singles matches when White cradled Tanahashi for the three count to counter the Texas Cloverleaf at the Best Of The Super Juniors 26 finals. White has developed into such a masterful heel in a short amount of time, attacking Tanahashi before the bell and adopting a new facial hair look to complete his Bullet Club leader persona. Chase Owens has previously unsuccessfully challenged Juice Robinson for the IWGP United States title. On the other side, Ryusuke Taguchi has failed in his attempt to take the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title from Taiji Ishimori. The playing field is quite even but “Switchblade” seems to have a game plan for everything at the prime age of twenty-six.
Prediction: Bullet Club wins.
NEVER Openweight Championship: Taichi (c) vs Tomohiro Ishii
Taichi surprised fans around the world by becoming a two-time NEVER Openweight champion after a win over Jeff Cobb. Opponents don’t really know what to expect from Taichi and that’s what makes him so dangerous, he pinned Tetsuya Naito this year and completely knocked Hirooki Goto off of the Dominion card. The challenger is arguably the best NEVER Openweight champion ever, past matches with Katsuyori Shibata and Togi Makabe proved the “Stone Pitbull” nickname is the real deal. The past year has been full of ups and downs for Ishii from becoming the British Heavyweight champion for Rev Pro to nearly winning the New Japan Cup tournament before being stopped in his tracks by fellow CHAOS member, Kazuchika Okada. The time is now for Ishii to capture gold once again in NJPW and maybe one day soon he will get other title opportunities.
Prediction: Tomohiro Ishii becomes the new NEVER Openweight champion.
IWGP Tag Team Championship: The Guerrillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) vs EVIL and SANADA
This is a match that has happened in the past only now SANADA has shown his true goals lie in singles competition after making it to the finals of the New Japan Cup tournament against Kazuchika Okada. It’s the opposite for Tama Tonga, who wants to strengthen the tag team division and even decline the G1 Climax tournament this year. The teamwork of GOD will be the difference maker here even if EVIL mixes things up with steel chairs. Brawling is what the champions do best, Bullet Club will simply outlast Los Ingobernobles De Japon if they can’t outsmart them. GOD will hold a tight grip on the titles and maybe break records at the same time.
Prediction: The Guerrillas Of Destiny retain the IWGP Tag Team Championships.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Dragon Lee (c) vs Will Ospreay
“The Aerial Assassin” conquered the Best Of The Super Juniors 26 tournament and even handed Shingo his first singles loss in NJPW, the question is though will the return of Hiromu Takahashi be as much of a motivator as the championship itself? Dragon Lee broke Takahashi’s neck in July of 2018 at the NJPW G1 In USA event and Dragon Lee has promised to wait for a rematch against his best rival but so has Will Ospreay in his victory speech. The pace won’t get much faster than this, the offense of both athletes is as beautiful to witness as it is devastating. Could Ospreay win and be the first man to enter the G1 Climax tournament as the Junior Heavyweight champion? Dragon Lee will have a short title reign if he loses but no shame in losing to maybe the most improved pro wrestler in the world.
Prediction: Will Ospreay wins the Junior Heavyweight Championship.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Kota Ibushi (c) vs Tetsuya Naito
This is going to be the match to watch closely with some popcorn because it’s always edge of your seat risks when it’s Ibushi vs Naito. There have been Piledrivers on the apron and from the middle rope in previous encounters, destined to fight each other would be putting it lightly. Kota Ibushi has decided to remain loyal to NJPW by signing a contract and the IWGP Intercontinental championship was in Ibushi’s hands after many years of battling to get the main event. It’s going to all come down to who makes the first mistake and who is more aggressive. Naito needs a major shift in direction and him losing here would actually benefit him in the future, towards new frontiers like a rematch with Kazuchika Okada. Ibushi has promised to be a fighting champion and it’s a far cry from Naito throwing the championship on the mat.
Prediction: Kota Ibushi retains the IWGP Intercontinental championship.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Chris Jericho
“The Painmaker” vs “The Rainmaker”, another legend for Okada to share the ring with in a main event setting and another way for Jericho to make headlines. The arena will be cheering for the champion but that’s exactly what Jericho wants. Okada will be tested in the Liontamer and maybe even thrown around the building while Jericho attempts to antagonize every single fan in the building. This may not be as technical encounter as many would like but that’s because Jericho knows he will have to bust out different tactics if he wants to win his first IWGP heavyweight championship. Okada will have to really look out for The Judas Effect, Jericho’s new finishing move, because it was lights out for Kenny Omega and it may just be the perfect counter to the Rainmaker. This is the perfect main event because this match makes headlines either way, if Okada wins his is solidified as a true pillar of the company forever and if Jericho wins then he takes NJPW in a new direction with the assistance of the US NJPW events. Okada will bring his best to the former multi-time world champion and perhaps rid NJPW of Chris Jericho.
Prediction: Kazuchika Okada retains the IWGP heavyweight championship.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. Make sure to watch NJPW Dominion on NJPW World