New Japan Pro Wrestling hot off the finals of the Best Of The Super Junior tournament held their annual Dominion show in Osaka tonight. Normally seen as NJPW’s second biggest show of the year the build to it never disappoints but did the card live up to the hype? Stick here as I cover match to match.

1st match John Moxley vs Shota Umino

Grade: C+

Winner: John Moxley

Not an incredible amount I can say about this match as it ran just short of 4 minutes. But Umino looked good in the showing and still shows that he certainly has the potential to be great in the future. Moxley looked like a star as he made short work of his opponent showing why he is the IWGP US Champion. And announced that he wanted to be in the G1 Climax tournament, something that likely will have to go down now really adding some big hype and excitement to the tournament.

2nd match Satoshi Kojima vs Shingo Takagi

Grade: B+

Winner: Shingo Takagi

In what was Shingo’s first NJPW match as a heavyweight and Kojima’s first singles match in NJPW since late 2017 the pair delivered. The match was hard hitting and did a really good job at setting the pace for what was to come with this card. Shingo like always looked amazing and he announced upon winning the match that he wants to wrestle more like a heavyweight and wanted to enter the G1 Climax Tournament.

3rd match Jushin Liger and Yoshi-Hashi vs Zack Sabre JR and Minor Suzuki

Grade: C-

Winner: Yoshi-Hashi

Pretty standard match, nothing really stood out but nothing was painfully bad either. It was just kinda there on the card, this seemed like more of a match you’d see on a smaller NJPW show certainly not one of their big ones and basically delivered in the way you would expect it too.

4th match Taguchi, Tanahashi, and Robinson vs Ishimori, White and Owens.

Grade: C

Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi

Another match that there really isn’t much to say about as nothing really stood out. The match was done to push forward the story between White and Tanahashi and it at least achieved that. Eventually, Tanahashi would get the win by pinning Chase Owens but this is certainly a match I won’t be remembered in the near future.

5th match for the IWGP NEVER Openweight Championship

Taichi vs Tomohiro Ishii

Grade: B

Winner and NEW Champion: Tomohiro Ishii

These two have great chemistry together and I’d love to see more and more from them in the future. Whether it be more matches for this title or matches in tournaments like the G1 Climax or the New Japan Cup. From top to bottom the match was pretty quick and hard-hitting, Ishii seems to bring the best out of Taichi match wise and that is certainly never a bad thing.

6th match for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Championship

G.o.D vs Evil and Sanada

Grade: B

Winners and still Champions: G.o.D

This match had some good spots here and there but I’ve seen both of these teams put on better matches against each other before, even just earlier this year in fact. It was a pretty standard face team vs heel team match with some good spots especially from Sanada when G.o.D eventually won I felt it just could have been better and hopefully next time it will be.

Also after this match, Katsuyori Shibata came out to anticipation of what he was about to do and suddenly KENTA appears. Fresh off of being in WWE as Hideo Itami he is well and truly back in Japan and announced that he will be in the G1 climax this year.

7th match for the IWGP Junior Championship

Will Osprey vs Dragon Lee

Grade: A+

Winner and NEW Champion: Will Osprey

Wow, this match is exactly what Junior wrestling is all about, the action was fast and filled with amazing spots from top to bottom. This was a blink and you’ll have missed something amazing match, Osprey has been on an absolute tear with amazing matches lately and can certainly be a huge star in future even more so than he is now. If anyone reading this has any time I’d highly recommend watching this and the next match if you haven’t they just leave you on the edge of your seat. After the match Osprey announced he challenged Robbie Eagles to a match in Melbourne later this month.

8th match for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship

Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito

Grade: A++

Winner and NEW Champion: Tetsuya Naito

This may be the mark of the two of these men speaking here but this might be my Match Of The Year so far. We’ve seen amazing stuff like Shingo Tagaki vs Will Osprey, Cody vs Dustin, Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano 1 and 2. But this so far has taken the cake for me, it perfectly set itself up into the matches crazy spots and amazing storytelling. The crowd would boo Naito for being a heel but then next moment be screaming for him to get back up. These two men do some of the craziest neck bumps you will have ever seen. NJPW is still the king in match quality and this match alone proves it, I couldn’t record it on a normal scale if you haven’t seen this match do yourself a favour and watch it now.

9th match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship

Kazuchika Okada vs Chris Jericho

Grade: A-

Winner and still champion: Kazuchika Okada

If you’ve seen any of Jericho’s previous street fight style of matches in New Japan you have likely seen this match. I’d say this match falls short of his matches with Omega and Naito but it’s far from bad. It tells its story really well, Jericho plays a really good heel and Okada has to spend most of the match fighting his way up. Okada defended the title as you’d expect, post-match Jericho continued the attack on him until Hiroshi Tanahashi broke it up and Jericho retreated. This is likely setting up a Tanahashi vs Jericho match which is certainly worthy of getting hype for.

 

Overall Grade: A-

The undercard of this show outside of Shingo was a bit lacking and we have seen better tag team matches on the card before. But the final three matches strongly delivered. If I was rating it based off of the final three matches alone it’d be an A+, but its still my favourite card of the year so far.

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