Monday, June 10, 2019

NJPW Dominion Review

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Matches:
1.Moxley vs Shota **1/2
2.SHINGO vs Kojima ***
3.Liger, YOSHI-HASHI vs Suzuki-gun ***
4.Bullet Club vs Taguchi Japan **1/2
5.NEVER Openweight Title: Taichi(c) vs Ishii ***1/2
6.IWGP Tag Titles: GOD(c) vs LIJ **1/4
7.IWGP Jr HW Title: Dragon Lee(c) vs Ospreay ****1/4
8.IWGP IC Title: Kota(c) vs Naito ****1/2
9.IWGP HW Title: Okada(c) vs Jericho ***1/2

Thoughts:
Dominion is the second biggest New Japan show of the year so the expectations are even higher than normal for this one. The problem is that they weren't fully met with this one.

The opener was a pretty decent little match, and I appreciated Shota's energy before Mox put him away. It was what it was, and honestly it makes sense that the new IWGP US Champ takes out the young lion in short fashion, so no big deal that it wasn't more.

Mox wants in the G1 which is something we all want to see. He has everything to lose by entering, but if enters the fire and excels he'll become an even hotter name, so fingers crossed.

The second match was good, and a good bounce back test for SHINGO, taking out the former 2x IWGP Heavyweight Champ. Make no mistake, NJPW booked this for a reason and Takagi requesting to fight juniors and heavyweights after proves it. He too wants in the G1, which is a literal dream for me.

The Suzuki-gun tag was good, and I liked the dick behavior from Sabre and Minoru. The dead man kicks on YOSHI and Liger's energy really added to this and this set up two future singles matches nicely.

The next tag wasn't as good, though. It was decent, but far too rough to be anything more and the finish just came off poorly. I hope Tana never tries that again.

Moving on, our first championship match of the night turned out to be a pretty good contest with the right man winning and once they started trading even blows it picked up nicely. I hope Ishii winning brings the belt back to the heavy-hitting style that I love to see from NEVER defenses, but we'll see.

They announce that 2020's Dominion will be a two night event, like the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom show.

Our next title match was for the IWGP Tag belts. It was basically the 100th meeting of the two teams, and a weaker version of it, with an overbooked circus act section near the end and a cheap finish to set up meeting number 101. New Japan might be the best promotion in the world, but they still have issues and the way they handle this division might be the biggest.

Shibata's music hits and KENTA is here, announcing that he's joining the G1!!! Marufuji's not very happy, especially since he picked that day of all days to make the announcement.

We finally get a match truly deserving of being on Dominion next, with a truly fantastic Jr Heavyweight Championship match. I love Dragon Lee's entrance mask by the way. These two killed it in a superb display of aerial wrestling, showcasing not only their talents but also the division in general. Go out of your way to catch that one.

With Ospreay winning the belt, he followed up with a challenge to Eagles for the upcoming tour down south. That should be decent.

The Intercontinental Championship match continued to theme of dangerous demolition derby style conflicts between Kota and Naito and was full of some of the nastiest looking moves you'll ever see. It was a fucking fantastic match, but I think a case could be made that it should be classified as attempted murder. That last destino alone was at least aggravated assault. With Tetsuya as champ again, I hope this sets up a champion versus champion match soon. Now, go watch this MOTYC right now.

We closed with something interesting. Jericho's match with Omega was of a different formula than expected, and carried a level of intensity and rough-around-the-edges style that was also on display here. The codebreaker out of nowhere spot was a good idea, even if it wasn't delivered smoothly, but it added to that tone. I can't help but notice, though, that they set up a table that didn't even get used outside of a tease after the match. This leads me to think the finish might have went a bit differently than planned, though I enjoyed the flash finish either way. Yea, they broke outside of the normal Okada formula, with not even a single rainmaker being delivered, but like I said, it worked for the style of match. While this wasn't a MOTYC, it was still a very good match and an interesting change of pace.

I want to be excited about Tanahashi saving Okada after the match, but they kind of fumbled the last attempt at a super team, so...

Dominion was a good show, but New Japan has set the bar so high it was still a bit disappointing. With Tanahashi trying a new finish and Okada getting a flash-pin, as well as the G1 requests from SHINGO, Mox, and KENTA, it felt like a bit of a changing to NJPW, but they've earned my trust enough to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Give anything rated ***1/2 and above a view and just catch the rest in highlight form.

Overall Rating: 75/100%

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