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NJPW ‘Dominion 2018’ Preview & Predictions



Can Dominion realistically outshine Wrestle Kingdom 12? Outside of the G1 Climax and aforementioned Wrestle Kingdom, Dominion is considered to be a marquee show on the New Japan calendar. For the fourth consecutive year, the event will take place in Osaka at the Osaka-jō Hall, which has a capacity nearing 12,000. The show sold out three weeks in advance with less than half the card announced. With popularity continuing to be on the rise, we may start seeing Dominion move to a bigger arena in the near future. There are some absolutely insane matches on this card that I’m more than ready to discuss. Remember to find me on Twitter and let me know what you think the outcomes will be.

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado (c) vs Roppongi 3K (YOH & SHO)

Coming fresh off the BOSJ tour, all four of these men feel more important than they have all year. Roppongi 3K were victims of Suzuki-Gun tactics and lost the titles in underhanded fashion. Their rematch wasn’t just. Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI inserted themselves in the title picture and 3K were never granted a fair one-on-one rematch. During the BOSJ tournament both YOH and SHO defeated Kanemaru and Desperado in singles matches and are now out to get their titles back fair and square. Kanemaru and Desperado have never looked better in the ranks of New Japan as they do right now but the same can be said for 3K, who are the more relevant team at this time. It’d be foolish for the titles not to go back to 3K. They can tour ROH during the G1 and help keep the titles in people’s minds.
Prediction: Roppongi 3K

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

Everyone, outside of Y-H, had the BOSJ tour off but last we saw these three they were still facing off against each other in opening tags. During the Dontaku tour in April we saw White defeat Finlay to retain the US title. Somewhat surprisingly, the title isn’t being defended on this, the second biggest show of the year. This leads me to believe a new chapter is about to unfold and it’ll be Juice who challenges White next. They have three Korakuen shows coming up this month which would be a good fit for these two. I’d love to see the title featured on this show but the fact is that White still has a lot to prove so unless he’s facing guys like Omega and Tanahashi, he’s not a big enough key player for his own featured match on a show this size.
Prediction: Juice & Finlay

Tag Team Match
Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. vs Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano

There is a built in story here with Ishii having dethroned Sabre of his near 400 day reign with the RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship during WrestleMania weekend. We could have a case of Sabre getting his win back and challenging for the title or maybe Suzuki beats Ishii and lays the challenge. I don’t see Suzuki and Sabre losing but they could always pin Yano. We rarely see Ishii take falls in tag matches so seeing it happen here would be as shocking as it is logical.
Prediction: Suzuki & Sabre

NEVER Openweight Championship
Hirooki Goto (c) vs Michael Elgin vs Taichi

It’s not every day (unless you’re a junior or a tag team) that a New Japan champion is expected to defend their title in a three way. Elgin being inserted into this match feels forced and an easy out for Goto to lose the title without being pinned by Taichi. I could be reading everything wrong but Goto as champion doesn’t seem to work. Everyone respects him for being a hard worker but he struggles to connect once he’s won the title. It fits his character to find a new way to lose and be forced avenge himself. Heavyweight Taichi has found more support than junior Taichi. He has qualities about him that make you want to see his matches, even if it’s just to be beaten up. That’s more than what can be said for Goto.
Prediction: Taichi

IWGP Tag Team Championship
EVIL & SANADA vs The Young Bucks

The team with the company’s most junior tag title reigns receive their first opportunity to win the heavyweight tag titles. By being the champions, EVIL and SANADA have made the titles feel more important than they have in years. The Young Bucks would continue that trend and with the Cow Palace show in a month, having them walk in with tag titles seems like a smart way to go. The problem is that they have newly transitioned into the heavyweight division and are facing two staples of said division. If any team is to do it, it’d be the Bucks. I want to make an argument against them winning by saying that New Japan wants their title holders in the G1 Climax, which starts next month, but last year War Machine were champions and not participants. I’ll have to go with the Bucks because I can’t make an argument other than I’d like to see EVIL and SANADA retain.
Prediction: The Young Bucks

Six-Man Tag Team Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger & Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Cody, Hangman Page & Marty Scurll

The lone six-man match on the show turns out to be one of the most anticipated. It was bad enough when Scurll attacked and unmasked Mysterio at the Long Beach show back in March but yesterday he continued his mean streak by beating down the defeated Hwnare. When Tanahashi came to break it up, Scurll put the Ace in a crossface chickenwing and forced Liger to come out from behind the announcer’s table to make the save. They’ve had enough of Scurll and all three want to teach him a lesson. Unfortunately, Scurll has back up in the Bullet Club. This will be very chaotic and fun. So many different personalities coming together in what I can only imagine being one of the most talked about matches of the show. Scurll is going to take a well-deserved beating.
Prediction: Tanahashi, Liger & Mysterio

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Will Ospreay (c) vs Hiromu Takahashi

The two men who are, in my opinion, battling for wrestler of the year are facing off in a rematch from February’s New Beginning. That match is one I have inside my top five of the year. Am I excited? You know it! January through April, the year was clearly Ospreay’s. His matches were bringing worldwide attention to the championship through his next-level athleticism and near-death experiences. The month of May was very clearly Hiromu’s. He was the one man going all out during the BOSJ tour and stealing every show. This will be their third meeting in singles competition and there is a great story here because Ospreay has never been beaten by Hiromu and looks nearly unbeatable. That said, Hiromu is on fire and don’t forget that he defeated the one man who beat Ospreay clean on the tour, Ishimori, in order to win the BOSJ tournament. Either way, we win as wrestling fans.
Prediction: Hiromu Takahashi

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Tetsuya Naito (c) vs Chris Jericho

We’ve been teased with this match for nearly six months and it’s finally about to happen. The most prolific IC champion in wrestling history facing the man who could not case less about the title. But it’s so much more than that. After feeling dejected by the New Japan fans in 2013 thanks to a fan vote that said they don’t want him in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 8, Naito went to Mexico to reinvent himself. He came back and has become someone the fans flock to the arenas to see. 2017 was his validation. He won the G1 Climax and everyone looked forward to seeing him main event Wrestle Kingdom 12. All eyes were on Naito until Chris Jericho showed up. Many, including Jericho himself, declared his match the main event even though Naito was billed on top. No matter how Naito approached it, Jericho had a point. Jericho feels like Naito is jealous of his popularity and although he has stated his goal is the IC title, he’s also said that his match will make Naito a worldwide star. This is a marquee match if there ever has been one. Whichever way it goes, we’re in for a treat.
Prediction: Tetsuya Naito

IWGP Heavyweight Championship – Two out of Three Falls Match
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Kenny Omega

What happened in 2017 between Okada and Omega very well may have inspired an entire generation. There hasn’t been a wrestling series so widely praised all around the world for many, many years. Nobody could have expected their Wrestle Kingdom match to have been as good as it was and even though the bar was raised, they managed to top it in the rematch at Dominion, which resulted in a sixty minute time limit draw. Their match during the G1 was pure annihilation by Omega. After such a long tournament, which saw Okada lose to EVIL and go thirty minutes with Suzuki, Omega was able to pick at the scraps and get his revenge. Unfortunately for Omega, that match wasn’t for the title. Their record sits tied at 1-1-1 so what do they decide? No time limit and the winner must score two falls. That is the only fair conclusion the two could make so here we stand. Like the entire top half of this show, we’re in for an absolute treat. It doesn’t even matter which way this goes, the fact that we’re getting it at all is what’s so special. Completely unpredictable but this is a predictions article so I’ll take my shot.
Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.