From Osaka-Jo Hall comes an absolutely loaded show. Dominion sees six singles matches, five titles on the line and the first wave of G1 entrants. There’s a lot to take in so let’s get started!
Jon Moxley def. Shota Umino @ 3:52 via Double Arm DDT – **3/4
Moxley makes his entrance through the crowd and Umino lands a tope con hilo before Moxley can make it in the ring. He brings Moxley in but gets caught charging in with a lariat. Moxley takes him into the corner and delivers a series of chops followed by a backdrop suplex for a two count. He gets another two after a Mutoh-esque elbow drop and locks in an STF. Umino makes it to the ropes and fires a forearm. Moxley asks for more before hitting the young lion with a headbutt but gets caught running in with a dropkick followed by a bridging German suplex for two. Umino gets dropped with a release vertical suplex for a two count, Moxley picks him up and finishes him with a double arm DDT. Moxley takes the microphone and demands to be added in the G1 Climax. He then picks Umino up off the mat and helps him to the back.
Shingo Takagi def. Satoshi Kojima @ 11:15 via Last of the Dragon – ****
They lock up, Shingo backs Kojima to the ropes and gives a chop. Kojima takes the head, Shingo sends him off and shoulders Kojima to the mat. He pick him up and they trade forearms. Shingo headbutts, Kojima fires up and shoulders Shingo to the mat. Shingo bails and Kojima follows him out with a plancha. They trade forearms outside until the count of nineteen and both make it in before the count out. Shingo applies a cravat, sends Kojima to the corner, catches a boot and delivers combination punches and chops. He sends Kojima to the opposite corner, comes up empty on the back elbow and Kojima fires off his machine gun chops. Shingo cuts off Kojima’s top rope elbow drop and looks for a DVD on the apron.
Kojima fights it off, wants the Koji Cutter but Shingo elbows frees and gets the apron DVD. Before Shingo can make it back inside, Kojima sweeps the leg with a lariat and drops Shingo with a DDT on apron. He sends Shingo back in and gets a two count, follows him to the corner, takes him to the top and hits a Koji Cutter from the second for two. Shingo slides out of a vertical suplex, eats elbows, hits one of his own and lariats Kojima to the mat. He brings Kojima back to his feet for a vertical suplex, sets up for Noshigami but Kojima fights it off and lariats Shingo’s Pumping Bomber, spins off a second and hits his own lariat followed by a vertical suplex for two.
Kojima sends Shingo to the ropes but Shingo collapses, makes it back to his feet and blocks a lariat, wants Noshigami but Kojima fights it off and eats a series of lariats, refuses to budge on a Pumping Bomber and takes Shingo down with a lariat of his own. Shingo makes it back to his feet, charges in and hits a Pumping Bomber but Kojima kicks out at one. They trade combination elbows, Shingo catches Kojima’s arm and turns him into Made in Japan for a two count. Shingo follows with a Pumping Bomber and finishes Kojima with Last of the Dragon. Shingo takes the microphone and demands to be added in the G1 Climax.
YOSHI-HASHI & Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger def. Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. @ 9:39 via Y-H Kinkoji on Sabre – ***
Suzuki-Gun go on the jump before the bell and take the match outside. Liger and Suzuki trade overhands while Sabre targets Y-H’s taped arm inside the ring. Suzuki gets the tag and together they pick apart Y-H while the referee holds Liger from coming in. Y-H fires forearms and chops before Suzuki takes him down with a forearm of his own and tags Sabre back in. Sabre rips the tap off Y-H’s arm and pie faces him. Y-H fires back but Sabre kicks the arm and takes the control back. Suzuki gets the tag and connects with a PK. Liger comes in, slaps Y-H to fire him up and Y-H lands a boot to Suzuki. He tags in Liger and both Liger and Suzuki trade overhand chops. Suzuki grabs the headlock before delivering a headbutt and pulling Liger into a cross armbreaker.
Liger makes it to the ropes and Suzuki demands he come back to his feet. When Liger does, Suzuki locks in a sleeper, goes for the piledriver but Liger fights out and hits a headbutt followed by a brainbuster. Both men roll to their corners and make the tag. Y-H catches Sabre with Headhunter, charges in the corner with a chop and drapes Sabre over the top rope for a dropkick. Sabre slides out of powerbomb position and pulls Y-H into a cross armbreaker. Liger breaks the hold, Suzuki comes in after him and puts Liger in a Cobra Twist. Sabre follows suit on Y-H but he makes it to the ropes and drops Sabre with a lariat. Sabre blocks Karma, slides out of a suplex, kicks the arm, Y-H traps Sabre’s arm and pulls him into a cradle for the win. They continue after the match, Y-H lays him out with a lariat and poses with the RevPro title while the young lions take Suzuki to the back.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson & Ryusuke Taguchi def. Jay White, Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori @ 9:49 via Tanahashi Final Cut on Owens – **
Juice and Owens lock up, trade wristlocks, Juice takes the waist and brings Owens to the mat. Owens backs Juice to the ropes and hit a back elbow. Juice fires back with a forearm, chops and punches, sends Owens to the corner and follows him in with a lariat, wants the cannonball but Owens bails and tags in Ishimori. Juice tags in Taguchi, Ishimori takes the headlock, Taguchi sends him off and lands a pair of hip attacks. Ishimori avoids a third and everyone brawls outside. Bullet Club keep Taguchi isolated, White takes him back outside and drives him into both the rails and apron before bringing him back inside for a two count. White avoids a hip attack, hits the ropes and turns one into an atomic drop looks for a backdrop suplex but Taguchi rolls through and hits a hip attack before making the tag to Tanahashi.
White charges in, comes up empty and gets caught in a dragon screw followed by a somersault senton off the second for two. White catches Tanahashi coming in with a chop, blocks a Slingblade and takes him down with a Saito suplex. Bullet Club run a train on Tanahashi, White follows with a twisting brainbuster but Tanahashi’s team bails him out. Tanahashi lands a slap, White catches him in position for Blade Runner but Tanahashi turns it into a Slingblade. White tags out to Owens, Juice cuts Owens off, eats a lariat, Taguchi misses a hip attack and Owens hits Jewel Heist on Tanahashi for two. Tanahashi escapes the package piledriver and catches Owens with a Final Cut to pick up the win.
NEVER Openweight Championship
Tomohiro Ishii def. Taichi (c) @ 16:11 via Brainbuster – ***3/4
Taichi stalls disrobing to get under Ishii’s skin early. Ishii walks up to him and Taichi bails outside. The referee starts the count, Ishii stops him and lays down in the middle of the ring and waves Taichi back inside. Taichi comes in and Ishii allows him to get in some stomps and shrugs off some boots before making it back to his feet. Taichi pie faces Ishii and gets grounded by an Ishii forearm. He begs Ishii off but Ishii takes him to the corner for chops. Taichi gouges the eyes, Ishii returns the favor and takes Taichi down with a shoulder, kicks him on the back and takes Taichi’s microphone and satchel, throwing both to the floor. Taichi makes it back to his feet and they trade kicks for chops.
The exchange goes long, Ishii’s kneer buckles, he slaps Taichi and Taichi responds with one of his own that takes Ishii down. He boots Ishii into the corner, Ishii makes it back up but is taken right back down with a kick to the chest. Taichi follows with another across the back, brings Ishii back up and sets up for a Dangerous Suplex but Ishii fights him off and catches Taichi running in with a powerslam. Ishii takes Taichi to the corner for chops and lariats, sends him to the opposite corner and eats a boot followed by an enziguri. He sends Taichi off a leg lariat but Taichi spins out and lands an enziguri. His lariat is blocked, catches Ishii coming in and drops him with a gamengiri followed by a Dangerous Suplex for a two count.
Taichi picks Ishii back up and Ishii shrugs him off into his own backdrop suplex. They both make it to their feet, Taichi lands several kicks, Ishii asks for more, catches a kick and drops Taichi with a German suplex. Taichi shoves Ishii into the referee, Ishii catches the low blow attempt and drops Taichi with a series of lariats for a two count. He ducks a sliding lariat, nails Ishii with a sliding kick followed by a sliding lariat for two and rolls Ishii into a Gedo Clutch for another two count. Ishii ducks a lariat but gets caught with a second and Taichi applies the Holy Emperor’s Cruifex Tomb.
Ishii refuses to give up so Taichi lets go of the hold, blocks Ishii’s gamengiri, looks for Black Mephisto but Ishii fights it out only to get caught with the Last Ride, still managing to kick out at two. Ishii aboids the thrust kick, lands an enziguri, fires up, lariats a kick and lands combination forearms. He eats a kick, shrugs it off and hits a lariat for a two count. Taichi slides out of a brainbuster, hits his own combination forearms, Ishii blocks, connects with a sliding lariat for two and quickly picks Taichi up for a brainbuster to win the match.
IWGP Tag Team Championship
Guerrillas of Destiny (c) def. EVIL & SANADA @ 16:38 via Roll Up – **1/2
SANADA and Tama take time to gauge the fans reaction to one another. SANADA wins the war of chants, Tama rushes him in the corner, SANADA leap frogs and tries for the Paradise Lock but Tama boots him off looking shocked and they tag out to their partners. EVIL boots Loa, they trade shoulder tackles and EVIL wins the exchange. He brings Loa up, chops him back down and gets a one count. EVIL goes to hit the ropes, sees Jado with the cane, Loa backs him into the ropes and Jado connects with the cane. They take EVIL and SANADA to the floor and while the referee tries getting Loa back inside, Jado hits EVIL again with the cane and Tama sends him back inside.
Loa charges in the corner with a lariat followed by a running knee for a two count, tags Tama in, hits a slam and Tama stays on the attack with a slingshot senton. A vertical suplex gets Tama two, he tags in Loa and they deliver a double team dropkick for another two count. Loa knocks SANADA off the apron, takes EVIL to his corner and tags in Tama who flurries with strikes followed by a dropkick and tags Loa who slingshot sentons for two. Loa drives EVIL into the corner, looks for a powerslam but EVIL slides off the shoulders and hits a kick before making the tag to SANADA. G.O.D. look to double SANADA but he catches Loa in the Paradise Lock, lands a double leap frog dropkick on Tama, follows him out with a plancha, gives another to Jado and kicks Loa free of the Paradise Lock for a two count.
Loa catches a hurricarana and turns it into a powerbomb for two, tags Tama who hits a Stinger Splash, wants another but SANADA slides over the top rope and hits a springboard dropkick. He knocks Loa off the ropes and tags EVIL in for a vertical suplex off the top followed by a standing moonsault from SANADA and a Scorpion Death Lock from EVIL. Loa breaks it up, they double Loa, ducks Tama’s attack and SANADA drops him with a backdrop suplex. Loa breaks up the finish, SANADA catches him in the Skull End while EVIL applies the Scorpion Death Lock on Tama. Jado pulls the referee out of the ring, hits both EVIL and SANADA with the cane but BUSHI makes his way from the back and mists Jado, hits him with the cane and follows him out with a tope sucida. EVIL and SANADA set Tama up for Magic Killer, Tama boots SANADA off and rolls up EVIL for the win.
Katsuyori Shibata’s music hits. He comes out, points back to the ramp and out comes KENTA. Shibata takes the microphone and introduces the crowd to KENTA who then takes the mic and demands he be entered in the G1 Climax.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Will Ospreay def. Dragon Lee (c) @ 20:08 via Stormbreaker – ****1/2
They shake before locking up. Lee flips out of a wristlock, lock up again and Ospreay flips out of a snapmare. They trade cartwheels out of hurricanranas, Ospreay slides out of Desnucadora, both go for a dropkick at the same time and Lee follows in with a knee strike. Ospreay catches Lee running in the corner with an enziguri followed by a top rope 619 and follows Lee out with a plancha. He brings Lee back to his feet and chops him back down to the floor before bringing Lee back inside for a one count. Ospreay again brings Lee up, takes him down with a back elbow and gets another one. He keylocks one arm and lays out on the other to get a two count. Lee scrambles to the corner, Ospreay catches him with chops, eats a couple forearms, and is caught coming in with a springboard, Lee turns it into an STO.
Ospreay sweeps the leg, wants the corner dropkick but Lee moves and hits one of his own and takes Ospreay over for two. He sends Ospreay to the ropes, gets caught with a handspring enziguri followed by a springboard forearm for a two count. Lee bails outside, Ospreay dives over with a Sasuke Special, Lee moves, traps Ospreay in the rails and dives out with a tope suicida that takes out both Ospreay and Milano Collection AT on commentary. Lee bring Ospreay back in, looks for a German suplex, Ospreay fights it off, Lee wants a Dragon suplex, again it’s fought off but he turns it into a bridging straightjacket German for two. He takes Ospreay to the top, Ospreat fights him off with an upkick that send Lee crashing to the floor and follows him out with a Cancun Tornado.
Ospreay brings him back in, hits a reverse Bloody Sunday for two, lands a thrust kick, wants Stormbreaker but Lee flips free and drops Ospreay in a DDT, pulls him back up but gets turned into a Stundog Millionaire. They trade forearms on their knees, fight up to their feet and continue the exchange. Lee goes to hit the ropes but Ospreay catches him with a hook kick, flips out of a German, Lee turns the wallflip enziguri into a knee strike followed by a poison rana, charges in and is caught with an Ospreay Spanish Fly for two. Ospreay goes to the top, Lee cuts him off, wants the hurricanrana to the floor but Ospreay flips to his feet and powerbombs Lee on the apron. Ospreay brings Lee back in, lands a Shooting Star Press for two, wants the Oscutter but Lee catches him jumping backwards with a dropkick.
Lee wants to pull Ospreay back inside, Ospreay fights him off and goes for a springboard but Lee sweeps the leg and traps Ospreay over the top rope and hits a double stomp to the outside. Ospreay makes it in at eighteen but Lee is there with a running knee. He picks Ospreay up for Desnucadora, Ospreay fights it off and picks Lee up but is dropped in a Destroyer followed by a running knee for two. Lee connects with another knee, brings Ospreay up for Desnucadora but Ospreay flips out, hits a hook kick, connects with the Hidden Blade, a Super Oscutter, hangs onto the neck and finishes Lee with Stormbreaker. The two embrace and Lee puts the title around Ospreay’s waist.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Tetsuya Naito def. Kota Ibushi (c) @ 22:06 via Destino – *****
Naito stalls disrobbing to get under Ibushi’s skin. They lock up, Ibushi takes the head, Naito sends him off and ducks a kick, armdrags Ibushi but he gets right back up and lands a kick to the chest that grounds Naito. He sends Naito to the corner, hits a boot followed by a hip toss and a dropkick to the back of Ibushi’s head. Naito hits his pose and the crowd is 30/70 in favor of Ibushi. He pulls Ibushi into a double armbar, Ibushi finds the ropes but Naito refuses to relinquish the hold to a chorus of boos. Ibushi fights back up, fires forearms and Naito spits in his face followed by stomps and poses. He sends Ibushi to the corner and fakes out the slingshot dropkick, hits it delayed, poses again and stands on Ibushi’s chest for the pin.
The referee refuse the count, Naito spits in his face and boots Ibushi who wakes up only to get eye gouged by Naito. Ibushi catches Naito running in, jumps over his basement dropkick and lands on top of Naito with a stomp. Naito charges in but is again caught, this time with a hurricanrana and bails outside. Ibushi follows him out with a tornillo and sends Naito back inside for a two count. Naito elbows free out of a waistlock and catches Ibushi with a slingshot DDT. He waits for Ibushi to get back up and catches him with a single leg dropkick and takes Ibushi to the top rope. Ibushi blocks the frankensteiner by grabbing the leg, Naito hammers down on him but Ibushi slides through, lands an overhead kick to the butt and Naito crashes to the apron.
Ibushi wants the draping German, Naito fights it off into position for a piledriver but Ibushi slides off, gets caught with a boot but manahes to hold on the ropes to block Naito’s suplex. Naito breaks Ibushi’s grip of the ropes and German suplexes Ibushi onto the corner of the apron. Ibushi makes it back in at nineteen but Naito is right there to take him to the top for a poison rana. Ibushi kicks out at two, catches Naito’s Destino and drops him with a tombstone piledriver. Both are down and the referee counts begins the count. They make it back up at eight and trade forearms. Naito hits a huge headbutt, follows back in with another and a series of more.
Naito blocks Ibushi’s kick, takes a palm thrust to the chest and a lariat. Ibushi hits Nakamura’s pose, charges in with the Boma Ye, Naito ducks it and catches Ibushi with Destino but he kicks out at two. He goes for another Destino, Ibushi puts on the brakes and drops Naito with Go 2 Sleep followed by a sitout powerbomb for two. Ibushi pulls Naito in for Kamigoye, Naito hops over and catches Ibushi with a DDT. They both makes it up to their feet at the same time, Ibushi removes his knee pad, Naito avoids the strike and drops Ibushi with a slingshot reverse DDT for two, sets up for Destino, Ibushi pops him up to his shoulders, Naito poison ranas out and follows with Gloria for two. Naito quickly brings Ibushi back up and finishes him with Destino. Naito stands on Ibushi’s head and poses with the title.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada (c) def. Chris Jericho @ 25:44 via Roll Up – ***1/4
Okada throws his robe at Jericho to get under his skin before the match. The crowd breaks into Okada chants, Jericho yells at them to shut up before they lock up. Okada backs Jericho to the ropes and gives a clean break. Jericho goes for the eyes, lands a couple chops and elbows Okada to the mat. Okada sends Jericho to the ropes, Jericho hangs on and bails. Okada goes on the chase, they make it back in and Jericho eats a boot. Okada heads up the top for a shotgun dropkick, Jericho absorbs it and turns Okada into the Walls of Jericho. He gets to the ropes, Jericho boots Okada to the floor and over the rails, follows him out and drops Okada with a DDT on the time keeper’s table.
Jericho pulls another table out from under the ring and looks to powerbomb Okada but Okada drives him to the rails. Jericho takes Okada back down and sends him inside where he hits a crossbody off the tope rope for a two count. He follows with a backdrop suplex and stands on Okada’s chest and flexes. Jericho slaps Okada across the face, Okada fires up and hits the ropes but is taken back down with a dropkick. He hoists Okada up for a vertical suplex and gets a two count. A series of chops followed by forearms, Okada fires back and catches Jericho running in with a flapjack. Okada nips up, takes Jericho down with a series of elbows followed by a DDT. Jericho bails but Okada follows him out and boots Jericho over the rails, looks for the diving crossbody over the rails but instead gets caught in a Codebreaker.
Okada makes it back inside at sixteen, Jericho stays on him by hitting a basement dropkick for two, brings Okada up for chops, charges in for a corner lariat and sets up for a Tombstone Piledriver. Okada reverses into position for his own, Jericho slides through and locks in the Wall of Jericho. He makes it to the ropes and recovers while Jericho complains to the referee, hits a dropkick, puts Jericho on the top rope, Jercho boots him off and jumps off looking for a Codebreaker but Okada lands a dropkick followed by a Tombstone. Okada sets up for the Rainmaker, Jericho ducks and turns it into a Tiger Driver for two. Jericho wants the Codebreaker, Okada puts the brakes on and turns it into a reverse neckbreaker, get a two count, Jericho cuts Okada off on the apron and lands a springboard dropkick.
Jericho takes Okada to the top, Okada fights him off and sends Jericho crashing. Okada lands the elbow drop off the top, hits the Rainmaker pose but Jericho responds with an enziguri. They trade forearms on their knees, fight up to their feet, Jericho lands a mean overhand chop, Okada sends him to the ropes but Jericho hangs on and Okada comes up empty on the dropkick. Jericho quickly goes for the Lionsault, hits it for two and boots Okada into the corner. Okada fires up with a John Woo, tees off on Jericho in the corner, charges in but is caught with the Codebreaker for a two count.
Jericho demands that Okada stay down, unties the turnbuckle pad, goes to send him in but Okada slides off and hits a German suplex. Jericho ducks the Rainmaker, goes for one of his own, misses and is dropped with a Codebreaker from Okada. Tombstone from Okada, Jericho ducks the Rainmaker and turns him into the Wall of Jericho. Okada fights it off, spins Jericho to the mat, charges in, Jericho side steps and Okada goes face first in the exposed buckle followed by a lariat. Jericho ducks the Rainmaker, Okada catches Jericho’s Codebreaker and rolls him up for the win.
Jericho stays on the attack and hits Okada with a chair followed by the Judas Effect. He then takes Okada to the floor, wraps the chair around his neck and sends Okada into the post. Jericho looks to powerbomb Okada through a table but Tanahashi hops up from commentary to chase Jericho off. Jericho takes the microphone and says he never loses. Tanahashi helps Okada to the back and the crowd is informed there will be no post-match celebration.
This show filled me with mixed emotions.
Moxley, Shingo and KENTA all announcing themselves for the G1. Ospreay and Lee had both an incredible and safe spectacle. Kojima received a big singles match with the hottest member of the roster and over-delivered upon expectations. Naito’s best heel work in a long time.
The risk taking in Naito versus Ibushi was extremely uncomfortable. Everyone has been saying they go too hard and they continue to push the level in increasingly dangerous ways. Ibushi’s ear touched his neck when he collided onto the apron. The risk was completely uncalled for and the worst part is that the rest of the match was phenomenal so it’s extremely tough to hate on the match as a whole. Outside of that bad spot this was my favorite match of theirs to date. Another bad takeaway is the booking of Taichi. They had something going with him and they pulled the rug out from under him. There’s no doubt that Ishii is the better wrestler but Taichi has been an engaging character yet this stop and go booking is tough to get a handle on. The finish to the main event wasn’t satisfying and sent the crowd home disappointed. The match wasn’t the cleanest but it was solid enough to be respectable. When factoring in the finish though, this was probably the most underwhelming Okada match ever.
The show was uneven at best and ended on a limp. There were several great matches and a nice surprise with Shibata introducing KENTA. The G1 Climax looks extremely interesting. The booking decisions were head scratchers. The main event under-performed, Taichi was pushed back down at the expense of Ishii and the crowd wasn’t sent home happy. A memorable show but I’m not sure it’s for many of the right reasons.
Naito vs Ibushi
Ospreay vs Lee
Shingo vs Kojima
Ishii vs Taichi
Okada vs Jericho