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NJPW ‘Dominion 2019’ Preview & Predictions



Sunday sees the 2019 edition of Dominion, featuring six singles matches and five championships on the line. The main event will be Chris Jericho challenging Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Also on the show, Kota Ibushi looks to defend the IWGP Intercontinental Championship from Tetsuya Naito, Will Ospreay looks to ride his Best of the Super Juniors 26 victory into an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship win over Dragon Lee and Taichi has demanded Tomohiro Ishii challenge him for the NEVER Openweight Championship. We’ll also see Shingo Takagi in his first heavyweight singles bout as well as another appearance from Jon Moxley. Let’s get started!

Jon Moxley vs Shota Umino
You could not have expected anything better than what we got from Jon Moxley in his New Japan debut. He brought along this new found energy that produced what can arguably be called the greatest match in the short history of the IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship. The result will be obvious but Moxley’s energy paired with a young lion who could only sit and watch as his classmate was able to participate in the Best of the Super Juniors should make for an explosive match. The fact that we don’t know what undercard Jon Moxley will look like just yet only adds to the intrigue of the match.
Prediction: Jon Moxley

Satoshi Kojima vs Shingo Takagi
If you weren’t sold on Shingo before the Best of the Super Juniors, there’s no doubt that you are now. After the tournament he requested a singles match with a heavyweight and New Japan responded by setting him up with a match against Satoshi Kojima. This will be extremely physical as the two powerhouses collide in a battle of shoulder tackles, chops and lariats. Kojima’s ACL tear in early 2018 put his pecking order within the company in question. The result could very well end up deciding who makes entry into this year’s G1 Climax.
Prediction: Shingo Takagi

Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. vs Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger & YOSHI-HASHI
While the rivalry between Suzuki and Liger is still brewing, another one looks to be bubbling just underneath. Zack Sabre Jr. has made it clear that YOSHI-HASHI is a disgrace and not worthy of challenging for his RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship, a sentiment I’m sure many agree. Nevertheless that looks like the direction they’ve decided on. Luckily, Suzuki and Liger will be there so the match won’t be a complete loss. I expect more fireworks from those two and if Y-H is challenging Sabre, no one can afford to take a loss here.
Prediction: No Contest

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Jay White, Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori
Good of Chase to make the flight so everyone else can be saved from taking the pin. Each of these pairs had title matches against one another over the first half of the year but the only one that looks to be continuing is that of Tanahashi and White. Tanahashi has come up empty twice to White this year and has started to believe he’s lost the faith of the fans. Juice is also fired up, believing his country has given up on him. Those two will ride the wave of emotion to score the victory thanks to Chase coming out and keeping anyone else from starting a losing streak.
Prediction: Tanahashi, Juice & Taguchi

NEVER Openweight Championship
Taichi (c) vs Tomohiro Ishii

Since winning the NEVER title, Taichi has struggled to find anyone who will challenge him. He’s taken it upon himself to demand that Ishii show interest in the title. These two both joined New Japan back in 2006 along with Tomoaki Honma and Milano Collection AT. Taichi wants to prove that in 2019 he’s the best of the bunch. Their match earlier in the year was a highlight of the New Japan Cup and Ishii never phones in singles matches no matter where he is on the card. Who would’ve thought that in 2019 Taichi would be one of the more interesting characters in the company? Hopefully he retains and continues to be a gem on the undercards.
Prediction: Taichi

IWGP Tag Team Championship
The Guerrillas of Destiny (c) vs EVIL & SANADA

Who cares? The division seemed interesting when EVIL and SANADA were the champions but then they lost the titles only so that they can lose in singles matches to Okada and Ishii. Now they’ll go back after the titles and probably hold them during the G1 before losing them in a rematch after the G1 ends. The tag division stinks with EVIL ad SANADA because they’re nothing but placeholders as champions. At least with G.O.D. you have a real team with no false hope of singles asperations.
Prediction: EVIL & SANADA

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Dragon Lee (c) vs Will Ospreay

Will Ospreay stunned everyone when he became the first person to beat Shingo Takagi since his debut last fall. It was almost a foregone conclusion that Ospreay would take that loss and move to the heavyweight division but that turned out not to be the case. Most expected that Hiromu Takahashi would challenge Dragon Lee for the title but why would Ospreay end Shingo’s streak only to take a loss in his next match? With the news of Ospreay moving to Japan, a full on investment seems to be in place. Ospreay is now the lead man of the division and he plans to raise it to new heights.
Prediction: Will Ospreay

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Kota Ibushi (c) vs Tetsuya Naito

The weird booking of Naito has carried into 2019. He looked to be back on track after vanquishing Chris Jericho in January but just a couple months later would be defeated twice by Ibushi in the span of three weeks. He appears to be driving around aimlessly on a road without a map. Although he says he wants both the IC and Heavyweight titles, who’s to say at this point where he’s going? Ibushi is one of the company’s biggest signings this year and immediately after signing, won the title of his idols. With Naito, the IC title feels secondary but with Ibushi it’s carried with significance. Wrestling is better when the titles mean something to its holder. I’m not sure what’s going on with Naito but he can stay away from the IC title.
Prediction: Kota Ibushi

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Chris Jericho

The argument for Okada not winning the title from Jay White at MSG was that no one had been built up since Okada last held the championship. This was highlighted by his first defense being against a man he had just beat the month before. Chris Jericho is a way around the fact that no one in the company feels at the level of Okada right now. I personally felt that an EVIL win over Ishii would’ve taken EVIL to that next level but instead Ishii won and showed no interest in challenging his stablemate. Stagnate is the perfect word to describe the title right now. Chris Jericho will serve as a fresh buffer while New Japan gets its act together during the G1 to set up more rivalries for Okada.
Prediction: Kazuchika Okada

Along with providing show reviews from across Japan, Robert McCauley is also an editor for FightboothPW.

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