This Saturday morning, 3AM on the east coast of the United States the New Japan Pro Wrestling PPV Dominion will be taking place. Many of you, like myself, will be up at all hours of the night to watch the PPV live. The reputation of New Japan has grown over the past few years as it becomes more accessible to international audiences. By integrating English speaking commentary and a wide range of international wrestlers New Japan events like this Friday’s Dominion has become appointment television.
Last year during the G1 Special in California Kazuchika Okada the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion stood in the center of the ring and talked about how New Japan is going to be entering the global stage as it pertains to pro wrestling. This year’s edition of Dominion IS their grand entrance. With major international superstars like Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio on this card along with New Japan regulars like The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega, this card has wrestling fans the world over excited for a New Japan show like I have never seen before.
If this is your first time hearing about this event or if you want to get caught up a little be before making the effort to watch Dominion. We’re going to take a look at a few of the spotlight matchups to be excited about heading into Friday.
An honorable mention would be the NEVER Openweight Championship Match as Hirooki Goto defends his championship against Michael Elgin and Taichi. You’ve heard about Japanese strong style before, and while the WWE version of strong style has left a lot to be desired, it will be on full display during this match as three of New Japan’s hardest hitters brawl for the NEVER Openweight Championship.
The first of the big tentpole matches is a big Six-man tag team match. On one side we have the bullet club, being represented by Cody (don’t call him Rhodes), Hangman Page, and Marty Scrull. A notable team of new Japan veterans will square off against the bullet club. The New Japan Ace Hiroshi Tanahashi will team with an all-time New Japan performer Jushin Thunder Liger and a man who is making his in-ring debut in New Japan, the international megastar Rey Mysterio. After originally being scheduled to face Liger he will instead team with him to take on a team of who’s who on the independent scene.
Mysterio will be the second big name from WWE to show up in New Japan this year… We’ll get to the first in a little bit. Mysterio brings a brand new set of eyes to the New Japan product. While he has been more injury prone over the past few years, Mysterio could add a lot to an already amazing and stacked Jr Heavyweight division. While we still want to actually see the dream match that is Liger vs Mysterio, this should hold over international fans and introduce Japanese fans to the potential dream match we could all be witness to.
The culmination of the best of the super juniors tournament will also conclude at Dominion. After winning the best of the super juniors for the first time Hiromu Takahashi will challenge IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay. If this is the first time you’ve ever seen Will Ospreay perform you and in for a high flying treat. While the style of these two competitors clash a little bit, they should clash in a spectacular way. Both competitors are former champions and no stranger to the big stage, and while American audiences may not be super familiar with these two performers they will be wowed by their performance at the end of the night.
On a card that’s full of potential match of the night candidates, the most intriguing one has to be for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match. Los Ingobernables de Japon will defend their titles against The Young Bucks. The Bucks have left the Jr Heavyweight tag ranks that they have dominated since joining the New Japan roster. Having captured the Jr titles a record seven times, they challenge for the heavyweight titles for the first time. This will be a true test to see how New Japan feels about The Bucks if they are able to win the Heavyweight titles for the first time. Based on the four competitors in the match I expect this to be just as entertaining as anything else on this show.
After making a splash by shocking the world by announcing he would face Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12, Chris Jericho makes his return to New Japan. The greatest Intercontinental Champion in WWE history sets his sites on the current IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito. Everything Jericho has been doing recently has been money. His match with Kenny Omega earlier this year got a lot of new eyes on both Kenny Omega and New Japan earlier this year. I fully expect that this match will be similar and wouldn’t be surprised if Jericho shocks the world and captures the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Naito is the unsung workhorse of New Japan and working with Jericho should catapult Naito onto the international stage the way we have seen Okada, and Nakamura reaches it in recent years.
Finally the main event. I’ve had to refrain from using the term “potential match of the night” during the last three matches. Mostly because this will be the match of the night. Kenny Omega challenges Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Okada is the longest reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion of all time. During that time he’s has been able to defeat everyone with the exception of Omega. The two wrestled to a time limit draw last year at this event. To settle this, these two will wrestle in a no time limit, two out of three falls match. This will be epic and I have it already penciled in to be a match of the year candidate. These two are legitimately two of the best wrestlers in the world set up in a huge spotlight. This will be a tentpole match of the year and look for Kenny Omega to finally capture the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to set up a match at All-In later in the fall.
I want to hear from you. Are you excited for Dominion? What is making this a must-see event for you? Send me your predictions below! If you think I’m wrong, tweet at me and tell me why.
I am Liam Stryker