The New Japan Cup all built up to this. Dominion is generally the second biggest show in the NJPW Calender, and this year is as big as possible. Three huge title matches bookend this one, with the most dramatic of all being EVIL vs. Naito for the IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championships.
EVIL won the New Japan Cup, and betrayed L.I.J to join Bullet Club. This one will be personal. Add in SHO & Shingo looking to put on another classic and Dangerous Tekkers finally getting their title shot and this show looks damn good.
Ryusuke Taguchi, Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata vs. Gabriel Kidd, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
The opening match on a show is meant to simply get the crowd excited, and this array of legends alongside the firey Gabriel Kidd did exactly that. It was nothing fancy, but at moments the skill gap between Nagata & Kidd looked smaller than expected. After 9 minutes and 25 seconds of action, Nagata would submit Kidd with the Nagata Lock II.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) & Yota Tsuji vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi & SANADA)
Another six man tag similar to the first, but with more modern talents uping the enjoyment. Yano brought comedy, Tsuji brought his young lion fire, and the rest brought great wrestling. After 10 minutes and 15 seconds of action, Takahashi would submit Tsuji with a Boston Crab.
2.5/5 (** 1/2)
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Master Wato & Yuya Uemura vs. Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
Master Wato needed revenge after Kanemaru rushed bim after the match with Douki the night before. Tenzan & Young Lion Yuya Uemura joined him as they went to war with Suzuki-Gun. It would be a wild brawl, and in the end Wato would have a good showing, but his team lost. After 9 minutes and 45 seconds of action, El Despardo pinned Uemura after hitting Pinche Loco.
2.25/5 (** 1/4)
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada) vs. BULLET CLUB (Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi)
Bullet Club got one over on Okada again, when they’d secretly align with EVIL and help him win the New Japan Cup. Teaming with his trusted friend Goto, he’d look for revenge in a simple tag team match. Solid hard hitting action would follow, but Goto would fall in the end. After 9 minutes and 42 seconds of action, Takahashi would pin Goto after hitting Pimp Juice which was preceded by a Bloody Cross from Ishimori.
NEVER Openweight Title Match: Shingo Takagi (c) vs. SHO
The first of three title matches on this night would easily be the fastest paced of all. Shingo & SHO were 1-1 in singles matches going into this, with SHO getting the upset win in the New Japan Cup. This would lead to a title match, where Shingo would be laser focused. SHO would give his all, but wouldn’t get ahead in the rivalry despite an incredible effort.
After 20 minutes and 7 seconds of action, SHO would fall to Last Of The Dragon. Shingo Takagi is now at two defenses of the NEVER Openweight Championship. After the match, El Desperado attacked Shingo from behind, calling his shot for a future title match, even stealing the title to goad Shingo on going forward.
4.25/5 (**** 1/4)
IWGP Tag Team Title Match: Golden Ace (Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi) (c) vs. Dangerous Tekkers (Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.)
Before COVID-19 struck, Dangerous Tekkers were ready to tag the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships. They had months to scout, and Taichi dropped both Ibushi & Tanahashi in the New Japan Cup. Now we get this match, which feels like the biggest tag team championship match this company has had in years, and it absolutely delivered on the hype generated by the build.
Both teams came to fight, and the dirty tactics of the Tekkers would clash with the pure ability and fire of the champs, creating a perfect face/heel dynamic. Tekkers take out Ibushi, destroy Tanahashi, and after 28 minutes and 42 seconds of action, they’d hit the Holy Zack Driver for the win. Dangerous Tekkers destroyed your heroes, and Tanahashi might be back on the shelf after this one.
This win makes them the 58th team to hold the titles, and it might be a while before someone beats them.
IWGP Heavyweight Title / IWGP Intercontinental Title Match: Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. EVIL
Even before Naito was betrayed by one of his oldest allies, this match felt huge. EVIL had only touched the main event once or twice before, and now he was on the run of his career. He tore through the New Japan Cup, looking more ruthless than ever. He wrote YOSHI-HASHI off TV, demolished his tag team partner in SANADA, and dropped Okada.
With Bullet Club in his corner, even Naito would have issues. A hard hitting back and forth match from the start, Naito pulled out every trick in his playbook, did everything he did to beat Okada & become double champion at Wrestle Kingdom, but it wouldn’t be enough. EVIL would shock the world when after 38 minutes of action, he would pin Naito to win the match. He wouldn’t do it alone, as Dick Togo disguised as BUSHI would help him get the win, making his NJPW return.
EVIL has become the 71st man to hold the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and the 25th IWGP Intercontinental Champion. Again a Naito Heavyweight Championship reign ends in Osaka, extending his unfortunate history in this town. Following the match, Hiromu Takahashi would come out and challenge EVIL, saying even one belt on the line would be fine.
What was your favorite match or moment from Dominion? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below?
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