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RADICAN'S NJPW "Dominion" PPV Report 7/5: Okada vs. Styles main event, Shibata-Sakuraba, Goto-Nakamura, more

Jul 6, 2015 - 6:34:56 PM

By Sean Radican, Torch columnist


JULY 5, 2015

An opening video package aired followed by a shot of Osaka-Jo Hall, which is beautiful. This is the first time NJPW has run in this venue in 21 years. The decision was made to run this venue because they had sold out the Bodymaker Colosseum four time in 2014.

(1) IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson w/Cody Hall) vs. ReDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs. RPG Vice (Rocky Romero & Beretta). The Young Bucks were doing heel comedy taunts during the early going. Matt was doing crotch chops on top of Hall’s shoulders on the outside, so Beretta wiped them both out with a dropkick through the ropes. The Young Bucks teased leaving after Nick pulled Matt to the floor while Romero was working them over, but ReDRagon cut them off. ReDRagon held them for a double dive from RPG Vice, but they got out of the way and ReDRagon ended up getting wiped out. The Young Bucks teased leaving again and RPG Vice followed them. The Young Bucks wiped them out and ran back into the ring. They nearly got a count out victory, but O’Reilly tossed Romero into the ring to break the count at the last second. Romero took a beating from the Young Bucks for a long period of time. Romero was about to tag out, but Nick wiped out everyone on the apron. Romero wiped out Nick and the fans fired up. O’Reilly finally got the tag and ran wild on Nick. ReDRagon ran wild on the Young Bucks and got a near fall on Nick with a back breaker/knee drop off the turnbuckles combination. The action broke down and Nick accidentally nailed Matt with a kick from the apron. Nick took a combination of moves from RPG Vice, but managed to kick out at the last second. Lots of back and forth action down the stretch with all three teams mixing it up in the ring. O’Reilly and Fish both had RPG Vice in submissions, but the Young Bucks broke them up with stereo 450’s off the top. The Young Bucks ran wild with superkicks on their opponents. They then dropkicked O’Reilly and made him tombstone fish with a double superkick to the knees. They then wiped out O’Reilly with a double superkick. The Young Bucks eventually hit Romero with more bang for your buck for the win.

Winners: The Young Bucks to retain the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Championship

Star rating: (***3/4) – The match started a bit slow, but it was a nice way to build the action. I’d like to get more of a sense of a rivalry between these three teams from a storyline standpoint during these matches. The second half of this match was awfully good with a lot of fantastic back and forth action with multi-man spots.

(2) Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma. Naito took forever to come down to the ring and The Bullet Club jumped Honma. Fale went after Naito, but he backed away. Naito then slowly made his way to the apron with Honma taking a beating from Takahashi. Honma hit a suplex on Takahashi and tried to tag in Naito, but he wouldn’t extend his hand. Naito backed away once again on the outside as Honma took another beating from Bullet Club. Naito’s hair is a little longer and he’s growing some facial hair. The fans tried to fire up behind Honma. Honma cut off Fale and went to tag in Naito, but he wasn’t on the apron. Naito was shown slowly walking around ringside with his shirt still on. Honma fought out of the bad luck fall and after several attempts, he wiped out Fale with a clothesline. Naito finally tagged in casually and went to work on Fale. Takahashi ran in and he wiped him out as well. The fans booed as Naito slowly went up top and then wiped out Bullet Club with a twisting splash to the floor. Naito then laid down in the ring and did his eye pose as the fans booed. Naito locked in a figure 4 on Fale, but he quickly got the ropes. Fale eventually cut off Naito with a huge clothesline. Naito cut off Takahashi and Honma wanted the tag. He wouldn’t give it to him, so Honma tagged himself in and went to town on Takahashi, but missed a running kokeshi. Bullet Club once again put the boots to Honma. Honma cut off Takahashi and Naito nailed him with a dropkick. Honma hit a running kokeshi on Takahashi and the fans applauded. Naito went back to the floor and went at it with Fale. Honma nailed Takahashi with a leaping kokeshi off the ropes. Naito wiped out Fale on the floor. Honma then finished off Takahashi with the kokeshi off the top for the win. Wow!

Honma simply left the ring after the match. Honma wanted him to come back to the ring so the ref could raise their hands. Naito came back, but walked away when the ref went to raise his hand. Naito then slowly left the ring. He also grabbed his hat back from a ringside attendant.

Winners: Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma – It looks like Naito is turning heel. I was surprised to see his team get the win the way that Naito would do the bare minimum to help out Honma during the match. This is a very interesting development with Naito’s character, as he was wearing a wrestling shirt and hat from Mexico, I believe. He’s wrestled in Mexico in the past. His actions in the ring reminded me a little bit of Orange Cassidy’s gimmick on the Indies.

(3) Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kazushi Sakuraba. Shibata slapped Sakuraba against the ropes during the early going. They went back and for with both guys going for arm submissions. Sakuraba went for a running double stomp, but Shibata got out of the way to end the sequence. The pace picked up with both guys going back and forth. Sakuraba got a guillotine standing and then wrapped his legs around Shibata, but he managed to slam his way out of it. Shibata hit several huge forearms in the corner and then two huge running dropkicks and the fans fired up. Shibata taunted Sakuraba with some light kicks to the head. He then began stomping his head against the ropes, but the ref made him break it up. Sakuraba fired up and they began exchanging slaps. Sakuraba hit several knees on Shibata and then followed up with several more knees in the corner. Sakuraba kept kicking Shibata in the chest and he told him to bring it. Shibata finally collapsed after several hard kicks to the chest. Shibata got up and ran at Sakuraba, but ate a knee to the chest. Sakuraba hit a slingshot splash to the floor a short time later and the fans gasped. Shibata easily beat the 20 count and surprised Sakuraba with a running kick. Sakuraba fired back and got a standing rear naked choke a short time later. He then trapped Shibata in a double arm submission from the mount and Shibata had to break it by biting the middle rope! Holy crap! Sakuraba then nailed Shibata with a kick and he fired right back with a huge lariat that left both men down on the mat. Wow! Sakuraba went for an arm bar a short time later and wrapped his legs around Shibata’s neck. The crowd gasped as Shibata began to fade. The ref checked on Shibata, but he fired up and managed to get to the bottom rope.

Sakuraba went for a kimura a short time later, but Shibata got to the ropes. Sakuraba went for the hold again, but Shibata blocked it. Shibata tried to shake him off. He eventually hit a big German followed by a big kick the chest and both men were down on the mat again. Wow! Sakuraba got a sleeper and Shibata began to fade, but he managed to elbow his way out of it. Shibata then grabbed a sleeper of his own, but Sakuraba held on to his arms to block it. Shibata hit Sakuraba with several knees to the ribs and applied the sleeper. He released the sleeper and hit the penalty kick for the win. Wow!

Shibata left the ring as the ref tended to Sakuraba. He was finally helped to the back by several attendants.

Winner: Katsuyori Shibata

Star rating: (****) – Amazing MMA style match. These two guys unloaded on each other with some great hard-hitting exchanges and submissions. Sakuraba dominated the second half of the match with Shibata mounting several comebacks until getting the win in the end.

They went to a video package with a young KUSHIDA doing wrestling moves! They showed KUSHIDA beating Kyle O’Reilly to win the 2015 Best of the Super Juniors. They showed KUSHIDA talking about Kenny Omega.

KUSHIDA came out first holding his BOSJ trophy. Kenny Omega was out next with The Young Bucks. Omega got a broom from Matt and swept his way down the entrance ramp while marching. KUSHIDA got in his face as he tried to get in the ring. The ref ended up backing him away from Omega.

(4) IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion Kenny Omega (w/The Young Bucks) vs. KUSHIDA. KUSHIDA wiped out the Young Bucks with a flip kick and went at it with Omega. They went at it on the floor and The Young Bucks tossed a trash can to Omega, but KUSHIDA immediately nailed him with a dropkick. Omega mounted a comeback a short time later and The Young Bucks pounded The Terminator theme as Omega set up and then nailed KUSHIDA with a flip dive over the top to the floor. They went back and forth on the floor and Omega ended up lifting KUSHIDA up and dumping him right onto the apron. KUSHIDA came up favoring his knee. Omega went right on the attack on the outside and took down KUSHIDA’s knee brace. He then began taking the bandage on his knee off. Omega lifted KUSHIDA up and tossed him over the guardrail and KUSHIDA landed knee-first onto the announce table. Omega then continued to target KUSHIDA’s leg back inside the ring. Omega lifted up KUSHIDA and drove him knee-first into the padding in the corner and got a 2 count. The fans fired up and chanted for KUSHIDA, but Omega continued the attack on his leg. Omega went for a moonsault a short time later, but KUSHIDA got his knees up and ended up hurting himself in the process.

Both men were down on the mat. KUSHDIA got up first, but Omega kicked his leg. KUSHDIA managed to block a suplex attempt and hit one of his own. The fans began chanting for KUSHIDA. KUSHIDA got a hold of Omega’s arm and snapped it over the top rope. He followed up with a springboard dropkick, but favored his knee after. KUSHIDA sent Omega to the floor with a handspring kick. He then went up top and wiped out The Young Bucks and Omega with a big flip dive to the floor. They ended up going back and forth a short time later. Omega ducked a big punch and hit German. KUSHIDA fired back and drove Omega into the corner. He then nailed Omega with a running kick to the head. He floated over Omega and went for the kimura, but Omega rolled to the ropes quickly. The fans fired up and chanted for KUSHIDA. KUSHIDA went for a handspring a short time later, but Omega nailed him with a kick to the leg. They went up top and KUSHIDA got a kimura up top. Omega fought out of it and nailed him with a jumping knee up top. Omega then hit a cross-legged superplex and the announcers went nuts. Omega rolled up KUSHIDA and grabbed a handful of tights, but he managed to kick out at the last second. Omega sold his arm and hit a one-arm sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Omega then went for the one winged angle, but KUSHIDA fought out of it. They went back and forth and KUSHIDA nailed Omega with a big straight right. He then hit a German with a bridge, but his leg gave out and Omega managed to kick out. KUSHDIA went up top for a twisting splash, but Omega got out of the way. Omega measured KUSHIDA and nailed him with a jumping knee to the head. He went for the one winged angel, but KUSHIDA grabbed his arm and went for the kimura. KUSHIDA then got the kimura on the mat. Omega tried to escape, but KUSHIDA rolled through and applied a ton of pressure on the hold and he tapped. Wow!

KUSHIDA was presented with the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship and the BOSJ trophy after the match.

Winner: KUSHIDA to become the new IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion

Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a really good match. Omega worked over KUSHIDA’s knee for a long time, but KUSHIDA mounted a comeback and began working over his arm. They built to some great exchanges down the stretch before KUSHDIA got the win in the end. KUSHIDA sold the leg decently during the match, but he could have done a better job, especially after the match.

A video package for the Makabe vs. Ishii NEVER Openweight Title match aired.

(5) NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe vs. Tomohiro Ishii. Ishii went for a flip dive off the top to the floor during the early going and Makabe didn’t even attempt to catch him. Ishii wiped him out, but landed right on his shoulder. Ishii put the boots to Makabe and taunted him. I believe he was telling him “You better catch me when I dive next time f----er!” Makabe began firing back and Ishii told him to bring it. He then dropped Makabe to a knee with a big forearm. They went back and forth and Makabe finally caught Ishii with a powerslam off the ropes. Makabe mounted Ishii in the corner and nailed him with the lightest baby punches before nailing him with a suplex. If they don’t catch Makabe’s punches from the right camera angle, they look so light. I hadn’t noticed this before that I recall. Ishii fired back a short time later and caught Makabe with a power slam. Ishii nailed Makabe with kicks and chops, but Makabe fired up and told him to bring it. They went back and forth trading shots. Ishii kept ducking Makabe’s punches and slapping him. Ishii finally caught Makabe with a big right, but he took him down with a clothesline. Makabe hit a big folding powerbomb on Ishii a short time later and Ishii began selling his shoulder after kicking out.

Ishii hit a clothesline, but Makabe wouldn’t go down. Both men began trading clotheslines, but neither man would go down. Makabe hit a big clothesline and Ishii nearly went down. They continued to trade and Ishii finally took Makabe down with a big running clothesline for a near fall. Ishii hit a folding powerbomb for a 2 count a short time later. Ishii hit left and forearms on Makabe and he collapsed in the corner. He then put Makabe up on the top turnbuckle. Ishii hit a superplex and made the cover for a 2 count. They went back and forth until Makabe hit a DVD and Ishii screamed in pain and favored his shoulder. They began trading big forearms once again in the middle of the ring. Ishii collapsed and favored his shoulder, but got up and continued to trade with Makabe. Makabe finally sent him down to the mat with a big clubbing blow. Ishii fired back and hit a German, but Makabe got right up. Ishii ducked a clothesline, but Makabe caught him with the other arm. He then hit a German with a bridge for a near fall. Makabe hit a big double axe handle and went up top, but Ishii got out of the way and hit a German into the turnbuckle pad. Ishii then grabbed his shoulder and a doctor came to ringside and checked on his arm. They continued to go at it in the middle of the ring until Ishii caught Makabe with a big headbutt. Ishii then got up and hit a huge sliding clothesline for a near fall. Ishii hit a huge running clothesline and Makabe kicked out again. Makabe blocked a brainbuster attempt with a knee strike to the head. Makabe then ran Ishii into the corner. He followed up with a tiger suplex and both men were down. Makabe caught Ishii with a big clothesline a short time later and Ishii kicked out at one. Makabe measured Ishii and hit another clothesline, but he popped up to his feet and held himself up on the ropes. They began trading overhand chops. Ishii favored his shoulder, but continued to exchange with Makabe. Ishii slumped into the corner and Makabe nailed him with a big clothesline. Makabe hit several clotheslines in the corner. The ref checked on him and Makabe hit several more clothesline in the corner. The doctor checked on Ishii, but he continued. Makabe set Ishii up for the spider German, but Ishii grabbed the ringpost. Makabe hit a couple of headbutts and hit the spider German and the King Kong knee drop for the win.

Winner: Togi Makabe to retain the Never Openweight Championship

Star rating: (*1/4) – I was taken out of this match during the early going when Makabe didn’t make much of an effort to catch Ishii when he went for a flip dive to the outside. Makabe’s punches also looked really weak throughout this match. I hope this rivalry is over, as this match lost my interest early and Ishii’s shoulder appears to be a concern right now.

A video package aired for G1 Climax 25. They announced both blocks for the tournament. Styles got a big pop being announced for the A block. They then ran down two big matches for each of the shows in the tournament. July 25 is a must with Okada vs. Honma. Styles-Ibushi also headlines July 26. Tanahashi vs. Shibata on Aug. 8 looks great as well. Honma vs. Nakamura on Aug. 9. Nakamura vs. Okada on Aug. 15 is huge. The finals take place on Aug. 16. The video package plugged G1 Climax 25 on NJPW World.

When The Kingdom made their entrance, the cameraman was literally sprinting to zoom in on Maria at the top of the ramp. Taven and Bennett made sure to get some camera time for their entrance by cutting in front of Maria, so the cameraman went around Maria and zoomed in on her backside. Maria looked concerned once she got into the ring and Anderson tried to approach her.

(6) IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Champions The Kingdom (Michael Bennett & Matt Taven w/Maria) vs. Bullet Club (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows w/Amber O’Neal). Bennett and Taven jumped Anderson and Gallows. Both teams then went at it exchanges blows. The Kingdom eventually cleared the ring and stood tall. Bennett and Taven then hit stereo flip dives to the floor to wipe out Anderson and Gallows. Gallows mounted a comeback inside the ring and went after Bennett. Anderson smiled at Maria and she acted scared on the floor. O’Neal slapped Bennett while the ref was distracted at one point. Bennett finally mounted a comeback and hit a side effect variation on Gallows. Both men tagged out and Bennett hit a neck breaker on Anderson. The action broke down and The Kingdom ran wild on Anderson and then Gallows with a combination of moves. Gallows countered a Kingdom double team attempt and Bullet Club went to work on Taven.

They hit him with a tandem neck breaker. Anderson hit a TKO on Taven and waved at Maria, but Taven kicked out. Anderson set up for the gun stun, but Maria got up on the apron. She started grinding around and the fans got excited. Anderson chased Maria on the floor and she ran right into a clothesline from O’Neal. Anderson and Gallows isolated Maria inside the ring and Gallows went for a punch, but Maria ducked and he hit Anderson. Maria then kicked Gallows in the junk. O’Neal ran into the ring and got rid of Maria. Taven and Bennett hit a double team backpack chin breaker on Anderson, but he kicked out. They went for the spiked piledriver, but O’Neal crotched Taven. Gallows kicked Maria off the apron and Bennett went after him with a flurry of punches. Anderson ended up nailing Bennett with a gun stun on the apron. Taven went at it against the Bullet Club alone but ended up taking the magic killer, which was good for the win.

Bennett carried Maria to the back after the match. Bullet Club then posed in the ring with the tag straps. Anderson told the camera that one day he would kiss Maria.

Winners: Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson to become the new IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Champions

Star rating: (**1/2) – This match was more heavy on entertainment than wrestling. Once again Maria was involved heavily in the action, as was O’Neal. There were some good exchanges, but the heavyweight tag division would benefit from a more serious direction.

Yano appeared to have a CD and not a DVD as he made his entrance to face Tanahashi. Tanahashi was out next and he played his air guitar on his way down to the ring.

(7) Toru Yano vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi. Yano played games with Tanahashi during the early going and ducked under the ropes and ducked instead of locking up with him. Tanahashi finally slid under him and stretched him on the ropes from the floor. Yano and Tanahashi both tried to undo turnbuckle pads at the same time. Yano ended up nailing Tanahashi from behind with a pad. Tanahashi tried to fire back and climbed to the second turnbuckle, but Yano tripped him down to the mat. Tanahashi went for a splash against the guardrail and Yano ducked. Tanahashi ended up crashing over the guardrail to the cement floor. Yano dragged Tanahashi into the crowd and nailed him with a chai shot. He tried to go for the count out win, but Tanahashi slid into the ring at 19. Yano whipped Tanahashi into the exposed turnbuckles and he spilled to the mat. Tanahashi fired back and whipped Yano into the exposed turnbuckles. They went back and forth and Yano tried to grab the ref. The ref eventually fought his way free and kicked Yano’s hands off the ropes, which allowed Tanahashi to hit a big German for a near fall. Tanahashi went up top, but Yano shoved the ref into the ropes and Tanahashi ended up getting crotched on the turnbuckle.

Yano hit a powerbomb a short time later, but Tanahashi managed to kick out. The fans tried to rally behind Tanahashi. He tried to mount a comeback, but Yano dragged the ref in the way and Tanahashi nailed him with a splash in the corner. Yano nailed Tanahashi with a chair shot to the back, but Tanahashi fired back with a sling blade. He then went for the high fly flow, but Yano held up the chair and Tanahashi landed on it.

Yano hit a powerbomb on the chair a short time later. The ref slowly got back into the ring and made the count, but Tanahashi managed to kick out. Yano went for all his dirty tricks down the stretch and hit a low blow and went for a dirty pin, but Tanahashi managed to kick out. Tanahashi then nailed Yano with a low blow and rolled him up while Yano was yelling at the ref for a near fall. Both men sold their groin before going at it again. Tanahashi hit a twisting brainbuster and then a sling blade. He went up top and connected with the high fly flow for the win.

Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi – This was about what you would expect from a match between these two. It wasn’t terribly exciting and with the G1 coming soon, I’m glad they’re moving on from this feud.

They went to a video package for the Goto-Nakamura IWGP IC Championship match.

Nakamura came out first. He was dressed like a sparkly ninja. This man is a god amongst men. Goto was out next carrying the IWGP IC Championship.

(8) IWGP IC Champion Hiroki Goto vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. Goto got the upper hand early and methodically began working Nakamura over. Nakamura fired back and went for his signature running knee strike in the corner, but Goto got out of the way. Goto tried to suplex Nakamura to the floor, but he countered it. He then nailed Goto with a running dropkick through the ropes a short time later. Nakamura went to work on Goto on the outside, as he draped him over the guardrail and nailed him with a running knee strike. Goto managed to beat the 20 count, but Nakamura greeted him with some kicks when he got back into the ring. Nakamura hit Goto with some Michael Jackson style kicks before nailing him with a big kick to the chest against the ropes. Goto caught Nakamura with an elbow as he charged into the corner. Both men were stunned momentarily before they began exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. Goto eventually slipped out of a sleeper from Nakamura and hit a Saito suplex. They went back and forth off the ropes until Goto caught Nakamura with a huge clothesline. Nakamura fired back a short time later and caught Goto with a leg lariat after Goto caught his initial kick.

Nakamura hit several knee strikes on Goto in the corner followed by the vibration boot. He went for a running knee in the corner, but missed. Nakamura quickly regrouped and placed Goto over the turnbuckles before nailing him with a big running knee to the gut for a 2 count. They went back and forth and Nakamura went for a flying arm bar. He eventually transitioned into a triangle. Goto appeared top fade, but eventually got his foot on the bottom rope. Nakamura got a rear naked choke a short time later. Goto began to fight his way out, so Nakamura hit a back stabber and a reverse power slam. Nakamura set up for the Boma Ye, but Goto popped up and nailed him with a huge clothesline and both men were down. Goto got up and hit an Olympic slam on Nakamura for a 2 count. Nakamura tried to make a comeback, but Goto caught him with a huge clothesline in the corner. They went back and forth up top. Nakamura ended up sliding under Goto and he hit a powerbomb. Nakamura then connected with a jumping Boma Ye off the turnbuckles and both men were down as the fans fired up. Wow!

Both men eventually got to their feet and began trading blows. Nakamura hit a big knee to the chest and an axe kick. He set up in the corner and nailed Goto with the Boma Ye, but he kicked out at the last second and the fans gasped. Holy s—t! Nakamura set up for another Boma Ye, but Goto got out of the way. They went back and forth and Nakamura hit a big punch and went for a Boma Ye, but Goto blocked it and hit a neck breaker over his knee. He then lifted Nakamura up over his shoulders and hit a huge slam for a near fall. The fans lost their minds as Goto lifted Nakamura to his feet. Goto nailed Nakamura with 2 head butts and he fell to the ground. Goto then hit shouten kai for the win. Wow!

Goto cut a post-match promo that seemed to please the crowd.

Winner: Hirooki Goto to retain the IWGP IC Championship

Star rating: (****) – Excellent match. It’s surprising to see Nakamura lose two matches in a row, but it appears Goto is in for a good push with the IC Championship. The match started a bit slowly, but they built the pace nicely leading into a great finish.

A video package aired for the Styles-Okada IWGP Hvt. Championship match. They showed shots of Okada standing outside of MSG in New York. They also showed footage of Okada and Styles going at it in ROH from the ROH/NJPW joint shows in May. Styles was shown saying Okada was one of the best wrestlers in the world and would be an icon when he is done. They showed Okada doing the rainmaker pose in New York City. A graphic said Rainmaker All Over The World to close the video. This was a great video package.

Okada came out first to face Styles for the IWGP Hvt. Championship. Money rained down on Okada as he posed with Gedo on the stage. Styles came out next with Bullet Club. He stepped through a huge cloud of fog and hit his signature pose on the entrance ramp. Styles got into the ring and went face-to-face with Okada.

(8) IWGP Hvt. Champion A.J. Styles (w/Bullet Club) vs. Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo). The crowd got a big Okada chant going for the opening bell. Okada grabbed the ropes when Styles went for his signature dropkick. Okada then went to Style’s signature dropkick sequence, but Styles bailed to the floor. Okada got the upper hand and worked over Styles on the mat, but his attention was diverted by The Bullet Club on the outside. He went after them briefly before going back after Styles. Bullet Club got up on the apron and the ref told them to get down. Styles tried to take a cheap shot and Okada went off the ropes, but O’Neal grabbed his boot and Styles wiped him out with a dropkick. Okada tried to fire back, but Styles caught him with a big back breaker off the ropes. Styles ended up snapping Okada’s neck into the bottom rope and he spilled to the floor. Bullet Club then put the boots to Okada while Styles distracted the ref. Styles threw a crotch chop at Okada and the fans booed. Okada ended up on the floor again and took another beating from Bullet Club while Styles distracted the ref. The ref finally noticed and threw them out of the match. He then pointed at Styles and threw a crotch chop. He then looked back at Bullet Club and threw a crotch chop at them. That was so awesome. Nick’s reaction to being thrown out was priceless.

Styles grounded Okada with a headlock inside the ring as the fans fired up with Gedo leading the charge from the floor pounding the apron. They went back and forth trading blows until Okada caught Styles with a diving uppercut that left both men down on the floor. The fans fired up once again as the announcers freaked out on commentary. Okada got the upper hand and began working over Styles. Styles blocked Okada’s signature drop kick up top, but Okada managed to counter him coming off the turnbuckles and hit a big flap jack. They went back and forth and Styles hit his signature moonsault inverted DDT off the turnbuckles. Styles went for a springboard, but Okada crotched him by kicking the ropes. Okada then hit his signature dropkick that sent Styles off the top rope to the floor. Styles got the upper hand on the floor and hit a springboard forearm off the guardrail and Okada collapsed into several chairs. Styles hit his signature sit out face buster inside the ring for a 2 count a short time later. The fans fired up and chanted for Okada. Styles went for another springboard a short time later, but Okada nailed him with a dropkick and both men were down. They showed a nice slow-motion replay of the spot. Okada went up top and nailed Styles with an elbow drop. Okada signaled for the rainmaker and the announcer went nuts. Styles fought his way out of it and eventually suplexed Okada into the turnbuckle pad. Styles went for the springboard elbow for a third time and connected. He went for a Styles clash, but Okada countered it into a neck breaker over his knee.

The fans fired up and chanted for Okada with both men down on the mat. Okada went for a tombstone, but Styles blocked it. They went back and forth trading blows in the middle of the ring. Okada went head-to-head with Styles and nailed him with a series of uppercuts. Styles fired back with a series of forearms that grounded Okada. He then nailed him with several stomps to the back. Styles went to bounce off the ropes, but Okada nailed him with the too awesome dropkick. Okada then lifted Styles for a tombstone, but Styles fought out of it. They went back and forth going for a tombstone until Styles finally hit it and the fans gasped. Styles then hit a springboard 450, but Okada kicked out at the very last second. Holy s—t! The fans fired up and chanted for Okada. Styles sold shock after Okada kicked out. They went at it up top and Okada eventually got Styles on his shoulders and hit a DVD onto the apron. Styles was down in a heap on the floor. Okada went up top and waited for Styles to get into the ring. He nailed Styles with a big dropkick off the top. Okada then hit a tombstone and the fans went nuts. Okada signaled for the rainmaker, but Styles ducked it and hit a Pele kick and both men were down! They went back and forth and Styles went for a Styles clash and then bloody Sunday, but Okada countered both. They continued to go back and forth. Okada hit a rainmaker and lifted Styles up. Styles ducked another rainmaker attempt. Okada then hit a German and a second rainmaker for the win. Wow!

Okada was presented with the title. Gedo then cut a promo that pleased the crowd. Okada then finished off the show with a promo of his own. Gold ribbons then fell from the ceiling on Okada.

Winner: Kazuchika Okada to become the new IWGP Hvt. Champion

Star rating: (****3/4) – Incredible match. The story took things full circle between Styles and Okada. Styles beat Okada for the IWGP Hvt. Championship in April of 2014 and Okada’s career has had its up and downs since then from a storyline standpoint. This match played well off their previous encounters, as Bullet Club was kicked out early. They then built the match around both men countering signature maneuvers and building to some fantastic sequences down the stretch. The finishing sequence was insane. What a way to cap off this huge show!

Overall thoughts: (8.5) – This show had its peaks and valleys, but ultimately “Dominion” was a very good show. The undercard was bolstered by an excellent MMA style bout between Shibata and Sakuraba. The second half of the show was up and down, but Nakamura-Goto and Styles-Okada closed the show in style.

On the undercard, KUSHIDA-Omega was a really good match, but KUSHIDA’s inconsistent selling of his leg, especially at the end of the match and after the match took things down a notch. They had some really good exchanges, but KUSHIDA should have been more consistent selling his leg after Omega murdered it for 10 minutes.

Shibata-Sakuraba was one heck of a striking/submission based match. They beat the crap out of each other and pulled off some great exchanges. Their ability to work snug really stood out when contrasting their match with the Makabe-Ishii match for the NEVER Openweight Championship, which was a huge disappointment. Makabe’s striking was exposed in this match and it took things down several levels. Another concern was Makabe’s inability to catch Ishii on a dive during the early going and Ishii crashed and burned right on his injured shoulder. Ishii’s began favoring his shoulder later in the match and it played into things, but ultimately the producers are going to have to do a better job masking Makabe’s light punches for me to enjoy his matches in the future.

Some of the matches on the card were just there. Yano-Tanahashi and Kingdom-Bullet Club were forgettable affairs. Luckily the last two matches closed the show on a strong note.

Nakamura’s entrance with him dressed as a sparkly ninja was awesome. The Goto-Nakamura match started slowly, but they really built the match up nicely to a strong finishing sequence that had the crowd gasping with every near fall and exchange.

The main event between Styles and Okada was incredible. They told a really good story and now that Okada has conquered Styles, he just has one more beast to slay in beating Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom. I’m not sure if that’s the direction they will go in this year, as NJPW is always full of surprises when it comes to their booking, but at some point, Okada will cement himself as the ace of NJPW.

This was a long and at times exhausting show to watch, but ultimately this show delivered a big time feel in a gorgeous venue. Go out of your way to at least watch the big matches on this card that delivered.

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He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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