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NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING DOMINION PREVIEW
JUNE 9, 2018
OSAKA, JAPAN AT JO HALL
STREAMS LIVE ON NEW JAPAN WORLD STREAMING SERVICE
David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. Yoshi-Hashi & Jay White
Cats and dogs. Batman and The Joker. For New Japan, as long as they breathe air, Jay White and Fit Finlay will seek to maim one another. Brought along for the ride in this presumptive opener are Juice Robinson and Yoshi-Hashi, the man I once said could be left on Krypton as it exploded. This match will serve to continue the feud between the two former young lions, while saving another one-on-one encounter to come perhaps in the G-1 climax.
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki
While most will roll their eyes at Yano being in a match, having him and Ishii team up to take on Suzuki and Son – my pet nickname for Sabre and Suzuki. This will be a vehicle to push for another matchup between Ishii and Suzuki and I for one am here for that! The match itself? I think it’ll be a paint-by-the-numbers until Yano tries to remove a turnbuckle and Sabre stretches Y-T-R like he’s a Torie with a bad piece of legislation.
NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto (c) vs. Taichi vs. Michael Elgin
Very rarely does New Japan do heavyweight three-way matches – and this match between Goto, Taichi, and Elgin seems to be a match that will be a game of “how do you hide Taichi.” Not too enthused the contents make for a great match, but watch if you’re a title match completionist.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: SANADA & EVIL (c) vs. The Young Bucks
After all the training, all the eating, and all of the lifting, the Young Bucks are officially in the heavyweight division, serving as challengers to the perennially solid SANADA & EVIL. If this were another American sport such as football or basketball, I liken SANADA to the first round pick that has finally “gotten it” (or at least is well on his way to do so) with another team, and EVIL is the player your team picks up on the waivers that earns minutes as a top player. While their team has been entertaining, it is almost the time of year that gives New Japan wrestlers the chance to prove their mettle – the G-1 climax. That fact, coupled with the Young Bucks being the perfect ambassadors for New Japan in the United States makes me think this will be a must-watch, if only to see these four go.
Rey Mysterio Jr. & Jushin Thunder Liger & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Cody & Marty Scurll & Hangman Page
In the last year, Cody has done an effective job of proving that the move to go into the independents and forge a new path was a prudent one. This match, in which he’ll team with “The Villain” and one of my picks as a “wrestler to watch” in 2018 and 2019, Adam Page, should be a solid six-man that serves as a great platform for Rey Mysterio. Jushin Liger, and the 1/100 Ace Hiroshi Tanahashi should be great garnishes to what should be a nice little mid-card dish.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c) vs. Roppongi 3K
This should be a good matchup between the members of Suzuki Gun, Junior Edition, and Roppongi 3K. After the shenanigans that led to Despy & Kanemaru winning the title, you would assume that Sho and Yoh have learned from their Super Juniors runs to get themselves to individually to a zone they’ll need as a team to out work and out-smart the shady duo holding the titles.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi
After a spectacular match between Hiromu & Taiji Ishimori, in which Takahashi traded all of his safe, “let’s not go too wild” approach to his moveset for the Murder-Death-Kill style of his eternal feud with Dragon Lee to take the upstart Ishimori down. Enter Will Ospreay – a man who watched that match first-hand and now has two missions – defend his IWGP Junior Heavyweight title and steal the entire show. I think that this match will be an aerial stunt show that has heart, similar to the quest Hiromu has been on to finally get the Junior Heavyweight Title back after having lost it a year ago in Osaka Jo to KUSHIDA.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Chris Jericho
To Chris Jericho, this is a perfect spot, being in the semi-main event, not because of my perceived stature of the 30 year wrestler, but because he can use it to irk his opponent. Most of Jericho’s mind games towards the Los Ingobernables leader has been digging at the wound that hasn’t healed – Naito’s disgust at being replaced as the main event of WrestleKingdom 8. While there’s been blood and guts and violence, make no mistake, Jericho is the physical manifestation to Naito that there’s no room for Tetsuya at the top. I’m looking forward to this match as much as the main event, not just because I think these two will have a wonderful fight, but because one way or another this will get Naito on or off the path to IWGP redemption.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Kenny Omega (2/3 falls, no time limit)
2. That’s how long it’s been since Kazuchika Okada rainmaker’d his way into the IWGP Championship, beating Tetsuya Naito in Osaka Jo Hall to begin the journey that leads us to Saturday.
363: That’s the number of days between Saturday and Kenny Omega’s last bid to end Okada’s reign as IWGP Champion in Osaka Jo Hall, a bout that ended in a 60 minute draw – which has had the image of Okada screaming in agony while trying to get the pin in time burned indelibly into my head.
13: This will be the V13 defense for Okada, which means nothing in terms of bad luck. Okada vanquished Hiroshi Tanahashi to not only pass Tanahashi’s record of title defenses, but also slay a demon of his own – but everything to Omega.
In a “Being the Elite” promo, Omega admits that he isn’t the wrestler that Okada is, but believes now that he’s accepted that fact, he can out-work Okada. In order to do that, Omega will have to beat “The Rainmaker” twice in one match. Additional questions this match will ask are: Who seconds Kenny? Will it be the Young Bucks, Kota Ibushi, no one? Throw in the added stipulation that this title match will have no time limit, strap in for what should be a 65-minute-plus masterpiece.
This looks like a solid card from top to bottom live which is available on the New Japan World Streaming service.