RADICAN’S NJPW “DOMINION 2018” BIG MATCH SPOTLIGHT
IWGP WORLD HVT. CHAMPION KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. KENNY OMEGA – NO TIME LIMIT 2/3 FALLS MATCH
JUNE 9, 2018
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
NJPW “DOMINION 2018” BIG MATCH SPOTLIGHT: IWGP WORLD HVT. CHAMPION KAZUCHIKA OKADA (w/Gedo) vs. KENNY OMEGA (w/Kota Ibushi) – NO TIME LIMIT 2/3 FALLS MATCH
Commentators: Kevin Kelly and Don Callis
Kenny Omega defeated Kazuchika Okada to end his 720 day reign as IWGP World Hvt. Champion 2 falls to 1 in a 2/3 Falls match that is an instant all-time classic. The match began with Okada winning the first fall in just under a half hour when he Omega ducked a rainmaker and went for a pinning combination only for Okada to sit down on top of him and get the three count with a leverage pin. It was the only fall Okada would get in the match.
Okada was fresh to start the second fall after a 2 minute break and he quickly capitalized by hitting a dropkick to send Omega off the top to the floor. The match saw both men eventually sell bruised ribs. Both men countered each other’s finishers from the beginning and Omega was the first man to connect with his finisher when he hit the one-winged angel to even the match at 1 fall each.
The third fall began with Omega having the advantage. He immediately hit a V trigger after the 2 minute rest period and he went for the one-winged angel, but Okada countered it and connected with his first rainmaker to set the tone for the final fall. The match was incredible down the stretch with both men selling exhaustion. Their facial expressions were incredible down the stretch. Okada collapsed out of exhaustion at one point trying to follow through on a rainmaker and Omega collapsed out of exhaustion when he had Okada up for the one-winged angel at one point. The finish saw Omega hit a one-winged angel after countering a rainmaker attempt and Okada had a vacant stare as he slumped up against the bottom rope. Omega then connected with a V trigger and another one-winged angel for the win.
It was quite the night for NJPW as the show started with the introduction of Harold George Meij as their new CEO & President. He talked up NJPW’s global expansion. With two Canadians in Jericho and Omega holding the top two titles in the company and Meij in place as the new CEO & President, NJPW is more serious than ever about their expansion into English speaking countries and boosting their subscription base on NJPW World and their viewership on AXS TV.
PLAY BY PLAY
Omega’s entrance video showed him painfully reliving his failures against Okada in the past. It also showed him tormented by his feud with Cody Rhodes and his fractured relationship with The Young Bucks. Kota Ibushi then appeared dressed in white as his savior as highlights of The Golden Lovers reuniting aired. Omega was asked what it cost him and The Bullet Club logo was shown and then it evaporated and Omega told Ibushi it cost him everything. Kenny Omega was out first wearing black trunks and he looked to be in great shape. He was accompanied by Kota Ibushi. Kevin Kelly noted that his training partner was different from Omega’s previous encounters with Okada. Kelly noted that they are 1-1-1 against each other.
Kazuchika Okada was out next as Okada money shot into the air at the top of the entrance ramp. This is the 720 day of Okada’s reign. He’s at over 1,500 combined days as IWGP Hvt. Champion. Kelly said Okada is 17-2-2 since 2016 in singles matches. Ibushi and Omega hugged before the match began.
The bell rang and the fans fired up adding to the big match feel in Osaka-Jo Hall. Kelly noted that neither man had been able to beat the other twice in over 2 hours of combined action. The fans chanted back and forth for Okada and Omega. Kelly ran down the list of names Okada had beaten during his current reign with 12 successful title defenses. Omega and Okada were both off of the BOSJ tour. Kelly mentioned that Omega trained harder than ever during the break. The first five minutes were a slow feeling out period. Omega then missed a V trigger in the corner. THey went at it at a fast pace. Both men went for their finishers and both men went over the top to the floor after Omega attempted the one-winged angel. Okada got the upper hand on the floor. He hit a running boot that sent Omega over the barricade. Okada then got a running start and went for a running splash over the barricade, but Omega caught him with a V trigger! It looked like it connected right to Okada’s shoulder. Omega went to work on Okada with several elbows to the shoulder where he hit the V trigger on the floor. Omega worked over Okada’s back and then cranked on his neck with a chin lock. Okada went for the ropes and Omega transitioned into the camel clutch. Okada finally fired back and caught Omega with a flap jack and both men were down.
The pace picked up and Okada caught Omega with an elbow coming off the ropes. Okada hit a big DDT, but only got a 2 count. Okada set up for the cobra clutch and got it on the mat. Omega ended up using his momentum to shove Okada to the floor. Okada ducked a slingshot splash from Omega and ran into the ring and hit one of his own! They went back and forth inside the ring. Okada hit a kick to the head, but Omega caught him with a snap hurricanrana. Okada rolled to the floor and Omega sent him over the railing with a dropkick to the back of the head. The fans clapped for rise of the terminator, but Omega hit a springboard splash over the guardrail to the floor to wipe out Okada. WOW! Omega followed up with the Kitaru crusher inside the ring for a 2 count. Kelly said Omega had wrestled a perfect match so far. Okada ducked a V trigger and went for a German, but Omega landed on his feet. Okada blocked a V trigger, but Omega went for it again right away and connected! He went for a snap hurricanrana, but Okada hung onto the ropes! Okada set up for the rainmaker, but Omega backed him into the corner to break the wrist control. They battled up top and Okada punched Omega down to the mat. Omega fired back and placed Okada over the top turnbuckle. He set up for a dragon suplex off the top, but Okada blocked it. Okada ended up slipping out to the apron and he grabbed Omega and hit a tombstone! WOW! Omega got up to the apron, but Okada drop kicked him off the apron into the guardrail! Omega took one hell of a bump on that spot. The ref seemed concerned that Omega was continuing. Okada then went to the floor and began working over Omega. He tossed Omega back into the ring a short time later.
Okada went up top and hit a sick dropkick on a kneeling Omega for a near fall and the fans gasped! Omega sold his ribs after kicking out. Okada went up top and dropped an elbow. Omega continued to sell his ribs. Okada signaled for the rainmaker, but Omega was playing possum and he leapt up and hit a snap hurricanrana. The fans fired up for rise of the Terminator and this time Omega connected near the entrance ramp! WOW! Omega got insane height on that dive right before the 25 minute mark. Omega hit a dropkick off the top to the back of Okada’s head. That’s yet another big shot to the back of Okada’s head in this first fall. Omega went for the one-winged angel, but Okada escaped. He went for the rainmaker, but Omega blocked it and hit a V trigger. He went for the one-winged angel again, but Okada slipped down only for Omega to turn it into a German for a near fall! WOW! The fans chanted for Omega. Omega hit a sick running V trigger. He then went for the one-winged angel, but Okada escaped and hit a dropkick to the back of the head. He then caught Omega with a traditional dropkick off the ropes. Okada screamed and set up for the rainmaker, but Omega ducked it. He then held onto Omega’s wrist and went for the rainmaker again, but Kenny hit a V trigger for a near fall.
Omega lifted up Okada, who countered him and eventually hit a tombstone. Okada screamed and hit the rainmaker pose on his knees. Okada went for the rainmaker, but Omega tried to counter it into a pinning combination only for Okada to sit down on him for the three count. Okada leads 1-0 and they will now have a 2 minute break!
Winner of fall one: Kazuchika Okada at 29:16 to go up 1-0
Gedo and Ibushi got into the ring during the rest period. The ref signaled for the start of the second fall and Okada ended up hitting a dropkick with Omega seated up top. Omega ended up spilling to the floor. Okada eventually went to the floor to go after Omega. Omega went for a moonsault off the barricade, but Okada pushed him and he went flying into another barricade and Okada was firmly in control of the action at this point. Okada then hit a hangman’s DDT off the guardrail to the floor. Omega threw some weak punches and a pair of chops. Okada glared at Omega as he continued to nail him with chops. Omega went to bounce off the ropes, but Okada nailed him with a big boot. Okada ended up selling the chops in the corner after booting Omega down to the mat. Okada got the cobra clutch again in the middle of the ring. The ref checked on Omega, who had gone all the way down to the mat. Omega got to his feet and hit a stunner to escape the hold. He then hit a back suplex and both men were down. Omega got the upper hand on the floor a short time later and he hit a back suplex on the apron. He then got a table and slammed it on top of Okada. Omega went up to the apron and hit a double stomp on top of the table. WOW! The table was facing up with the table legs folded. That could have gone very badly if Omega had landed the wrong way with the double stomp.
Omega set the table up and lifted Okada, who countered him and whipped him into the ringpost. Okada sold his ribs before rolling back into the ring. Both men have some damage to their ribs now. Okada went for a senton, but Omega got his knees up. Omega went for you can’t escape, but Okada countered and dumped him down to the mat with a release suplex. Both men favored their ribs, but it was Okada who got up and hit a shotgun dropkick. Okada sold his ribs and went up top, but Omega got up and cut him off. Omega nailed Okada with a HUGE chop to the chest. Omega then hit a cross-legged superplex and the fans gasped! WOW! We are 10 minutes into the second fall. They went back and Omega went for you can’t escape, but Okada got his knees up on the moonsault and followed up with a big diving uppercut! Omega sold his ribs as Okada went after him. Okada eventually hit a jumping tornado DDT, but Okada rolled to the apron. Omega sold his ribs and then went to the apron. Omega stared at the table on the floor and began shaking his head. He set up for a German off the apron through the table. He told everyone to move back, but Okada blocked it! Omega went for it again, but Okada held onto the ropes. Omega then set up for a dragon suplex through the table, but Okada blocked it. Omega slipped to the floor and went for the one-winged angel, but Okada slipped out and went for the rainmaker. Omega ducked it and his a poison hurricanrana and both men were down on the mat. Okada stumbled and couldn’t get back into the ring. He got back in at 19 and walked right into a V trigger. Omega went for the one-winged angel, but Okada slid out and hit a jumping tombstone! Omega ducked the rainmaker and hit a rock bottom and both men were down. HOLY S–T!!!
Callis asked what it would take for Omega to get a pinfall on the champion. Both men slowly began exchanging punches. Omega hit a thunderous chop and the fans gasped. The pace picked up and they continued to trade as the fans fired up. Omega suddenly slipped around Okada and hit a snap dragon. Okada got right up and hit a dropkick. Omega fired back and hit a dropkick of his own off the ropes that got incredible height. Omega hit a big sit out powerbomb. He followed up with a V trigger. Okada countered Omega and sat down on top of him again with a leverage pin, but Omega kicked out at the the last second. Omega hit a V trigger against the ropes. He then hit a double underhook DDT for a near fall. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! The fans fired up and chanted for Omega. He set up for a V trigger and stalled before connecting. He then lifted Okada up for the one-winged angel and connected! The fans counted along and Omega got the pin to even the match at 1 fall each.
Winner of fall two: Kenny Omega at 51:38
They went to another two minute rest period. This time it was Omega who had the upper hand after the rest period unlike the first fall. Okada was shown lying prone on his back. The bell rang for the third fall and Okada was still down. Omega hit a V trigger to the back of Okada’s head and went for the one-winged angel, but Okada slipped out and connected with his first rainmaker. It appeared Omega’s foot caught Okada in the head on that move. WOW! Both men were down as the fans went crazy. Okada finally made a cover, but Omega managed to kick out. Kelly said this would either be Okada’s 13 straight title defense or Omega’s first win of the IWGP Hvt. Championship. Okada went for a tombstone, but Omega blocked it by grabbing his leg.The total match time passed the 50 minute mark according to the announcers. I’m not sure if that counted the rest breaks or not. Okada went for a dropkick off the ropes, but Omega collapsed bouncing off the ropes. Okada fell right on his back and Omega stumbled over to Okada and tried to lift him up. Kelly said Ibushi looked nervous and had a white towel in his hand. Omega tried to lift Okada and he wouldn’t go up, so Omega nailed him with several palm strikes. Omega finally got Okada up, but he hit several punches. Okada went for a hurricanrana, but Omega hit a STYLES CLASH FOR A NEAR FALL. WOW! WOW! WOW! Okada got his hand on the bottom rope at the VERY last second. The fans started an A.J. Styles chant as both men regrouped. What a spot! Omega hit a HUGE V trigger in the corner and set up for a one-winged angel, but he collapsed in exhaustion. Omega tried once again to lift up Okada as the fans chanted for both men. Okada slipped out of the one-winged angel attempt. They went back and forth and Omega folded Okada’s arms up and SPIKED him with a huge modified tombstone for a near fall. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
Ibushi got up on the apron and urged Omega on. Callis went nuts because Ibushi was on the apron. Omega said alright to Ibushi. He went for the phoenix splash, but Okada got out of the way. WOW WOW WOW!!! Okada hit a dropkick to the back of Omega’s head. He set up for a tombstone, but Omega slipped out and DECKED him with a V trigger. Omega measured Okada, who was on his knees, and hit a big V Trigger. He then hit another V trigger. He lifted Okada up for a third V trigger, but Okada caught it and hit a dropkick. WOW! Okada went for the tombstone, but Omega blocked it. Okada hit another dropkick and went for the rainmaker, but ended up collapsing. Both men were down and the fans went nuts. WOW! This is insane. The ref began counting both men down in the middle of the ring. Omega rolled over and then Okada did the same. WOW! Both men sold exhaustion. Okada hit a light punch. Omega returned fire with a weak forearm as both men were totally spent at this point. They continued to trade blows on their knees. Omega finally connected with a big slap. Okada then returned the favor. Omega hit a headbutt. The fans chanted for both men. Omega tried to lift up Omega, but Okada surprised him with a rainmaker. Okada collapsed, but hung on to Omega’s wrist. Okada got up and hit another rainmaker before collapsing. Okada fired up and began to will himself back over to Omega. Okada looked downright possessed as he lifted Omega. He went for another rainmaker, but Omega ducked and hit a German and the fans went nuts. Omega hung on to Okada with them both down on the mat. The fans chanted for Omega! He hit another German and held on. Okada slid around Omega and hit a German of his own. Okada held on and both men were down on the mat! WOW! Okada then switched to wrist control. He went for the rainmaker, but Omega ducked it and hit a German. Omega held on, but Okada elbowed his way out of Omega’s grasp. Omega then hit a snap poison hurricanrana and both men were down on the mat. Okada got his shoulders up on the bottom rope. Omega used the ref to get up to his feet. OMega set up for a V Trigger, but Okada caught him with a dropkick! WOW!
Okada set up for a rainmaker, but Omega countered it into a quick one-winged angel. Omega could not capitalize and Okada had a vacant stare as he slumped up against the ropes. WOW! The selling in this match is unreal. This is insane! The fans chanted for Omega and he set up for a V trigger up against the ropes and connected. WOW! The fans went nuts and Omega lifted Okada and hit the one-winged angel for the win. What an unbelievable match.
After the match, The Young Bucks made their way down to the ring. The fans applauded. Omega hugged Matt Jackson. Nick Jackson then joined in. Ibushi then joined the group hug as Kelly said their bond was stronger than the title. Okada was shown being carried to the back. Ibushi helped put the IWGP World Hvt. Title around Omega’s waist.
The fans began chanting for Omega. He cut a promo in Japanese. He said he’d cut a little of his promo in Japanese. He said in 10 years he’s accomplished a lot, but his final goal was the IWGP World Hvt. Champion. The fans applauded. He said if he has the belt, do you think I might leave Japan. In this match, I saw the future of pro wrestling. That’s why I’m going to the next step in the NJPW ring and arena. He said now The Young Bucks and he are champions. He said Kota Ibushi is handsome. He said let’s do this together.
Omega said they are a worldwide promotion, so he should speak just a little bit of English. Omega said what they’ve done here today is a miracle. Omega said each day people tell him he’s not good enough or he should take the pay day. He said that’s not his way. He said with his best friends and lovers by his side, he can do anything. Omega said he had wrestled for an hour and almost died, so it’s time for him to say goodbye. Omega then hit his catchphrase and gold confetti shot out over the wing.
Cody Rhodes then came out and the fans gasped. He made his way down the entrance ramp. He then turned around and went to the back. Kelly said he could have done the honorable thing, but he didn’t. Omega was then hoisted up by The Young Bucks and Ibushi.
Winner: Kenny Omega at 69:27 to become the new IWGP World Hvt. Champion
Star rating: (*****) – This was the best match between Okada and Omega and that’s saying a lot considering they’ve had three all-time classics. The story they told here in going over an hour was on another level with their emotional selling. Once they got to the third fall, both men really commanded the ring with their counter wrestling and facial expressions. The finishing stretch was the best I’ve ever seen and Omega’s emotional reunion with The Young Bucks after the match was great. This was an incredible presentation of storytelling with Omega getting over the hump and talking about the bond between him, his friends (The Young Bucks), and his lover (Kota Ibushi).