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NJPW DOMINION 2021 PPV REPORT
JUNE 7, 2021
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD
Commentary: Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero, and Chris Charlton
(1) BULLET CLUB (ELP & EVIL & CHASE OWENS & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & TAIJI ISHIMORI W/DICK TOGO ) vs. TOMOHIRO ISHII & YOSHI-HASHI & HIROSHI TANAHASHI & HIROOKI GOTO & SHO
Togo interfered liberally throughout the match. It came down to Sho and Takahashi. Takahashi pinned Sho with the Bloody Cross. After the match, Evil hit Goto with one of the NEVER Six Man Tag Team Championship belts. The announcers said ELP & Ishimori would likely be in line to face Sho & Yoh. It looks like Bullet Club will be challenging Chaos for the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship with Evil, Togo, and Takahashi going after the titles. Tanahashi ended up taking a beating from Bullet Club as well.
WINNERS: ELP & Evil & Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi & Taiji Ishimori at 11:50. (**½)
(Radican’s Analysis: The action was fine. The match and post-match angles did a nice job of setting up some future matches in Sho & Yoh vs. ELP & Ishimori and Evil, Togo, and Takahashi going after the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship.)
(2) L.I.J. (TETSUYA NAITO & BUSHI & SANADA) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS TAICHI & ZACK SABRE JR & DOUKI)
Naito did some comedy early. He did a single leg takedown on the ref with Taichi in the ring. The announcers talked about a potential match with Sabre and Taichi putting the belts up against Naito and Sanada. The action picked up late with Douki hitting a big tope on Bushi. Sanada blocked a European Clutch pinning combination attempt and got Sabre with a pinning combination of his own for the win.
After the match, Sabre went after the ref. Naito went into the ring and mockingly covered the ref after Taichi tossed him into the corner. Sabre pitched a fit about being pinned and Naito tried to get him to calm down and he got even angrier. Naito pointed at Sabre and Taichi as they held their belts. Taichi put Sanada’s trucker hat on his head and they went face-to-face. The announcers teased that a match between these two teams could main event a card. They talked about how a tag team title match hadn’t headlined a card in Japan since the 90s. Suzuki-Gun beat up the ref again leaving the ringside area, so Hiromu Takahashi got into the ring and raised their hands in victory.
WINNERS: Tetsuya Naito & Bushi & Sanada at 11:31. (**¾)
(Radican’s Analysis: They kept the action light and fun. The match did pick up late and built to a nice finishing sequence. I’m looking forward to the Sabre & Taichi vs. Naito & Sanada feud for the tag belts.)
(3) EL DESPERADO vs. IWGP JR.HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPION YOH – IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship match
This match was supposed to take place at Wrestling Dontaku, but got moved due to COVID protocols. Desperado later revealed he had COVID-19. It will be interesting to see how he performs coming back from COVID. The announcers talked about how Desperado constantly takes shot after shot at Sho and Yoh in post-match interviews. The announcers said that Desperado wants Yoh to show a different side of himself in the ring. Desperado tossed a bucket across the ring to distract the ref. He then got a chair out from under the ring and smashed Yoh across the leg with it.
This led to Desperado working over Yoh’s leg inside the ring for a long period of time with strikes and submissions. Yoh finally fired back with an elbow off the ropes and both men were slow to get up. They got up and Desperado went for a kick, but Yoh blocked it and hit an inverted dragon screw. Now it was Yoh’s turn to work over Desperado’s leg inside the ring. Desperado fired back and got a spinebuster. He applied Numero Dos, but Yoh got to the ropes quickly. They went to the floor and Yoh caught Desperado with a shotgun dropkick after the 15 minute mark came and went.
Yoh hit a slingshot splash to the floor. He got back into the ring and hit a tope con hilo to wipe out Desperado and the fans fired up with applause. Yoh hit a cross-legged Kiwi Crusher variant for a nearfall. Desperado fired back a short time later and hit a big dragon screw in the corner and both men went down. Both men began kicking at each other’s legs in the middle of the ring a short time later. Desperado eventually strung together a bunch of big moves for a nearfall as the match passed the 20 minute mark. Yoh blocked a Pinche Loco attack and hit a jumping knee. Yoh got the Stargazer submission and wrenched back on Desperado’s leg. The fans fired up as Desperado tried to get to the ropes. Desperado rolled through, but Yoh held on. You transitioned into a cloverleaf, which allowed Desperado to get the ropes.
Yoh went for a dragon suplex, which Desperado had blocked earlier in the match. This time he was successful and held on with a bridge for a nearfall. They went back and forth and Desperado caught Yoh with a headbutt. Yoh blocked Pinche Loco again and got a rollup for a nearfall. Yoh charged at Desperado and ran right into a straight right. Desperado then hit Pinche Loco for the win.
WINNER: El Desperado at 23:40. (****)
(Radican’s Analysis: Technically, this was really good. Both men worked each other’s legs throughout the match. They built up to a nice finishing sequence with Yoh coming close to tapping Desperado out. It was a little slow in spots, but overall Desperado looked really good coming back from COVID.)
After the match, Sho got into the ring to help Yoh. ELP and Ishimori got into the ring. He said on Kizuna Road, they would face them for the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship. ELP said Bullet Club’s cutest tag team is coming for the gold. Ishimori got on the mic and told ELP to wait. He spoke to Desperado in Japanese. Ishimori said he waited like he said he should for a shot at the title. Ishimori said he’s got what he wants. Ishimori said now it’s his turn. Ishimori said they would take both titles. Desperado got on the mic and said hang on. He said just won, so he should get the final word. It shouldn’t be you. He said he wants to test himself and he looks forward to having the nail shut on Ishimori’s coffin. The announcers said ELP looked conflicted, as he was interrupted by Ishimori before finishing his promo.
The announcers presented the Kota Ibushi vs. Jeff Cobb match as a likely #1 contender match with the winner getting the first shot at the winner of the main event.
(4) KOTA IBUSHI vs. JEFF COBB (W/GREAT-O-KHAN)
Both men traded forearms during the early stages of the match. The announcers mentioned Cobb is 45-8 in 2021 in singles and tags. Cobb got the better of the exchange and Ibushi ended up on the floor. Cobb ran Ibushi back first into the ringpost on the floor. The announcers talked about Cobb stealing the Kamigoye and calling it the Cobbigoye. They said he would be wise not to rely on it too much. Cobb hit a short arm clothesline and went for a standing moonsault, but Ibushi got his knees up. Ibushi got on a roll and hit a kick to Cobb’s chest and then a standing moonsault for a 2 count. The fans fired up with Ibushi in control.
Cobb fired back and set up forTour of the Islands, but Ibushi held onto the ropes. Cobb charged at Ibushi and he pulled the ropes. Cobb ended up spilling to the floor. Cobb caught Ibushi going for a dive and set up for a powerbomb, but Ibushi punched out of it. Ibushi ended up on the aprona and he hit a big springboard moonsault from the top rope to the floor from the apron. They showed a slow motion replay that made Ibushi’s moonsault look stunning. Ibushi set up for the outside in German, but Cobb blocked it. Cobb then set up for a suplex to the floor, but Ibushi slipped out. Ibushi eventually hit a springboard hurricanrana off the top for a nearfall to end the exchange as the fans applauded.
Ibushi set up and hit a Boma Ye for a nearfall. Ibushi sold shock. Ibushi set up for a Kamigoye, but Cobb turned it into a belly-to-belly that launched him across the ring. The fans tried to fire up behind Ibushi. Cobb picked up Ibushi and launched him like a helicopter up in the air. Ibushi crashed down to the mat and Cobb made the cover for the nearfall. Cobb went forTour of the Islands, but Ibushi countered it and hit a kick to Cobb’s head. Ibushi then hit a Kamigoye, but made a cocky pin and Cobb kicked out at the last second.
Cobb countered another Kamigoye attempt. He flipped Ibushi over in the air right into the Cobbigoye, but he couldn’t make the cover right away. Cobb crawled to Ibushi and made the cover for a nearfall. Cobb went for Tour of the Islands, but Ibushi floated over on him for a near fall. Cobb caught Ibushi going for a running knee, but Ibushi fell knee-first right on top of him. He then hit a Kamigoye for the win.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi at 14:54. (****¼)
(Radican’s Analysis: Kota Ibushi looked like he got healthy since taking a little time off following dropping the IWGP World Hvt. Championship to Ospreay in April. Cobb looked really good here despite the loss. It’s not always easy to look like you belong in a big semi-main event match on a show like Dominion, but Cobb pulled it off.
It was a good sign to see Ibushi doing some high flying, as he’s been struggling with an ankle injury that’s hampered him since wrestle kingdom. He got a ton of height on a gorgeous springboard moonsault to the floor.
The other big story here is that the announcers pushed it as an unofficial #1 contenders match with the winner facing the winner of the Okada vs. Takagi main event. New Japan has some appealing matches to go to in the main event title picture.)
Ibushi bowed down to Cobb and thanked him for the match. Ibushi let him know it was he who came out on top.
Shingo Takagi came out first for the main event. He will face Kazuchika Okada to crown a new IWGP World Hvt. Champion after Will Ospreay vacated the title due to a neck injury. The announcers mentioned that Takagi beat more New Japan Cup winners this year than anyone in history before losing to Ospreay in the finals. He also picked up a win over Kazuchika Okada in the first round of the New Japan Cup this year.
Kazuchika Okada came out second. Charlton said the weight of the IWGP World Hvt. Championship was too much for Ibushi and Ospreay, but it was Okada that could carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.
(5) KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. SHINGO TAKAGI – IWGP World Hvt. Championship match (vacant)
The announcers talked about Okada’s back being in rough shape for most of the first half of 2021. They started off going at it at a slow pace. The pace finally picked up as they went to an exchange off the ropes before coming to a stalemate. The announcers said that Okada didn’t show Shingo a lot of respect when he came to New Japan. Romero talked about how both men have ties to Dragon Gate and Ultimo Dragon. He said there’s a rivalry there because of their similarities in shared history. Romero said Okada was being smart when he didn’t praise Takagi when he entered New Japan. They went to the floor and Shingo targeted Okada’s back. He ran him back-first into the guardrail and then hit a suplex on the floor.
Kelly said Takagi left Dragon Gate for challenges like this. Okada fired back and went for a Tombstone, but Okada countered it into a powerslam for a two count. Kelly said this is the 25 singles match for Takagi in the last year. He has by far the most singles matches in New Japan out of any wrestler in the past year. Okada tried to fire back once again and this time he caught Takagi with an elbow off the ropes and both men were down. Okada went for a DDT and hit it. He made a cover for a two count and the fans fired up. Okada sent Takagi off the top to the floor with a big dropkick. He hit a draping DDT off the barrier on the floor a short time later.
Takagi fired back and eventually hit a wheelbarrow German suplex into the corner. Takagi hit a gutbuster a short time later and it was good for a two count. The fans applauded Okada kicking out. Charlton said it was unusual for Takagi to pick apart body parts, but he’s done that to Okada’s back and mid-section in this match. The crowd clapped for Takagi and he caught Oakda with a nasty clothesline in the corner. Okada went down to the mat in a seated position in the corner. Takagi tossed the ref aside a couple of times as he went after Okada with strikes and headbutts in the corner, but Okada surprised him with a shotgun dropkick. Okada then hit several punches and applied the Money Clip, but Takagi was in the ropes.
They went back and forth and Okada hit a rough looking Tombstone. He then applied the MC again. Takagi tried to escape and Okada eventually hit a backbreaker and applied the MC again. He dragged Takagi to the middle of the ring. Takagi began to fade, but eventually got the ropes as Okada was telling the ref to call the match. They went back to the floor and Takagi caught Okada and hit Made in Japan on the floor! Both men were slow to get up, but Okada slipped trying to get back into the ring. He finally got back in after the ref hit 19. Takagi climbed up the turnbuckles with Okada on his shoulders. He hit a big Stay Dream off the top for a nearfall. He set up for Last of the Dragon, but Okada punched his way out of it. Takagi then blasted him with a big clothesline only for Okada to just go down to a knee.
The 30 minute mark came and went and Okada hit a dropkick off the ropes and a Tombstone. Okada went for a Rainmaker, but Takagai countered it into one of his own! Both men were down on the mat. Romero called it one of the nastiest Rainmakers he had ever seen. Both men began trading blows from their knees. Both men began trading forearms on their feet. Takagi took three in a row, but he simply growled and nodded at Okada. Takagi fired back with a series of forearms, but Okada powered through them and wouldn’t go down. Okada went for a 360 Rainmaker, but Takagi turned it into a DVD. The fans applauded and Takagi went for a Pumping Bomber, but Okada turned it into a Rainmaker. Okada held on and hit another Rainmaker. The fans applauded and Okada hit the Rainmaker pose. Takagi then ducked a Rainmaker and hit another one of his own!
Takagi got a running start and hit a HUGE Pumping Bomber for a nearfall. Takagi screamed right before the 35 minute mark hit. He set up for Last of the Dragon, but Okada fought out of it. Takagi blocked a Rainmaker attempt. They went back and forth and Takagi hit a release dragon suplex. He then cracked Okada with a sliding forearm. Takagi then hit Last of the Dragon for the win. My goodness! What a match!!
WINNER: Shingo Takagi at 36:06 to become the new IWGP World Hvt. Champion. (****¾)
(Radican’s Analysis: What a match. I loved every second of it, although the crowd restrictions didn’t help the atmosphere. Takagi was amazing here. It was unusual to see him work over body parts, but he did it in this match and he was very successful.
The second half of the match saw them open the action up with some insane back and forth strike and counter exchanges. Takagi absolutely drilled Okada with two counter Rainmakers before finishing him off with the Last of the Dragon.
It’s amazing to see Takagi, one of the best in the world since the mid-2000s, capture the IWGP World Hvt. Championship on this stage. This is quite the validation for his career.)
Chris Charlton talked about Takagi’s long career path to the IWGP World Hvt. Championship.
Takagi eventually got on the mic and said the IWGP belt is right here and pointed at his waist. He said this isn’t a dream, this is reality. He introduced himself as the IWGP World Hvt. Champion to the fans. He said he took a beating, but his heart was still beating and he survived.
Takagi said he had been through a lot, but with this result he is all the way back at the top. Takagi said the belt around his waist isn’t the end, but it’s the start. He said he still has an awful lot to do. He said they are still going through a lot of rough times, which is why he has to bring the fans power. He said he would inspire the fans. He said he had one more thing to say. He said he beat Kazuchika Okada just now. He said he knows who he wants. He asked the fans if he should call him out. Takagi called out Kota Ibushi.
Ibushi made his way down to the ring. He said Ibushi had the belt before, but now he has the belt and he’s calling him out. He said there’s one thing he wants to say to Ibushi. He asked Ibushi if they’re going to do it for this title. Yes or no. I want your answer right now. The fans applauded. Ibushi got on the mic and said let’s do it. He said let’s have the kind of murderous contest that only the two of us can have. They went face-to-face and Ibushi left.
Shingo stood along in the ring as the third IWGP World Hvt. Champion. Gold confetti was hot over him into the ring. He then got down on the mat and laid down on the confetti. Takagi posed with the belt in the seated position before heading down the aisle. Charlton said it feels like the belt is in its proper place around the shoulder of Shingo Takagi.
Contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch.