6/4 NJPW Dominion PPV report: Radican’s results & analysis of Ospreay vs. Archer, Wato vs. Takahashi, Sanada vs. Tsuji main event

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist (Twitter: @SR_Torch)


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NJPW DOMINION PPV REPORT
JUNE 4, 2023
OSAKA, JAPAN
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD

Announcers: Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton, and Gino Gambino

(1) LANCE ARCHER vs. WILL OSPREAY – IWGP U.S. Championship Tournament Finals

The announcers talked about Ospreay recently coming back from injury and how it would affect him in this match. Archer attacked Ospreay before the opening bell rang and sent him to the floor. They played off their last encounter in Dallas in 2019 during the G1 tournament where Archer slammed Ospreay through a table early in the match, but Ospreay countered. A short time later Ospreay wiped out Archer with an amazing dive off the top to the floor. Archer fired back and pounded Ospreay with hard strikes in the corner a short time later. He hit several charges into the corner from across the ring and Ospreay finally collapsed to the mat. Ospreay tried to mount a comeback, but Archer used his power to send him crashing to the mat with a powerful body block on Ospreay as he came off the ropes.

Archer sent Ospreay to the floor and hit a cannonball off the apron to the floor. Archer set up Ospreay for Blackout, but he elbowed out of it and hit a Hidden Blade off the top to ground Archer. Ospreay went for a double underhook, but couldn’t lift Archer because of his shoulder injury. He caught Archer with a one man Spanish Fly a short time later. Archer cut Ospreay off going up top and this time he successfully connected with a Blackout for a nearfall. Archer went up top, but Ospreay grabbed his leg and caught him with Cheeky Nandos. He set up for a Stormbreaker, but his shoulder gave out. Archer then hit a big chokeslam, but Ospreay kicked out at the last second!

Ospreay hit a Hidden Blade, but Archer kicked out at one. Ospreay hit two more Hidden Blades. He then took off his arm sleeve and hit a fourth Hidden Blade for the win.

WINNER: Will Ospreay at 8:01 to become the #1 contender to the IWGP U.S. Hvt. Championship. (***¾)

(Radican’s Analysis: This wasn’t as good as their previous encounter in 2019 during G1 given that it only lasted eight minutes, but it was an amazing eight minutes.)

After the match, Ospreay asked for a mic. The fans fired up big time when he spoke in Japanese. Ospreay asked if Omega remembered him. He said he had left Omega covered in his own blood at Tokyo Dome. He said he should have killed him because now he was coming for him. Ospreay said he would walk into Omega’s territory and beat him for his IWGP U.S. Hvt. Championship.

(2) LIJ (Titan & Bushi & Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) vs. JUST 5 GUYS (Douki & Taka Michinoku & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi)

LIJ jumped their opponents and the opening bell rang. The action was good from bell to bell as both teams went back and forth trading turns on the advantage. Titan eventually ended up alone with Michinoku on the ring and he submitted him with Llave Immortal.

WINNERS: LIJ at 9:42. (**3/4)

(3) INTERGALACTIC JET SETTERS (Kushida & Kevin Knight) vs. CATCH 22 (TJP & Francisco Akira w/ Dan Moloney) – IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship match

They built up to making a hot tag and Kushida ran wild. Kushida got an arm bar in Akira, but he managed to get to the ropes. They built up to a nice back and forth sequence that saw Knight hit a double backwards leaping kick that left everyone down on the mat. Akira and TJP went for a tandem double knees, but he ducked and they bumped knees. The United Empire hit Knight a short time later with the Tower of London and then the double knee strike for the win.

WINNERS: Catch 22 at 10:38 to become the new Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Champions. (***)

(Radican’s Analysis: Good action from start to finish.)

After the match, Clark Connors of Bullet Club came out. He pointed at Catch 22 and indicated he had a partner. Dan Moloney then ended up turning on Catch 22 and he jumped them from behind. Connors then joined him in the attack.

(4) ZACK SABRE JR. vs. JEFF COBB – NJPW World TV Title match

They went right at it trying to finish each other off quickly after going to a time limit draw in their previous encounter for the title. A short time later, Sabre got a combination arm and leg stretching submission on Cobb, but he powered out right before the five minute mark. Cobb eventually blocked a tornado DDT and turned it into a suplex. He then got the Hawaiian Clutch pinning combination for a near fall. Cobb hit the Spin Cycle and a deadlift German, but Sabre countered Tour of the Islands into a crucifix pinning combination for the win!

WINNER: Zack Sabre Jr. at 8:46 to retain the NJPW World TV Championship. (***1/2)

Sabre told Kevin Kelly that Cobb is just too strong.

(5) BISHAMON (Yoshi-Hashi & HIROOKI Goto) vs. THE UNITED EMPIRE (Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare) vs. HOUSE OF TORTURE (Evil & Yujiro Takahashi w/Dick Togo) – Vacant IWGP Hvt. & Strong Openweight Tag Team Championship match.

Aussie Open had to forfeit both sets of titles due to an injury to Mark Davis. House of Torture attacked United Empire as they made their entrance. Bishamon ran to the outside to join the brawl. Eventually the bell rang with United Empire working over Yoshi-Hashi. Dick Togo used a chair on Goto on the floor with the ref distracted. Goto mounted a comeback inside the ring and hit a double bulldog on Takahashi and Evil. Kevin Kelly proposed that they could shut the forbidden door on House of Torture and they’d be exclusive to AEW Collision.

United Empire had Takahashi pinned, but Togo dragged the ref out of the ring and tossed him into the guardrail. Sho ran down and hit a low blow on O-Khan. The fans booed as House of Torture put a beating on Goto. Goto took a Magic Killer and the ref recovered, but he kicked out a the last second. You ran down with a skateboard and kicked it into Sho’s face. Takahashi grabbed the ref and Togo hit Goto with a chair from the outside. Takahashi hit Pimp Juice on Goto, but he kicked out.

They went to an incredible finishing sequence where Bishamon fended everyone off and then finished off Takahashi with Shoto for the win.

WINNERS: Bishamon at 13:15 to capture the NJPW Hvt. and Strong Openweight Tag Team Titles. (**3/4)

(Radican’s Analysis: The House of Torture interference was a bit much for a lot of the match, but the finishing sequence was tremendous).

Music played after the match and it said Bullet Club War Dogs. Gabriel Kidd and Alex Coughlin came out as the newest members of Bullet Club. Kevin Kelly sold shock on commentary. They went right after Bishamon and laid them out as the fans booed. They held up both sets of titles over Bishamon and then tossed them to the ground. Kelly said Bullet Club has taken almost every good piece of talent from the LA Dojo. Kelly talked about how Katsuyori Shibata had trained them only for them to join Bullet Club.

The G1 Climax 33 field was announced. The names announcers were Kazuchika Okada, Tetsuya Naito, IWGP World Hvt. Champion Sanada, Will Ospreay, Hiroshi Tanhashi, David Finlay, Shota Umino, Shingo Takagi, Tomohiro Ishii, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Hikuleo, Hirooki Goto, Yoshi-Hashi, Toru Yano, Kenta, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, Eddie Kingston, ELP, Ren Narita, Evil, Chase Owens, Jeff Cobb, Great-O-Khan, Aaron Henare, Gabriel Kidd, Alex Coughlin, Shane Haste, Mikey Nichols, Yota Tsuji, and NOAH’s Kaito Kiyomiya. The announcement of Kiyomiya got a big reaction from the fans in attendance.

David Finlay came out flanked by Gedo and his latest four additions to Bullet Club.

(6) DAVID FINLAY (w/Bullet Club) vs. EL PHANTASMO – NEVER Openweight Tag Team Championship

ELP sent Finlay to the outside and wiped him out with a big splash over the guardrail. The fans chanted for ELP. ELP set up for a dive and BC formed a wall on the floor. ELP stopped and Finlay ran into the ring and attacked him from behind. Finlay set up a table and ELP countered him and went for a CR2 through the table, but Finlay managed to escape.

Finlay beat on ELP forever and the match slowed to a crawl. ELP finally mounted a comeback and hit a drop kick on Finlay as he came off the ropes. ELP set up in the corner, but Connors and Maloney got up on the apron. Finlay once again attacked ELP from behind. ELP ducked a charge in the corner and Finlay got hung upside down. He ended up stepping on his crotch much to the delight of the crowd. He then nailed him with a sliding dropkick. ELP hit a springboard DDT that almost went awry for a nearfall.

Finlay spit at ELP and hit an exploder. ELP shook it off and got right up and went after him with some strikes. ELP countered Trash Panda and hit Sudden Death for a nearfall. He went up top and kicked Maloney off the apron. He then hit a pair of dives to wipe out Bullet Club. He tried to go up again, but Finlay pushed him to the floor and into the guardrail and the fans booed. Finlay powerbombed ELP through a table on the outside. The announcers said Finlay did the same thing to Tonga to capture the NEVER Openweight Championship. He hit another powerbomb and Into Oblivion for the win.

WINNER: David Finlay at 18:51 to retain the NEVER Openweight Championship. (**1/2)

(Radican’s Analysis: I was excited for this match, but it was more of the same following the House of Torture tag with Finlay’s new additions to his Bullet Club interfering throughout the match.)

A video package aired for Masto Wato challenging Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship.

(7) HIROMU TAKAHASHI vs. MASTER WATO – IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Championship match

Wato won the BOSJ 30 to earn his shot at the title here. The bell rand and the fans chanted loudly for both men. Takahashi took control on the floor and sent Wato through the guardrail gate with a drip kick off the apron. Takahashi carried Wato about 3/4 up the ram and hit a suplex. Wato began rolling down the ramp and managed to beat the 20 count. Wato fired back and hit a big flip dive to the floor. They traded counters before Takahashi landed a falcon arrow. Wato countered a Dynamite Plunger attempt and grabbed the Vendaval submission with Wato trapping his arms with his legs. Takahashi struggled but eventually got to the ropes.

Wato went for a move off the top, but Takahashi got out of the way and hit a modified German. That looked like a rough landing for Wato. They battled for position and this time Takahashi hit the Dynamite Plunger. Wato countered Time Bomb 2 and hit a tombstone for a nearfall. He went up top, but Takahashi cut him off. They went back and forth and Wato hit recientemente for a near fall after Takahashi had countered it earlier in the match.

Wato got the Vendaval again. Takahashi appeared to fade, but then he fired up. Wato really cranked on the hold in the middle of the ring. Takahashi tried to get to the ropes again. He barely got close enough to get his foot over the bottom rope. WOW! Wato went for another German, but Takahashi fought out of it. They traded blows and Takahashi decked him with a big clothesline. Wato caught him coming off the rope with a spinning kick. He then hit the Tsutenkaku German for a nearfall. He held on as the fans gasped.

They traded counters. Takahashi nearly had Time Bomb 2, but Wato slipped out. Takahashi then hit a standard Time Bomb and Wato kicked out at the last second! The fans went crazy! Takahashi hit a big clothesline. He then hit Time Bomb 2 for the win. What a match!

WINNER: Hiromu Takahashi at 19:50 to retain the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship. (****1/2)

(Radican’s Analysis: This dragged a little bit in the middle, but other than that this was amazing with bomb men countering each other’s signature offense. Wato put on a great performance here, but ultimately came up short. The legend of Takahashi as the standard bearer in the junior division continues to grow. This was a big time rejection of a big challenge from an opponent with a ton of momentum coming into the match.)

Jon Moxley and Shota Umino came out first. The announcers talked about how Claudio Castagnoli had experienced travel issues and they weren’t sure if he was in the building yet. Claudio Castagnoli eventually joined Umino and Moxley as they made their way through the crowd to the ring.

(8) KAZUCHIKA OKADA & TOMOHIRO ISHII & HIROSHI TANAHSIi vs. JON MOXLEY & ROH World Champion CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI & SHOTA UMINO – NEVER Openweight SIx Man Tag Team Championship match

This is Castagnoli’s NJPW debut in Japan. Castagnoli caught Tanahashi coming off the ropes and powered him up into a backbreaker and the fans applauded. Okada tagged in and dragged Umino to the floor. He whipped him into the guardrail and then booted him over it. Umino fired back after blocking a draping DDT off the guardrail. Umino got a table and tossed it into Okada’s head. The announcers said you could see Moxley’s influence on Umino with the way he carried himself around ringside. Okada took a sustained beating as his opponents tagged in and out to work him over. The fans clapped as Castagnoli stomped on Okada in the corner.

Okada mounted a comeback and tagged in Tanahashi, who ran wild on all three of his opponents. Ishii got the tag and ran right into Castagnoli with his shoulder. Castagnoli went for a suplex, but Ishii countered and hit one of his own. He then ran over Moxley with a shoulder tackle and decked Umino with a forearm and the fans applauded. Moxley turned the tide and went to work on Ishii in the corner. Okada ran in to help Ishii, but Moxley took them down with a double clothesline. Moxley began hitting Ishii with the north to south elbows. He then hit Ishii with his own signature diving lariat for a two count. Moxley had a choke, but Ishii hit a Saito suplex. Moxley no-sold it. He then no-sold a clothesline from Ishii. Ishii no-sold a clothesline and hit a headbutt. Moxley was busted open, but he still managed to take down Ishii with a DDT. He followed up with a nod to Seth Rollins by hitting a curb stomp, but Okada broke the pin up.

Moxley was a bloody mess, but he had the upper hand on Ishii. He went for Death Rider, but Ishii blocked it. Ishii connected with a combination of moves. Tanashi then ran in and hit Moxley with a Sling Blade. Ishii then hit a diving lariat for a nearfall. Ishii went for the Vertical Drop Brainbuster, but Moxley blocked it. Ishii no-sold a cutter and wiped out Moxley with a clothesline and both men were down as the crowd roared. WOW! Okada got the tag and wiped out Umino with a flap jack. Okada locked in the Rainmaker and the announcers said Okada didn’t think Umino was worthy of his Rainmaker finish. Umino struggled, but got to the ropes. Okada slapped and kicked Umino in the head several times. Umino fired back and caught Okada with his own signature dropkick in the middle of the ring. Castagnoli lifted up Okada and got the giant swing. Castagnoli dropped Okada and Umino and Moxley joined him for a Shield style powerbomb on Okada for a two count.

Umino ended up alone in the ring with Okada. Okada caught Umino with a dropkick. Umino blocked A Rainmaker attempt and hit Death Rider on Okada for a nearfall. Umino let out a scream and went for another Death Rider, but Tanahashi ran into the ring and hit a Sling Blade to break it up. The action broke down with both teams going back and forth. Umino ended up alone in the ring with all three of his opponents and they hit a triple elevated DDT on him. Okada made the cover for a nearfall. Umino ended up alone in the ring with Okada. Umino hit a forearm and Okada no-sold it and told him to bring it. Umino went for Death Rider, but Okada countered it and eventually hit a Rainmaker for the win.

Okada stepped over Umino after the match and made his father, Red Shoes, raise his hands in victory.

WINNER: Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Hiroshi Tanahashi at 20:37 to retain the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship. (****¼)

(Radican’s Analysis:I felt like they were setting up Moxley vs. Okada, but I should have seen Danielson vs. Okada coming. That being said this was a tremendous back and forth hard-hitting match that had the fans buzzing at all the big sequences. Moxley clearly was having fun here as he got in several nods to his former Shield members in WWE by hitting Rollins’s curb stomp and the signature Shield triple powerbomb during the match.

The exchanges between Umino were really good during this match and Umino gained a lot going at it with Okada and forcing him to respect him and use his finisher to beat him. Okada wrestled with an edge and was a total jerk to Umino down the stretch.)

After the match, Moxley tried to get the mic to work. He said that a lot of people might think the three people standing in the ring are the best wrestlers in the world. Moxley said they train with the best wrestler in the world and they had a message.

A video from Bryan Danielson say he’s heard that Kazcuhika Okada is the best wrestler in the world. He said he’s heard that Okada wants to fight him. He said Okada is good, but he is the litmus test of great. Danielson said when Okada stepped into the ring with him, he would be in the desert and there wouldn’t be any rain. The fans chanted yes over and over.

Okada got on the mic and said he would share a ring with Danielson. He said he doesn’t care if it is the desert, he can make it rain anywhere. He said the forbidden door would be opened. The announcers said we had an idea of where and when. The announcers said any tickets left for Forbidden Door would now be gone after that announcement.

A video package aired for the IWGP World Hvt. Champion Sanada vs. Yota Tsuji main event. The video package featured footage of Tsuji as a Young Lion and on his excursion in Mexico. The video package showed Kazuchika Okada returning from his excursion in TNA in America before winning the IWGP Hvt. Championship from Tanahashi a short time later in 2012.

The package showed Tsuji’s ties to L.I.J. before he officially joined them at the Dominion press conference yesterday.

Charlton talked about how this is Tsuji’s first match back from excursion and he had just returned to Japan from Mexico. Charlton said there had been no warmups and Tsuji had not shown his hand prior to this match.

Sanada came out second with Just 5 Guys accompanying him to ringside. Tsuji smiled and called for the LIJ fist bump in the corner before the match began.

(9) SANADA (w/Just 5 guys) vs. YOTA TSUJI (w/LIJ) – IWGP World Hvt. Championship match

The bell rang and the fans chanted for both men. Yota smiled at Sanada from across the ring. Kevin Kelly noted the last time they saw him in a singles match at Royal Quest 2 where he lost to Ishii. Kelly mentioned when he was a Young Lion, Tsuji told him he was the best Young Lion when he had asked him who the best Young Lion was. Kelly also mentioned that Tetsuya Naito was Yuta’s last opponent before he went on excursion.

Tsuji looks much different than he did as a Young Lion sporting long hair with blond streaks. Tsuji caught Sanada with a huge spear and the announcers sold it big. Tsuji smiled and then hit a Fosbury Flop to the floor and the fans went crazy. Tsuji set up for another spear, but got caught with a kick. He went for a spear again, but Sanada caught him with a headlock and floated over into a Skull End with the hooks in. Tsuji escaped, but Sanada got him in the Skull End position again and swung him around like an airplane. The announcers said this match wasn’t going to last long at this pace. Sanada locked in the Skull End on the mat with the hooks in and cranked on the hold. He let go and went for the Muta Moonsault, but Tsuji got his knees up.

The match has just been chaotic with both guys going back and forth at a breakneck pace, but after Tsuji got his knees up both guys were down for a long period of time. Kevin Kelly talked about previous shocking wins in NJPW. He said Okada shocked Tanahashi in 2012, but he had a full month of tags against him. Both men got to their feet and began trading blows.Tsuji caught Sanada with a spinning backbreaker and Charlton noted the influence from his execution in CMLL. Tsuji went up top for a moonsault a short time later, but Sanada rolled out of the way and both men were down once again.

Sanada got the upper hand again and hit his signature slingshot splash to the floor. He followed up with a missile dropkick, but Tsuji got right up and nailed him with a superkick and both men were down once again. The fans were mixed and Tsuji raised his fist up LIJ style and sat up and pounded his chest. Kevin Kelly said the fans can see the future. Tsuji set up for a suplex, but Sanada blocked it several times. They began trading big overhand slaps to the chest. Tsuji hit his and Sanada bent over in pain each time he got hit. Tsuji basically shrugged off Sanada’s overhand strikes. Kelly mentioned that Tsuji was a college QB here in Japan. I think Vince McMahon’s ear just perked up.

They continued to trade, but Tsuji got the upper hand and hit a modified sit out powerbomb for a nearall. They went up top and Tsuji stood on the top rope. He then hit a big one man Spanish Fly off the top where he basically slammed Sanada full force after rotating for a nearfall. The fans chanted for Tsuji and he went for a spear, but Sanada got out of the way. Sanada hit a dropkick, but Tsuji quickly got out of Skull End. Tsuji blocked a shining wizard and Sanada blocked a superkick. Sanada nearly hit Deadfall, but Tsuji managed to land on his feet. Tsuji hit a headbutt and a curb stomp for a really close nearfall! WOW! The fans roared after Sanada kicked out.

The fans chanted for Tsuji again. Sanada missed a couple of clothesline attempts as Tsuji came off the ropes. Tsuji eventually went for a spear, but Sanada cut it off with a dropkick. Sanada hit the Muta Moonsault and a shining wizard. He then hit Deadfall and it was good for the win. That was amazing.

WINNER: Sanada at 17:01 to retain the IWGP World Hvt. Championship. (****¾)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was fantastic. Tsuji won the crowd over right away and the first five minutes of the match were pure chaos as both men went back and forth. Tsuji hit a spear early, but he was unable to hit it again to put Sanada away.

The announcers did a good job of highlighting how Tsuji had only shown his spear to Sanada so far and noted that Sanada was ready for it during this match, but had done a good job of countering Tsuji’s new offensive maneuvers.

This match went as I expected. Tsuji relied on the spear a little too much and I hope that’s just part of the story and he’s not going to just spam the spear in his matches going forward. That being said his facial expressions and charisma combined with his strong style offense put him in the driver’s seat in terms of being a new star for NJPW in the near future. It appears the future is very bright for Tsuji, as he put on a tremendous main event match in his first match back from his excursion. )

Tsuji was shown smiling after the match. Kelly noted that Red Shoes had asked LIJ if they wanted to help Tsuji out of the ring. Naito told the Young Lions to take care of Tsuji because he’s got a train to catch. LIJ walked out on Tsuji after the match without helping him.

Sanada got on the mic after the match and told him to put in the work and get some results and grind with LIJ and he can challenge him again. Sanada said he will be heading into G1 as champion. Sanada promised to win G1 as champion and he will choose his challenger at Wrestle Kingdom. He jokingly looked at Taichi, who smiled back at him. They bumped fists.

The lights went down and the fans waved their phone lights. He said something can be so far away when it seems so close. He said today he can say he really likes this town. Sanada concluded by saying in English, “See you next time.” Gold confetti then went off and poured down over Sanada.

Contact Sean at pwtorchsean@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @SR_Torch

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