Every summer, New Japan Pro Wrestling holds their annual event - Dominion. The show serves as a "Summerslam" type event for New Japan Pro Wrestling or their second big event of the year.
We've seen many incredible matches at this, most of which include Kazuchika Okada in recent years. Some of these matches have included his two classics against Kenny Omega, a stellar match against Tetsuya Naito, and even a fantastic match against Aj Styles years ago.
This year's lineup is stacked, albeit a bit repetitive especially for NJPW's typically flavor of booking unique and compelling matchups. Let's get into a preview of the show.
Jon Moxley vs Shota Umino
A puzzling matchup for Jon Moxley after winning the IWGP United States championship, but a wonderful opportunity for Shota Umino. Umino is a young lion and we do not typically see Young Lions get these types of opportunities at shows like Dominion. Expect Moxley to brutalize poor Umino in this one.
Satoshi Kojima vs Shingo Takagi
Another puzzling matchup, but there is no way NJPW could leave Shingo off of the Dominion card after the run he had in the Best of the Super Juniors tournament this summer. Shingo went undefeated until facing Will Ospreay, the dragon slayer, who handed him his first loss in NJPW. Will Shingo regain his dominance in NJPW pro wrestling? I certainly think so.
Yoshi-Hashi, Juice Robinson, and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White, Chase Owens, and Taiji Ishimori
NJPW always places these type of six man matches at the beginning of the show, so I'm shocked about the match placement. It looks like this match is just here to further the feud between Jay White and Hiroshi Tanahashi. This should be nothing more than another pinball defeat suffered by Yoshi-Hashi and his friends.
Never Openweight Championship: Taichi (c) vs Tomohiro Ishii
The Never Openweight Title is back around Taichi's waist where it seemingly always is and Tomohiro Ishii has been "cooled off" by NJPW after a stunning 2018 where he had an impressive run in the G1 Climax tournament. It's about time Ishii held a belt in NJPW and is rewarded for his in-ring work and credibility as a performer. Ishii had a good New Japan cup at the beginning of 2019, will he walk away with the Openweight title to follow up that performance? I'm taking Ishii in this one.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Guerrilla's of Destiny vs Evil & Sanada
A matchup we've seen dozens of times and one that simply seems to be placed on the card so that the tag team division in NJPW has a placement on the card. GOD has a storyline going with Ring of Honor right now and I expect both companies want them to continue holding those belts. GOD retains here.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay vs Dragon Lee (c)
Each year, Dominion gets the matchup that is made as a result of the Best of the Super Junior tournament. Will Ospreay regained his throne as one of the top Junior Heavyweights in NJPW. He has also stated that he wants the Junior Heavyweights to be taken as seriously as the Heavyweights and eventually main event a Tokyo Dome show.
Dragon Lee, however, had a good BOSJ tournament run and won the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship at the G1 Supercard of Honor in a stellar match.
There are two ways this match could go: Will Ospreay regains his crown as the top Junior in New Japan or Dragon Lee retains setting up a matchup with a potentially returning Hiromu Takahashi. Hiromu has been out of action since mid-2018 with a neck injury that he suffered in a match against Dragon Lee.
However, Will Ospreay should win this one and continue to build up the Junior division to be strong enough to main event one of the two Tokyo Dome nights in January 2020.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Kota Ibushi (c) vs Tetsuya Naito
These two have matched up twice before in 2019 and have had stellar bouts. However, it seems to be a little too quick for the third match of this saga for NJPW standards. We saw the Omega vs Okada saga take over 3 years to complete, so it's a bit puzzling that NJPW has decided to blow through this particular trilogy so quickly.
Regardless, this should be a fast, hard-hitting match that will be the perfect display of the brand of wrestling NJPW offers.
Personally, I see Naito losing here as his rise to the top will begin in the G1 Climax Tournament later this summer while Ibushi faces a new host of competitors the Intercontinental title throughout the year.
Ibushi should retain.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Chris Jericho
The run of Jericho (drink it in maaaaan) has been so much different than anyone could have expected. What started as a one off match against then IWGP US Champion Kenny Omega, has turned into a dazzling run in NJPW with fantastic match after fantastic match.
However, Jericho is going to face his toughest test in this one and not in the kayfabe sense as Okada is the ace of NJPW. This is the first matchup Jericho has had during his run in Japan that is with a wrestler not known to spend much time, if any, outside of the ring, using tables, or partaking in the art of brawling.
Omega and Naito are super talented wrestlers and had great matches with Jericho, but they are apt to resort to a bit of an outside of the ring brawling style that Jericho likes. Okada, however, is going to resort to a more pure wrestling style and settle things inside of the ring.
The overwhelming feeling most get looking at this matchup is that Jericho will fall short to Okada, but put on a great matchup. However, stranger things have happened and Jericho being champ going into next month's G1 Climax would be a great way to sell tickets if coupled with a Jon Moxley appearance.
I don't expect NJPW to go this way, however, and would be shocked if Okada is not standing tall at the end of the night ready to go through yet another G1 Climax Tournament as the champion.
How to watch
(All Photos Credited to NJPW)