Welcome to the review of Dominion, which is kinda like New Japan's Summerslam. It has a bunch of rematches from WrestleKingdom on it, including the rematch of the century in the main event.
David Finlay, Tomoyuki Oka & Syoto Unimo vs Tetsuhiro Yagi, Hirai Kawato & Katsuya Kitamura
Decent Young Lions match. Pretty much what you would expect. **1/2
Jushin Liger, Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs Tiger Mask W, Tiger Mask IV, Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata
Liger continues his retirement tour. I love the New Japan dads. Grizzled veterans all day, every day. Good match. I still wish that Ibushi was wrestling as himself. ***
Los Ingobernables de Japon vs Bullet Club vs Suzuki-Gun vs CHAOS vs Taguchi Japan (IWGP Never Openweight 6-Man Tag Titles, Gauntlet Match)
This is New Japan's way of getting everyone on the show. Except Marty Scurll and Will Ospreay who are nowhere to be found. I enjoyed this. Like all gauntlet matches it was a series of short matches but this was more entertaining than most. ZSJ didn't take kindly to being eliminated and took it out on Juice Robinson, allowing LIJ to pick up the scraps. ***1/2
Roppongi Vice vs Young Bucks (IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag Titles)
I thought this was great. They told a really good story of the Bucks isolating Baretta after taking out Romero with apron powerbombs and then a ramp powerbomb when he got back up. It was a nice addition to the match that made it stand out as different from their WrestleKingdom match while still having callbacks to it. ****
War Machine vs Guerrillas of Destiny (IWGP Tag Team Titles)
Sweary tag wrestling is back in New Japan. War Machine are great and despite Tanga Loa's relative in ring weakness GoD have put on good tag matches. This was good without getting above that level. Seeing War Machine do dives will never not be interesting. ***
Cody vs Michael Elgin
This was pretty much the same as most other Cody matches. The guy looks a million bucks but the style of match he is working is rarely providing anything other than good but unspectacular matches. ***
Hiromu Takahashi vs KUSHIDA (IWGP Jr Heavyweight Title)
The last time these 2 met it lasted 2 minutes and since then KUSHIDA has been on his road to redemption. This culminated in him beating Will Ospreay in a spectacular match to win the BotSJ. On the other side Takahashi is in contention for wrestler of the year. With a great story and 2 excellent wrestlers involved there was no way this could fail. They put on a different type of Jr match that started off very strike based and it really sold the hatred between the 2. It still had all the elements that you would expect from these 2, including that crazy sunset powerbomb to the floor, but the story was turned up a notch. Fantastic stuff. ****1/2
Post match BUSHI attacks KUSHIDA setting up the next title match.
Minoru Suzuki vs Hirooki Goto (IWGP Never Openweight Title, Lumberjack Death Match)
Death match is a term used by New Japan to describe gimmick matches. It's just a lumberjack match. It was an excuse for Suzuki-Gun and Chaos to have a brawl. It was fun for what it was. Sabre Jr seemed a bit offput by the whole thing so he just started laying in European uppercuts to all and sundry. It was great. ***
Tetsuya Naito vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (IWGP Intercontinental Title)
Naito brings out what is left of the IC title that he has been systematically fucking up. It's missing a side plate and part of the front plate. That is part of the story going in, Tana is sick of seeing Naito throw it around like it's trash. The match itself is fantastic. The pacing and structure were excellent and built to the finish perfectly. Naito and Tanahashi are 2 of the best big match workers in all of wrestling and they put it all on the line here. Tanahashi busted out his High Fly Flow to the floor and despite having a torn bicep he put in a spectacular performance. This is right up there with their match from WrestleKingdom, which is a high benchmark. That cloverleaf at the end looked brutal too. It will be hard to follow this but I think the main event is up to it. ****3/4
Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega (IWGP Heavyweight Title)
Can this possibly live up to their WrestleKingdom 11 match? Yes is the answer. How do you up the ante from a 45 minute classic? You go a fucking hour. This match is absolute proof positive that an hour time limit draw is better than an hour long Ironman match. There is so much more drama involved. They start off at a pace that you wouldn't believe was going to go an hour and the pacing was tremendous throughout. The time absolutely flew by. I'm going to get the one minor flaw out of the way right now. Omega worked over Okada's leg and it didn't really pay any dividends in the long run. This was a minor gripe though as the drama of the match overwrote any issues here. Some of the spots in this were just phenomenal. Okada tried a dropkick but Omega caught him with a powerbomb. Omega went for an Asai moonsault, almost lost his balance, but somehow managed to pull it off. It was a crazy display of athleticism. Omega kicks out of a Rainmaker. There is a spot where Okada puts Omega on a table on the outside and drops an elbow on him but the table is a Japanese table and therefore doesn't really break. The moment when Omega finally hits Okada with the One Winged Angel, only for Okada to get his foot to the rope, is brilliant. The best spot of the match comes later on when Okada goes for a Rainmaker only for Omega to escape inadvertently by collapsing. It was perfectly executed and looked fantastic. They even teased the stoppage when Cody came out and tried to throw the towel in. He was stopped by the Young Bucks. The rest of Bullet Club was out and they didn't get involved at all, they just watched and appreciated the action. I could go on but you should just watch it. I'm not going to say it was better than their first match but I'm not going to say it wasn't either. *****
Overall Grade - A+
I would be tempted to give this an A+ grade because of the main event alone but the undercard, Takahashi vs KUSHIDA and Tanahashi vs Naito in particular, are fantastic. I cannot recommend this show enough.