NJPW Dominion 2017
Young Bucks vs Roppongi Vice NJPW Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships
Young Bucks vs Rocky Romero + Friends part 7000. There have, in fact, been 59 different matches between the Young Bucks and Rocky Romero between 8/17/13 and 6/11/17. 59. Christ. For some reason, NJPW hasn't booked the Bucks in 6 months. I'm not really complaining, but they're probably more enjoyable to watch than some of the other trash gaijin brought for every tour since WK. And actually, I'd rather see the Bucks than RPV. Rocky gets hit with TWO apron powerbombs while not even the legal man, leaving Trent to fend for himself. Rocky finally gets back up to the apron and is about to get the hot tag, only for Matt to grab him and powerbomb him up halfway up the ramp. Lol. It's a lot better than LOLWRESTLING and superkicks shit they're normally doing. Maybe they've taken cues from Big Match Kenny that comedy is fine sometimes, but you have to show you can be serious to be taken seriously. Rocky finally makes it back and enters the match. I have no idea why the fuck the Young Bucks are doing deadlift German suplexes on the apron, but that's wrestling in 2017. After repeated attacks to the back and repeated sharpshooters, Rocky Romero is forced to tap out. New champions. Weird seeing a YB match with legit psychology and story telling and really not many big spots and not even a stand off. I think there were two total superkicks. Still, 14 minutes of Trent Beretta is going to bring anything down.
Guerillas of Destino vs War Machine IWGP Tag Team Championships
I can't believe I didn't think to call GOD The Meng Dynasty at the last show. Frick. Some real hossery in this match at times. Haku's baby boys are very fluid together. Lots of hoss style no selling. What's really weird about this is that it actually more of a fast paced sprinty bump fest than the junior match. After the bald one hesitates and ultimately declines to use a chair after a ref bump, Camacho blasts him with a chair, and The Meng Dynasty gets the win. New champions. Looking like a big night for the Bullet Club. Tama makes a random remark shitting on Randy Orton after the match.
Cody vs Michael Elgin
Fuck Cody. He's like the opposite of Elgin, who by the miracle of Maple syrup, has managed to turn me around on him, while Cody is the exact opposite who I can't believe I ever thought was even decent in WWE. If this whole match is Elgin hitting Cody really hard for being an asshole, I'll support it. I wish I knew what Cody keeps blowing kisses. Is that his thing now? Not even really to Elgin, but just in general. To the crowd, to the air, to the announcers, to the screens. Oh, you don't say, apron bumps? Weird. Really fucking stupid to have CODY RHODES doing power spots in this. Cody annoys the shit out of me. He feels like a dude acting in a movie as a pro wrestler. Shit doesn't feel authentic in the least. Get out charisma'd by Michael Elgin, breh. Cody wins with a rope hanging Cross Rhodes. Cody has the most put on charisma of any dude in the world right now. Out here acting like Jim Carrey's Riddler.
KUSHIDA vs Hiromu Takahashi IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Kushida won the BOTSJ to get his 3rd shot at Takahashi this year. Especially rough was their last match, which saw Kushida lose in under 2 minutes. Lmao at Takahashi doing the Rey Mysterio entrance. I wonder if they'll hit all the boxes on the checklist made in the BOTSJ. They START with a fighting spirit strike battle, so at least they aren't going to go in order if they do. Lol, they really spend the first like 5 minutes just hitting each other back and forth. Once they move on from that, it's pretty varied, with normal junior shit but then Sabu inspired chair jumping offense. Almost all of Kushida's bumps are on his head/neck, and almost all of his offense is focused on the arm. Lmao, a KIMRURA SPANISH FLY. Points for innovation, I guess. This is a MUCH more exciting match than Kushida vs Ospreay. Kushida wins with a kimura modified with a wrist lock on top of that, which kind of went against his whole BOTSJ run of creating a new move that could help him beat Takahashi and then...not using it. New champion. BUSHI attacks Kushida as Kushida was celebrating by leading the crowd in the wave.
Minoru Suzuki vs Hirooki Goto NEVER Championship
Lumberjacks include Ishii, Jado, Yoshi-Hashi, Yano, Taka, Taichi, Kanemura, Desperado, and ZSJ. This is pretty whatever, with both too much and not enough lumberjack fuckery. I feel like I've seen Suzuki have this match 300 times, and Goto has always been inconsistent. Hottest part of the match was Suzuki fucking with Liger at the announce table and the crowd popping for Liger getting pissed. After two ref bumps, plenty of lumberfuckery, and a broken chair shot, Suzuki wins with a Gotch style piledriver. Afterwards, a big CHAOS/Suzuki Gun brawl broke out, with Suzuki and YOSHI HASHI looking like the next title match. Yuck.
Tetsuya Naito vs Hiroshi Tanahashi IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Finally, Big Match Tana returns. 6 months of being TAGUCHI's side dude. Since Wrestle Kingdom, Naito has continued to be more and more of a cunt towards the promotion and the IC belt, actually breaking the faceplate during the BOTSJ tour, afterwhich he said if he won, he'd throw the belt away. But the belt has value to Tanahashi, and he plans to restore it to the glory and respect it deserves.
Tanahashi, who hasn't had a particularly significant match since WK (outside of a couple of matches with EVIL) is coming into this with a partially torn bicep, and his arm is pretty heavily wrapped. It was touch and go that he'd even make it to this match. After Naito throws the belt into the ring, Tanahashi goes to the floor and attacks. Crowd is completely behind Tanahashi. It's interesting how Naito somehow went from hated face to loved heel to hated heel basically changing nothing between loved heel and hated heel. He just kept doing what he was doing until it wrapped around to getting heel heat. It's like 5 minutes in before Naito gets to take his suit off. Naturally, Tanahashi's arm becomes Naito's main focus. Lmao, Tanahashi is so pissed. Dude out here doing ground and pound, still throwing kicks while getting pulled off, then spitting. In between Naito's arm work and Tanahashi's leg work, there's a lot of hatred. Tanahashi is doing an uncharacteristically good job as selling, probably because it's a legitimate injury and it's a lot easier to overlook arm work leading to a suplex or Slingblade instead of 20 minutes of leg work and then hopping up to do frog splashes. Oh shit, Tanahashi does a tribute to Nakamura befor the HFF. Fitting since the IC belt was basically Nak's vanity title for 3 years. Naito kicks out of the HFF, but then taps to a Lion Tamer styled Texas Cloverleaf. New champion. Jushin Liger was so fucking happy that the belt is out of Naito's hands.
Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega IWGP Championship
There's a ton of time left in the show, so I'm expecting this to go long. Expectations are sky high, as their WK match got a 6 star rating from some guy with a newsletter. You probably haven't heard of him. It takes quite a while for anything of note to happen, with the first seemingly 10 minutes being standard chain wrestling and signature/finisher teases. Then Okada does a hilo and hurts his knee. Okada trying Kenny's game came back to haunt him. Immediately. Kenny destroys the leg, with Okada being unable to put any weight on it. So I expect him to be doing 12 feet dropkicks 40 minutes into the match. Nevermind, 2 minutes later he's flying all over the ring at full sprint. You know, the easiest way to remedy this is to not over sell early limb work. You don't have to have a dead leg after 5 minutes of leg work. You have a long ass match clearly planned, space out the selling, too. There's no need to sell your leg at the 15 minute mark like you would at the 50 minute mark. There's a lot of teases for the bigger spots in their WK match, which then get subverted and something else slightly less, but still dangerous gets done instead. Arguably, some of them are even more rough. After Okada hits a Rainmaker chain 40+ minutes into the match, Cody Rhodes comes out and tries to throw in the towel. The Young Bucks stop him. The Bucks were right, as Kenny immediately after hits a big combo and shows he's still in it. Now you have the whole BC at ringside pounding on the mat for Kenny, with the crowd chanting with them. Crowd is molten for Kenny to win. And he finally hits the One Winged Angel...only for Okada's foot to barely touch the bottom rope. Okada hits one final Rainmaker before the 60 minute time limit expires, unable to make a cover.
Look, I get the story. Match one sees Kenny take Okada to the brink, match two sees Kenny take Okada past his limits, match three sees Kenny probably take Okada's title. That's all fine. That doesn't mean that this match wasn't way, way too fucking long. WK match was way too long, too. They could have had the same match with the same story and cut 20 minutes out to have a double stoppage or double in ring count out just the same as a time limit draw. Just like the WK match could have completely lopped off the first 15-20 minutes and lost absolutely nothing. Another self-conscious, forced Okada "epic" that is actually harmed by its "epicness". Which is not to say it wasn't a good match. It was. So was the WK match. Neither were the epic encounters they tried to be or have been portrayed as.
An abnormally good NJPW show, the rare time when the undercard is actually worth watching and pretty entertaining. The only stinker was Suzuki/Goto. Even Cody/Elgin is worth a watch, even if just to see Cody get the shit knocked out of him a few times. I feel like Naito/Tanahashi stole the show again, and I think an argument COULD be made that Kushida/Takahashi was better than Omega/Okada II, but I don't really feel like making the argument. Overall, this is probably the top show of the year 6 1/2 months into 2017.