One year after they went to a time-limit draw, Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega look to settle the score once and for all this morning at Dominion.
Okada looks to successfully defend the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in a two-out-of-three falls, no time limit match against Omega. They’re tied over the last year, with Okada scoring the win at Wrestle Kingdom 11 and Omega evening the score in their last match together during the 2017 G1 Climax tournament. With no time limit, this could be one of the longer matches in NJPW history.
Meanwhile, Chris Jericho looks to score his first gold in NJPW as he faces Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito in the co-main event. The seeds were planted at New Year’s Dash where Jericho jumped Naito, then did so again at Wrestling Dontaku last month, blasting him with a ring bell and leaving Naito a bloody mess.
Other matches include Best of the Super Juniors winner Hiromu Takahashi challenging Will Ospreay for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title, Rey Mysterio’s debut in the promotion teaming with Jushin Thunder Liger and Hiroshi Tanahashi against the Bullet Club, The Young Bucks facing EVIL and SANADA for the IWGP Tag Team titles, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Desperado defending the IWGP Junior Tag Team titles against Roppongi 3K, and a triple threat match for the NEVER Openweight title featuring Michael Elgin, Taichi and champion Hirooki Goto.
The show begins at 3 a.m. Eastern on New Japan World. There will be English commentary.
El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated SHO & YOH to retain the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championships
SHO & YOH ducked belt shots during the introductions and hit stereo topes. YOH and Kanemaru started things off in the ring, but Suzuki-gun quickly turned it into a brawl into the crowd. Kanemaru hit a DDT, dropping YOH from the apron to the floor. They teased a countout, but YOH made it back in at 19.
Desperado and Kanemaru used quick tags, and methodically worked over YOH. YOH came back with a dragon screw and a vertical suplex, before tagging SHO. SHO hit corner clotheslines on both Suzuki-gun members, and speared both of them. He used three germans into a bridging pinfall attempt on Desperado, earning a nearfall.
Desperado cut SHO off with a spinebuster, while YOH and Kanemaru fought on the floor. SHO and Desperado traded strikes, until the Roppongi team used a double team sequence to gain the edge. Kanemaru took the ref and went for the whiskey mist, but sprayed it on Desperado by accident.
Desperado went for a low blow, but SHO sidestepped it, and hit the lungblower for a nearfall. He teased a Shock Arrow, but Desperado bumped the ref, allowing Kanemaru to jump in and hit SHO with the whiskey bottle. The referee quickly recovered, and counted the pin.
A good action opener, but short, as you would expect from a New Japan undercard match.
Juice Robinson & David Finlay defeated “Switchblade” Jay White & YOSHI-HASHI
White jumped Juice and Finlay at the opening bell, and Juice and White began as the legal men. Juice hit a leg lariat, tagged in Finlay, and they hit a double team bulldog on White. Finlay hit a back elbow from the middle rope for a nearfall. White came back with a snap suplex, and tagged in YOSHI-HASHI.
YOSHI-HASHI used stomps and a vertical suplex for a nearfall, then tagged White, who used a pumphandle backbreaker. He went for a cover, but Juice broke up the pin attempt. YOSHI-HASHI used a cravate, before Finlay was able to tag Juice.
Juice dropped White in the corner, then tied YOSHI-HASHI to the tree of woe over him, and hit a cannonball on both. He used a top rope high cross for a nearfall on White. White recovered from a flapjack and sent Juice into Finlay, and Finlay rolled to the floor.
Juice hit a lariat, and things broke down into a four-way. Juice hit Pulp Friction on White, and picked up the victory. YOSHI-HASHI was the weak link, but this was another good match, and this establishes Juice as the top contender to White’s US title. Juice posed with the belt after the match.
Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii
Ishii and Suzuki started off, and had a hot opening exchange. Suzuki tagged Sabre, and Sabre used a surfboard, until Ishii reached the ropes. Off a clean break, Ishii knocked Suzuki off the apron, then tagged in Yano.
Sabre used a wristlock to subdue Yano, then tagged Suzuki. Suzuki looked to repay Ishii by knocking him off the apron, but Ishii evaded him. Suzuki and Sabre tied Yano up with heel hooks and kimuras, while Ishii took the ref. Yano recovered and hit Suzuki with an inverted atomic drop, then tagged Ishii, and we were treated to some more magic between Suzuki and Ishii.
Suzuki went for the Gotch, but Ishii backdropped out of it. They traded stiff forearm blows, teasing that neither man would ever give in, but they landed simultaneous blows and both dropped, then tagged their partners.
Yano hip tossed out of a hold and untied the turnbuckle pad. Sabre bridged from wrist control into a pinning combination. He used a backslide for a nearfall. Yano went for a low blow, but Sabre caught Yano’s fist with his knees, and turned it into a submission hold. Ishii ran in for the save, but Suzuki cut him off and locked him in an abdominal stretch, while Yano tapped out.
Ishii ran after Suzuki after the match, and they brawled on the ramp, then back into the ring. They both grabbed chairs, and Suzuki hit a chair shot. The brawl continued, and it took a pack of Young Lions to tear them apart. As Ishii and Yano returned to the locker room, Suzuki ran after them with a camera crew, and the fight presumably continued backstage.
The focus here was on building the anticipation for a singles match with Suzuki and Ishii, and they did a great job of that.
Michael Elgin defeated Taichi & Hirooki Goto to win the NEVER Openweight Championship
Taichi got a big theatrical entrance with Miho Abe. Goto and Elgin teased teaming up on Taichi, who kept begging off. Goto and Elgin would would then start doing spots, and Taichi would jump back in, the beg off again.
Eventually Goto and Taichi ended up teaming up and taking down Elgin. Taichi went for a handshake with Goto, but Goto suplexed him onto Elgin. Taichi bumped Goto to the floor, and Elgin hit a deadlift german, before eating an enziguri from Taichi.
Taichi and Goto brawled to the floor, and Elgin hit a tope con hilo, taking them out. All three were back in quickly, and Taichi hit a lariat on Goto for a nearfall, and celebrated with his pants spot. Goto recovered and hit an ushigoroshi for a nearfall.
They teased a stacked up superplex spot, before delivering a new spin on that, springboarding in from the apron to hit the powerbomb portion of the move. Goto and Elgin traded forearm shots. Elgin hit an electric chair, and bridged it into a pinfall attempt, but Goto kicked out.
Goto backdropped out of a powerbomb attempt, then hit a headbutt. He followed with an ushigoroshi, and a GTR for a nearfall. Taichi had Abe take the ref, then laid out Elgin and Goto with the microphone stand. He followed with a superkick on Goto, but only got a two count.
Taichi went for a pinning combination, but Elgin pulled him off and hit him with a buckle bomb. He sent him into Goto in the corner with another buckle bomb, then hit the Elgin Bomb on Taichi, and pinned him, winning the title.
They did a few unique spots, and this was a good match. They teased Elgin defending against Goto after the match, which makes sense, given that Goto was the champ, and wasn’t pinned. Whether it’s a good idea to put a title on Michael Elgin here in 2018 is another story.
The Young Bucks defeated SANADA & EVIL to win the IWGP Tag Team Championships
Nick and SANADA started off. Nick avoided the leapfrog dropkick spot, and hit a springboard armdrag. The Bucks hit stereo dropkicks, and Nick hit a springboard corkscrew dive to the floor. Back inside, EVIL hit a sidewalk slam on Matt, and SANADA hit Nick with a dropkick. He connected with a standing moonsault on Matt for a nearfall, as the LIJ team got the heat on Matt.
EVIL missed with a standing senton, and SANADA missed a plancha to the floor, but Nick was knocked off the apron, and Matt couldn’t make a tag. Matt sold his back, before finally reaching Nick, who ran wild with a bulldog and clothesline. He went for a slingshot into a knee strike from the apron, but EVIL ducked it, and Nick kicked the post.
Matt missed with a superkick and hit Nick, then got sent to the floor, as the LIJ team worked over Nick. They went for the Magic Killer, but Matt ran in for the save. They did a stacked up superplex, and all four men went down.
Nick hit an enziguri on EVIL, but sold the idea that he broke his foot. Matt and SANADA tagged in. Matt set SANADA up for the Indytaker, but EVIL pulled Nick off the apron. Matt applied a sharpshooter on EVIL, but SANADA was the leal man. SANADA went for Skull End on Matt, but Nick hit a missile dropkick, and all four men were down again.
EVIL hit Darkness Falls for a nearfall. He went for the STO, but Matt turned it into an Indytaker attempt. Nick’s foot gave on the attempt, and EVIL and SANADA hit an Indytaker for a nearfall. They hit a Magic Killer, but Nick saved. EVIL went for Everything is Evil, but Matt turned it into a backslide for a nearfall.
Matt survived a lariat, but ate a dropkick from SANADA, who hit one on Nick for good measure. SANADA missed a top rope moonsault, and ate a spear from Matt. EVIL ate stereo superkicks, and SANADA came off the top into stereo superkicks. The Bucks followed with More Bang for Your Buck for the pin. A great match, and a really spectacular last five minutes or so.
Cody, Hangman Page & Marty Scurll defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jushin Liger & Rey Mysterio Jr.
Scurll and Liger started. Scurll acted like he wanted Rey, but as soon as Rey tagged in, he tagged out to Page. Page demanded Tana, so Page and Tana actually kicked things off. Tana hit a shoulder block and played some air guitar, forcing Page to tag Cody.
Cody came in and did some pushups, and hit a double bicep pose. Tana did some pushups and hit a double bicep pose. Tana hit an armdrag, but Cody slid through and hit his diving punch. Rey and Scurll tagged in, and Rey hit a headscissors. Liger got a tag, sent Scurll outside, and hit a baseball slide.
Liger used a Romero Special on Scurll, but quickly got cut off. Cody and Page cut the ring in half, and worked over Liger’s left arm and left leg. Scurll tagged in and worked the left arm, but ate a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Rey got a hot tag and hit a West Coast Pop. He connected with an Asai moonsault into a DDT, before setting up Scurll for 619.
Scurll tagged out, avoiding the 619. Tana got a tag, and hit a dragon screw and twist & shout on Page. Page knocked Rey off the apron, then Tana and Page hit simultaneous lariats, leading to a double down. Cody and Liger got tags, and traded nearfalls. Scurll and Rey came in. Rey hit a 619 on Page and Scurll. Tana hit a sling blade.
The finish saw Liger hit a rana on Cody, but ended up eating a lariat, then Cross Rhodes, and Cody pinned Liger. Rey and Tana jumped in after the pin to chase off the Bullet Club. This was fun, and nonstop action. What a collection of talent.
Hiromu Takahashi defeated Will Ospreay to win the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
Ospreay landed some strikes, but Hiromu suplexed him into the corner. Hiromu went for the sunset bomb, but Ospreay blocked it and they spilled into the aisle. They fought on the ramp. Ospreay got a running start and hit an insane flip dive off the ramp to the floor. Ospreay pulled up some ringside padding, but had to throw Hiromu back inside to beat the count before doing anything with it.
Ospreay hit a running dropkick in the corner, then went to work with uppercuts. Ospreay tied up Hiromu’s arms and bridged him into a backslide for a nearfall. Hiromu rolled to the floor to escape, but Ospreay followed, and sent him into the barricade, then posted Hiromu’s arm.
Back inside, Hiromu went for a chinlock, but Ospreay reversed, and continued to attack the left arm. Ospreay used an armbar and a chinlock, but Hiromu escaped. He hit a flying headscissors, a dropkick in the ring, then a shotgun dropkick off the apron, sending Ospreay into the barricade.
Back inside, Hiromu hit a bombs away senton, earning a nearfall. Ospreay bounced off the ropes, right into a pop-up powerbomb, for another nearfall for the challenger. Hiromu chopped Ospreay in the corner, then raked the eyes. Ospreay rebounded, and hit his top rope 619 and Pip Pip Cheerio, a springboard lariat.
Ospreay went for the Robinson Special, but Hiromu dodged it, and used a tarantula. With Hiromu on the floor, Ospreay connected with a space flying tiger drop, then used his sit-out inverted DDT for a nearfall. He went for the Oscutter, but Hiromu turned it into a suplex, and they went to a double down.
They traded stiff forearm shots on the mat, then climbed to their feet, and continued to trade. They did an incredible sequence, trading reverse ranas, and suplexes. Ospreay went for the Storm Breaker, but Hiromu turned it into a code red.
They crawled to the apron, and traded shots. Ospreay climbed inside, deadlifted Hiromu, and hit a superplex. He kept head and arm control, draped Hiromu over the ropes, and hit the burning star press. He followed with a corkscrew shooting star for a nearfall.
Ospreay went for the Storm Breaker again, but Hiromu made it to the ropes, and turned it into a canadian destroyer. Hiromu applied his triangle choke, D. Ospreay tried to break the hold with a powerbomb, but failed. He tried again, and appeared to spike Hiromu on his head, finally breaking the hold.
Ospreay hit the Robinson Special. He went for the Oscutter, but Hiromu pushed him off, and hit the sunset bomb onto the exposed arena floor. Back inside, Hiromu hit the Dynamite Plunger for a nearfall. He went for Time Bomb, but Ospreay escaped, and hit a series of kicks to the head.
Ospreay again went for the Storm Breaker, but Hiromu turned it into the triangle. Ospreay looked to break the hold again, but Hiromu spiked him with a butterfly piledriver. Hiromu suplexed him into the corner, then hit Time Bomb, and picked up the pin.
What does it say that they each landed on their head at least once, and yet I expected worse when it came to dangerous stuff? This was a great match. I hope both guys are okay.
Chris Jericho defeated Tetsuya Naito to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Jericho jumped Naito before he got to the ring. He sent Naito into the barricade, then suplexed him on the floor. He set a table against the barricade, then powerbombed Naito through it. Jericho hit a DDT on the timekeeper’s table, and Naito’s head hit at an awkward angle. Naito was bleeding, it didn’t appear to be from a blade. He was still wearing his white entrance suit, so the blood created a stark visual.
The crowd chanted for Jericho, as he tossed Naito inside, and the opening bell rang. Jericho covered for a one count. He hit a low blow, and hit the Lionsault for a nearfall. Jericho used the Walls, but Naito made the ropes.
Naito finally made a comeback, hitting a slap to the face, a neckbreaker, and a slingshot dropkick in the corner. He connected with a neckbreaker on the apron, then another from the apron to the floor. Naito took off his entrance suit, and choked Jericho with the pants, before sending him into the barricade. A close-up of Naito revealed that the blood was coming from around his right eye.
Naito hit Jericho with a piece of the broken table, then hit a piledriver on the timekeeper’s table. Naito hit a dropkick off the top, back in the ring. Naito went for a rana off the top, but Jericho turned it into the Walls. Naito rolled over, and Jericho hit a slingshot. Naito jumped out of the slingshot, and hit a rana off the second rope. He followed with a DDT for a nearfall.
Jericho escaped an attempt at Gloria, and locked on the Walls again. Naito laid in the hold forever, and the crowd finally got behind him. He finally reached the ropes. Naito clotheslined Jericho on the top rope, and went for Destino, but Jericho caught him, and gently sat down into a pinfall attempt, getting a nearfall. There was a slight stumble there that Jericho tried to save.
Naito hit Destino, but Jericho got his hand on the ropes at 2 and a half. They traded slaps. Naito went for a flying forearm, but Jericho caught him with a Codebreaker, and got a 2 count. They traded strikes on the mat, then got to their feet. Naito was bleeding from the ear, as well.
Naito went for Destino, but Jericho stopped it. Jericho went for the Lionsault, but Naito got the knees up. Naito hit Gloria. He went for a second Destino, but Jericho pulled Red Shoes in the way. With the ref down, Jericho hit a low blow, and another Codebreaker, this time for the pin.
Jericho continued to assault Naito after the match, hitting Naito with the title belt. Jericho went after Naito with his regular belt, but EVIL ran out to make the save. Jericho took a powder, and left raising the title belt.
Jericho has reinvented himself as a crazed brawler, which is only going to add longevity to his career. He can work this style forever. This was not quite as good as his Wrestle Kingdom brawl with Omega, but still very good.
Kenny Omega defeated Kazuchika Okada Two Falls to One in a Best Two out of Three Falls, No Time Limit Match, to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
They did a cinematic video package before the match, outlining Omega’s journey back to challenging for the championship. That was awesome. Kota Ibushi seconded Kenny for the bout.
Omega got the first nearfall after a nice chain wrestling exchange. Omega missed a V-Trigger attempt into the turnbuckle pad. Omega ducked a Rainmaker, and lifted Okada for the One-Winged Angel, but Okada reached the ropes, and pulled both of them to the floor.
They fought on the floor. Okada sent Omega into the security railing. He went for a running crossbody over the railing, but ran straight into a V-Trigger. It looked like Okada might have caught his foot going over the railing. He went down selling his arm. I think he was fine, but that was scary.
Omega tossed Okada back inside. He hit elbow strikes to the neck, and picked up a nearfall, before attacking the upper back with kicks. Omega hit a running dropkick to the neck of a seated Okada for a nearfall. Omega hit a backbreaker for another nearfall, and established firm control of the bout.
Omega used a chinlock and a camel clutch, and Okada did an incredible job of selling his neck and traps. Omega hit a series of hard chops to the chest and back. Omega went for a V-Trigger off the ropes, but Okada turned it into a flapjack, his first meaningful offense in several minutes. Okada hit a pair of running elbow strikes, and hit a DDT for a nearfall, near the 15 minute mark.
Omega missed with a plancha, and Okada immediately followed up with one of his own. Okada teased the top rope elbow, but Omega popped up and hit a rana. He sent Okada outside, and hit a baseball slide, sending Okada over the railing. Omega hit a springboard crossbody from the ring to the floor, sailing over the railing.
Back inside, Omega hit the Kotaro Krusher. He went for a V-Trigger, but Okada caught him, and suplexed him. He tried to bridge into a pinfall, but his neck gave out. Okada tried to retain wrist control, but Omega broke it. They fought to the corner, and they teased the dragon suplex off the top, but Okada blocked it, and pulled Omega to the apron. He hit a tombstone on the apron, but was unable to follow up, just past the 20 minute mark.
Omega stood up on the apron, and Okada hit a shotgun dropkick, sending Omega into the railing ribs-first. Red Shoes teased a stoppage. Okada landed strikes to the ribs, then sent Omega back inside. Okada hit an incredible dropkick off the top rope, and picked up a nearfall.
Okada went to the top, and hit the elbow drop. Okada did his Rainmaker pose, but Omega pounced, and hit a snap dragon suplex. Okada rolled to the floor, and Omega hit Rise of the Terminator at the 25 minute mark.
Back inside, Omega hit a missile dropkick to the back for a nearfall. He maintained control of Okada and went for a One-Winged Angel. Okada blocked. He hit a V-Trigger and went for it again, but Okada blocked, and Omega hit a suplex. Omega hit another V-Trigger and went for it again, but Okada slipped out the back and hit a dropkick. Okada went for the Rainmaker, but Omega ducked, and hit a V-Trigger, for another nearfall.
Omega went for a double underhook suplex, but Okada slipped out, and hit a tombstone. He went for the Rainmaker, but Omega slipped out and turned it into a sunset flip attempt, but Okada sat down, got the pin, and picked up the first fall, at close to 30 minutes.
Okada won the first fall.
They did a two minute break between falls.
Omega came out aggressively, and Okada caught him. He placed him on the top rope, then dropkicked Omega to the floor. Okada continued to attack the ribs with strikes on the floor. Omega went for a springboard off the railing, but Okada pushed him off, into the second security wall. Okada hit a draping DDT from the railing to the floor.
Okada was back in first, and Omega got back in at the count of 8. Omega hit a series of chops, but then ran into a big boot. Okada applied the Cobra Clutch, which no one was buying as a finish at first. Omega broke the hold with a stunner, then hit a back suplex. Okada rolled to the floor, selling his neck.
Omega rolled outside and hit a back suplex from the floor to Okada on the apron. Omega placed an unopened table on Okada, and hit a footstomp off the apron to the table. Omega opened the table, but Okada fought him off, and posted him. They rolled back inside. The focus of the match here turned to selling.
Okada hit a scoop slam, but Omega got the knees up on a senton attempt. Okada hit an Attitude Adjustment, then a shotgun dropkick, sending Omega into the corner. Okada climbed to the top for the elbow, but Omega cut him off, and landed some chops. Omega crossed Okada’s legs, then hit a superplex.
Omega hit the rolling senton, but missed the follow-up moonsault, as Okada got his knees up. Okada teased tossing Omega over the top through a table, but Omega came off the ropes and hit a DDT. They rolled to the apron. Omega teased a suplex from the apron through the table, in an incredible spot, then transitioned to teasing a dragon suplex.
They slipped to the floor. Omega teased a One-Winged Angel through the table, Okada countered and teased the Rainmaker, but Omega slipped out of wrist control and hit the reverse rana on the floor. Okada just beat the count at 19, and ran right into a V-Trigger.
Omega went for One-Winged Angel, but Okada slipped out. He went for the Rainmaker, but Omega planted him with a uranage. He could not follow up with a pinfall attempt, and they ended up trading strikes. Omega hit a snap dragon, but Okada countered with a dropkick. Omega countered that with a dropkick of his own.
Omega hit a powerbomb and a V-Trigger, another V-Trigger, and a double underhook piledriver for a nearfall. The place was going crazy. Omega hit another V-Trigger, then One-Winged Angel, and got the pinfall.
Omega won the second fall.
They did another two minute break before the last fall. Gedo and Ibushi tended to their men with towels and water during the break.
Omega hit an immediate V-Trigger, then went for the One-Winged Angel, but Okada slipped out and hit the Rainmaker, but could not make a cover immediately. He finally covered Omega with one arm, and got a nearfall.
Okada went for a tombstone, then settled for an axehandle at the 50 minute mark. They traded strikes. Okada tried to irish whip Omega for a dropkick on the rebound, but Omega collapsed. Omega recovered and went for a powerbomb, then hit a Styles Clash, but Okada reached the ropes, as an A.J. Styles chant broke out.
Omega hit a V-Trigger, sending Okada’s head into the turnbuckle pad. He went for a One-Winged Angel, but collapsed. He went for another, they did a series of reversals, and Omega hit a spike package piledriver for a nearfall. Ibushi jumped onto the apron and teased throwing in the towel.
Omega went for a phoenix splash, but missed. Okada hit a dropkick to the back. He went for a tombstone, but Omega slid out and hit another V-Trigger. Okada got to his knees, and Omega hit two V-Triggers. He went for a third, but Okada caught it, and hit a dropkick.
Okada hit another dropkick, and went for the Rainmaker, but Okada collapsed while executing the move, and could not complete it, or go for a cover.
They did a double down, and teased a stoppage, and the crowd reacted in a big way to that, but both men got back to their knees. They traded strikes on the mat, and Omega hit a headbutt. As they got to their feet, Okada hit a Rainmaker, and maintained wrist control. He hit another Rainmaker, and gave up wrist control.
Okada pulled Omega up by the tights and went for another, but Omega ducked it, and hit a suplex, maintaining control of Okada’s waist. He hit another, and still held the waist. He went for a third, but Okada countered and hit one of his own.
Okada grabbed wrist control, and went for a Rainmaker, but Omega ducked. Omega hit a snap suplex, and a reverse rana. Omega went for a V-Trigger, but Okada jumped to his feet and hit a dropkick.
Okada went for a Rainmaker, but Omega turned it into a One-Winged Angel, near the ropes. Omega used the ropes to pull himself up, and hit a V-Trigger, then followed with another One-Winged Angel in the center of the ring, then made the cover, and got the pin.
Omega won the third fall, and the championship.
The Young Bucks came out after the match, and they hugged Omega and Ibushi. Omega cut a promo, first in Japanese, then in English, saying that he’s seen the future of wrestling, and that he and Ibushi and the Bucks can do anything with the people behind them.
Cody then came out and teased getting in the ring, but then turned and left.
At very least, this is on the shortlist of the greatest matches I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how they did it. They were in a situation where anything less than an all-time classic would have been a disappointment, and they absolutely delivered.