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NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-Jo Hall match recommendations: The loneliness of the long-distance runner

NJPW World

As always, I've got a very simple five point scale laid out where a 1 is total skip, 2 you can probably skip unless you love one of the folks in it, 3 is a match that's worth watching but not necessarily worth making time for, a 4 is a solid recommendation to make time for if you can, and a 5 is a must-watch.

Mind you, these are not star ratings. They're not meant to be absolute ratings in any sense, but rather a simple (and hopefully sensible) way to determine if a match is worth your time. A one is not necessarily a bad match, but rather just one I feel like you're best off skipping. I have my biases, of course, but hopefully I can make it easy for you to adjust for them.

And of course, for full results, you can check right here.

Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship) (2): RPG3K hot out the gate but Suzuki-gun are quickly able to turn the tide on the floor. YOH isolated for a bit but he’s able to tag out, SHO cleans up, but Suzuki-gun have never met a corner they couldn’t cut and the dynamic of the match is established.

This didn’t really ever get a chance to kick into gear, but I liked the way the dynamic from Best of the Super Jr. carried through for Roppongi 3K here, with YOH more vulnerable and SHO kicking ass and getting stuff done. Not essential, wouldn’t recommend it, but not a match without any merit.

Chaos (“Switchblade” Jay White & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. David Finlay & Juice Robinson (2): Chaos in control early, not afraid of using dirty tricks to delay the tag as they work David Finlay over, but sooner or later Juice gets the tag and comes in hot. Not a huge amount of stuff going on here, pretty standard undercard tag stuff all in all. A likely pass.

Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre, Jr.) (3): Ishii and Suzuki squaring right up and wasting no time trading blows until Minoru can isolate Tom and tag Sabre in to carry on his dirty work. It’s no extended Ricky Morton segment, though, as Ishii tags Yano in and he and ZSJ go at it at fairly equal pace. The Sublime Master Thief isolated now, more clubbering between Suzuki and Ishii, back to Sabre picking Yano apart, and so to our finish.

Not the most essential match in history, but this was a lot of fun and if I don’t get Yano and Sabre in the same block of the G1 Climax I might just have to be sad about it on the internet.

Hirooki Goto (c) vs. Michael Elgin vs. Taichi (NEVER Openweight Championship) (3): Taichi staying out of it early while Goto and Elgin beat the hell out of each other, and he pays the price when he comes in and tries to snipe it. Dudes throwing dudes at dudes, a tope from Big Mike levels the playing field. Taichi trying to sneak one again, Hirooki cuts him off and again it’s Elgin that’s the difference maker when he polishes off a Tower of Doom.

Cool, competent champ Goto keeps it together and rallies, Taichi sends Miho Abe into the ring for the distraction and we proceed towards the finish. This was really well put together and honestly flowed better than I expected it to. Not the greatest match, but solid and not something you’re likely to regret watching unless you’ve got real issues with one of the men involved.

Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) (c) vs. Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (IWGP Tag Team Championship) (4): Matt and SANADA to start, lucha libre in the feeling out, tags made and the Bucks immediately go on the offensive with double-teams to control the narrative of the match. Two can play at that game, and LIJ fire right back, targeting Matt’s poor beleaguered back. Nick with the save, turning the heat up, but an errant kick hits the ringpost and EVIL capitalizes immediately.

With two injuries to exploit, the Bucks have a hard time sustaining a rally, to the point where Nick’s leg gives out mid-springboard on an Indytaker attempt at one point, and the story of the endgame is entirely about whether or not they’ll fall to LIJ’s onslaught of big moves.

This isn’t quite as good as the best of the Bucks’ back damage-oriented junior title matches, but it’s really good all the same and worth your time for sure.

Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes, Hangman Page, & Marty Scurll) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jushin Liger, & Rey Mysterio, Jr. (3): Tanahashi and Page to start, cycling through the matchups, we get some Mysterio/Scurll action and the babyfaces stay in charge, isolating the Villain under the tender mercies of Liger. Bullet Club don’t take being isolated kindly, of course, and they get Jushin under control a good long while. Rey back in hot, the babyfaces a step ahead, but the match breaks down into “everybody do something cool” soon enough on our way to the finish.

This is really fun and well-built up to the inevitable big 619 sequence, but it’s lacking a certain escalation to really be worth the strong recommendation. Definitely an enjoyable experience, however.

Hiromu Takahashi vs. Will Ospreay (c) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship) (5): Hot from the start, slugging it out and heading up the ramp, where Ospreay does a tope con giro off it, so, you know, a tone is set. Will slows it down after, grinding Takahashi down in the ring, working his arm over for a while before we move back towards a more back-and-forth phase. Bombs intensifying, both men worn down by the grueling BOSJ schedule but giving it all they’ve got, just huge nearfall on huge nearfall.

So this was really good and absolutely a match to seek out. Tenacious Hiromu, going back to the triangle time after time, Ospreay literally dropping him on the back of his neck out of a powerbomb lift to counter it once, Will refusing to be defined any longer by the neck injury that’s plagued him since Sakura Genesis... great stuff.

Chris Jericho vs. Tetsuya Naito (c) (IWGP Intercontinental Championship) (5): Jericho starting hot and we’re right into brawling in the crowd! POWERBOMB THROUGH A TABLE! DDT ON ANOTHER TABLE! The bell sounds and Y2J remains absolutely in control, just giving Naito a thrashing here. Eventually the Stardust Genius finds his fire, spits in Jericho’s face, and rallies! Giving a beating every ounce as violent as the one he received before the match... PILEDRIVER THROUGH A TABLE!

Okay, I’m gonna stop before I just liveblog the match but this was amazing. Jericho at long last leaning into the grumpy old man role he was destined to be great at, Naito showing his resolve and fighting up from the depths, I had my doubts after Naito’s poor showing against Minoru Suzuki at Wrestling Hi no Kuni in April but this delivered at basically every level. Go watch it!

Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Kenny Omega (IWGP Heavyweight Championship 2⁄3 Falls No Time Limit Match) (5): Obligatory disclaimer: This is a huge main event, the fourth match in a much-beloved series, and if you’re reading this, odds are you don’t need me to tell you to go watch it.

That said, I thought the first fall was really well put together, with Omega largely dominating but Okada able to squeak one out, but the second fall started slow, with the Rainmaker trying to grind a win out and the match started to lose me a bit, although business picked back up late in the fall. The third, meanwhile, was all about both men being spent and having to dig deep to find that one last reserve that could win them them the match.

All in all, their G1 match is still my favorite of the four, but I enjoyed this more than their hour draw, despite it being longer. Sure, there’s stuff I’d trim, especially the first half of the second fall, which really sapped my energy at the end of a long morning, but the third fall in particular is some real great high drama wrestling action, the story of two men ran down to nothing with the greatest prize in the land on the line.

There you have it, folks

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to toss in your two cents below, Cagesiders.

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