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NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall match recommendations: Men on the edge

Tetsuya Naito prepares to German suplex Kota Ibushi on the apron NJPW World

For full results of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall, you can check here, but otherwise, on with the show!

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.

Jon Moxley vs. Shota Umino (4): Umino with a hot start but Moxley won’t let him get any steam, hammering away, including a wicked Backdrop Driver and the ol’ Regal Stretch, but Shota won’t stay down and Jon invites him to keep trying. The Young Lion manages a rally and he’s got a brief window where victory is possible on our way to a finish.

This ruled-- it’s less than five minutes but it’s such a tight, violent contest that I can’t help but go a little strong on it.

Satoshi Kojima vs. Shingo Takagi (3): Lariat masters clubbing away at each other, a trip to the floor puts Takagi in control but Kojima’s veteran wiles let him keep it together enough after a Death Valley Driver on the apron to fire off a DDT in return and take the momentum. The energy level rises, the match goes back and forth to a finish, and this is a fine contest that sets the stage for Shingo’s run as an openweight nicely even if it doesn’t quite rise to the level of a must-watch.

Jushin Liger & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre, Jr.) (3): Suzuki-gun with the usual hot start, Sabre stretching the holy hell out of Tacos, Suzuki joining the fun, Liger gets sick of standing on the apron and slips in to pop YOSHI-HASHI in the face and fire him up for the tag! Jushin and Minoru go at it, tags made, and we head into the final stretch focusing on ZSJ and Tacos.

This is fine-- it doesn’t have enough time to really develop in the way you’d like, but it’s an entertaining enough match. Watch accordingly!

Bullet Club (Chase Owens, “Switchblade” Jay White, & Taiji Ishimori) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, & Ryusuke Taguchi (2): Owens and Juice to start, standard feeling out until Chase starts trying to work the cut over Robinson’s eye. Swap to Taguchi and Ishimori, soon enough the match breaks down at the behest of the Bullet Club, Switchblade works the Coach over, and Tanahashi makes the tag to clean house. Bullet Club again break the match down, the 1/100 doing his best but the damage to his arm is mounting as we head into the finish.

This was a bit of a letdown-- it’s okay, the finish is a little iffy, but it’s okay and nothing more. Very standard undercard tag stuff.

Taichi (c) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (NEVER Openweight Championship) (4): Taichi stalling, Ishii laying flat and offering him the opportunity to do whatever he likes to start. Of course “what he likes” doesn’t phase Tom, so it’s the champ on the back foot as the Stone Pitbull throws his toys out and they get right into the striking. And oh boy, the striking! Taichi and Ishii have a good degree of chemistry when they just beat the hell out of each other, and that’s what happens here. Good stuff!

Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (c) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) (IWGP Tag Team Championship) (2): Tonga and SANADA in it to start, fast-paced, neither man able to get an advantage, swap to the power halves of the teams as EVIL and Loa go bull moose with each other. Jado gets involved, they work EVIL over at length, SANADA does his thing, LIJ get a comeback, more interference, it’s all very exciting it’s just... the tag division is so shallow and it’s hard to get excited about any of this.

If you’re a new viewer of New Japan, you should probably consider this a click or two higher, but if you’ve been watching, you’ve seen all of this.

Dragon Lee (c) vs. Will Ospreay (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship) (5): Lee in control early, but a trip to the floor puts Ospreay in charge. Temperature turns up, some high octane back and forth... and then the pyrotechnics really set in. Things like Will landing on his feet on a Sasuke Special only for Dragon to nail him with a knee strike, set him up on the barricade, and absolutely TORPEDO him with a suicide dive start happening and this is off the charts wild, folks.

It ain’t the smartest or the most story driven match, but there’s enough spectacle here to get my full recommendation. Watch it!

Kota Ibushi (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito (IWGP Intercontinental Championship) (4): Fast-paced in the feeling out, Naito takes the lead and starts cranking away on Ibushi’s neck, and boy do things not improve for the Golden Star’s spinal column from there. This is a violent match between two men with little regard for their own well-being, to the point where they almost make Lee and Ospreay look cautious.

This comes very close to crossing the line into parody for me but they just about manage to make it work. That being said, coming after Lee/Ospreay telling a similar story in a way that came off, to me, as less brute force neck trauma and more interesting exchanges leads me to ding this a notch.

Chris Jericho vs. Kazuchika Okada (c) (IWGP Heavyweight Championship) (5): The story here is one of two men battling to have the match their way-- our collective brawling heavy metal dad Chris Jericho just looking to take Okada to the floor and murder him while the Rainmaker tries to force him to have his normal New Japan main event. As things proceed, Okada gets frustrated, loses his cool, and gives in and gives Y2J the brawl he wanted, which proves to be a mistake as the back damage has mounted to the point where the final stretch of the match is a question of whether the champion can fight through the pain for a victory.

This isn’t the best main event in recent memory, but I kinda loved it just for how different it was, and how effectively they told the story of the clash of styles here. Worth getting eyes on for yourself!

There you have it, folks

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

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