New Japan Pro Wrestling’s plans have been thrown into chaos by the title-vacating injury suffered by IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay and a COVID outbreak on top of it but things are finally starting to get back on track with the announcement of our first matches for Dominion a little over a week away. Let’s list ‘em out and break ‘em down, shall we?
NJPW Dominion 6.6 in Osaka-Jo Hall (June 7, 5AM Eastern / 2AM Pacific)
- Jeff Cobb vs. Kota Ibushi
- El Desperado (c) vs. YOH (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship)
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Shingo Takagi (IWGP World Heavyweight Championship)
So! Nothing all that surprising here (well, maybe aside from the fact that all the promotional graphics and website copy still call it Dominion 6.6 when it’s taking place on 6/7, but whatcha gonna do?), but still, we can do a little bit of analysis here.
With Okada healed up from the plague, he was always going to be the most logical choice for one half of the match for the vacant IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, seeing as he had the next shot against Ospreay before he had to vacate it, but making Shingo his opponent is a choice that opens up a lot of intriguing possibilities.
Putting the title back on the Rainmaker is always going to make a certain degree of sense, for one. He’s set records with the old IWGP Heavyweight Championship, he’s one of the biggest stars in the company, and he hasn’t held a title in over a year. Especially in a time of turmoil, he’s a steady hand to turn to.
But... let’s face it, he’s kinda worn out. New Japan asks a lot of its top guys and tends to grind them down, and Kazuchika is no exception. And in Takagi, they have a guy who earlier this year handed Okada a major defeat in New Japan Cup.
Now, Shingo already had his shot for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship against Ospreay and lost. NJ management would be totally justified in choosing another viable contender here. Former champ Kota Ibushi, say, or one of Will’s UNITED EMPIRE stablemates like Jeff Cobb.
But instead they’ve funneled Shingo right back around to another shot and kept Kota and Jeff on the road they were on before the vacation, adding #1 contender’s implications to their grudge match but not derailing it. That feels like it has to mean something, folks.
And of course, last but not least, YOH finally gets his junior title shot against El Desperado, a match that itself was postponed thanks to a wave of COVID-precaution-induced card changes back at Wrestling Dontaku.
There you have it, folks
Excited for the top matches at Dominion, Cagesiders?