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New Japan Pro Wrestling “Dominion” Preview

by on June 14, 2011

By Dean Knickerbocker

June brings one of New Japan’s bigger and more important shows of the year, Dominion. The card this year looks absolutely stacked and at least on paper is the strongest NJPW show this year to date.

Dominion 2010 was an entertaining, if not necessarily spectacular show. Highlights included:

– Takashi Iizuka stomping through the crowd. He didn’t attack the announcer yet though (I believe that started at the G-1 finals show).

-Bad Intentions (Karl Anderson and Giant Bernard) defeating Blue Justice (Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue) and No Limit (Takahashi Yujiro & Tetsuya Naito) in a three way elimination match, which was fun although not all that memorable a match. Bad Intentions are still champions a year later.

Prince Devitt recapturing  the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title for New Japan from NOAH’s Naomichi Marufuji in a great match that was easily the highlight of the show. Like Bad Intentions, Devitt is still champion one year later.

Hiroshi Tanahashi over Toru Yano in a hair vs. hair match (not that there was any doubt that Tanahashi was losing his hair). The match itself was nothing special, although the post match posturing and attack by Yano was well done and very entertaining.

Togi Makabe defended the IWGP Title over Go Shiozaki. This was a great match, easily the second best on the show. I loved Makabe as champion because it seemed to give new life to all the title matches and was not the same recycled matches 1-2 years later as can be common across all wrestling promotions.
Coming off a strong New Japan Cup, a good pay-per-view in May and what sounds like an amazing 2011 Best of the Super Juniors (BOSJ) tournament, NJPW has announced the full card for Dominion 2011.

1. Koji Kanemoto vs. Hiromu Takahashi – Should be a solid opener, the veteran Kanemoto vs the rookie Takahashi. My guess is it only goes 4-5 minutes, Takahashi gets a few moves in and then Kanemoto gets the win.

2. Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask & KUSHIDA vs. Jado, Gedo & Killer Rabbit – For those who have not seen the Killer Rabbits in NJPW, what are you waiting for?!?! Good comedy spots featuring bunny hops and ear flops, but also still solid wrestling. The Rabbits are the freshest thing to hit NJPW in a few years. If there was any justice in the world, Killer Rabbit would pin Tiger Mask. Alas I expect Kushida to get the pin and start to build momentum towards a future IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title shot.

3. CMLL World Welterweight Title: Ryusuke Taguchi (c) vs. Mascara Dorada – I would expect Taguchi to win here since they want to keep him strong and he just lost in the BOSJ finals. But I also can’t see him holding this title too much longer, so a Dorada win wouldn’t surprise me either. I say Taguchi wins here, but drops the belt in Mexico sometime soon.

4. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue vs. Takashi Iizuka, Masato Tanaka & Tomohiro Ishii – I was disappointed to see Nagata in the standard NJPW 6-man tag mid card match. But realizing that the next day he has a Triple Crown match with Suwama for AJPW, I got it. I would expect some more Iizuka craziness (this alone makes this match worthwhile), some brief but stiff Nagata/Tanaka exchanges and in the end the heels to go over Inoue to keep them somewhat relevant.

5. Special Singles Match: Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi – The big break up of No Limit. I would think they would want this feud to play out a while. But it is also time for a Naito single push. As a single, Naito vs Goto was the best match on the February pay-per-view. I expect Naito to go over here and slowly ride up the card towards a title shot. Naito is the Goto of a few years ago. I will go out on a limb early and suggest he is IWGP champion by early 2013, and his march starts here.

6. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Prince Devitt (c) vs. Kota Ibushi – A rematch of their awesome tangle at Wrestle Kingdom earlier this year. Devitt has held the belt a year so I expect Ibushi to go over to bring some fresh title defenses in. This will be one of the best matches on the card no doubt.

7. Special Tag Match: Togi Makabe & Satoshi Kojima vs. Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer – I love the idea of Makabe & Kojima as a tag team. I am a little saddened as I liked Kojima as a heel and thought he had a little more juice in him in that role. But this should be good. I expect lots of entertaining outside interference from Taichi (who has been phenomenal in that role). The obvious expectation is that Archer will do the job, but that seems to me to be too obvious. I see a cheap ending and Suzuki &
Archer get the win somehow.

8. IWGP Intercontinental Title: MVP (c) vs. Toru Yano – MVP has been very good in the NJPW matches I have seen him in. The two NJPW regulars I really have no use for are Yano and Tomohiro Ishii. Here is to hoping MVP kicks his ass!

9. Double Title Match IWGP Tag Team Title & GHC Tag Team Title: Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson (c) vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & Takuma Sano (c) – This could be great if they all play to their strengths. I am not the biggest Takayama & Sano fan, but with the right opponent they can look great. Bernard is the best big man in the world and his interactions with Takayama should be good and stiff. Memo to Karl Anderson: Check out the Kings of Wrestling match with Takayama & Sano on 12/5/2010 to see how to bump and fly around and make these guys look like gods. In the end I expect Takayama & Sano to go over, get some rub for NOAH and allowing NJPW to send some teams to NOAH shows to add a little juice to them. I can also see Makabe & Kojima winning them back for NJPW sometime later in the summer or early fall. A Bad Intentions vs. Makabe & Kojima run would simply be awesome.

10. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Hirooki Goto – The battle of long time partners, this should be great. Their rivalry started when Goto walked out on Tanahashi during a tag team match earlier this year, leaving him to lose to MVP & Kojima. Then he challenged him after the 5/3 show which led to a confrontation and a Goto head butt knocking Tahahashi down. Goto has been on the cusp for a few years and I think this is when he finally does it. I expect Goto to win the title and for this match, although it won’t be as spectacular, to slightly edge Devitt vs. Ibushi for match of the night.

Almost every match on this card has the possibility of being great. So lets sit back and enjoy the best wrestling promotion in the world putting on an amazing night of professional wrestling.

-Dean

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