Based on the events of a wild weekend in Fukuoka for Dontaku, three massive matches have been made for Dominion, which takes place in Osaka Jo Hall on June 9.
Kazuchika Okada will defend the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Chris Jericho. After a 37 minute war with SANADA on May 4, a triumphant Okada was proudly addressing his public when he was cut off by an unnerving video. That video was a message from Chris Jericho, who dubbed himself the ‘pain maker’ and that he would challenge Okada and win.
Okada was confident in declaring that the reverse would be true, and accepted the challenge, saying that the match ‘sounded fun’. Jericho and Okada may have very different definitions of that word. One year ago at Dominion, Jericho defeated Tetsuya Naito to seize the IWGP Intercontinental Championship on his first attempt; on the same night, Okada lost the IWGP Heavyweight Championship that he had held for nearly two years. Could history repeat June 9?
Also at Dominion, Tetsuya Naito will challenge Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Naito and Ibushi have had their careers entwined for years, but this seems especially true in 2019. El Ingobernable and the Golden Star have already met twice this year- during the New Japan Cup, and for the IC title at G1 Supercard- and both times the results have gone in Ibushi’s favour. Both matches have shown a level of athleticism and danger that Naito has likened to ‘playing with fire’. Now both men have a new drive and determination heading into Osaka.
For Ibushi, having freshly signed a lifetime deal with NJPW, a sense of responsibility, to show his commitment to New Japan, and commitment to the Intercontinental Championship, a title he wants to be seen as equal to or even above the Heavyweight Championship. For Naito, the desire to retake the Intercontinental gold as a stepping stone to being the first ever double Intercontinental and Heavyweight Champion. Whose resolve will prove stronger June 9?
We will also see a match for the NEVER Openweight Championship as new champion Taichi will face Tomohiro Ishii. Taichi used every weapon in his arsenal, from outside interference to undeniable guts and strength, to defeat Jeff Cobb for his second NEVER Championship on May 3 in Fukuoka. After his win, Taichi said he had a challenger in mind, and named Ishii after the Stone Pitbull defeated EVIL the next night.
During the New Japan Cup, Ishii narrowly beat Taichi in a match that turned out to be a classic. Ishii brought a level of competitive pride out of Taichi few had seen before, and the result was a hard hitting match that enthralled fans. Ultimately, Taichi’s goal is to provide results rather than fan service, but Tomohiro Ishii’s competitive pride will no doubt draw the brutal best from the ‘virtuous emperor’.