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The Week In Japanese Wrestling: Looking ahead to NJPW Dominion


Editor's note: The following originally appeared in this week's Figure Four Weekly.

With a marvelous Best of the Super Juniors in the books, New Japan Pro Wrestling heads toward Osaka-jo Hall this weekend for one of the year’s biggest shows and the rematch the world has been waiting for.

Dominion is a card that is unapologetically similar to Wrestle Kingdom at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th. Some will complain and try to portray this as a negative, but step back and think about this. It follows the same card structure and has three direct rematches of one of the greatest shows ever.

The three matches getting redone were all considered classics. All of the main programs are quite clearly massively over with the live crowds up and down Japan if you listen to the reactions. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the show is sold out, and it sold out with increased ticket prices. This company is on fire and the card being presented is what their audience en masse wants.

Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega will take to the stage for the main event with the impossible task of following what they did in January. They’re not going to try to top that. They’re too smart to. They are going to try to make this one different, to tell a different story, and to make it stand alone but also work within their overarching rivalry. It’s going to be truly fascinating to watch.

Tetsuya Naito has only gotten hotter since the Dome and it feels like he’s set to break through onto an even bigger plain of existence that has only ever been occupied by a select handful of New Japan legends. One of those is of course Hiroshi Tanahashi, and these two will also have their work cut out trying to top what they did five months ago. How big a factor Tanahashi’s biceps injury will be, and how that may change the result of the match, is anyone’s guess.

The BOSJ winner KUSHIDA will get his title shot against Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi. KUSHIDA will attempt to avenge not only his Tokyo Dome loss but also the shocking two-minute defeat he suffered in April at Sakura Genesis.

With the form the challenger is in, this could be one of the best Junior title matches of this run. Takahashi has been can’t-miss ever since becoming champion, and this will be a defining night for him in terms of possibly taking him next level within the promotion (much like his LIJ leader Naito).