NJPW continues in Osaka!
The Golden Star and the Uncontrollable Charisma have one of the fiercest rivalries in NJPW today! But who comes out the IWGP Intercontinental Champion after this G1 Supercard rematch?
Coverage of Dominion in Osaka-Jo Hall will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found on https://frentique.tumblr.com/
- Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr VS Jushin Thunder Liger & Yoshi-Hashi; Liger & Yoshi-Hashi win.
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Taichi VS Tomohiro Ishii; Ishii wins and becomes the new NEVER Openweight Champion.
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Guerrillas of Destiny VS EVIL & SANADA; Guerrillas of Destiny win and retain the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Kota Ibushi VS Tetsuya Naito; Naito wins and becomes the new IWGP Intercontinental Champion.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS TV set the scene for Dominion Part 2!
Los Ingobernables de Japon goes for gold! First, the rivals of the Golden Star and Uncontrollable Charisma meet again in their third match-up this year! Kota Ibushi took the first in the New Japan Cup, then the second in an IWGP Intercontinental Championship match at G1 Supercard in Madison Square Garden! Despite Naito’s love-hate relationship with the belt, he wants it back here in Osaka-Jo. However, this arena hasn’t been kind to him, as he’s lost the last three times he’s been here. Will Ibushi go a full 3-0 in 2019? Or will Naito break through to reclaim his Destino?
Meanwhile, the IWGP Heavyweight Championships are on the line again as the Guerrillas of Destiny and the combo of Evil & Sanada fight again. The GoD are joint IWGP and ROH World Tag Team Champions after G1 Supercard, but will Darkness Fall to make LIJ three-time champions? Or will Tama Tonga & Tonga Loa still rule over two tag team divisions? And before all of this, the NEVER Openweight Championship has been a bit of a hot potato. Taichi has won, lost and won back the title. And in a bold move, he called out Tomohiro Ishii as his new challenger! Will the Sliest Wrestler in the World have something in store for the Stone Pitbull? Or will Ishii become a historic five-time Openweight Champion?
Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr VS Jushin Thunder Liger & Yoshi-Hashi!
The Meanest Man in the World and his Submission Master protege look to ruin the road to retirement for the living legend of Junior Heavyweight wrestling, and just the general well-being of the Head Hunter. Can Liger and Hashi survive the sadistic duo?
Well it might be hard with Suzuki and ZSJ attacking from behind! ZSJ throws Hashi out while Suzuki goes after Liger. The bell rings anyway but Suzuki whips Liger into barriers. Hashi and ZSJ brawl on the other side, and Hashi actually backs ZSJ down. Suzuki has Liger in front of the crowd while Hashi CHOPS ZSJ in front of commentary. Liger CHOPS but Suzuki eggs him on. Suzuki then SLAPS Liger down and rips railing apart to throw it onto him! Meanwhile, Hashi and ZSJ get in the ring. Hashi whips but ZSJ reverses to tweak the arm! ZSJ drags Hashi around for a Boston Crab, and with a knee in Hashi’s head. ZSJ shifts around to a modified STF, then a cover, TWO!
Hashi sits up but ZSJ tags Suzuki. They mug Hashi in their corner, then Suzuki snapmares and kicks Hashi. Suzuki taunts Liger and the ref keeps Liger from getting in. But this allows Suzuki-Gun to put Hashi in double team submissions! Armlocks and leglocks, but the referee finally catches them. ZSJ leaves but Suzuki toys with Hashi. Hashi hits back but Suzuki just eggs him on. Hashi keeps throwing forearms and even chops, but Suzuki’s one forearm ROCKS Hashi to an open corner! Tag to ZSJ and ZSJ taunts Hashi. ZSJ takes Hashi’s KT tape and throws it at him. ZSJ kicks at Hashi, and so does Suzuki. They both toy with Hashi but Hashi starts powering up. Hashi throws big forearms on ZSJ, only to get a Pele to the arm!
Tag to Suzuki, and Suzuki-Gun mugs Hashi more. Suzuki whips Hashi corner to corner for a boot! Then a snapmare to Penalty Kick! Cover, TWO! And Liger gets in to kick Hashi awake?! Fans like that, but Suzuki doesn’t, and Suzuki punches Liger. That only fires Liger up, and fans rally behind Hashi. Hashi throws forearms on Suzuki, but Suzuki whips. Hashi reverses and CHOPS him! Suzuki slows but goes after Hashi, only to get a spin back kick! Hashi hurries and tags Liger in! Liger rallies with SHOTEI for Suzuki, and SHOTEI for ZSJ! Liger runs in but misses in the corner. Suzuki grabs Liger by his mask, but now it’s a CHOP fight! Suzuki headlocks but Liger powers out, only for Suzuki to hold the hair and headbutt Liger down! Now Suzuki rains down rights before wrapping on a cross arm-breaker!
Liger flails and gets up, but Suzuki wrangles him down! Liger reaches and gets the ropebreak! Fans cheer as Suzuki lets go, but Suzuki’s right on Liger again. Suzuki snarls as he kicks Liger. Liger drags himself up but Suzuki throws big forearms. Suzuki wraps on the sleeper hold! Liger flails but fades, and Suzuki spins him around! Gotch hold but Liger resists the lift! Suzuki knees low but Liger headbutts back! Suzuki falls but Liger drags him up, suplex to brainbuster! Both men are down but fans fire up. Suzuki and Liger crawl as fans rally up. Hot tags to SJ and Hashi! Hashi CHOPS then whips but ZSJ reverses. Hashi dodges for a blockbuster! The Head Hunter hits his mark, but he keeps going with a running CHOP!
Hashi suplexes ZSJ onto the ropes, then runs to dropkick him down! Cover, TWO! Hashi keeps on ZSJ but ZSJ slips out to a kimura! Then a cross arm-breaker! Hashi holds on but ZSJ goes after the grip. ZSJ gets the extension! Liger breaks that up then intercepts Suzuki! Suzuki reverses the whip to an abdominal stretch! ZSJ gets on on Hashi! Side-by-side cobra twists! Hashi endures as the legal man but Liger endures just as much. Hashi powers his way to a ropebreak! ZSJ lets go and Suzuki drags Liger to the outside. Suzuki stomps Liger out in front of commentary, then whips, but Liger reverses to send Suzuki into railing! Meanwhile, Hashi elbows ZSJ’s knee, but ZSJ kicks and runs, into Hashi’s lariat!
Hashi fires up and drags ZSJ to his feet. Pump handle but ZSJ slips out to a facelock. ZSJ has the arm, but Hashi suplexes. ZSJ slips out to a sleeper, then a full nelson, but Hashi arm-drags out. Hashi spins into a roundhouse but still CHOPS! ZSJ slaps and uppercuts but Hashi backslides! Hashi rolls ZSJ to a cradle, and Liger anchors Suzuki on the outside! Hashi and Liger win!!
Winners: Yoshi-Hashi & Jushin Thunder Liger, Hashi pinning
What a shock! ZSJ and Suzuki won’t stand for this, they wreak havoc! ZSJ brawls with Hashi while Suzuki throws whatever and whoever he can. But Hashi clobbers ZSJ with a lariat! Suzuki continues to be furious, but that’s because Hashi is no longer a joke! Will the Head Hunter make the Submission Master’s Revolution Pro British Heavyweight Championship his prey?
NEVER Openweight Championship: Taichi VS Tomohiro Ishii!
The Holy Emperor and the Stone Pitbull joined NJPW at the same time, and have been rivals for it ever since. But will Taichi regret challenging his rival to be his first challenger after just getting this belt? Or will Taichi finally prove to Ishii, the world, and himself that he is truly championship material?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised after Taichi tosses it at Ishii, and the match begins!
Fans cheer for Ishii as he stares at Taichi. Taichi smirks as he and Ishii circle. But then Taichi slithers out to walk with Miho Abe around the ring. Ishii waits patiently for Taichi to return. Taichi takes his time, so Ishii lies down on the mat. Ishii says Taichi has an easy target now. Taichi still takes his time returning, and knows better than to cover Ishii. He stomps Ishii, but Ishii doesn’t flinch. Taichi keeps stomping, then kicks Ishii while he sits up. Ishii keeps his cool as Taichi toys with him. Ishii stands up and stares Taichi down. Taichi pushes Ishiia round, but Ishii DECKS him with one forearm! Now Ishii returns those toying kicks, then drags Taichi up for a CHOP! Ishii CHOPS more but Taichi rakes his eyes! So Ishii rakes Taichi’s eyes back!
The referee reprimands both men, but the eye raking continues. Ishii lets Taichi go to then whip corner to corner. Taichi reverses and boots Ishii, then runs only to get run over! Ishii kicks Taichi sharp on the back, and looms over him as he writhes. Ishii grabs Taichi’s mic stand and knapsack. He says all this is junk, and tosses the mic away! Ishii also tosses the bag, then goes back to kick at Taichi. Taichi grows annoyed and the two go forehead to forehead. Taichi kicks Ishii in the leg, so Ishii chops Taichi. Neither backs down as the kicks and CHOPS go back and forth. They pick up speed! Kick, chop, repeat, as they go around in a circle! Ishii staggers and Taichi kicks more. Ishii chops then slaps, so Taichi SLAPS! Fans respect that toughness!
Taichi goes at Ishii in the corner, and kicks him while he’s down. Ishii gets to ropes but Taichi drags him up to put him in the corner. Taichi kicks Ishii more, and still toys with Ishii. Ishii rolls away but Taichi keeps on him with a sharp kick! Ishii reels back but Taichi drags him up. Taichi snapmares and kicks again! Ishii writhes while Taichi scowls. Taichi grabs Ishii in a waistlock but Ishii resists the saido suplex with elbows. Ishii headbutts away on Taichi, but Taichi back kicks. Taichi runs but into a powerslam! Fans cheer while both men are down, and we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns, and Ishii looms over Taichi. Ishii kicks him to a corner, then stands him up for CHOPS and forearms! Chop, forearm, repeat, then Ishii whips Taichi corner to corner. Taichi boots Ishii away, but Ishii keeps coming. Taichi dodges to enziguri Ishii down! Fans cheer but Taichi mocks the Ishii fans. Off come the pants! Taichi powers up but Ishii dodges the kick. Ishii waistlocks but Taichi elbows back. Taichi swings but Ishii spins him and suplexes. Taichi escapes and spins Ishii for a kick, only for Ishii to dump him down! Ishii throws forearms, Taichi enziguris again! Both men are down and fans cheer. Miho rallies the fans up, and Taichi stands first.
Taichi runs but Ishii blocks the clothesline to give one. Ishii runs but into a roundhouse! Taichi runs to clobber Ishii then enziguri a third time! Both men are down again but Miho shouts for Taichi to stand. Taichi does stand, and he drags Ishii up off the mat. Taichi saido suplexes Ishii down hard! Cover, TWO!! Ishii just survives! Fans cheer while Taichi keeps his focus. Taichi drags Ishii up again, but Ishii gives Taichi a saido! Both men are down but fans rally up. They stand and Taichi boots Ishii. But Ishii stays up, and eggs him on! Taichi kicks him over and over but Ishii still eggs him on. Taichi goes up but gets blocked and caught into a German Suplex! Ishii wants Taichi to stand, then runs, but Taichi dodges the lariat. Taichi uses the ref as a shield!
The ref goes down, but Ishii blocks the low blow! And headbutts Taichi back! Taichi blocks a kick but again Ishii blocks the low blow! For another headbutt! Taichi is down but Ishii only fires up. Ishii wants Taichi to get back up, and he waits as Taichi slowly stirs. Ishii runs, but into a boot. He still lariats on the other end! Taichi gets up for another lariat! Cover, TWO!! Taichi lives but Ishii grits his teeth. Ishii sits Taichi up, runs, but Taichi dodges the sliding lariat to enziguri Ishii down! Taichi runs for a sliding lariat of his own! Then the Gedo Clutch! TWO!! Ishii narrowly escapes! Fans fire up again as both men are down. Miho grows concerned for Taichi as he and Ishii slowly sit up.
Taichi is the first to stand, and he runs at Ishii. Ishii dodges, but so does Taichi. They both run for clotheslines! Taichi takes Ishii down! Then he drags Ishii up into a dragon sleeper! He stretches Ishii sideways! Ishii endures the stretch and twist, even as Taichi goes a full 90 degrees! The ref checks on Ishii as he starts to fade. Ishii’s arm goes down once, and Taichi cranks. It goes down again, but Taichi drags Ishii to his feet. Ishii revives to enziguri, but Taichi blocks it! Taichi hits the buzzsaw! Taichi looms over Ishii and says this will end it! Alabama lift, tuck, but Ishii slips out! Ishii powerbomb lifts but Taichi slips out to ROUNDHOUSE! Then, powerbomb lift, Last Ride!! Cover, TWO?! The Stone Pitbull is superhuman!
Fans are thunderous as Taichi crawls to a corner. Ishii slowly stirs as Taichi fires up. Taichi aims, thrusts, but misses! Ishii swings but Taichi deflects. Taichi tries again, but Ishii catches the kick to give an enziguri! Ishii rolls away to a corner and he fires up. Ishii aims at Taichi as he stands, but runs into a back kick! He blocks Taichi’s roundhouse to throw elbows from all sides! But Taichi still enziguris! But Ishii stays up to LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!? Now Taichi shows his heart, but Ishii won’t just give up. Ishii suplexes Taichi, but Taichi slips out to throw elbows of his own! Taichi Alabama lifts, but Ishii counters with a powerbomb lift! Powerbomb and SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, TWO!?! Ishii doesn’t care how, he just keeps going, for a BRAINBUSTER! Cover, Ishii wins!!
Winner: Tomohiro Ishii, by pinfall; NEW NEVER Openweight Champion
Once again, the Stone Pitbull is champion! He is the first five-time champion of this belt! But with all it took in this match, is this rivalry of NJPW Black Sheep far from over?
NJPW Media backstage interview
Ishii sits down with his newly won belt to say, “It was just like I said. Okayama all over again.” Ishii says that is his style. Taichi wishes he could wrestle like Ishii does. But Taichi’s style is “half-assed.” What’s the point of the mic stand and the iron glove or any of that stuff? If you win that way, the question still remains. But what Taichi does from here is up to him. If Taichi can admit he lost, there may be hope for him yet. As for NJPW, they’re gonna need to patch up this belt. Will Ishii hold onto the title long enough for that renewed belt? Or will this title stay a hot potato through the summer?
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Guerrillas of Destiny VS EVIL & SANADA!
After G1 Supercard, Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa reign over both the ROH and NJPW tag team divisions! But a Fatal 4 Way doesn’t really prove much as far as they’re concerned. They took care of Jay & Mark Briscoe in a rematch for the ROH World Tag Team Championships, but can they do the same to their NJPW rivals? Or will The King of Darkness and the Cold Skull win those belts for a third time?
The introductions are made, and Jado hits the poor ring announcer! Then he threatens commentary! Jado’s actions aside, the IWGP belts are raised, and we begin this epic rematch!
Teams sort out, and Tama starts against Sanada. Fans rally behind LIJ, and Sanada takes a moment to climb up and hear the fans. Sanada offers Tama the same courtesy, so Tama climbs up, to hear more of a mixed reaction. Tama just grins as he offers Sanada a second go. Sanada climbs up again and Osaka cheers loud and proud. Tama is upset by that, and rushes at Sanada! Sanada jumps over, then over again, and things speed up. Tama hip tosses but Sanada lands on his feet! Sanada ducks the punch to speed up again. Tama copies Sanada’s hurdles, but Sanada sees the second one coming, and spins Tama to a takedown! Sanada goes for Paradise, but Tama pushes him away! Tama backs off to his corner while fans cheer.
Sanada waits for Tama, but Evil and Tonga Loa tag in. Evil circles with Loa as the powerhouses of their teams. Evil hits low then headlocks. Loa powers out but they collide shoulders. Neither man falls so Loa dares Evil to go again. Evil does, and they collide again. Now Evil eggs Loa on. Loa tells Evil, “I’m a f*cking champion! You gotta bring it, bro!” Loa runs, they collide and Evil staggers back! Tama laughs as Loa eggs Evil on again. Evil runs, dodges and hits Tama! Then he sends Loa into Tama, to then run Loa over! Fans cheer as Evil nods. Evil stomps Loa’s legs then clubs him on the back. He drags Loa up and CHOPS! Evil CHOPS m ore but Loa just fires up. Evil CHOPS Loa again, and off his feet! Cover, ONE!
Evil keeps on Loa to kick and run, but Jado and that damn kendo stick block Evil’s path! Loa runs but into a waistlock. Loa standing switches but so does Evil, and Evil lifts. Tama distracts the ref as Jado SMACKS Evil in the back! Fans boo the Master Heater and Sanada protests. Tama kicks the rope to indirectly low blow Sanada! Loa stomps Evil out then pushes him to the outside. Tama and Loa both go out to keep on LIJ. Tama sends Sanada into railing while Loa holds Evil for Jado. The ref sees that, and so Jado backs off. Loa bumps Evil on the apron, then plays innocent. This distracts the ref so that Jado can jab Evil in the ribs! Tama comes over to club Evil down while Loa apologizes to the ref. Loa gets in the ring while Tama rams Evil into railing!
The ref reprimands Tama and starts a count. Evil sits up at 7/20, while Tama and Jado taunt him. Tama puts Evil in at 11/20, and Loa goes at Evil with headbutts. Evil staggers to a corner but Loa fires off forearms. Loa whips corner to corner then hits Evil with a clothesline. Loa keeps moving, BIG shotgun knee takes Evil down! Cover, TWO! Loa keeps his cool as he drags Evil up. Tag to Tama, and Loa scoop slams Evil down. Tama adds the slingshot senton, then swaggers about. Evil grits his teeth while Tama throws down hands. Tama drives elbows in but Evil keeps sitting up. Tama drags Evil up for a snap suplex! Cover, TWO! Tama grows annoyed, but he brings Evil over to tag in Loa. Tama and Loa whip and double dropkick Evil down! Cover, TWO!
Fans rally for Evil as Sanada returns to the corner. Loa taunts Evil then blasts Sanada down. Loa drags Evil back to the GoD corner to throw big body shots and forearms. Tag to Tama and he throws hands and a dropkick! Evil flops down but fans keep cheering. Tama tags Loa back in, and the GoD have Evil down for another slingshot senton! Cover, TWO! Loa keeps his cool as he drags Evil up. He puts Evil in an open corner for stomps and forearms. Loa mocks the fans cheering for Evil as he whips Evil corner to corner. Evil reverses but Loa reverses back. Evil hits buckles hard and falls to the mat. Loa drags Evil up for forearms then a scoop. Evil slips out to shove Loa. Evil blocks the kick, hands it to the ref, and mule kicks Loa down low!
Fans rally up as both men crawl for their corners. Hot tag to Sanada! Tama just comes in to intercept and elbow Sanada. Tama whips Sanada to a corner, then Loa runs in. Sanada dodges Loa to dropkick Tama’s legs out! Sanada goes back at Loa to block the boot. And he puts Loa in Paradise! Tama attacks Sanada and whips, but Sanada reverses. Sanada shows Tama how the hurdles are done, then dropkicks him down! Tama bails out but Sanada slingshots to take him out! Then Sanada slingshots onto Jado! Fans fire up behind Cold Skull as he returns to the ring. Sanada still has one target left, and he dropkicks Loa out of Paradise! Cover, TWO! Sanada keeps his cool as he stalks Loa.
Sanada drags Loa up, but Loa blocks the back suplex. Loa runs but into headscissors. But Loa blocks it to a sit-out bomb! Cover, TWO! Tama tags in and takes out Evil. Loa rams Sanada in the open corner, then Tama hits a big splash! GoD mock the fans cheering Sanada on, but the fans do cheer. It bothers Tama, and he goes after Sanada. He whips corner to corner but Sanada tumbles out and springboards back in with a missile dropkick! Tag to Evil and Evil hits Loa! LIJ whip Tama corner to corner, back elbow and clothesline! Evil suplexes Tama up top then climbs up to join him. Evil stands Tama up, and SUPERPLEXES him down! Sanada hits a standing moonsault on top! Evil has Tama in the Sharpshooter!
Tama endures while Evil sits deep. Sanada tries but can’t stop Loa, Loa barrels in and breaks the hold. Loa throws hands on both Evil and Sanada, then throws double dirty birds. Loa runs, but into Evil’s mule kick! Sanada front kicks and Evil LARIATS Loa down! Tama runs in, but into a boot, then mule kick, then saido suplex! Fans fire up behind LIJ as they vow to end this. Evil drags Tama up and Sanada props him up. But Loa intercepts! Tama powers Evil to a corner, Loa German Suplexes Sanada! But Sanada lands on his feet to spin Loa around, Salida into the dragon sleeper! Evil beats Tama down then hits Jado. Tama grabs Evil but Evil spins through to trip Tama up. Sharpshooter side-by-side with the dragon sleeper! Sanada drops back for full Skull End!
GoD endure submissions as Evil sits deep. Tama powers up and reaches, but Evil drags him away from ropes! Loa fades while Tama endures! Jada drags the referee out just before Tama taps!! LIJ think they’ve won, but Jado attacks with his kendo stick! Jado gets in the ring as fans boo, and he SMACKS Evil! Jado doesn’t give a damn that his stick is broken, he aims at Evil again. But wait, LJI has reinforcements! Bushi runs in, grabs the stick, and sprays Jado with the mist!! To then SMACK Jado down! Fans fire up as Bushi ruins and DIVES into Jado! He also gets the ref in the ring for Evil and Sanada as they vow to finish it! They grab Tama, lift, but Tama kicks Sanada away! Tama rolls Evil, and holds tights!! GoD win!!
Winners: Guerrillas of Destiny, by pinfall; still IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions
It took the Master Heater and a tight grip on the tights, but the Bullet Club’s top tag team still reigns over both ROH and NJPW! Not even evening the numbers was enough to defeat them, will Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa continue being double champions through the summer?
NJPW Media backstage interview
Tama Tonga tells LIJ that when they asked for a rematch, GoD granted it. And they still won! “Who else wants a rematch?!” Oh, the Briscoes do, just because they were losers the first two times. Do they think third time’s the charm? They’ll lose again. GoD wants new blood! “When we say this is an open invite, it’s an open challenge. An open invitation to anybody and everybody, including their mother, their mother’s daughter, their daughter’s cousin’s best friend’s dog’s pet. Insects, whatever the hell y’all got! It’s open!” If you want it, come get it! Usos, The Revival, come get some! Don’t let fences block you in. Just come out and play. Who will answer this most open of open challenges to test the Guerrillas?
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Kota Ibushi VS Tetsuya Naito!
The Golden Star is 2-0 in 2019 alone, beating the Uncontrollable Charisma in both the New Japan Cup and at G1 Supercard in Madison Square Garden. And now, Ibushi calls NJPW his true wrestling home! But a 3-0 sweep is incredibly difficult by any standard, let alone in NJPW. Will Ibushi stay golden with yet another win? Or will Naito defy history and finally get a win in Dominion?
Introductions are made and fans are already thunderous for these two fan favorites. The belt is raised, and Ibushi is patient as Naito takes off his elaborate entrance gear. The bell rings, and we begin the third chapter of this rivalry!
Ibushi and Naito hear the fans fire up again as the two stare down. Naito and Ibushi slowly circle, then tie up fast! Ibushi headlocks but Naito pries out. Ibushi keeps him in but Naito punches back. Naito powers out and things speed up. Ibushi dodges, hurdles, but Naito sunset flips. Ibushi rolls through but Naito dodges the Penalty Kick. Naito arm-drags but Ibushi rolls him to headscissors. Naito pops out but into Ibushi’s kick! Fans cheer this already fast and furious match!
Ibushi watches Naito writhe his way to a corner. Ibushi stomps Naito then drags him up for an arm wrench. He whips corner to corner but Naito elbows back. Naito runs out but into Ibushi’s kick. Ibushi runs but into a hip toss, Naito basement dropkicks him in the back then poses. Naito has a mixed reaction until he poses again. Then he spits at the haters. Naito stomps Ibushi then drags Ibushi up to a dragon sleeper for a neckbreaker. He wraps Ibushi up in a modified leg full nelson. Ibushi endures even as Naito hammers his head with fists. Ibushi powers up to turn around, and kicks his way to a ropebreak. Naito holds on until Red Shoes counts, but Naito says he has a hard time letting go. Fans boo, but Naito lets go at 3.
Ibushi crawls but Naito drags him up for forearms. Ibushi hits back but there’s not much there. He keeps trying, but Naito spits on him! Naito stomps Ibushi as fans boo. Naito grinds Ibushi’s head into the corner, then stands up to pose on the ropes. Fans are still mixed as Naito stomps Ibushi again. Naito drags Ibushi up and whips him corner to corner. He runs in, jump kicks and sweeps for a fake out, to then basement dropkick Ibushi! And then tranquilo! Naito kneels on Ibushi for a cover, ONE. Naito actually covers, TWO! So Naito spits at Red Shoes. Red Shoes wipes it off on Naito as Naito stands. Naito kicks Ibushi but Ibushi eggs him on. Naito keeps kicking and now Ibushi gets up. Ibushi fires back with forearm and he starts getting his strength back. But then Naito fakes him out to rake the eyes.
Fans boo again but Naito doesn’t care. He drags Ibushi up, whips, but Ibushi reverses. Naito reverses back to atomic drop Ibushi, then runs, only to get double stomps! Ibushi and Naito are both down while fans cheer. Ibushi fires himself up as he goes to Naito. He stands Naito up but Naito swings. Ibushi ducks it to fire off a strike fest! Naito staggers away after the back kick, but Ibushi whips him corner to corner. Naito reverses that, then run sin only for Ibushi to go up and over. Ibushi gets Naito with a huricanrana! Fans rally up as Ibushi takes aim. Ibushi slingshots for a corkscrew splash! Ibushi clips the apron and is a little dazed himself. But he shakes it off to get Naito back and in. Cover, TWO!
Ibushi keeps his cool as he drags Naito back up. Naito resists the waistlock lift and elbows free. Naito switches but Ibushi resists now. Ibushi breaks free but gets an enziguri! Naito whips but Ibushi reverses, and catches the flying forearm into a Half ‘n’ Half Suplex! Naito is up and spins around to tornado DDT Ibushi down! Both men are down but Osaka is fired up as we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns, and both men are down on the ground. Osaka duels and Naito gets himself to a corner. Ibushi stirs and Naito runs in, shotgun dropkick! Cover, TWO! Ibushi survives but Naito keeps his cool. He drags Ibushi back up to throw big forearms and elbows in the corner. Naito hoists Ibushi up top, then climbs up to join him, but Ibushi resists. Naito clubs away until Ibushi lets go, and then still clubs him more. But Ibushi slips under to PELE Naito down! Naito hits ropes then tumbles to the apron. Ibushi climbs up the ropes and drags Naito back up. Ibushi waistlocks but Naito fights out. Naito throws uppercut after uppercut, then drags Ibushi over in a gut wrench! But Ibushi saves himself with flailing!
Ibushi joins Naito on the apron and waistlocks Naito. Naito holds on to deny the German Suplex, and elbows Ibushi off him. Naito clubs Ibushi more, then gets some space. Ibushi runs at Naito but gets a boot! Naito now waistlocks Ibushi with a dangerous idea in mind! Ibushi holds on to deny the German Suplex! Naito clubs away on Ibushi’s back again, and grins as he gets the waistlock back. Naito German Suplexes Ibushi to the apron!! Dear God, Ibushi’s head and neck!! Red Shoes checks on Ibushi but somehow, by a miracle, Ibushi is okay. Naito gets in the ring and a 20 count begins. The count passes 10 but Ibushi does not stir. The count passes 15, then 17, but Ibushi revives at 19 and gets in at 19.9!! It’s hard to even believe Ibushi is conscious.
Naito shows no mercy and he drags Ibushi up to bump him off buckles. Naito hoists Ibushi up backwards, and climbs up behind him. He wants to end this, SUPER REVERSE STEINER!! Cover, TWO!? Ibushi lives!? Naito doesn’t hesitate to drag Ibushi up again. Wring and tilt-o-whirl, but Ibushi blocks it! Ibushi tucks Naito in, Package Tombstone! But he can’t make the cover! Both men are down and a standing count begins. Osaka practically pleads with both men to stand as the count passes 5. Ibushi and Naito sit up at 8, and the match continues. Ibushi throws a forearm at Naito, and eggs Naito on. Naito hits Ibushi back, so Ibushi gives him another. Naito grins as he throws another forearm at Ibushi.
The two slowly stand as they continue to throw forearms. Ibushi hits, Naito hits, and they pick up the pace! Naito gets an edge, but Ibushi comes back with just as many! Naito headbutts! Ibushi falls to his knees, but Naito stands him up for more headbutts. And more headbutts! But Ibushi just comes back with a kick! Naito headbutts again, but Ibushi CHOPS Naito off his feet! Then LARIATS him inside-out! Ibushi slumps over and both men are down again. Osaka gives Ibushi power to get up and shout out the King of Strong Style! Ibushi runs at Naito, but Naito dodges to Dragon Suplex! Ibushi staggers onto his feet, Naito runs in for DESTINO!! Cover, TWO?!? Ibushi survives again?! Naito is too stunned to be frustrated!
Naito drags Ibushi up again, wrings the arm and tries again, but Ibushi denies Destino to a gut buster! Ibushi drags Naito up now, powerbomb lift, and LAST RIDE! Cover, TWO!! Now Naito shocks Ibushi! Both men are down again but Osaka cheers them on. Ibushi drags Naito up in the double wristlock, but Naito leaps up for a satellite DDT! Both men are down again, but crawling to opposite ends. Osaka hits a fever pitch as Naito and Ibushi sit up. Ibushi aims at Naito then runs in, but into a boot and enziguri! Naito hops up, grabs Ibushi with a dragon sleeper, inverted tornado DDT! Cover, TWO! Ibushi still has life but Naito does, too! Naito drags Ibushi up, tilt-o-whirl, but another block! Fireman’s carry, but Naito pops up! REVERSE-RANA!
But Naito’s not done, he scoops Ibushi for Valentia, the Northern Lights Driver! Cover, TWO!!! Ibushi STILL lives!! Naito is at a loss for words, but he still wants it. Wrench and tilt-o-whirl, DESTINO!! Cover, Naito wins!!
Winner: Tetsuya Naito, by pinfall; NEW IWGP Intercontinental Champion
And finally, Naito takes the title back! He and Ibushi still hold hands until the medics help them with ice packs. Somehow both men survived, and Naito has the belt he doesn’t really like back. Naito adds insult to injury as he stands on Ibushi’s head while posing. Will both Naito and Ibushi move on from this rivalry of there? Will Naito continue to chase his dream of being dual Intercontinental and Heavyweight Champion? Can Ibushi recover from the devastation to his body?
NJPW Media backstage interview
Naito tosses the chair aside, he doesn’t want to sit down. “I still don’t really understand the value of this belt. But there’s no doubt that this belt is the one I want most right now.” Naito has the Intercontinental Championship back, but he doesn’t feel any closer to his goal of holding two belts at once. Perhaps he’s back to square one. Naito will hold onto this title while chasing THE IWGP Heavyweight Championship, via the G1 Climax! Because winning that means winning a shot at the Heavyweight Championship. And then nobody can stop him. A nice little shortcut, really. The Intercontinental title came back to Naito at just the right time. It must have missed him. Naito is back where he started, and has a goal in sight.
Oh, and as for Ibushi… “I don’t like him as a person, but I love him as a wrestler.” Things are always interesting with him around. Ibushi doesn’t want to have a match with Naito again, but if he changes his mind, Naito welcomes another rematch. He looks forward to it with his usual answer: “Tranquilo, chilllll out.” Adios!
A pretty strong conclusion to AXS’s coverage of Dominion 2019. The tag match of Suzuki-Gun VS Liger & Yoshi-Hashi was good, and Hashi getting the pin was a surprise. I really wonder if we’ll get ZSJ VS Hashi for the Rev-Pro British Heavyweight title at a NJPW event, that’d be a lot of fun. I doubt Hashi would win, though. Suzuki VS Liger sounds like a lot of fun, too, with these two legends and their opposite styles. Liger is retiring one way or another this year, from what he’s said, but if it isn’t his actual last match, I could see Liger finding a way to win. That’d make for good story. Taichi VS Ishii had great story, too, given their history. And it made sense for Ishii to win, he’s just a great talent for NJPW.
The IWGP Heavyweight Tag title match was another classic, but that makes sense with GoD and LIJ. I really thought LIJ was gonna get it after Bushi helped take out Jado, but nope. It was a good move for GoD to win with Heel tactics and just last second like that. This keeps both teams strong for another try down the line, but also for whatever is planned via GoD’s “Open Challenge” promo backstage. While old news by now, mentioning the WWE’s Usos and Revival, two great teams in their own right (and for a time, two teams that looked to be leaving WWE) was bold of GoD. I would love to see any and all of those combinations, but we all know Vince McMahon would never let a crossover happen, and would probably never let those teams out.
Then comes the really rough one to call, in more ways than one. There is always the need to escalate in a rivalry, but there is also a fine line when it comes to how much is too much. I feel like this third time around in 2019 stepped over the line with that apron German suplex spot. Again, this is old news by now, and WhatCulture probably said it best in one of their videos. I’ll simply summarize all of that by saying there had to have been a way to escalate this rivalry without such a move. At the same time, Ibushi was somehow able to continue, so he may have known what he was doing. I just hope and pray this really is the last of Naito VS Ibushi for some time, especially since they’re in different blocks for the G1 this year.
My Score: 8.5/10