Kazuchika Okada and Shingo Takagi will main event NJPW Dominion, facing off for the vacant IWGP World Heavyweight Championship!
The show, now taking place a day later than originally planned on the 7th of June, will decide the fate of the vacant championship. Previous champion Will Ospreay was forced to relinquish the title after sustaining a neck injury in a match with Takagi. Though still only a few months old, the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship will now have its third champion.
Okada was originally set to go one-on-one with Ospreay at Wrestle Grand Slam in the Tokyo Dome. However, the events were postponed due to a state of emergency in Japan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘The Rainmaker’ will now get his chance to become the top man in New Japan once again, though with a much different challenge ahead.
His opponent, Shingo Takagi, was former champion Ospreay’s most recent opponent. The two faced off in a widely-praised match on the second night of Wrestling Dontaku. Despite an intense match lasting nearly forty-five minutes, ‘The Dragon’ ultimately failed to capture the top prize in New Japan. This gave him an 0-2 record against Ospreay this year, as he also fell to ‘The Assassin’ in the final of the New Japan Cup.
The history between Okada and Takagi is relatively short but a fierce rivalry seems to be brewing. Okada defeated the LIJ bruiser in last year’s G1 Climax after forcing him to pass out via the Money Clip. However, Takagi earned a measure of revenge by dealing Okada a shock elimination in the first round of this year’s New Japan Cup.
Dominion is often one of New Japan’s biggest shows, and this year is no different. Also confirmed for the card is an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match where reigning champion El Desperado will defend against YOH. The match was originally set to take place at Wrestling Dontaku, though it was unfortunately postponed.
After telling the world that he wanted to test himself against a superhuman like Jeff Cobb, Kota Ibushi has been granted his request. The first IWGP World Heavyweight Champion was attacked by Cobb after his title loss; Dominion may be where he gets his revenge, as the two face off in the battle of the Cobbigoye and Kamigoye.
More matches will be confirmed in the leadup to Dominion; brewing tensions between Tetsuya Naito and Tomohiro Ishii may see their seemingly inevitable clash take place at the event, whilst Jay White’s challenge to David Finlay also remains present in the minds of fans.
Last year’s Dominion event saw the rise of EVIL. The 2020 New Japan Cup winner turned his back on LIJ, joining the Bullet Club and dethroning Tetsuya Naito to win both the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Of this year’s main eventers, only Takagi was successful last year as he defended his NEVER Openweight Championship against SHO.
You can watch NJPW Dominion by signing up to NJPWWorld for 999 yen per month.