After their brilliant encounter at Wrestle Kingdom 11, believed by many to be the greatest wrestling match of all time, Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega face each other once more for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Can Omega make amends for his January 2017 loss, and win one of the most prestigious championships in professional wrestling, or will Okada’s run of dominance continue…?
Tiger Mask, Tiger Mask W, Yuji Nagata & Togi Makabe
Jushin Thunder Liger, Manabu Nakanishi, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
(Winners via pinfall: Tiger Mask, Tiger Mask W, Nagata & Makabe)
Bushi, Evil & Sanada (C)
vs Bad Luck Fale, Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi
vs Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Yoshi-Hashi
vs Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr.
vs. Juice Robinson, Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi
Gauntlet Match for the NEVER Openweight Tag Team Championship
(Winners via pinfall: Bushi, Evil & Sanada)
Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson (“The Young Bucks”)
Beretta & Rocky Romero (C)
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
(Winners via submission, and new champions: The Young Bucks)
Raymond Rowe & Hanson (“War Machine”) (C)
Tanga Roa & Tama Tonga (“Guerrillas of Destiny”)
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
(Winners via pinfall, and new champions: Guerrillas of Destiny)
(Winner via pinfall: Cody Rhodes)
Hiromu Takahashi (C)
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
(Winner via submission, and new champion: Kushida)
Minoru Suzuki (C)
Lumberjack Match for the NEVER Openweight Championship
(Winner via pinfall: Suzuki)
Tetsuya Naito (C)
IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Kazuchika Okada (C)
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
(No winner, as a result of a time limit draw)
NJPW Dominion 2017 was a show that was all about its main event, but delivered an undercard that was up there with the best the company has delivered in 2017. No tag match felt like filler, and the singles matches really delivered (in most cases!). Title changes a-plenty, including Naito finally dropping the IWGP Intercontinental Championship after physically damaging the championship on numerous occasions these past few months. Personally, I’d have liked to drag out Naito’s disrespect for the championship a bit longer, but the change here was nice nonetheless.
I’ve written previously that Kazuchika Okada is having the best main events in professional wrestling, in 2017, and he only confirmed that statement for me again in his match with Kenny Omega. There was demand for this rematch ever since the incredible first match at Wrestle Kingdom 11, which was arguably the greatest match of all time, but there was also a bit of trepidation heading into it. Could both men put on a match anywhere near as good as their first?
Fears were misplaced, and no one should have ever doubted both Okada and Omega. Both men put on the kind of performance that will, just like their first match, be remembered for decades. It was so physical, to the point where hitting a signature move was done because it hurt, not because it was merely a signature move. Everything was so well thought out, and well placed, that the sixty minutes flew by, and quite frankly I could’ve watched them go another hour.
I could shower this match with praise forever, but I’d suggest any grappling fan just go watch it themselves. I’ve yet to decide which match of theirs was better, I or II, but the fact that it’s even a close call is incredible. What I will say, is that Okada/Omega I left be so fried, that I had to get outside and take a walk. Only fresh air could help me collect my thoughts and feelings again, following that match. II didn’t garner that same reaction, but my god did I know I was watching a classic. Without question though, this didn’t feel like the end of their war, and I fully expect III before Wrestle Kingdom 12 comes around.
Great show from the company, from top to bottom. Probably the most enjoyable one of the year so far, at least from New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
Match of the Night
Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega