By Bryan Rose, WrestlingObserver.com
Last week, the team of Togi Makabe and Hiroshi Tanahashi failed to win the titles from Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson. But there was still a chance on this Dominion card to get a win over the Bullet Club, with the giant Bad Luck Fale challenging Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental championship. Will Nakamura score one for the New Japan originals, or will the Bullet Club take out all of their competition in a clean sweep?
We continue looking at the NJPW Dominion card from June 21, 2014 at the Bodymaker Colosseum in Osaka.
Yuji Nagata and Tomoaki Honma vs. Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata
This was a good match. Whenever Honma and Shibata were in the ring, it got really awesome. These two would go on to have a tremendous match during the G1 finals. The real story was the feud between Nagata and Shibata, as they had been teasing tension between one another on recent shows leading to this match. This was a pretty good match; I don’t know if this was edited for time or not, but I remember liking it more live than I do rewatching it now. It’s definitely a good match, regardless. Goto picks up the win with his neckbreaker on the knee on Honma.
After the match, Shibata and Nagata were already making their way to the back, brawling in front of people and eventually disappearing behind an oddly placed makeshift wall. These two would also go on to have a tremendous match in the G1 tournament. As far as building towards the tournament, this match was great.
Nakamura vs. Bad Luck Fale
Bad Luck Fale talks about his upcoming match against Nakamura. He realized when he lost the New Japan Cup that year, he wanted to beat him. His motivation wasn’t winning the belt originally, but he understands it’s a prestigious title and realizes it’s significance.
The match aired. A lot of people say that Fale isn’t good. And technically, he isn’t. But the thing that makes his run valuable here is that he’s working with some of the best workers on the planet. It also helps he’s still mobile and isn’t that bad in the ring. Also keep in mind that the booking they’ve done with him to establish him as a threat was very well done. Instead of exposing his weaknesses, New Japan hid them and accentuated his positives. This match is a great example of that.
Nakamura and Fale had a great match, filled with drama. Nakamura kicked out of a grenade and hit two boma yes but Fale kicked out and gave him a spear after a third attempt failed. Bad Luck Fale finally landed the Bad Luck Fall to win the title. Say what you want about Fale winning a championship and getting a push to this level, but it was a part of the Bullet Club storyline they were doing in 2014. A lot of long time New Japan fans weren’t happy with this development at the time, but it’s clear there was a storyline reason for this.
Anderson promoted his guys after the matches, pointing out how now Fale, Styles, and Anderson and Gallows have titles, and soon everyone in Bullet Club will be wearing gold. They reiterate this in the back, with Fale saying he’s taking the title back to Tonga.
After the match, Fale says he realized that he had beaten someone great, who had great wrestling skills. He realized how important it was to win the belt, though he had no real emotional response to winning the belt initially. But the next day, he felt the weight and importance of the belt and the prestige it carries. He says that now he feels the pressure of being a top guy, and it’s something daunting. His outlook for 2015 is to either challenge for the Intercontinental championship again (he would go on to lose it back to Nakamura later that year) or to challenge the IWGP champion.
Overall, another solid show. Both matches were pretty good, with the former being good build towards the G1 and the latter furthering the story of the Bullet Club winning all the titles and gaining momentum. I think the storyline kind of faltered towards the end of the year when Styles lost the title to Hiroshi Tanahashi out of nowhere, but that’s another story for another time.