New Japan Pro Weekly (6/15) Star Ratings, Kizuna Road Preview, More

Star Ratings For Best of Super Juniors Finals & Dominion

WrestleZone will be transitioning from the Need To Watch Rating System, to a more conventional star rating system. Like the Need To Watch, the reviews will still be as spoiler-free as possible. Here are the star ratings for the Best of Super Juniors Finals and NJPW Dominion. -Ross W Berman IV

6/5

NJPW Best of Super Juniors Finals

Dragon Lee, Titan & Shota Umino vs. Bandido, Jonathan Gresham & Ren Narita

Fun farewell match for Gresham, Titan & Bandido, after good showings throughout the tournament. ***

Ryusuke Taguchi, Yoh & Sho vs. Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo & Robbie Eagles

A seemingly routine tag team match leads to widening gyre of distrust amongst Bullet Club’s juniors. ***

Tomohiro Ishii, Yoshi-Hashi, Toru Yano, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Taichi, Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Douki

Suzuki-gun tries out their new member, Douki, to mixed results. **3/4

Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare vs. Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI

Ibushi and Naito get one last crack at each other before their infamous Dominion match. ***1/2

Kazuchika Okada & Rocky Romero vs. Marty Scurll & Brody King

Seeing King share the ring with The Rainmaker is a lot of fun. ***1/4

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White

Easily the best match that the two have had against each other. White grows stronger with each showdown, and Tanahashi seems to be underestimating him. Will this dynamic continue into the G1 Climax? ****

IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson vs. Jon Moxley

Moxley’s debut is a rabid, wild fight, with Robinson fighting back in titanic fashion. Moxley was already a made man heading into this match, but Robinson had a breakout performance. Robinson’s spirit refused to be snuffed by the unchained Moxley. ****1/4

Best of Super Junior Final: Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi

No one can touch these two men right now. Both gave career-defining performances in their runs through the round robin section of the tournament, and the final is no exception. Ospreay is out to prove that a his borderline-heavyweight status doesn’t mean he’s not the best Junior Heavyweight in the world, while Takagi is trying to keep his unblemished record spotless. This match is legitimately two of the best in the world going head to head, and is not to be missed. *****1/4

6/9

NJPW Dominion

Jon Moxley vs. Shota Umino

Umino always finds a way to twist expectations. A predicted slaughter, Umino fights with more spirit than most tenured-wrestlers. Moxley is clearly having a lot of fun with his new freedom, and gets to showcase his new arsenal. ***1/4

Shingo Takagi vs. Satoshi Kojima

This match is a true battle of lariats. Two wrestlers with extremely similar styles, throwing elbows and cracking jaws. Marvelous, hard-hitting affair. ***3/4

Jushin Thunder Liger & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.

Yoshi-Hashi is a downright Quixotic character, and seeing him (and his perpetually injured shoulder) take on the limb-snapping duo of Sabre & Suzuki is a perfect encapsulation of why. ***

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jay White, Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori

This match was meant to be vengeance for Tanahashi, and a chance to debut a new, janky finisher. **3/4

NEVER Openweight Champion Taichi vs. Tomohiro Ishii

Not quite on the level of their New Japan Cup match, but a damn fine title bout. 2019 will be looked back on as the year that Taichi reached his full potential. Taking on a true brute like Ishii, who’s in Big Match Ish mode for the whole match, really cements what a talented prick Taichi has become. ****1/4

IWGP Tag Team Champions Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa vs. EVIL & SANADA

It’s impossible for these teams to have a bad match. This might not be their freshest match, but its creativity is top notch and its finish is probably the best it could’ve been without ACTUALLY making anyone take a legit pinfall. All four of these men have main event potential, and using them to prop up the barren tag division is borderline criminal. ***3/4

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Dragon Lee vs. Will Ospreay

Will Ospreay is the best wrestler that’s not named Kazuchika Okada this year. His all-time ranking will be in flux, but his 2019 is unmatched. Dragon Lee has been having mini-classics in the BoSJ tournament and on the FantasticaMania tours, so him getting this showcase is downright heartwarming. This is a true battle to determine the foreign face of NJPW’s Junior Heavyweight division, and neither man is willing to leave anything on the table. *****

IWGP Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito

These two men tried to kill each other. ****1/2

IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada vs. Chris Jericho

This match was fine. There was nothing bad about this match, and at times there were some Actually Good things about this match. This match was heavy on the storytelling, a transitional bout. Okada and Jericho have some pretty creative exchanges, and the match is every bit a main event, but the match was unexpectedly restrained. ****

NEXT PAGE: Backpage Editorial