There are two big shows this weekend, WWE’s Money in the Bank, and New Japan’s Dominion. It should make for an exciting weekend, as both shows are important, with several big time matches on each card. Both matches have 10 matches on the card, so I thought it would be kinda fun to look at each card, side by side, and evaluate which one I’m more excited for.
Match 1: WWE: The Lucha Dragons vs The Dudley Boys. NJPW: Third Generation vs Young Lions.
This is a pretty easy one. The WWE match was just announced a day or two ago, and means literally nothing. Meanwhile, in New Japan, this opener will be Jay White’s final match before going on excursion to Ring of Honor. Jay White has HUGE potential as a professional wrestling star in any country, so being able to watch him reach a new audience will be cool. And after a year, maybe he comes back to New Japan as a legitimate threat. In any case, the match should be full of emotion. Winner: New Japan.
Match 2: WWE: Charlotte & Dana Brook vs Natayla & Becky Lynch. New Japan: Bullet Club vs New Japan Army
I have no interest in either of these matches, but I guess I have less interest in Yoshitatsu’s HHH cosplay then anything else on either card. Winner: WWE.
Match 3: WWE: Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin. New Japan: CHAOS vs Los Ingobernables de Japon
Corbin and Ziggler having pre-show matches is a bit of a running joke, but the New Japan match has both Ishii and BUSHI, two of my favorite guys right now. Winner: New Japan
Match 4: WWE: Apollo Crews vs Sheamus. New Japan: KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay, IWGP Jr Heavyweight Title.
The WWE is at least offering us something new. Crews needs to be thrown to the wolves, so to speak, as he has shown very little in the WWE tenure. But this isn’t really a contest. Ospreay is still coming off the buzz with his match against Ricochet, and stands a decent chance of taking the title from KUSHIDA. I’m not a huge fan of KUSHIDA, but he brings it in every match. Winner: New Japan
Match 5: WWE: Golden Truth vs Breezango. New Japan: Guerrilla’s of Destiny vs The Briscoe Brothers, IWGP Tag Title Match.
I don’t even know about this match up. Tyler Breeze and Fandango are the perfect tag team, so that gives them a leg up, and the Briscoe Brothers are a classic Ring of Honor team. A slight edge to Breezango. On the other hand, Guerrilla’s of Destiny suck, and Golden Truth really sucks, and is pointless to boot. It’s really a wash, but I will enjoy FaBreeze’s antics more then anything else in these matches. Winner: WWE.
Match 6: WWE: John Cena vs AJ Styles. New Japan: Hirooki Goto vs EVIL.
This really isn’t even fair. Goto and Evil will no doubt go out and have a stiff, hard fought match. Goto is at his best when he is in there with another bruiser, and EVIL is quickly becoming one of those bruisers. But c’mon. It’s John Cena vs AJ Styles. John Freaking Cena vs AJ Freaking Styles. As dumb as it sounds when Michael Cole says it, this is a WrestleMania main event. Winner: WWE
Match 7: WWE: Fatal Four Way, Tag Team Titles. New Japan: Four Way Elimination, Jr Tag Team Titles.
This is my hardest match up to call. In WWE’s favor, these are four great teams who have shown some great chemistry. I’m a big fan of everyone involved in this match. On the other hand, there’s no doubt the New Japan Jr’s are going to fly around the ring and do all kinds of crazy stunts. The problem with New Japan is we get these multi-man tag matches all the time. Throwing in an elimination stipulation doesn’t get me too excited sense we’ve seen this match, or ones practically like it, a dozen times. Winner: WWE
Match 8: WWE: Rusev vs Titus O’Neil, US Title match. Yuji Nagata vs Katsuyori Shibata, NEVER Title match.
The WWE match is nothing. Titus is just a guy put randomly in this spot for Rusev to squash. It means nothing. This has been a great story in New Japan though. Shibata has buzzed his way through the New Japan Third Generation with a mix of hard kicks and harder disrespect. It wasn’t until he came across Blue Justice, Yugi Nagata, where he had some respect knocked into him. This should be Shibata’s crowning moment, winning back his title, while showing deference to those who came before. Winner: New Japan.
Match 9: WWE: Money in the Bank Ladder Match. New Japan: Kenny Omega vs Michael Elgin, Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title.
The MITB ladder match has two guys who would make a lot of sense to win. If we are ever going to get a Shield triple threat match, it would make a lot of sense for Dean Ambrose to win. However, there’s no doubt that Kevin Owens deserves the MITB briefcase and, eventually, the title. He’s been the MVP of the WWE for a year now, and has been rumored to be getting a big push sooner rather then later. Both Cesaro and Sami Zayn would be crowd appealing dark horses. Even Jericho winning wouldn’t be terrible. Pretty much anyone other then Del Rio winning will lead to some satisfying situations.
The New Japan match should be a bigger deal. It’s being advertised as the first ever ladder match in New Japan. And in its original inception, it was a huge deal. But nagging injuries have forced Hiroshi Tanahashi, the Ace of New Japan, to rest for an indefinite period of time. He’s replaced by his worthy tag partner, Michael Elgin, but there’s no doubt there’s a loss of star power and intrigue. With Tanahashi, this was a once in a lifetime event. With Elgin, it’s just two Westerners fighting in an out of place gimmick match. I’m not the biggest fan of Omega anyways, so this match already had lower levels of interest for me. Winner: WWE.
Match 10: WWE: Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins, WWE Title Match. New Japan: Tetsuya Naito vs Kazuchika Okada, IWGP Title Match.
There’s not much drama in the WWE title match unfortunately. It’s super unlikely that Seth Rollins wins, or that Ambrose wins MITB and walks away with the title. No, the most likely scenario is that Roman Reigns wins and stands tall, and… I just don’t care. I’m sure the match will be good, but there’s such a malaise around Roman that permeates everything he does. It just makes me not care about anything that happens around him.
The IWGP champion though… Tetsuya Naito is a house of fire, captivating with everything he does in ring and out. Los Ingobernables de Japon is the hottest act in professional wrestling. Okada is great, but Naito has brought a freshness to a previously stale IWGP title scene. And most importantly, the winner of this match is very much in doubt. Okada is the golden boy, the face of New Japan, and he needs to avenge his loss. But it’s too soon, I think. Okada winning the G1 Tournament, and have Okada vs Naito at WrestleKingdom makes the most sense to me, but anything could happen. And that’s exciting. Winner: New Japan.
So the overall winner is… a tie. I swear I didn’t plan it out that way. But sure enough, WWE won five, and New Japan won five. There are some killer matches on both cards, and I’m looking forward to spending a weekend with some high quality professional wrestling.