New Japan Pro Wrestling will return to the U.S.A. on July 1st, with the first of two G1 Special in the USA shows from the Long Beach Convention Centre. To celebrate this, AXS TV have announced that they will air the July 1st show live and advert free, starting at 8pm EST. The second show, on July 2nd, will air live on njpwworld.com and it will air on AXS TV on July 7th. Both shows on AXS will have commentary from Jim Ross and Josh Barnett. So the question is, what will you see if you decide to tune in?
G1 Special in the USA Night 1 – July 1st
Match 1: Beretta, Rocky Romero, Will Ospreay, Mark Briscoe and Jay Briscoe vs. Bullet Club (Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson, Marty Scurll, Yujiro Takahashi and Bad Luck Fale)
The show starts with a frantic 10 man tag. On one side you have ex WWE star (Trent) Beretta, the charismatic Cuban Rocky Romero, the awe inspiring high flier Will Ospreay and ROH’s energetic and entertaining Briscoe Brothers. On the other side you have Bullet Club: One of the world’s best tag teams in The Young Bucks, the Villain Marty Scurll, the Japanese traitor Yujiro Takahashi and the big Samoan Bad Luck Fale. Expect a lot of fast paced action and tag team moves in this one.
Match 2: Titan, Dragon Lee, Volador Jr. and Jushin "Thunder" Liger vs. Los Igobernables De Japon (Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, “King of Darkness” EVIL and SANADA)
Here we have three fast paced Luchadors from Mexico’s CMLL teaming with Cruiserweight legend Jushin "Thunder" Liger to face LIJ. LIJ are one of the best units in wrestling today; a mix of different characters and styles united by their desire to make an impact in New Japan.
Match 3: IWGP US Heavyweight Title Tournament – Jay Lethal vs. Hangman Page
This is part of an 8 man tournament to crown the new IWGP US Heavyweight Champion. ROH’s Jay Lethal is a cunning veteran while Bullet Club’s Page has a combination of power and agility. Will Lethal’s experience be too much for the younger Page?
Match 4: IWGP US Heavyweight Title Tournament – Juice Robinson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Juice Robinson left the WWE Performance Centre to learn his trade in New Japan. He has worked on combining US and Japanese Heavyweight styles to create his own style. Zack Sabre’s style is a hybrid of Japanese and British techniques mixed with hard kicks and an aggressive, cocky attitude.
Match 5: David Finlay, Jay White, KUSHIDA and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Sho Tanaka, Yohei Komatsu, YOSHITATSU and Billy Gunn
Finlay, White, Tanaka & Komatsu are all students from the New Japan Dojo who are learning to develop their own style. KUSHIDA is New Japan’s top Jr. Heavyweight, known for his heart and technical skills. Tanahashi is the ACE of New Japan, the man who helped bring New Japan back to the top of Japanese Wrestling. YOSHITATSU is a former WWE star and Billy Gunn is an American veteran, a former member of DX and the New Age Outlaws.
Match 6: IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles: Guerillas of Destiny (Tanga Roa and Tama Tonga) (c) vs. War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe)
The titles are on the line as the sons of Haku face ROH tag team War Machine. Tanga Roa is a tough bruiser while Tama Tonga relies on speed and keeping his opponents off balance. Unfortunately for them, War Machine is a dangerous combination of power and agility.
Match 7: IWGP US Heavyweight Title Tournament – Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito
Tomohiro Ishii may be short and stocky, but he is also an absolute beast who doesn’t take kindly to being bullied. While Tetsuya Naito is athletic, charismatic and stylish, he is also a bully. I fully expect that this clash of personalities will lead to fireworks. Beautiful, violent fireworks.
Match 8: IWGP US Heavyweight Title Tournament – Michael Elgin vs. Kenny Omega
Michael Elgin is not the tallest wrestler in the world, but he’s one of the strongest. His game plan will be to throw his opponent around. Kenny Omega is one of the most hyped wrestlers in the world today, and his flashy, high impact offense will almost certainly impress you. Will it be enough to stop Elgin from powerbombing his way to victory?
Match 9: IWGP Heavyweight Title – Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Cody
Your main event sees the Rainmaker defend his title against Bullet Club’s Cody. The son of Dusty Rhodes wants to prove that he is as good as he thinks he is, and the quickest way is to become IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Okada has found it harder and harder to keep his title this year so you can bet that he’s going to do his best not to lose the title live on US TV.
G1 Special in the USA Night 1 – July 2nd
IWGP US Heavyweight Title Tournament
This show will feature the 2 semi finals for the IWGP US Heavyweight Title Tournament. The main event will see the winner be crowned as the first ever IWGP US Heavyweight Champion.
IWGP Jr Tag Team Titles – The Young Bucks (c) vs. Roppongi Vice (Beretta and Rocky Romero)
Named after a part of Tokyo famous for its nightlife, Roppongi Vice want to win back the titles that they lost to The Young Bucks. The Jackson brothers will use all the flips in their arsenal to ensure that they retain the titles and have a Superkick Party in Long Beach.
IWGP Intercontinental Title – Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Billy Gunn
Hiroshi Tanahashi won the IC title to save it from destruction at the hands of Tetsuya Naito. His first title defense pits him against Billy Gunn. Will Gunn stand victorious or will Tanahashi’s High Fly Flow help him win yet another New Japan title match?
No matter who wins or what happens, these two shows should be great displays of just what you can expect from New Japan.