NJPW held a presser in Long Beach tonight with all of the details on their upcoming G1 Special shows on July 1st and July 2nd in Long Beach, California. They gave out a ton of details on what will happen during the specials, how they can be seen, the titles that will be determined and defended, and all of the talent that will be in the States on the shows themselves.
NJPW G1 Special Shows Info
- All the tickets for the shows sold out in two hours.
- July 1st and 2nd shows will air live in the US on AXS at 8:00 pm EDT/5:00 pm PST.
- NJPW World will stream the shows live for non-US territories, with VOD available for US subscribers at a later time (this really isn’t good news for US fans/subscribers due to AXS being available in so few US cable markets).
- There will be a 2-day tournament to crown the inaugural IWGP United States Champion (Jay Lethal and Hangman Page are official entrants).
- The IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Intercontinental Championship will both be defended during the two day set of shows. I expect that both sets of tag titles, the NEVER titles, and maybe the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title will be added to the shows, as well.
- Stars that will be on the shows in Long Beach:
- Jushin “Thunder” Liger
- David Finlay
- Juice Robinson
- Hiroshi Tanahashi
- The Tempura Boys
- Jay White
- Billy Gunn
- Roppongi Vice
- Will Ospreay
- Kazuchika Okada
- Tomohiro Ishii
- All of Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi, & Tetsuya Naito)
- Zack Sabre Jr.
- War Machine
- Jay Lethal
- Mark & Jay Briscoe
- CMLL Stars Volador Jr., Dragon Lee, & Titan
- Bullet Club (Cody, The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, Bad Luck Fale, GoD, Marty Scurll, Yujiro Takahashi, Hangman Page)
Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega were on hand for the presser, and Cody talked about his match with Michael Elgin at Dominion. The Bucks say that they will be walking into the G1 Specials in California as the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions; they are facing current champs Roppongi Vice at Dominion for the titles on June 11th.
Then, there was Kenny Omega. I fully expect him to walk into these US shows as IWGP Heavyweight Champion after beating Kazuchika Okada at Dominion; it’s the only thing that makes sense. Having Omega, a Canadian who has made his name in Japanese wrestling, win the title on US soil makes no sense, and the NJPW fans would probably see it as a slap in the face. But, that’s just my kind-of-educated opinion.
Kenny says that the four men at the presser are the men that will carry NJPW into the future, the only ones that could sell out these shows in two hours. Then they diss YOSHITATSU, which is just fine; he deserves it. Omega says that as soon as he hits the One Winged Angel at Dominion, he will beat Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and that the fans were cheering for him, not Okada. He says that Okada cannot win this time.
Cody says that what these US shows mean to him is less important than what it means to the fans. He says that that wrestling fans in the US have really no choice but to skew in one direction and NJPW is providing an alternative.
Matt and Nick say that they are proud of NJPW’s growth, and that they can take some of the credit for that, what with the buzz it has now based to what it had when they came in. He says that NJPW is a movement and has given them the right to become stars and make money.
Kenny says that coming back to North America to wrestle after making his name in Japan was really the end goal, to be a contributor to making NJPW a global company. He loves that the fans support them, stay up late to watch them, and want to give back by having live shows at a decent hour. For him, he says this is the purest form of gratitude, being able to give back to the fans due to their star power and success (yes, Kenny was in character, but he has a point). He says they (NJPW) can challenge the world, change the world, and he can’t see them failing.