New Japan Pro Wrestling brought its G1 Special Saturday night, July 7 to San Francisco, and god damn, this stacked card delivered despite getting a tad carried away with crazy stuff going on and weapon/setting spots at times.
Full spoilers, results, reaction and analysis is below, so get on out if you haven't fired up the NJPW World app, yet. The show was broadcast live on AXS TV before being made available on the NJPW World app, and it had Jim Ross and Josh Barnett on commentary with the show being on AXS. So, that was a nice little nugget to NJPW's excursion to the U.S.
The night at the historic Cow Palace was headlined by Bullet Club members Kenny Omega and Cody Rhodes battling over the former's recently won IWGP Heavyweight Championship. These two pulled out all the stops and beat the hell out of each other in a high-spot, foreign object filled match with a healthy dose of shenanigans.
Highlights from the main event include Cody nailing Kenny with a superplex off the top of the ladder, and Kenny returning the favor with an absolutely disgusting powerbomb to the outside of the ring to a vintage unbreakable Japanese table. It was, much like the U.S. Championship match, an ECW style match with no rules or control for about 60-70 percent of the time.
Good Ol' JR absolutely beat the shit theme out of this by hilariously screaming during the Jay White-Juice Robinson match "HOW LONG ARE COUNTOUTS NOW?! 80?" and "These officials need to get their SHIT together." I lost it.
Despite this, it's fun as hell and tells a damn good story and I'm not complaining about the actual action. The fact that it came after the Juice-Slingblade match that essentially only took place on the outside, didn't help the unsanctioned feel to the main event. That's the only critique as Kenny-Cody worked their asses off, and just took bump after bump after bump.
While it was Kenny leaving the arena with the championship at the end of the night after a violent main event, the celebration would not last long as the Bullet Club beat the hell out of him and the Bucks as the show as about to seemingly go off the air from SF. Tonga and Co. beat the hell out of Kenny and the Bucks, and then did the same to the scrambling Hangman Page and Marty Scurll.
Cody eventually came to the rescue, but got the living crap beat out of him, as well, as the night ends in very unexpected fashion. After Tona and Co. leave, the five men reunite in the ring together after getting their asses beat.
See below for full results:
SHO, YOH, Rocky Romero, Gedo, YOSHI-HASHI defeat Chase Owens, Yurijo Takahashi, Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga, and King Haku
Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii defeat Zack Sabre Jr. and Minoru Suzuki
Marty Scurll and Hangman Page defeat KUSHIDA and Hiroshi Tanahashi
This was a fun matchup that went a lot faster than I personally expected, but with a card like this something had to trend that way. A great ending sequence between Hangman and Kushida, with the latter taking the pin. NJPW owns the special tag team match segment.
NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto (c) defeats Jeff Cobb
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: Young Bucks (c) defeat EVIL/Sanada
These two teams were made to wrestle each other. I love the little exchanges like doing each other's signature moves, running to the outside and tripping up the untagged partner and returning the favor, and things like that. The speed vs. size aspect of this rivalry is just right to the point where nearly anything done by either team is believable.
The Young Bucks are on another storytelling level right now, and EVIL/Sanada are perfect dancing partners and the ying to their yang.
Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay defeat Tetsuya Naito and BUSHI
I was really excited to see Okada post-IWGP Championship loss, and boy, he did not disappoint. From commanding his way to starting the match for his team to demanding Naito start it with him on the other side, the tone was set. BUSHI and Ospreay take us home in a super fun, exciting matchup. Go out of your way to watch this one, it's a perfect example of how well a marquee tag team matchup can be done when it doesn't really stand out storywise. Ospreay hits that orgasmic spinny neckbreaker suplex thing for the win. (Stormbreaker)
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match: Hiromu Takahashi (c) defeats Dragon Lee
IWGP U.S. Championship Match: Juice Robinson defeats Jay White (c) to win title
This match, this match was a real challenge to enjoy due to the nonstop shenanigans. White and Juice hardly spend any time of the ring, and I can't think of a ref spot off the top of my head. Chaos. Madness.
I'm a fan of Jay White's, I'm a fan of Juice Robinson's but this matchup just did not do it for me in the way it was presented Saturday night. Juice gets DQ'd if he uses his soft cast as a weapon, but they are allowed to fight on the outside for minutes on end while using every foreign object, table and barricade on the planet. JR shit all over it on commentary, then scarily got dumped on his butt thanks to nasty suplex into the barricade/commentary area. This was an all-out brawl that should have been gimmicked as such if it was going to be booked as such. Fun ending, though, with a nice Juice rollup for the win and championship.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega (c) defeats Cody
This match was all over the place kind of good. These two go back and forth and tell a winding and turning story along the way from old-school face and heel back and forth, to crazy ladder/table spots all over the arena which feels like a completely different match.
Just off the top of my head, Omega hits the coup de grace on Cody through the table on the outside, Cody superplexes Kenny from top of ladder, Kenny powerbombs Cody to hell, etc. This match was so much more physical than I expected coming in. A match that you should go out of your way to watch not just for the action, but how the result and immediate aftermath crafts the next big story for Bullet Club while providing some needed allegiance clarification.
Thanks, Mark Cuban. That was fun.