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G1 Special in San Francisco[4] was professional wrestling event promoted by New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). The show took place on July 7, 2018, in Daly City, California, United States at Cow Palace.[5] The event was headlined by Kenny Omega defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Cody in a rematch from the main event of ROH's Supercard of Honor XII.[6] This was the third NJPW show that the promotion produced independently in the U.S. This was the second event under the G1 Special name. The event's name refers to the annual G1 Climax tournament as the show would also serve as a prelude to the 2018 G1 Climax. The event was broadcasted on AXS TV in the United States and on NJPW's internet streaming service NJPW World worldwide.[7]

ProductionEdit

BackgroundEdit

G1 Special in San Francisco Logo

The official logo of the event

Since 2017, NJPW returned to presenting shows in the United States independently, following a direct response to WWE taking four wrestlers, including AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura, from NJPW in January 2016. The first show was the G1 Special in USA, which was a success, with tickets and meet-and-greets selling out within 2 hours after being available for purchase. NJPW even went public with their plan of an American expansion, which included establishing a subsidiary and running extended tours in the United States with California as the base, while also establishing a dojo for training Americans in Los Angeles, runned by Rocky Romero.[1] The full-scale running of the American market was set to launch in 2018.[8][9][10]

Following the success, of the first show, NJPW promoted a second named Strong Style Evolved, which was a success, with tickets selling out within hours, despite NJPW not having announced any matches for the two shows. During this time, NJPW opened their Dojo in the United States with Katsuyori Shibata serving as the head trainer and ROH wrestler Scorpio Sky serving as an assistant trainer.[11] NJPW also filled a trademark in the United States over Strong Style, King of Sports, and Strong Style Evolved.[12] However, they were initially refused due to not being signed, resulting in them not being properly verified.[13] On March 25 at Strong Style Evolved, NJPW Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi announced that NJPW would promote a third show in the United States the G1 Special in San Francisco which will take place on July 7 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, the follow-up event to Strong Style Evolved.[4][14][15][16] Dave Meltzer said that the date "The show is a giant test [...] they surprised me and the location was a good one [...] the last event in the Cow Palace was by WWE [...], since 2004, that was a long time ago [...] if they really sell it out it would be since 1999".[17]

CParena

Cow Palace, the arena for the show

NJPW had previously partnered with Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW) for the NJPW Invasion Tour 2011 and since 2014 they have been partnered with Ring of Honor (ROH), co-producing shows annually in North America.[18][19] The show marked the third time NJPW presented shows in the United States independently, as opposed to partnering up with an American promotion.[20]

FlyersG1SSF

Promotional flyers for the event, featuring various NJPW wrestlers

On April 25, NJPW announced that they would put 10,000 tickets on sale on May 1, costing from $40 to $300. The show could be possibly the biggest professional wrestling event not promoted by WWE.[21][22][23][24][25] Following the announcement, it was thought that it was initially that 4,500 tickets were sold given the amount of sold tickets displayed on Ticketmaster. It was later reported by Pro Wrestling Torch, that the number of tickets that were sold was 3,300, but it marked 4,500 tickets, due to 1,000 tickets being reserved for "Team NJPW" fan club, which they could purchase them when they want. NJPW management was upset with the initial sales and had to reach out to big names in wrestling to help to increase the sales. They also expected the sales to be around 4,000, if NJPW wasn't able to secure a big name.[26]

On May 25, it was announced that the show would broadcast live on the AXS TV in the United States, while also being announced that Jim Ross and Josh Barnett would provide commentary for the event, like in the previous NJPW events in the United States and also NJPW announced the first group of wrestlers taking part in the event, being Kazuchika OkadaTetsuya NaitoHiroshi Tanahashi and Kenny Omega.[27][28][29][30][31] On May 31, NJPW started distributing flyers, which was followed by AXS TV starting a giveaway to help increase the tickets sales.[32][33][34] On June 12, NJPW announced a partial card, containing only four matches, in which, three were contested for championships.[6][35][36]

On June 12, it was announced that the BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! and LEC would be the official sponsors for the event.[2] On June 21, NJPW announced the meet-and-greets for the event as well, autograph sessions and the contract signing for the IWGP Heavyweight, United States Heavyweight and Tag Team Championships matches.[37] Later that night, NJPW announced the full card for the event, containing nine matches, which five are contested for championships.[38][39][40][41]

StorylinesEdit

G1 Special in San Francisco featured professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers portray villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in the scripted events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches.[42]

OmegaIWGP2

Kenny Omega, who defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in the main event

The G1 Special in San Francisco was main evented by Kenny Omega defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Cody.[6] The storyline behind the match dates back to 2017. On June 11, 2017 at Dominion 6.11 in Osaka-jo Hall, Omega and Kazuchika Okada wrestled to a 60-minute time limit draw for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.[43] The match also started a storyline, where Omega and Cody began having problems with each other with Cody wanting to throw in the towel for Omega, insisting he was too badly injured in his match with Okada at Dominion 6.11 in Osaka-jo Hall.[44] On July 1, during the first night of G1 Special in USA, Cody unsuccessfully challenged Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. During the match, Omega, playing off what had happened at Dominion, walked out, wanting to throw in the towel for Cody, which led to Cody confronting him after the show.[45][46] The following day, after Omega became the inaugural IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion, apparently Cody and Omega resolved their issues.[47] Cody would then starting feuding with Omega's former tag team partner Kota Ibushi, comparing Ibushi to Brutus Beefcake and Omega to Hulk Hogan, claiming that Ibushi was nothing more than a sidekick in their team.[48] On January 5, at New Years Dash!, Cody lead an attempt to attack Kota Ibushi, when Omega came down to make the save for Ibushi, this led to tensions between Omega and Cody over the leadership of Bullet Club, with Omega affirming that he was the leader of the stable.[49]

Cody2

Cody, who challenged for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in the main event

On January 28 at The New Beginning in Sapporo, Omega lost the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship to Jay White.[50] After the match, Omega's Bullet Club stablemate Hangman Page assert himself as the next challenger, after taking White's belt away from him.[50] Omega took the belt from Page and gave it back to the White, leading to an argument between Omega and Page.[50] This led Cody, The Young Bucks and Marty Scurll coming to the ring to calm things, but this ended up in an argument between Omega and Cody.[50] This led to Omega accidentally shoving Matt Jackson, which led to The Young Bucks walking out of the ring.[50] Apparently, when things calmed down, Cody turned on Omega and when Page went to assist Cody to further attack Omega, Kota Ibushi returned to the ring to save his former tag team partner.[50] Omega and Ibushi then embraced in the ring, reuniting the Golden☆Lovers.[50] Following the Bullet Club Civil War, between Cody and Omega over the leadership of Bullet Club, Cody tried to manipulate The Young Bucks turning on Omega, and almost resulted with Matt Jackson.[51] On February 23 in first night of the Honor Rising: Japan, the Golden☆Lovers teamed up with Chase Owens in a losing effort against Cody, Page and Scurll.[52] After the match, Cody and Omega went on to attack each other and the Bullet Club had to separate them. Cody would then say that Bullet Club belongd to him and that he was it's leader.[52] The following night, in the second night of the Honor Rising: Japan, the Golden☆Lovers made their tag team return defeating Cody and Scurll.[53] The two would be scheduled to face each other at ROH's Supercard of Honor XII on April 7. On March 3, at ROH's 16th Anniversary Show, after Cody defeated Matt Taven, Omega revealed to be Cody's Barry the Bear and afterward attacked him.[54] Cody's wife Brandi Rhodes would then kiss Omega.[55] In the weeks, leading to the match, Omega called him an "evil project of a WWE reject".[56] On March 30, at Ring of Honor Wrestling tapings, Cody responded to Omega calling him a "reject for it's developmental system".[57] Omega would then confront him and also provoking Cody, saying it wasn't the first time that Brandi did that, leading to a brawl between them until the other members of the Bullet Club separated, Cody would then push Matt Jackson into Omega, to make Matt think that Omega pushed him".[57] On April 7 at ROH's Supercard of Honor XII, Omega faced Cody in a match. During the match, The Young Bucks attempted to help Omega.[58] However, their plan backfired and The Young Bucks accidentally cost Omega the match.[58] On May 3 in the first night of Wrestling Dontaku, after Omega defeated Hangman Page, he promised that the next time, he faced Cody, that they would settle their diferences.[59] On June 9, at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall, Omega defeated Kazuchika Okada to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.[60] After the match, Omega and Cody had a stare down, leading to NJPW making the match official on June 11.[6]

DragonLee

Dragon Lee who faced his rival Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship at the event

Another top match would see new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi make his second title defense against Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) wrestler Dragon Lee.[38] The storyline behind the match dates back to 2015. The two had developed a storyline rivalry with each other in CMLL, where NJPW had sent Takahashi on a learning excursion.[61][62] Takahashi, then known as "Kamaitachi", had entered CMLL wearing a mask, but lost it to Dragon Lee during their rivalry in a Lucha de Apuestas Mask vs. Mask match.[62] The rivalry also made it to Japan during the CMLL and NJPW co-produced Fantastica Mania 2016, when Kamaitachi made a surprise appearance on the January 23 event, attacking Dragon Lee. This led to a match the following day, where Kamaitachi defeated Dragon Lee to become the new CMLL World Super Lightweight Champion. After losing the title back to Dragon Lee on March 4,[63] Takahashi's tour of CMLL ended and he returned to NJPW under his real name in November 2016, winning the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome.[64][65] The following day, Dragon Lee made a surprise appearance, attacking Takahashi during a match and posing with his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship belt afterwards, insinuating he wanted a title match.[66] Before the title match, Takahashi and Lee faced off during the NJPW and CMLL co-produced Fantastica Mania 2017 tour. During the January 20 event, Takahashi attacked Lee after he had successfully defended the CMLL World Lightweight Championship against Bárbaro Cavernario, but was laid out himself.[67] On the final day of the tour, January 22, Lee attacked Takahashi after a match, but this time Takahashi got the better of the exchange and unmasked his Osaka challenger.[68]

TakahashiBOSJIWGPjr

Hiromu Takahashi who faced his rival Dragon Lee for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship at the event

On February 11, at The New Beginning in Osaka, Lee unsuccesfully challenged Takahashi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.[69] The following May, Dragon Lee realized one of his goals in professional wrestling,[70] Lee and Takahashi would participate in the Best of the Super Juniors 24 tournament.[71] In their opening match of the tournament on May 17, Lee handed rival Takahashi his first singles loss since returning to Japan at the end of 2016.[72] Both would fail to advance to the finals of the tournament.[73] Lee returned to NJPW the following October, teaming with Titán in the 2017 Super Jr. Tag Tournament, from which they were eliminated in the first round by Takahashi and BUSHI.[74] After eight months of absence, Lee returned to NJPW, participating in the Best of the Super Juniors 25 tournament, on block B, the same as Takahashi.[75] During the tournament, Lee defeated Takahashi in their head-to-head match.[76] Lee finished the tournament with a record of three wins and four losses, failing to advance to the finals of the tournament.[77] Meanwhile, Takahashi won his block with a record of five wins and three losses, advancing to the finals.[77] On June 4, Takahashi defeated Taiji Ishimori in th finals to win the tournament.[78] On June 9 at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall, Takahashi defeated Will Ospreay to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for a second time.[79] On June 18 at Kizuna Road, following a successfull title defense against El Desperado, Takahashi nominated Lee as his next challenger for the title.[80] The match officially announced on June 21.[38]

LIJTag

Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL and SANADA) who faced The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) for the IWGP Tag Team Championship in the event

In the IWGP Tag Team Championship match, The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson would make their first title defense against Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL and SANADA).[6] On May 3 at Wrestling Dontaku, The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) challenged Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL and SANADA) into a title match for their IWGP Tag Team Championship.[59] Before they could say anything The Young Bucks attacked them. Afterwards, EVIL and SANADA ended up accepting The Young Bucks challenge.[58] Early that night, The Young Bucks and their Bullet Club stablemate Marty Scurll won the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship.[59] On June 9, at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall, The Young Bucks defeated EVIL and SANADA to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship.[60] Following the match, EVIL on the behalf of L.I.J. challenged The Young Bucks to a rematch.[81] The Young Bucks, later offered EVIL and SANADA a rematch of the titles.[81] NJPW announced the rematch between the two teams on June 11.[6]

WhiteIWGPUS2

Jay White, the IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion who will defend his title against Juice Robinson.

In the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship match, Jay White would make his fourth title defense against Juice Robinson.[6] On June 9, at Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall, Robinson teamed with David Finlay against White and his CHAOS stablemate Yoshi-Hashi, in a winning effort, with Robinson pinning White.[60] After the match, in a backstage interview, Robinson challenged White to a match for his IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship.[82] Robinson and White both trained together in the NJPW Dojo. Robinson would then be given opportunities for the NEVER Openweight[83], IWGP Intercontinental[84] and United States Heavyweight Championship.[85] Meanwhile, White on a excursion to the United States and later returned under the "Switchblade"[86] and won the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship.[50] The title match was officially announced on June 11.[6] On June 18, White pinned Robinson, before their match at G1 Special in San Francisco. Following the match, White attacked Robinson, causing him to injure his left hand with a fracture on his fifth metacarpal bone.[87] NJPW was going to pull him out of the tour, but he insisted on continuing to work the remainder of the tour with a cast in his hand.[87] On June 24 at Kizuna Road, Robinson used the cast in his hand against White with their match ending in a disqualification.[88]

In the NEVER Openweight Championship match, Hirooki Goto would make his first title defense against Jeff Cobb.[38] On June 17 at Kizuna Road, Goto defeated Michael Elgin to win the NEVER Openweight Championship for the third time.[89] Following the match, Elgin's tag team partner Jeff Cobb challenged Goto to a match for the NEVER Openweight Championship.[90] Afterwards, Goto responded that he would take anyone, anytime and anywhere, accepting Cobb's challenge.[90] The match officially announced on June 21.[38]

Event Edit

Preliminary matchesEdit

Other on-screen personnel
Role: Name:
English Commentators Jim Ross
Josh Barnett
Japanese Commentators Milano Collection A.T.
Miki Motoi
Yusuke Okamoto (Tokyo Sports guest)
Hiroki Yamasaki (1st, 4th and 8th matches)
Shinpei Nogami (2nd and 7th matches)
Yohei Onishi (3rd, 5th and 6th matches and main event)
Referees Red Shoes Unno
Tiger Hattori

The pay-per-view opened with a video. Next it was a ten-man tag team match between Bullet Club (Yujiro TakahashiChase Owens, Tama Tonga, Tanga Roa and King Haku) against CHAOS (Gedo, Sho, YohRocky Romero and Yoshi-Hashi). In the end, Haku would push Gedo and Tama Tonga perfomed a Gun Stun on him to win the match.

Next. it was a tag team between Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr.) against CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano). In the end, Yano was going to hit a low blow but Sabre reversed it until Ishii hit a lariat and Yano reversed into a laverage pin to win the match. After the match, Ishii and Suzuki had a confrontation where Ishii provoked Suzuki. Suzuki e was seperated by two Young Lions, which he proceed to attack them.

Next, it was a tag team match between Taguchi Japan (Hiroshi Tanahashi and KUSHIDA) against Bullet Club (Hangman Page and Marty Scurll). In the end, KUSHIDA was going to hit the Hoverboard Lock until Page reversed into the Rite of Passage to win the match.

After that, it was a tag team match where The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson) defended the IWGP Tag Team Championhip against Los Ingobernables de Japón (EVIL and SANADA). In the end, the Matt Jackson stole EVIL's finishing move and he and Matt Jackson hit the Meltzer Driver on EVIL to win the match.

After that it was announced two shows in USA and JR and Josh Barnett giving their prediction about upcoming matches.

After that, it was a tag team match between CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay) against Los Ingobernables de Japón (Tetsuya Naito and BUSHI). In the end, Ospreay hit the Storm Breaker on BUSHI to win the match, after that Okada and Ospreay celebrated with the fans.

After that it was a singles match where Hiromu Takahashi defended the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against Dragon Lee. Before the bell started, Lee hit a Hurricarrana on Lee. During the match, it happened a botch between Hiromu and Lee. In the end, Hiromu hit the Time Bomb on Lee to win the match.

Next it was singles match where Jay White defended the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against Juice Robinson. During the match happend a controversy between White and English comentator Josh Barnett. In the end, White was going to hit the Blade Runner but Robinson reversed into a roll-up pin to win the match.

Main event Edit

In the main event, Kenny Omega defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Cody. In the end, Kenny hit a Katayoku no Tenshi on Cody to retain the IWGP Heavywight Champion.

After the match, Omega and The Young Bucks celebrated until Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and King Haku dubbed themselves as the "Firing Squad" attacked them, Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi, Marty Scurll and Hangman Page tried to make the save but were overpowered by them. Cody would return to the ring and Tonga him to attack Omega with a chair but Cody refused and attacked Loa, however Tonga hit him with the Gun Stun, later in the end Haku hit Omega with a Piledriver on a steel chair and they left the arena. Following the attack, Cody reunited Omega putting asside their differences over the leadership of the Bullet Club and left the arena.

ReceptionEdit

Larry Csonka in his review of the event for 411Mania, stated that the event was "very good and strong event, with three standout matches, a big title change".[91] He also praised the Bullet Club angle in the end.[91] Csonka also noted some production issues and commentary which was the only negative on the show.[91] Rich Kraetsch in his review of the event for Voices of Wrestling called the show "a business success thanks to higher than usual ticket prices but optics will suffer with NJPW barely getting above 6,000".[92] He also noted that the G1 Special in San Francisco was a "solid top-to-bottom show with three or four must-see matches and a number of noteworthy stories and character building".[92] AXS TV representative told WrestleZone the event was a success, being "the best NJPW show in the United States", with the "biggest venue, biggest gate and most tickets sold".[93][94]

AftermathEdit

During the event, NJPW announced again two more shows the United States, the first Fighting Spirit Unleashed which would take place on September 30 at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California and the second show Lion's Break Project would take place on November 10 and 11 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.[95] During the match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, Hiromu Takahashi suffered a broken neck, after receiving a Dragon Driver from Dragon Lee, which he landed on his neck.[96] Following the match, Takahashi collapsed backstage and was taken to a nearby hospital.[96] It was later revealed that he was conscious, and was able to sit and talk.[97] In out-of-character, Bullet Club leader Kenny Omega posted a Tweet wishing him a good recovery,[98] which was followed by CHAOS member Will Ospreay, who posted a video on Facebook on his concern about Takahashi's injury, while also wishing him the best. [99] On July 11, NJPW reported that Takahashi was able to return to Japan and would proceed with medical treatment to his neck.[100] On August 20, Takahashi was forced to vacate the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship due to the injury.[101] NJPW Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi reported that Takahashi would be out of action for at least six months.[101] He also announced a four-man single elimination tournament containing Takahashi's Los Ingobernables de Japón stablemate BUSHI, KUSHIDA, Will Ospreay and Marty Scurll to crown a new champion.[101]

ControversyEdit

During the match for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, Jay White suplexed Juice Robinson to the barricade, sending Jim Ross to the floor.[102] This led to fellow commentator Josh Barnett attempting to confront White, but was stopped by NJPW officials.[102] Following the accident, Barnett and Ross started shooting on NJPW with Ross saying that "officials need to get their shit together" and later in the Bullet Club angle, Ross even wanted to go home.[102][94] Ross revealed later on Twitter that the angle wasn't a work and he was possibly injured.[102] After the event, White and Robinson apologized both Barnett and Ross for the accident.[94] Dave Meltzer reported that Jim Ross was upset, before the show he had asked NJPW officials to keep the wrestlers away from fighting near their broadcast position.[103] Ross revealed the usage of barricades around the ring that weren't connected, so they tipped over on impact.[103] He was forced to cancel three commitments he had.[103] Ross was later diagnosed with issues involving both his lungs and ribs and he could contract a pneumonia if he didn't had caution, the rib injury led to a significant pain.[103]

ResultsEdit

# Matches[104][105][106][107][108] Stipulations Times
1 Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, King Haku, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) defeated CHAOS (Gedo, Sho, Yoh, Rocky Romero and Yoshi-Hashi) Ten-man tag team match 9:20
2 CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) defeated Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr.) Tag team match 9:42
3 Bullet Club (Hangman Page and Marty Scurll) defeated Taguchi Japan (Hiroshi Tanahashi and KUSHIDA) (with Ryusuke Taguchi) Tag team match 9:52
4 Hirooki Goto (c) defeated Jeff Cobb Singles match for the NEVER Openweight Championship 9:52
5 The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) (c) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL and SANADA) Tag team match for the IWGP Tag Team Championship 16:05
6 CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI and Tetsuya Naito) Tag team match 11:58
7 Hiromu Takahashi (c) defeated Dragon Lee Singles match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship 16:18
8 Juice Robinson defeated Jay White (c) Singles match for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship 23:22
9 Kenny Omega (c) (with Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) defeated Cody (with Brandi Rhodes) Singles match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship 34:14
  • (c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
  • Videoicon – refers to the video of that match

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  71. ja:【『Super Jr.』出場メンバー決定!】Aブロックにリコシェ、オスプレイ、ドラゴン・リー! マーティ・スカルが初上陸! Bブロックにボラドール! 金丸、ACHも初出場! (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling (2017-05-03). Retrieved on 2017-05-03.
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  93. Reported success AXS TV . WrestleZone (2018-07-08). Retrieved on 2018-07-08.
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