Welcome to our ongoing coverage of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G1 Special USA, taking place at the Cow Palace in San Francisco California.
The show opened with an exterior shot of the Cow Palace. Jim Ross and Josh Barnett introduced the show at ringside.
Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens, & King Haku) b. CHAOS (Sho, Yo, Rocky Romero, YOSHI-HASHI, & Gedo) when Tonga pinned Gedo with a Gun Stun. Haku first locked in the Tongan Death Grip on Gedo, which allowed Tonga to sweep in with the Gun Stun for the win. Exciting opening match.
CHAOS (Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii) b. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.) when Yano pinned Sabre with a roll-up. As expected, when Suzuki and Ishii were in the ring together they just beat the tar out of each other. Yano kept getting caught in dual submissions from both Suzuki and Sabre. When Yano went for a low blow, Sabre countered by squeezing his own knees together to catch Yano’s arm. However, Ishii ran in and clotheslined Sabre to the mat. Yano was able to roll up Sabre for the pin. Suzuki’s losing streak against Ishii continues.
Bullet Club (Marty Scurll & Hangman Page) b. Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA when Page pinned Kushida with The Rite Of Passage. If you can’t tell who the babyfaces and heels were in this match, you probably shouldn’t be watching wrestling. Ryusuke Taguchi was in the corner to support his fellow Taguchi Japan teammates. The faces got a double submission spot with Kushida using a Hoverboard Lock on Scurll and Tanahashi with the Cloverleaf on Page. Tanahashi got knocked to the outside, allowing the heels to hit the inverted piledriver on Kushida for the win. Bullet Club is 2-0 so far tonight.
NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto p. Jeff Cobb with a GTR to retain the title. This was the first of five title matches for tonight. Great hossfight. Crowd was solidly behind Cobb, who got several near falls. However, Goto was able to land the reverse and regular GTR to score the win.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) p. Los Ingobernables De Japon (EVIL & SANADA) when Matt Jackson pinned EVIL after a Meltzer Driver. I really think SANADA’s theme music is awesome, even if it is only two notes. Sanada went for the Skull End early, but the Bucks cleared the ring. As expected, the crowd was behind the hometown team. Sanada put Nick in the Paradise lock, and dropkicked him to gain control of the match. The Bucks battled back, but missed More Bang For Your Buck. A chair was used back and forth between both teams. Evil and Sanada hit a Magic Killer for a near fall. The Bucks made their comeback with Superkicks, and finally hit a Meltzer Driver for the pinfall victory. Great tag team wrestling. Bullet Club is now 3-0.
During what appeared to be intermission, several video packages played. Among them was one that detailed the story behind the main event of Kenny Omega vs. Cody.
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay) b. Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI) when Ospreay pinned BUSHI with an Oscutter. It’s weird to type Okada’s name without putting “IWGP Heavyweight Champion” in front of it. Okada came to the ring with balloons tied to his body, which may be a first. Good back and forth action, and some hints at what might be to come in the G1 tournament, as Okada and Naito are both in the tournament.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi p. Dragon Lee with a Time Bomb to retain the championship. As expected, these guys went 120mph out of the gate. Their rivalry has gone on for years in multiple promotions. Several back and forth moves, and dueling strikes. Takahashi hit a hurricanrana and followed it up with a Triangle Choke. Dragon got out of it by hitting a scary looking Dragon Driver. However, Lee did fall to the Time Bomb, giving the win to Takahashi.
Juice Robinson p. IWGP United States Champion Jay White with a Roll-Up to win the championship. White was the total heel in this match, and the crowd was letting him know it. White threw Juice twice into the railings at ringside. I think the crowd chanted “Are you kidding?”. White continued to dominate, and worked over Juice’s broken hand. Juice was flung into another railing, which knocked Jim Ross out of his chair. Josh Barnett bluntly stated “You done f–ked up” and chased White into the ring. Referee Red Shoes was able to convince Barnett to return to his seat so the match could continue. Both men knocked each other off the apron to the floor for a near double-count out. Juice made his comeback, and tried for a left hand. Red Shoes stopped that, due to the stipulation that if Juice used his left hand, it would be a disqualification. White delivered a low blow behind Red Shoes’ back. Juice countered with a left hand that also was missed by the referee. White still managed to kick out at two. Crowd started chanting for Juice. White tried to finish off Juice with a Blade Runner, but Juice reversed it into the deadliest move in all of wrestling, The Roll-Up, and got the pin. This is the first singles title in New Japan for Robinson. A real sleeper of a match that had had it all. Drama, action, and great audience participation. I can’t help but think we’re getting a Jay White/Josh Barnett match down the road.
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega p. Cody with The One Winged Angel to retain the championship. Omega put Cody through a table early on. Cody set Omega on a table and climbed a ladder. The Young Bucks tried to stop Cody. Omega came to and climbed to the top of the ladder to meet Cody. Kenny went for a suplex off the top of the ladder to the table, only for Cody to reverse the suplex into the ring. I hope I never see that spot again, it was that scary looking. Omega still kicked out. Cody blocked a One Winged Angel attempt, and shoved Omega into referee Red Shoes. With the referee down, Cody took the IWGP Title belt and teased hitting Kenny with it. Instead, he tossed the title away and scored a near fall with a Crossroads. The Bucks retrieved the ladder from the ring. Omega hit a pair of V-Triggers. Cody tried a Vertebreaker, which Omega reversed. Omega hoisted Cody up into an Electric Chair, and powerbombed Cody to the outside onto the table still set at ringside. The table didn’t break, which made the spot all the more scary looking. The Bucks were checking on Cody when Omega made his way to the outside. Kenny rolled Cody back into the ring and seemingly went for another V-Trigger. Cody countered with a lariat. Cody kicked out of a double underhook piledriver, but almost immediately afterward was hit with The One Winged Angel for the loss. While it may not have been a Match Of The Year candidate, but it definitely felt like a big deal and was worthy of a major show main event.
After the match, Omega and Brandi helped Cody to his feet. After Cody made his way backstage, Omega took the mic and cut a babyface promo thanking the fans and putting over Cody as a worthy wrestler. The rest of Bullet Club (except Cody of course) met Omega at the stage entrance. They all seemed to be reunited, which of course meant a turn was imminent. Tonga clotheslined Omega from behind. Bullet Club carried their former leader back into the ring and put the boots to him and the Bucks Hangman Page ran out to try to make the save, but he got beat down too. Scurll then ran out, and also got pummeled. Cody limped back into the ring and was handed a chair. After teasing hitting Omega with the chair, Cody turned and hit Tango Loa. The Bullet Club then beat down Cody as well. No clear leader was shown during this implosion.
A very intriguing angle to close out the show. I don’t know if or when a new Bullet Club leader will be revealed. Though Loa did cut a promo to the camera saying that Bullet Club are equals.
Bullet Club made their exit, leaving Omega, Cody, Page, Scurll, and The Buck in the ring. Cody helped Omega to his feet, and the two embraced. This seemed to imply The Elite will now be their own babyface faction.