New Japan Pro Wrestling announced most of the major matches for its historic G1 Special events, taking place next month in Southern California.
The G1 Special is a two-night event emanating from Long Beach, CA. Tickets sold out in just a few hours for both events.
In the main event of the first show on July 1, Kazuchika Okada will defend his IWGP Heavyweight Title against Cody Rhodes. Currently aligned with the Bullet Club, Cody challenged Okada at the end of Dominion this past Sunday, after Okada and fellow Bullet Club member Kenny Omega battled to a 60-minute time limit draw.
NJPW also will crown its first IWGP United States Champion in a two-night tournament and announced the bracket for the tourney, which is as follows:
Hangman Page vs. Jay Lethal
Juice Robinson vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Michael Elgin vs. Kenny Omega
The first round will take place on the July 1 event, with the semifinals and finals on July 2.
NJPW owner Takaaki Kidani has spoken on a couple of occasions on the promotion's aspirations to build its own separate brand to tour the United States. He told Kevin Kelly in a video interview this spring that, if these events do well, more U.S. dates will be announced. Kidani previously has cited the motivation for the U.S. expansion as stemming from WWE's talent raid on the promotion in January of 2016, when Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows all left for WWE.
Here is the complete announced lineup for both G1 Special events:
Saturday, July 1
CHAOS (Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, Beretta, Rocky Romero & Will Ospreay) vs. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Marty Scurll, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson & Yujiro Takahashi)
Dragon Lee, Jushin Liger, Titan & Volador, Jr. vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA & Hiromu Takahashi)
NJPW U.S. Title Tournament, First Round: Hangman Page vs. Jay Lethal
NJPW U.S. Title Tournament, First Round: Juice Robinson vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, KUSHIDA, Jay White & David Finlay, Jr. vs. Billy Gunn, Yoshi Tatsu, Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu
NJPW U.S. Title Tournament, First Round: Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii
NJPW U.S. Title Tournament, First Round: Michael Elgin vs. Kenny Omega
IWGP Heavyweight Title: Kazuchika Okada defends vs. Cody
Sunday, July 2
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Titles: Young Bucks defend vs. Roppongi Vice
IWGP IC Title: Hiroshi Tanahashi defends vs. Billy Gunn
IWGP U.S. Title Tournament semifinals and finals