Hot off the heels of their Strong Styled Evolved: United Kingdom show in Milton Keynes and Manchester, which provided a shock on the second evening when Zack Sabre Jr. pinned Kazuchika Okada, New Japan Pro Wrestling returned to our screens with their G1 Climax Special from San Francisco, California on July 7.
Emanating from the legendary Cow Palace, the show provided shocks and edge of the seat action, as well as injuries inside and outside the ring. Luckily for those of us not residing on American shores, the event will be available on the NJPW World streaming service shortly.
While many notable collisions were slated to transpire on the card, none were more hyped than the IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match in the main event. The culmination of the Cody Rhodes vs. Kenny Omega feud went down in spectacular style with the latter retaining after a breathtaking battle with his One-Winged Angel. However, it was what happened after the final bell which sets up Omega’s next program.
Celebrating with The Young Bucks, Kenny took to the mic to orate how everyone deserves a second chance, even Cody. Before a reunion could be complete, the Guerrillas of Destiny and Haku attacked, laying out the champion, the Jacksons, Hangman Page, Marty Scurll, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi. It was an impressive ambush which made this new bloc – the Firing Squad – immediate threats to the Bullet Club.
In a stunningly believable moment of drama, Cody fled back to the squared circle to decide his allegiance. Offered a chair by Tama Tonga, the former ROH World Champion watched as a helpless Omega reached out for aid and then turned face by leveling Tonga and Loa with the steel. His valiant rescue would be cut short when Haku caught him with a piledriver on the chair.
As the Bullet Club regrouped and the Firing Squad left the arena, Cody and Kenny embraced, sealing their reunion against this newest and arguably most dangerous opposition. Please, New Japan; give us Omega vs. Tama Tonga for the gold.
In results from the rest of the card:
- The Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Haku, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, and Yujiro Takahashi) rolled over CHAOS (Gedo, Rocky Romero, SHO, YOH, and YOSHI-HASHI) when Tonga pinned Gedo with the Gun Stun
- CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) cracked Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr.) after Yano surprisingly pinned the Brit with a cradle
- The Bullet Club (Hangman Page and Marty Scurll) overthrew Hiroshi Tanahashi and KUSHIDA, when Page dropped KUSHIDA with the Rite of Passage
- Hirooki Goto best Jeff Cobb with the GTR to retain the NEVER Openweight Championship
- The Young Bucks defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL and SANADA) with the Meltzer Driver to retain the IWGP Tag Team Championships. Following this bout, it was announced the promotion would return to the USA with ‘Fighting Spirit Unleashed’ in September and ‘Lion’s Break’ in November
- CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay) outlasted Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI and Tetsuya Naito) following a Stormbreaker from Ospreay to BUSHI
- Hiromu Takahashi downed Dragon Lee with a Time Bomb to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. During this match, Takahashi reportedly broke his neck.
- Juice Robinson thrashed ‘Switchblade’ to lift the IWGP United States Championship. During this bout, Jim Ross took a fall on commentary.
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