New Japan‘s first two United States events in July were already a hot ticket — the shows sold out immediately, and when more tickets were released, those also sold out immediately — but now there’s a new wrinkle that definitely raises the stakes.
The shows are being referred to as the “G1 Special,” but New Japan made it clear shortly after announcing the shows that they would not be part of the annual, prestigious G1 Climax singles tournament. Instead, Long Beach will be host to its very own tournament.
During the joint “War of the Worlds” New Japan and ROH pay-per-view on Friday night, Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff and ambassador Cary Silkin announced, along with NJPW officials, that the G1 Special in California will be a two-night tournament to crown the first-ever IWGP United States Champion.
The New Japan website clarifies that this will be a round robin tournament, just like the G1 Climax (although assumedly with much smaller blocks of wrestlers). The first two announced competitors in the United States Championship tournament are former ROH World Champion Jay Lethal and the Bullet Club’s Hangman Adam Page.
The field will fill out soon enough, so we’ll shortly be able to salivate over the matches and try to figure out who will face Cody Rhodes in the finals. (Come on, you know that’s where this is going.)