On this week’s Rewind-A-Wai, Espresso Executive Producer @Michael_Darcy has selected the second night of New Japan’s first trip to Long Beach, California in July 2017.
We will review the entire second night and chat with Michael about why he chose this event.
Please leave feedback & questions in this thread and we will answer on the show.
NJPW G1 Special in the US
Sunday, July 2nd, 2017
Long Beach, California
*Kenny Omega vs. Tomohiro Ishii to crown the first IWGP U.S. champion
*Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Billy Gunn for the Intercontinental title
*Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay & The Briscoes vs. Cody, Marty Scurll, Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro
*The Young Bucks vs. Rocky Romero & Beretta for the IWGP junior heavyweight tag titles
*Guerrillas of Destiny & Hangman Page vs. War Machine & Michael Elgin
*Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, EVIL, Sanada & Bushi vs. Juice Robinson, Dragon Lee, Titan, Volador Jr. & Jay White
*Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr. in the semi-finals
*Jay Lethal vs. Kenny Omega in the semi-finals
*Jushin Thunder Liger, KUSHIDA & David Finlay vs. Yoshitatsu & The Tempura Boyz
Without a doubt, 2017 was Omega’s year and this weekend was one of his highlights. The match with Elgin the night before and his crowning against Ishii were outstanding in my view. The image of Ishii biting the top rope and Omega trying to suplex him is so striking. This show to me also highlights an aspect of wrestling in general and that’s how much can change in just one year. The standing of the roster at this moment compared to now is fascinating and that aspect is probably a reason why I’ve remained a wrestling fan for most of my life, there’s always change going on. And after saying all that, this show also had Billy Gunn on it, challenging one of the greatest wrestlers for the Intercontinental title. What else can be said really?
MJ from NJ,
This was the show I recall making me a NJPW fan. I called into the LAW that night and remember geeking out with Mouth on how Ishii was such an awesome character who oozed charisma. If I recall, Kenny had an epic match the night before with Big Mike.
I remember wishing Okada was featured more that weekend, as the shine appeared to solely on Omega. The tease with Cody was money and to think they dragged it out for almost an entire year is often over-looked with regards to great New Japan story telling (maybe because we think of that story as a BTE / ROH story). Tanahashi vs. Billy Gunn was a misguided attempt to appeal to the US fan base…something that has worked much better with Jericho who fits in a lot more than the nostalgia act that is Billy Gunn.
I’ll always remember this night for calling into the LAW and for feeling like I just watched something that was a wrestling secret too good to be hidden. Glad it has been shared with many more since then and continues to grow.