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Cody Rhodes, Billy Gunn get prominent spots on New Japan’s Long Beach shows

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New Japan’s English language website

We’re less than a month away from New Japan’s G1 Special in USA from Long Beach, California. These two shows, a prelude to one of the promotion’s biggest events of the year, the G1 Climax tournament, are also part of their plans to expand into the United States beyond their partnership with Ring of Honor (ROH).

The first show will air July 1, live on AXS TV at 8PM Eastern, with commentary from Jim Ross & Josh Barnett. A major focus of both shows will be a tournament to crown the first IWGP United States champion. The first round will take place on Saturday, during a show headline by an interesting IWGP Heavyweight match:

- Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Cody for the IWGP heavyweight Championship

- Michael Elgin vs. Kenny Omega in a US title first round match

- Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito in a US title first round match

- Guerrillas of Destiny (c) vs. War Machine for the IWGP Tag Team titles

- David Finlay, Jay White, KUSHIDA & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Sho Tanaka, Yohei Komatsu, Yoshitatsu & Billy Gunn

- Juice Robinson vs. Zack Sabre Jr. in a US title first round match

- Jay Lethal vs. Hangman Page in a US title first round match

- Titan, Dragon Lee, Volador Jr. & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, EVIL & SANADA

- Roppongi Vice, Will Ospreay & The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks, Marty Scurll, Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale

A full line-up for the second show on July 2 hasn’t been revealed, but that card will feature the final two rounds of the United States championship tournament, and a pretty wild title match for one of New Japan’s biggest ever stars...

- The semifinals and finals of the US title tournament

- Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Billy Gunn for the IWGP Intercontinental championship

- The Young Bucks (c) vs. Roppongi Vice for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles

Sunday’s action will air on AXS the following Friday, July 7, also at 8PM Eastern. Both shows should also be available on New Japan’s subscription streaming service, NJPW World.

Before they get to Long Beach, there will be three late June Kizuna Road events which will, among other things, reveal the details of this year’s G1. Cody also goes for the ROH World title on their next pay-per-view (PPV), June 23’s Best in the World... so some of these matches could have added wait by the time July rolls around.

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