Josh Barnett is a renaissance man. He is successful in the cage and ring and on the mic, competing MMA for Pride, Strikeforce and UFC and pro wrestling for New Japan Pro Wrestling, Inoki Genome Federation and Impact Wrestling.
Barnett, 39, is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion and NJPW veteran. His latest endeavor is outside the ring with New Japan Pro Wrestling as a color commentator, working with WWE Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Ross.
They will call the action as AXS TV will be the exclusive U.S. television broadcast home of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s first U.S. event—the G1 Special In The USA—live Saturday, July 1 at 8pE/5pP from the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif.
Audio media conference call Q&A with Josh Barnett
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The “G1 Special” on AXS TV will feature championship matches for all of New Japan’s prestigious belts, including Saturday night’s headlining match between new Ring of Honor Champion Cody Rhodes and IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. New Japan will also hold a tournament over the two-day event to crown the first IWGP United States Champion, including Kenny Omega vs. Michael Elgin, Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii. The Young Bucks (Mike and Nick Jackson) will be there and more.
An encore airing occurs on AXS TV a few hours later on Saturday at 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.
Following Saturday night’s live event broadcast of the G1 Special and replay, AXS TV will premiere the second night of the event in a four-hour showcase on Friday, July 7 at 8pE/5pP. The special presentation will feature every match from night two in Long Beach with limited commercial interruption.
The G1 Special marks AXS TV’s first live broadcast of New Japan Pro Wrestling, the world’s fastest growing and second largest wrestling promotion, which the network has showcased on Friday nights in its award-winning, hour-long weekly series since 2015.
AXS TV’s NJPW broadcast team—Ross and Barnett—will be ringside for both nights to call the action for the network.
“New Japan is coming to the U.S. for the first time in its illustrious 45-year history,” AXS TV Fights CEO Andrew Simon said in a release. “The timing for the first-ever U.S. event and live TV broadcast is perfect—the weekly NJPW television show on AXS TV is a hit and the tickets for the G1 Special in the USA sold out within hours. We are excited to see how fans respond to this historic live broadcast.”
“New Japan Pro Wrestling is simply delighted to have our very first event in the United States, and to have it air live on TV marks a major breakthrough for the Japanese pro-wrestling promoters,” said Mr. Naoki Sugabayashi, Chairman of the Board, New Japan Pro Wrestling. “It is definitely going to have the most exciting matches by the most formidable wrestlers… don’t miss it!”
Mr. Hitoshi Matsumoto, Deputy General Manager, Business Division, TV Asahi, said: “New Japan Pro Wrestling has been one of our most important partners over the years and we are absolutely excited that NJPW is now holding its premier major event in the United States. NJPW content is a big success in Japan supported by fans of all generations and genders, so we do hope the viewers in the United States will find themselves hooked with the same explosion of excitement.”
Also, the G1 Special is scheduled to feature American stars Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks (Mike and Nick Jackson), in addition to NJPW superstars Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito.
Leading up to the live G1 Special broadcast, AXS TV will give viewers the opportunity to catch up on the latest NJPW events during the networks’ Friday night series with the “Summer of Strong Style” event showcasing all of the promotion’s 2017 events.
Following the G1 Special, AXS TV will continue to showcase NJPW events closer to their original airdate during its Friday night series, starting with the Best of the Super Juniors and the G1 Climax 27 tournament.
AXS TV’s upcoming NJPW schedule is as follows (subject to change):
· June 30 at 7pE & 8pE – “Dominion 2017”
· LIVE – July 1 at 8pE/5pP – “G1 Special in the USA Night 1”
· July 7 at 8pE – “G1 Special in the USA Night 2”
ABOUT AXS TV
Launched in July 2012 by visionary entrepreneur CEO Mark Cuban, AXS TV is dedicated to providing groundbreaking music programming, stand-up comedy performances from today’s top comedians, and hard-hitting mixed martial arts promotions. The network’s hit franchise series include The Big Interview with Dan Rather; Rock & Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar; The World’s Greatest Tribute Bands; Gotham Comedy Live; AXS TV Fights; and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
AXS TV is a partnership between Mark Cuban, AEG, Ryan Seacrest Media, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and CBS. The network is available in the United States via AT&T U-verse, Charter/Spectrum TV, Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW, DISH, Frontier, Sling TV, Altice/Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable/Spectrum TV, Verizon FiOS, and other cable, satellite and telco providers, including members of the National Cable Television Cooperative.
The network is also distributed in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
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