We were sent the following press release by AXS TV to announce the debut of their coverage of the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax 26 Tournament. The shows will be broadcast over four weeks with eight total episodes starting on Friday, March 10. Back to back episodes of the weekly show will kick off at 7PM EST, and will be called by AXS’ broadcast team of Jim Ross and Josh Barnett.
Kenny Omega will be featured in the broadcast as the first non-Japanese winner of the tournament. Omega went on to Wrestle Kingdom 11 to challenge Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship after winning the G1.
The full press release is shown below. Be sure to check your local listings to find your local AXS channel and the time of broadcast in your area.
LOS ANGELES – March 1, 2016 – AXS TV puts the spotlight on NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING’s G1 Climax 26 Tournament with a special four-week, eight-episode event starting Friday, March 10 with back-to-back episodes each week at 7pE/4pP and 8pE/5pP presented by AXS TV’s broadcast team Jim Ross and Josh Barnett. Wrestling superstar Kenny Omega headlines AXS TV’s coverage of the tournament, which marked Omega’s rise to international acclaim as he made history becoming the first ever non-Japanese winner of the G1 Climax Tournament, which lead to his epic battle against Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on AXS TV’s special coverage of Wrestle Kingdom 11 in January.
The annual round-robin tournament puts 20 of NJPW’s top wrestlers to the test across a challenging, month-long marathon of matches, all competing for the prestigious tournament championship and a shot at NJPW’s highest honor, the IWGP Heavyweight Title, in the main event at Wrestle Kingdom in the Tokyo Dome.
“The most uniquely intense, physical and challenging pro wrestling tournament that I’ve ever broadcast,” said Jim Ross. “The G1 Climax has become THE TOURNAMENT within the genre, worldwide.”
“Every year New Japan Pro Wrestling puts on the most grueling and prolific tournament in all of professional wrestling – the G1 Climax,” said Josh Barnett. “Wrestlers endure the violence of the wrestling ring, day after day, for a chance at a glory that can make a name legendary. Kenny Omega’s win has put his name far above just Internet adoration but now those in the opposite corner of the ring know that they are tangling with one of the elite.”
AXS TV’s four-week event kicks off Friday, March 10 at 7pE/4pP with matches featuring NJPW’s most decorated wrestler Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. ambitious newcomer SANADA and long-time veteran Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. “The Stone Pitt Bull” Tomohiro Ishii; in the second hour, former G1 Climax Champion Hirooki Goto takes on former IWGP Intercontinental Champion Bad Luck Fale and reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada faces returning star Naomichi Marufuji at 8pE/5pP.
Coverage continues Friday, March 17 with three matches in the first hour, including reigning NEVER Openweight Champ Katsuyori Shibata vs. fan favorite Tomoaki Honma; NJPW legend Yuji Nagata vs. reigning IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito; and YOSHI-HASHI in his first ever G1 Climax match vs. Kenny Omega; then Tanahashi faces Marufuji and Okada takes on fellow Chaos member Ishii in a five-star classic match in hour two.
On Friday, March 24, the night starts with Makabe vs. Ishii before Goto and Marufuji square off, followed by an epic battle between longtime rivals Tanahashi and Okada in the second hour.
The final night of AXS TV’s four-week event (Friday, March 31) showcases Kenny Omega’s finest moments of the tournament, starting with his finals-qualifying match against Naito, before his ultimate battle with Goto for the G1 Climax 2016 Championship.
AXS TV’s full G1 Climax 26 Schedule is as follows (all times eastern):
Friday, March 10
7 p.m. – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. SANADA, Hiroyoshi Tenzen vs. Tomohiro Ishii
8 p.m. – Hirooki Goto vs. Bad Luck Fale, Kazuchika Okada vs. Naomichi Marufuji
Friday, March 17
7 p.m. – Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomoaki Honma, Yuji Nagata vs. Tetsuya Naito, YOSHI-HASHI vs. Kenny Omega
8 p.m. – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Naomichi Marufuji, Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Friday, March 24
7 p.m. – Togi Makabe vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto vs. Naomichi Marufuji, Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. SANADA
8 p.m. – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada
Friday, March 31
7 p.m. – Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega
8 p.m. – Hirooki Goto vs. Kenny Omega