After a lot of he said-she said speculation, Ring of Honor and NJPW have confirmed that they will present the “G1 Supercard” at Madison Square Garden on April 6, 2019, the night before WrestleMania 35 at MetLife Stadium.
However, the G1 Supercard is not just taking place the night before WrestleMania – it’s also going head-to-head with “NXT TakeOver,” which will take place just over five miles away at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. It will be the first time that MSG and Barclays will host competing wrestling shows on the same night.
However, WWE shouldn’t be too worried about NJPW/ROH stealing their thunder. Furthermore, wrestling fans should be ecstatic, because we’re the real winners in this showdown.
Competition Creates Innovation
Last month, Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff told PWInsider’s Mike Johnson that MSG had backed out of a deal with ROH “after communications from the WWE.” The claim sent the wrestling world into a tizzy, with many internet wrestling fans bragging that WWE was somehow threatened by ROH.
However, last week WWE issued a curt statement on the matter: “MSG is, of course, free to work with ROH however they want.”
But whatever occurred behind the scenes isn’t important. What matters is that the G1 Supercard is happening at Madison Square Garden over WrestleMania weekend – and it’s going to force Vince McMahon and Co. to step up their game.
Don’t get me wrong; NXT already offers a fantastic product, and as someone who’s had the pleasure of attending a TakeOver event I’m fully confident in Triple H’s ability to put butts in seats at Barclays even with an ROH/NJPW show happening across town.
However, considering that the G1 Supercard will undoubtedly feature international talent who only do so many shows in America – people like Kazuchika Okada, Tetsuya Naito, and Kenny Omega – WWE will likely be compelled to include international talent of their own – like the NXT UK roster, for example – at the TakeOver event.
Consider this: the last time a WWE United Kingdom Championship match took place at a TakeOver event was at NXT TakeOver: Chicago in May 2017, when Pete Dunne won the title from Tyler Bate. Can you imagine how big a draw it would be if Dunne were still champion come April and he defended the title at TakeOver? Unless Brock Lesnar also manages to hold on to the Universal Championship through April (aside: please God no), at that point Dunne would be the longest reigning champion in all of WWE, and he could be billed as an exclusive international talent. If that wouldn’t get people excited, I don’t know what would.
But, beyond just expanding the card to include more performers, the showdown might finally encourage WWE to start working alongside NJPW. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats – something that Vince McMahon knows to be true, or he never would have agreed to allow Chris Jericho to fight Kenny Omega. Indeed, a working relationship – or even just a healthy amount of cross-promotion – would change the wrestling world as we know it.
So again, maybe WWE was perturbed by ROH stepping on their territory. After all, the G1 Supercard will be the first non-WWE wrestling event to take place at MSG since 1960. But McMahon is a crude businessman, and this is an opportunity to capitalize. So don’t be surprised when he does – and we reap all the benefits.