NJPW Crowns First Ever Strong Openweight Champion
With a challenger already lined up
The first ever NJPW Strong Openweight champion, and the 2021 New Japan Cup USA winner, were crowned on Friday night's edition of NJPW Strong, following a lengthy tournament final.
Tom Lawlor won the final match of the eight man tournament, defeating Brody King to capture both honors.
Lawlor won the match with a rear naked choke, causing King to pass out around the 20-minute mark.
During the post-match ceremony, Lawlor gave his victory speech while surrounded by Team Filthy associates Chris Dickinson and JR Kratos. After Lawlor declared that nobody in New Japan was man enough to defeat him, Dickinson took the mic and surprisingly declared himself to be the first challenger for Lawlor's gold.
Lawlor's path to the Cup and the championship included wins over Ren Narita and Hikuleo, prior to the victory over King in the finals.
Lawlor becomes the second New Japan Cup USA winner, following KENTA in 2020. KENTA's prize for winning was a shot at the IWGP United States championship, which he cashed in this past February, losing to champion Jon Moxley.