#AndNEW: Juice Robinson Wins IWGP United States Championship

New Japan Pro Wrestling celebrated the one year anniversary of the IWGP United States Championship and the North American expansion at the same time with a second G1 Special In USA, last night taking place in San Francisco at the Cow Palace. The IWGP United States Championship has now been held by three different men and Juice is finally loose in NJPW after leaving WWE NXT for NJPW in 2015. Juice Robinson had choked previously in big title matches against Hirooki Goto for the NEVER Openweight Championship and against Tetsuya Naito in great, valiant efforts for the IWGP Intercontinental championship and Robinson wouldn’t let that happen again in his home country. The IWGP heavyweight champion Kenny Omega has even mentioned in interviews that Juice Robinson is one of the most endearing face wrestlers on the planet, capable of drawing you in and believing his passion and Juice Robinson did that and more at the G1 Special In San Francisco.

A spectacle of a video package played before the match and it explained the motivation of both athletes perfectly, Juice Robinson has the heart and “Switchblade” Jay White wants to stomp it out of his chest. Jay White is no more and “Switchblade” has taken over. Robinson started the match hot but he was quickly thrown into guardrail’s violently. The challenger from Illinois was already at a big disadvantage by wrestling with a broken hand. Robinson commented on it in an interview, saying “I have 206 bones in my body and this is just one” but commentator Josh Barnett wondered if Juice was trying to convince himself or the champion of that. White pried at the fingers of Juice, if Juice Robinson used his cast he would be disqualified at the referees discretion.

Even commentator Jim Ross took a spill on the floor after Juice was thrown into the railing beside the announce table, encouraging Josh Barnett to get involved. The Kiwi champion would not be deterred but he did take too long to set up Blade Runner. Juice Robinson took a low blow when the referee was distracted but that also allowed Juice to use the cast on White’s head. Juice finally hit Pulp Friction for one of the nights closest near falls. “Switchblade” went for the finish but Juice saw Blade Runner coming, a victory roll with a bridge for added emphasis put White down for the three-count and the San Francisco crowd was shocked to see a new champion. Other than the Florida Championship Wrestling tag team championship in WWE developmental, this is Robinson’s first championship on his ten year anniversary of being a professional wrestler.

It was a feel-good moment and one Juice has certainly earned, the flamboyant one is 29 years old now after being signed to WWE at just 22 years of age. The audience has grown with Juice, he has said NJPW gave him the chance to blossom and gain confidence where WWE didn’t. Robinson also said in his post-match promo “anyone that thinks titles don’t mean anything can burn in hell.” Robinson has won the IWGP United States Championship just one week away from the annual G1 Climax tournament, stalling White’s momentum and setting his own on fire. Usually the man makes the title, not the title makes the man but this is a rare case where Juice gets the chance to do both and also make the title gain more prestige. It’s not out of the question for Juice Robinson to defend the IWGP United States Championship outside of NJPW for title defenses in America, Juice comes from small Indies like IWA: Mid South and Border City Wrestling, now he can defend his title in Ring Of Honor Wrestling and Juice has also wrestled for AAW Pro recently. Juice Robinson must also prepare for the new USA Special announced from NJPW this September 30 for Strong Style Unleashed at the Walter Pyramid, the host of Strong Style Evolved.