On Friday night, it was announced that the winner of the New Japan Cup USA 2021 tournament would not become a contender this time around, but rather would win the brand new NJPW Strong Openweight Championship. The first New Japan Cup USA tournament in 2020, won by KENTA, had been for the right to challenge for Jon Moxley‘s NJPW United States Championship. The NJPW Strong Openweight Championship will be able to be defended against all weight classes and will be the main title of the United States-based NJPW Strong show.
The New Japan Cup USA winner will not be a contender.
The New Japan Cup USA winner will be a champion!
Introducing the NJPW STRONG Openweight Championship!
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) April 3, 2021
Over the past two months, competitors have qualified to be in the eight-man tournament. With championship gold now officially on the line for whoever wins, the tournament certainly gained that much more intrigue. The eight competitors who will be in the tournament are Brody King, Chris Dickinson, Clark Connors, Fred Rosser, Hikuleo, Lio Rush, Ren Narita, and “Filthy” Tom Lawlor. Here are the official first-round matchups which will take place on April 9:
– Clark Connors vs. Lio Rush
– Ren Narita vs. Tom Lawlor
– Fred Rosser vs. Hikuleo
– Brody King vs. Chris Dickinson
The stakes have certainly been raised by NJPW. It’s only a matter of time before someone makes history by becoming the first-ever NJPW Strong Openweight Champion.
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