On this week’s edition of NJPW Strong, “Filthy” Tom Lawlor faced Brody King in the finals of the New Japan Cup USA 2021 tournament. The winner of this match would make history, becoming crowned the first-ever NJPW Strong Openweight Champion. Following a competitive battle between the mixed martial artist Lawlor and the brute powerhouse King, a victor was ultimately decided. Standing in the center of the ring, complete with the honorary trophy in front of him and the title around his waist, was Lawlor himself.
The New Japan Cup USA 2021 qualifying matches ran throughout the month of March. The following month, the tournament proper kicked off, featuring “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, Brody King, Clark Connors, Lio Rush, Chris Dickinson, Ren Narita, Hikuleo, and Fred Rosser. In their first-round match, Lawlor defeated Narita. The following week, in the semifinals, Lawlor bested Hikuleo. This led to this week’s finals, which saw Lawlor overcome King, via rear-naked choke, to win the New Japan Cup USA 2021 and the Strong Openweight Title. Following his victory, Lawlor was challenged by Dickinson, who was eliminated in the first round by King.
Filthy first champ, Dirty first challenger
— NJPW Global (@njpwglobal) April 24, 2021
Though his NJPW Strong Openweight Championship victory is a monumental one, it’s far from “Filthy” Tom Lawlor’s only major accolade in pro wrestling. Since becoming a pro wrestler in 2007, he has amassed considerable success, especially in Major League Wrestling. In this promotion, Lawlor won the 2018 Battle Riot, emerged victorious in the 2020 Opera Cup, and held the MLW World Heavyweight Championship for 154 days. This doesn’t even begin to touch on his accolades in independent promotions including Black Label Pro. Tune into NJPW Strong each week for more information about the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship and its first titleholder.
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