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New Japan crowns the first Strong Openweight champion

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He already has an unexpected first challenger, too.

NJPW Global’s Twitter

NJPW Strong last night (April 23) featured the finals of the New Japan USA Cup tournament. In addition to the trophy itself, and rather than the IWGP United States title shot that came along with the 2020 Cup, this year’s winner would be crowned the first ever NJPW Strong Openweight champ.

Congrats to MLW’s Filthy Tom Lawlor! He defeated ROH’s Brody King with a rear naked choke to win a 20 minute battle by referee stoppage.

Lawlor joins KENTA on the short list of New Japan Cup USA winners. In addition to King, the UFC-ex beat Ren Narita and Hikuleo in the tournament.

The first defense of the new belt was set-up during Lawlor’s victory celebration. His Team Filthy teammate Chris Dickinson stepped to the champ, and it’s on!

Dickinson just showed up in Ring of Honor himself at the end of their 19th Anniversary PPV. There, he’s aligned with Brody King.

Forbidden Door’s make for strange bedfellows.

Anyway, who’s excited for the Filthy Father vs. the Dirty Daddy?