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The IWGP United States (Heavyweight) Championship (USヘビー級王座, US hebī-kyū ōza) is a professional wrestling championship owned by the New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) promotion. IWGP is the acronym of NJPW's governing body, the International Wrestling Grand Prix.[4] The title was announced on May 12, 2017, with the inaugural champion crowned on the weekend of July 1 and 2, 2017, during NJPW's G1 Special in USA shows in Long Beach, California. The title became NJPW's eighth active championship. Being a professional wrestling championship, the title is won as a result of a match with a predetermined outcome. The current champion is Juice Robinson, who is in his second reign.

IWGP United States Championship
IWGP United States Championship.jpeg
The IWGP United States Championship belt
(May 2017 — present)
Details
PromotionNew Japan Pro-Wrestling
Date establishedMay 12, 2017[2]
Current champion(s)Juice Robinson
Date wonJanuary 4, 2019[1]
Other name(s)
IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship

Contents

HistoryEdit

BackgroundEdit

On May 12, 2017, during the third night of the War of the Worlds tour, co-produced by New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and Ring of Honor (ROH), NJPW United States Ambassador George Carroll announced the creation of the IWGP United States Championship.[2][5] The following day, NJPW revealed the title's official name as the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship.[6] The title is part of an American expansion plan which NJPW had made public in the months prior to the announcement. Plans had been made to run extended tours in the United States with California as the base, starting in 2018.[7] The plan was a direct response to WWE taking four wrestlers from NJPW in January 2016.[8] Tetsuya Naito noted how the new title had exactly the same concept as the IWGP Intercontinental Championship,[9] which had been established during NJPW's May 2011 United States tour, promoted in conjunction with Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW).[10] NJPW chairman Naoki Sugabayashi stated that he wanted the title to be defended at future NJPW events in the United States as well as events held by ROH.[11] The title belt was made red to distinguish it from the black IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt and the white IWGP Intercontinental Championship belt.[11]

Inaugural tournamentEdit

 
Kenny Omega, the winner of the tournament and inaugural champion, wearing the title belt in November 2017

The first champion would be crowned in a tournament on the weekend of July 1 and 2, 2017, during NJPW's G1 Special in USA shows in Long Beach, California.[2][5] Though it was originally announced that the tournament would be contested in a round-robin format,[2][5] Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter later reported that the tournament would in fact take place in a single-elimination format, stating that there had been a "mistake in the translation".[12] Jay Lethal was the first participant announced for the tournament on May 12.[2][5] On May 18, Hangman Page was officially added to the tournament.[13] The other six participants as well as the bracket of the tournament, confirmed as a single-elimination tournament, were revealed on June 12.[14][15] Kenny Omega went on to defeat Tomohiro Ishii in the finals to become the inaugural champion.[16]

First round
(July 1)
Semifinals
(July 2)
Final
(July 2)
         
Michael Elgin Pin
Kenny Omega 22:31[17]
Kenny Omega Pin
Jay Lethal 12:56[1]
Jay Lethal Pin
Hangman Page 08:30[17]
Kenny Omega Pin
Tomohiro Ishii 31:20[1]
Juice Robinson Sub
Zack Sabre Jr. 10:04[17]
Zack Sabre Jr. Pin
Tomohiro Ishii 11:42[1]
Tomohiro Ishii Pin
Tetsuya Naito 15:51[17]

EstablishmentEdit

Since its creation, the IWGP United States Championship has been defended in both Japan and the United States with the first Japanese defense taking place on September 24, 2017, at Destruction in Kobe and the first stateside defense taking place on October 15, 2017, at Global Wars: Chicago.[18][19] After it had been announced in November 2017 that former WWE wrestler Chris Jericho would be challenging for the title at Wrestle Kingdom 12 in Tokyo Dome, Omega stated that the title had already surpassed the IWGP Intercontinental Championship as the number two championship in NJPW.[20] The promotion ranks the title in the second tier, behind both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships and alongside the NEVER Openweight Championship.[21]

Title historyEdit

As of May 25, 2019, there have been four different champions. The inaugural champion was Kenny Omega, who is also the longest reigning champion at 210 days with four successful title defenses and the oldest champion at 34 years old. Jay White was the youngest champion at 25 years old. Juice Robinson has the most reigns with two, and his first reign is also the shortest at 85 days with no successful title defenses.

Juice Robinson is the current champion in his second reign. He defeated Cody at Wrestle Kingdom 13 in Tokyo, Japan on January 4, 2019.

Key
No. Overall reign number
Reign Reign number for the specific champion
Days Number of days held
Defenses Number of successful defenses
+ Current reign is changing daily
No. Champion Championship change Reign statistics Notes Ref.
Date Event Location Reign Days Defenses
1 Kenny Omega July 2, 2017 G1 Special in USA Long Beach, California 1 210 4 Defeated Tomohiro Ishii in the finals of an eight-man tournament to become the inaugural champion. [1]
2 Jay White January 28, 2018 The New Beginning in Sapporo Sapporo, Japan 1 160 3
3 Juice Robinson July 7, 2018 G1 Special in San Francisco Daly City, California 1 85 0
4 Cody September 30, 2018 Fighting Spirit Unleashed Long Beach, California 1 96 0
5 Juice Robinson January 4, 2019 Wrestle Kingdom 13 in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 2 141+ 3

Combined reignsEdit

As of May 25, 2019.

Indicates the current champion
Rank Wrestler No. of
reigns
Combined
defenses
Combined
days
1 Juice Robinson 2 3 226+
2 Kenny Omega 1 4 210
3 Jay White 1 3 160
4 Cody 1 0 96

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f "G1 Special in USA". New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Currier, Joseph (May 12, 2017). "NJPW to crown first IWGP United States Champion in Long Beach". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  3. ^ a b ケニー・オメガ. New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). Archived from the original on July 3, 2017. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  4. ^ Fiorvanti, Tim (January 2, 2017). "What to watch for at New Japan Pro Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 11". ESPN. Archived from the original on January 3, 2017. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d Johnson, Mike (May 12, 2017). "New Japan announces new championship, unveils belt". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  6. ^ 7月のロサンゼルス大会を前に“IWGP USヘビー級王座”の新設がアナウンス! ROHのリング上でベルトがお披露目!!. New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). May 13, 2017. Archived from the original on May 13, 2017. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  7. ^ Meltzer, Dave (April 10, 2017). "April 10, 2017 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Wrestlemania 33 review, WWE financials, more". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California. pp. 29–31. ISSN 1083-9593.
  8. ^ 新日本、7月のロス興行はWWEへ「反撃ののろし」. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). January 5, 2017. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  9. ^ 【新日本】内藤ICベルト破壊! US王座新設に怒り爆発. Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). May 19, 2017. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  10. ^ Johnson, Mike (January 5, 2011). "New Japan to institute new belt in United States, NYC location and more NJPW in the States news". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Fiorvanti, Tim (July 2, 2017). "The ultimate guide to New Japan Pro Wrestling's 'G1 Special in USA' shows". ESPN. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  12. ^ Meltzer, Dave (May 15, 2017). "Daily Update: Tanahashi injury, Strowman, Twitter feuds". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  13. ^ 『G1 Special in USA』ロス大会“初日”を、現地時間・7月1日(土)、アメリカ国内でAXS TV で生中継! 4大タイトル戦、USヘビー級王座決定トーナメントも正式決定!. New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). May 19, 2017. Archived from the original on May 19, 2017. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  14. ^ 【ロス2連戦の“USヘビー級王座決定トーナメント”詳細が決定!】 1回戦でケニーvsエルガン! 内藤vs石井! ジュースvsザック! リーサルvsペイジ!. New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). June 12, 2017. Archived from the original on June 12, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  15. ^ Meltzer, Dave; Rose, Bryan (June 12, 2017). "NJPW announces matches for Long Beach shows". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  16. ^ Fontaine, Paul; Currier, Joseph (July 2, 2017). "NJPW G1 Special live results: The first IWGP US Champion is crowned". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  17. ^ a b c d "G1 Special in USA". New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  18. ^ Rose, Bryan (September 23, 2017). "NJPW Destruction in Kobe live results: Kenny Omega vs. Juice Robinson". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  19. ^ Meltzer, Dave; Currier, Joseph (October 15, 2017). "ROH Global Wars Chicago live results: Kenny Omega vs. Yoshi-Hashi". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  20. ^ 【新日本】ケニーが主張 1・4東京ドームのUS王座戦をWメーンに!. Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). November 11, 2017. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  21. ^ "History -Champions-". New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved November 11, 2017.

External linksEdit