NJPW has crowned the first-ever NJPW Strong Openweight Champion in the form of 'Filthy' Tom Lawlor. In the finals of the New Japan Cup USA 2021, Lawlor defeated Brody King in order to win both the tournament and the championship.
On the most recent edition of NJPW Strong, Lawlor and King competed in a hard-fought final against each other. The Team Filthy leader emerged victorious and, in doing so, also won his first-ever title in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
The finish to the final match saw Lawlor locked in a rear-naked choke on King. The bout was then called via a referee stoppage around the 20-minute mark. It was a brutal clash between the two men.
However, immediately after the conclusion of the match, Lawlor was in for a surprise, courtesy of his fellow Team Filthy stablemate. The newly crowned Strong Openweight Champion cut a promo with fellow faction mates Chris Dickinson and JR Kratos after winning the belt.
But, much to everyone's surprise, Dickinson stepped up as the first challenger for Lawlor's NJPW Strong Openweight Championship. Lawlor is now expected to put his belt on the line against Dickinson in the near future.
Tom Lawlor has established himself as a favorite in NJPW
Over the course of the past few months, Tom Lawlor has emerged as a fan favorites in NJPW, mostly due to his work on NJPW Strong. With his New Japan Cup USA win, Lawlor became the second-ever Superstar to win the tournament after KENTA won it last year.
Following his exceptional and consistent performances on NJPW Strong, fans have also expressed their desire to see Lawlor compete in NJPW's traditional annual tournament, the G1 Climax.
With Tom Lawlor now capturing the Strong Openweight Championship, it remains to be seen if NJPW management is willing to bring Filthy over to Japan and have him defend his belt in the Land of the Rising Sun.