|IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship|
The IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship is quaternary singles championship in the New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) promotion. "IWGP" is the acronym of NJPW's governing body, the International Wrestling Grand Prix. 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.
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. The following day, NJPW revealed the title's official name as the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. 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. The plan was a direct response to WWE taking four wrestlers from NJPW in January 2016. Tetsuya Naito noted how the new title had the exact same concept as the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, which had been established during NJPW's May 2011 U.S. tour, promoted in conjunction with Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW). NJPW chairman Naoki Sugabayashi stated that he wanted the title to be defended at future NJPW events in the U.S. as well as events held by ROH. The title belt was made red to distinguish it from the black IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt and the white IWGP Intercontinental Championship belt.
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. Though it was originally announced that the tournament would be contested in a round-robin format, 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". Jay Lethal was the first participant announced for the tournament on May 12. On May 18, Hangman Page was officially added to the tournament. The other six participants as well as the bracket of the tournament, confirmed as a single-elimination tournament, were revealed on June 12. Kenny Omega went on to defeat Tomohiro Ishii in the finals to become the inaugural IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion.
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Since its creation, the IWGP United States Heavyweight 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. In November 2017, after it had been announced that former WWE wrestler Chris Jericho would be challenging for the title at Wrestle Kingdom 12 in Tokyo Dome, Omega stated that the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship had already surpassed the IWGP Intercontinental Championship as the number two championship in NJPW. The promotion ranks the title in the second tier, behind both the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships and alongside the NEVER Openweight Championship.
|1||Kenny Omega||1||July 2, 2017||Long Beach, California, United States||165+||3||Defeated Tomohiro Ishii in a tournament final to become the first champion.|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 (in Japanese) New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Archived from the original on July 3, 2017. http://www.webcitation.org/6rfkIFcg2?url=http://www.njpw.co.jp/profile/715. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
- ↑ 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. https://web.archive.org/web/20170103173227/http://www.espn.com/wwe/story/_/id/18393248/new-japan-pro-wrestling-watch-wrestle-kingdom-11. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Currier, Joseph (May 12, 2017). "NJPW to crown first IWGP United States Champion in Long Beach". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-crown-first-iwgp-united-states-champion-long-beach-235471. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Johnson, Mike (May 12, 2017). "New Japan announces new championship, unveils belt". Pro Wrestling Insider. http://pwinsider.com/article/109574/new-japan-announces-new-championship-unveils-belt.html?p=1. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) New Japan Pro-Wrestling. May 13, 2017. Archived from the original on May 13, 2017. http://www.webcitation.org/6qQTaEKSN?url=http://www.njpw.co.jp/96430. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- ↑ Meltzer, Dave (April 10, 2017). "April 10, 2017 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Wrestlemania 33 review, WWE financials, more". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California: 29–31. ISSN 1083-9593.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Nikkan Sports. January 5, 2017. http://www.nikkansports.com/battle/news/1761037.html. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. May 19, 2017. http://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/687155/. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
- ↑ 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. http://www.pwinsider.com/article/54081/new-japan-to-institute-new-belt-in-united-states-and-more-njpw-in-the-states-news.html?p=1. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Fiorvanti, Tim (July 2, 2017). "The ultimate guide to New Japan Pro Wrestling's 'G1 Special in USA' shows". ESPN. http://www.espn.com/wwe/story/_/id/19776391/the-ultimate-guide-new-japan-pro-wrestling-g1-special-usa-shows-long-beach. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
- ↑ Meltzer, Dave (May 15, 2017). "Daily Update: Tanahashi injury, Strowman, Twitter feuds". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/daily-updates/daily-update-tanahashi-injury-strowman-twitter-feuds-235546. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) New Japan Pro-Wrestling. May 19, 2017. Archived from the original on May 19, 2017. http://www.webcitation.org/6qZYZyh81?url=http://www.njpw.co.jp/97273. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) New Japan Pro-Wrestling. June 12, 2017. Archived from the original on June 12, 2017. http://www.webcitation.org/6r9tobt6z?url=http://www.njpw.co.jp/101285. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- ↑ Meltzer, Dave; Rose, Bryan (June 12, 2017). "NJPW announces matches for Long Beach shows". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-announces-matches-long-beach-shows-237126. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- ↑ Fontaine, Paul; Currier, Joseph (July 2, 2017). "NJPW G1 Special live results: The first IWGP US Champion is crowned". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-g1-special-live-results-first-iwgp-us-champion-crowned-238471. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 "G1 Special in USA" (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. http://www.njpw.co.jp/tornament/89537?showResult=1. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 "G1 Special in USA" (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. http://www.njpw.co.jp/tornament/89543?showResult=1. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
- ↑ Rose, Bryan (September 23, 2017). "NJPW Destruction in Kobe live results: Kenny Omega vs. Juice Robinson". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/japan/njpw-destruction-kobe-live-results-kenny-omega-vs-juice-robinson-243361. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
- ↑ Meltzer, Dave; Currier, Joseph (October 15, 2017). "ROH Global Wars Chicago live results: Kenny Omega vs. Yoshi-Hashi". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. http://www.f4wonline.com/roh-results/roh-global-wars-chicago-live-results-kenny-omega-vs-yoshi-hashi-244586. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
- ↑ (in Japanese) Tokyo Sports. November 11, 2017. https://www.tokyo-sports.co.jp/prores/mens_prores/825325/. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
- ↑ "History -Champions-" (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. http://www.njpw.co.jp/champions. Retrieved November 11, 2017.