|IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship|
The IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship 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. 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).
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.
|Zack Sabre Jr.||10:04|
|Zack Sabre Jr.||Pin|
|1||Kenny Omega||1||July 2, 2017||Long Beach, California, United States||47+||0||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.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 "G1 Special in USA" (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. http://www.njpw.co.jp/tornament/89537?showResult=1. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 "G1 Special in USA" (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. http://www.njpw.co.jp/tornament/89543?showResult=1. Retrieved July 2, 2017.