Inaugural champion crowned May 21
In October 2022, Rumble on 44th Street saw history made in New York with the first women’s matches in NJPW STRONG history, Waka Tsukiyama and Mina Shirakawa of STARDOM representing in the kickoff before Mayu Iwatani defended the SWA World Championship against Kilynn King. Now, to mark a consistent and world leading female presence on NJPW events in the US, the STRONG Openweight and Tag Team Championships will be joined by the NJPW STRONG Women’s Championship, the first champion being determined in a one night, four woman tournament May 21 at Resurgence.
Heading the field is former IWGP Women’s Champion Mercedes Moné. The second holder of the IWGP Women’s title, Moné won the gold at Battle in the Valley in February in a match of the year candidate with inaugural champion KAIRI. Yet after a successful defence in a three way bout at Sakura Genesis, the CEO lost her gold to STARDOM’s Icon Mayu Iwatani in Yokohama Arena on April 23. Moné is determined to get another shot at Iwatani down the line, but the IWGP uisn’t the only gold in her sights as the ‘global domination tour’ regains momentum.
CMLL luchadora Stephanie Vaquer will face Moné in the first round of the tournament. One half of the first Occidente Women’s Tag team Champions in CMLL, Vaquer is well travelled, having herself also wrestled in STARDOM rings in 2018. A ten year veteran, could Vaquer upset Moné in Long Beach?
From a CMLL luchadora with STARDOM experience to a STARDOM representative with CMLL experience, Momo Kohgo joins the other side of the bracket. Having joined STARS in 2022, Kohgo has continued to make strides as a competitor, but has been challenged by the likes of Mariah May and Starlight Kid to step up and show her toughness of late. Taking it on herself to head to the US, Kohgo could stand to level up in a major way if she can emerge with the STRONG Women’s title May 21.
She will face Willow Nightingale in her tournament semifinal. The ever popular AEW representative has recently found herself on a hot streak in Ring of Honor on Honor Club, with a string of successes both there and in AEW Dark seeing her undefeated since February at time of writing. Could that streak see her to championship gold?