NJPW Crown Inaugural STRONG Women’s Champion

Willow Nightingale as the NJPW STRONG Women's Champion

NJPW returned stateside for the second time in 2023 for Resurgence at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California. The card featured four women battling it out in a one-night tournament to become the first-ever STRONG Women’s Champion.

In the first round, former IWGP Women’s Champion Mercedes Mone took on and defeated Stephanie Vaquer while ROH and AEW star Willow Nightingale beat Momo Kohgo to also advance to the finals thus setting up Nightingale vs Mone in the main event to capture the brand new title.

Willow Nightingale Crowned First-Ever NJPW STRONG Women’s Champion

The two women met in the final match of the night watched by Mone’s fellow Mandalorian co-stars Katee Sackhoff who plays Bo-Katan and Emily Swallow who plays the Armourer in the Star Wars spin-off. But their support wasn’t enough to see Mone emerge victorious as Nightingale claimed the win and the new title.

NJPW announced the arrival of the new championship on April 27th, which will be the top women’s championship of the Japanese promotion’s American subsidiary STRONG Live. It is the second women’s title created by New Japan after the introduction of the IWGP Women’s Championship on July 29th of last year.

After the match, the new champion cut an emotional promo thanking fans for all their love and support during her professional wrestling journey.

Despite the celebrations, there was some unfortunate news coming out of the match. After the championship bout, Mone had to be carried out of the ring and to the back due to an injury. According to reports she injured her ankle during the match and is expected to miss some time to recover.

Taking to social media after the event Mone posted a video of her in a hospital room along with the caption:

Phew 😮‍💨 not how I dreamed for tonight to go.
I’m so sorry and I love you guys so much.
I’m gonna heal and be back better than ever.