A tournament is held every year to determine the champion. Originally, experience level was the primary basis for eligibility in the tournament, as the first tournament was only open to those who have wrestled under 50 professional matches. The primary basis for eligibility was later changed to age, making the tournament open only to wrestlers who are 25 years old or younger. The winner of the Young Lions Cup can defend the cup as an actual title until the following tournament, and Young Lions Cup tournament winners are not allowed to compete in the tournament again once they win it.
The original rules also once stated that previous holders of the cup are not allowed to compete for the title once they are no longer champion, but this rule was 'changed' in 2008. Fire Ant was granted a rematch after losing the cup to Vin Gerard, and Director of Fun Leonard F. Chikarason claimed that the rules were now amended, stating that previous holders of the cup could challenge for the cup again any time they wanted until the next Young Lions Cup tournament. However, on February 1, 2010, new Director of Fun Dieter VonSteigerwalt reverted the rule change and announced that former champions could no longer challenge for the cup or enter the annual tournaments.