AWA World Heavyweight Championship

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AWA World Heavyweight Championship
AWAchampbelt.JPG
Details
Promotion AWA
Date established May 18, 1960
Date retired December 12, 1990

The AWA World Heavyweight Championship was a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship and the highest ranked championship in the defunct American Wrestling Association (AWA). All AWA trademarks, including the AWA World Heavyweight Championship, are now owned by WWE. The championship was generally contested in professional wrestling matches, in which participants execute worked finishes rather than contend in direct competition.

History[edit]

A fan wearing a replica of the AWA World Heavyweight Championship belt at WrestleMania XXIV (a replica of the ECW World Heavyweight Championship belt is also visible on her left shoulder)

The AWA World Heavyweight Championship was established in May 1960, after the AWA became a separate promotion from the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), which had previously been a part of the NWA's Minneapolis, Minnesota-area presence. The first champion was Pat O'Connor, who was recognized as the first champion upon the AWA's secession from the NWA as O'Connor held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship as well, which he won on January 9, 1959. The creation of the AWA World Heavyweight Championship along with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship would pave the way for the creation of many other world championships in other wrestling promotions. AWA Wrestling Association and the title became inactive in 1990 and the organization officially closed down in 1991 with the title also being decommissioned. The championship is featured in the video games WWE '13 as a downloadable title and as a unlockable title in WWE 2K14, WWE 2K15, and WWE 2K16.

Trademark infringement[edit]

In 1996, Dale Gagner and his associate Jonnie Stewart, former AWA employees, began using the AWA name in the state of Minnesota and formed a promotion known as AWA Superstars of Wrestling, infringing on the AWA name. The promotion also created their own version of the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. In April 2007, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) filed a lawsuit against Dale Gagner and Jonnie Stewart, citing trademark infringement, as WWE owned all American Wrestling Association properties due to their purchase after the AWA's closure,[1][2][3] including the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. In October 2008, the court ruled in favor of WWE. The court ruling prohibits Gagner and his associate from exploiting or trading on the AWA name or any other derivatives.[4]

Title history[edit]

Indicates the title changes not recognized by the AWA
No. Wrestler Reign Date Days held Location Event Notes Ref.
1 O'Connor, PatPat O'Connor 1 May 18, 1960 90 N/A N/A Held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, which he won on January 9, 1959 in St. Louis, Missouri; recognized as the first AWA World Champion in May 1960, but was given 90 days to defend the title against Verne Gagne or be stripped of the title. [5]
2 Gagne, VerneVerne Gagne 1 August 16, 1960 329 N/A N/A Awarded after O'Connor failed to defend the title. [5]
3 Kiniski, GeneGene Kiniski 1 July 11, 1961 28 Minneapolis, Minnesota Live event   [5]
4 Gagne, VerneVerne Gagne 2 August 8, 1961 154 Minneapolis, Minnesota Live event   [5]
5 Mr. M 1 January 9, 1962 224 Minneapolis, Minnesota Live event   [5]
6 Gagne, VerneVerne Gagne 3 August 21, 1962 322 Minneapolis, Minnesota Live event   [5]
7 Crusher, TheThe Crusher 1 July 9, 1963 11 Minneapolis, Minnesota Live event Also won Omaha version of World Heavyweight Championship from Verne Gagne on February 15, 1963 in Omaha, Nebraska. [5]
8 Gagne, VerneVerne Gagne 4 July 20, 1963 7 Minneapolis, Minnesota Live event Won both the AWA title and the Omaha title. [5][6]
9 Von Erich, FritzFritz Von Erich 1 July 27, 1963 12 Omaha, Nebraska Live event Won both the AWA title and the Omaha title. [5]
10 Gagne, VerneVerne Gagne 5 August 8, 1963 100 Amarillo, Texas Live event Von Erich's Omaha title was not at stake. On September 7, 1963, Gagne defeated Von Erich in Omaha in a title unification match and the AWA World Heavyweight Championship becomes the surviving title. [5]
11 Crusher, TheThe Crusher 2 November 16, 1963 28 Saint Paul, Minnesota Live event   [5]
12 Gagne, VerneVerne Gagne 6 December 14, 1963 140 Minneapolis, Minnesota Live event   [5]
13 Vachon, Mad DogMad Dog Vachon
1
May 2, 1964 14 Omaha, Nebraska Live event   [5]
14 Gagne, VerneVerne Gagne 7 May 16, 1964 157 Omaha, Nebraska Live event   [5]
15 Vachon, Mad DogMad Dog Vachon 2 October 20, 1964 207 Minneapolis, Minnesota Live event   [5]
16 Mighty Igor Vodic 1 May 15, 1965 7 Omaha, Nebraska Live event   [5]
17 Vachon, Mad DogMad Dog Vachon 3 May 22, 1965 91 Omaha, Nebraska Live event   [5]
18 Crusher, TheThe Crusher 3 August 21, 1965 83 Saint Paul, Minnesota Live event   [5]
19 Vachon, Mad DogMad Dog Vachon 4 November 12, 1965 57 Denver, Colorado Live event   [5]
Wrestling, Mr.Mr. Wrestling 1 January 8, 1966 6 Omaha, Nebraska Live event   [5]
Vachon, Mad DogMad Dog Vachon 4(5) January 14, 1966 302 Omaha, Nebraska Live event AWA president Stanley Blackburn reviews the match from January 8, 1966 and declares it "no contest" on January 14, 1966 since Woods's legs are on the rope while pinning Vachon during the final fall later defeats Woods. [5]
20 Dick the Bruiser 1 November 12, 1966 7 Omaha, Nebraska Live event   [5]
21 Vachon, Mad DogMad Dog Vachon 5(6) November 19, 1966 99 Omaha, Nebraska Live event   [5]
22 Gagne, VerneVerne Gagne 8 February 26, 1967 538 Saint Paul, Minnesota Live event   [5][7]
23 Dr. X 1 August 17, 1968 14 Bloomington, Minnesota Live event   [5]
24 Gagne, VerneVerne Gagne 9 August 31, 1968 2,625 Minneapolis, Minnesota Live event   [5]
25 Bockwinkel, NickNick Bockwinkel 1 November 8, 1975 1,714 Saint Paul, Minnesota Live event Wrestled WWF Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund to a double countout on March 25, 1979 in Toronto, Ontario. [5]
26 Gagne, VerneVerne Gagne 10 July 18, 1980 305 Chicago, Illinois Live event Gagne retired from active wrestling while still the champion. [5][8]
27 Bockwinkel, NickNick Bockwinkel 2 May 19, 1981 334 N/A N/A Awarded the title when Gagne retired. [5][8]
Hogan, HulkHulk Hogan 1 April 18, 1982 6 Saint Paul, Minnesota Live event Defeats Bockwinkel, with both parties using a foreign object during the match, and is declared by the referee as champion. [5]
Bockwinkel, NickNick Bockwinkel 2(3) April 24, 1982 127 N/A N/A Awarded back by AWA president Stanley Blackburn due to the involvement of a foreign object during the match. [5]
28 Wanz, OttoOtto Wanz 1 August 29, 1982 41 Saint Paul, Minnesota Live event   [5]
29 Bockwinkel, NickNick Bockwinkel 3(4) October 9, 1982 79 Chicago, Illinois Live event   [5]
The King Lawler, JerryJerry The King Lawler 1 December 27, 1982 0 Memphis, Tennessee Live event Held up afterwards. [5]
Held Up Memphis, Tennessee Live event [5]
Bockwinkel, NickNick Bockwinkel 3(5) January 10, 1983 408 Memphis, Tennessee Live event Defeats Lawler in rematch. [5]
30 Tsuruta, JumboJumbo Tsuruta 1 February 22, 1984 81 Tokyo, Japan Live event   [5][9]
31 Martel, RickRick Martel 1 May 13, 1984 595 Saint Paul, Minnesota Live event Wrestled NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair to a double countout on October 2, 1985 in Tokyo, Japan. [5][10]
32 Hansen, StanStan Hansen 1 December 29, 1985 181 East Rutherford, New Jersey Live event Hansen took the championship belt and defended it on All Japan Pro Wrestling's cards in July 1986. [5]
33 Bockwinkel, NickNick Bockwinkel 4(6) June 28, 1986 308 Denver, Colorado Live event Awarded when Hansen left the AWA. [5][11]
34 Hennig, CurtCurt Hennig 1 May 2, 1987 373 Daly City, California SuperClash 2 Title held up immediately after the match due to controversy over interference by Larry Zbyszko on Hennig's behalf, but the title is returned to Hennig days later after the AWA Championship Committee rules that there was no evidence of interference. [5]
35 The King Lawler, JerryJerry The King Lawler 1(2) May 9, 1988 256 Memphis, Tennessee Live event Lawler defeated Kerry Von Erich on December 13, 1988 in Chicago to win the WCCW World Heavyweight Championship, and become the first Unified AWA World Heavyweight Champion. Jackie Fargo was the special referee after getting more votes in a national telephone poll than Hennig's father, Larry "The Axe" Hennig. [5]
Vacated January 20, 1989 N/A N/A Lawler was stripped of the title after the Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) split from the AWA. [5]
36 Zbyszko, LarryLarry Zbyszko 1 February 7, 1989 368 Saint Paul, Minnesota Live event Zbyszko won a battle royal, last eliminating Tom Zenk. [5][12]
37 Saito, Mr.Mr. Saito 1 February 10, 1990 57 Tokyo, Japan Live event   [5][13]
38 Zbyszko, LarryLarry Zbyszko 2 April 8, 1990 248 Saint Paul, Minnesota SuperClash 4   [5]
Vacated December 12, 1990 N/A N/A Title stripped when Zbyszko left the inactive AWA for World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Official kayfabe reason was that Zbyszko refused to defend the title on a tour of Japan. Pro Wrestling Illustrated withdrew recognition of world championship status in January 1991. The vacant title was from this point recognised only as the AWA Championship. [5][14]
Retired 1991 N/A N/A The AWA closed in 1991. [5]

Combined reigns[edit]

Inaugural champion Pat O'Connor
Record 10-time and longest reigning champion Verne Gagne
Rank Wrestler No. of
reigns
Combined days
1 Verne Gagne 10 4,677
2 Nick Bockwinkel 4 (6) 2,970
3 Mad Dog Vachon 5 (6) 770
4 Larry Zbyszko 2 616
5 Rick Martel 1 595
6 Curt Hennig 1 373
7 Jerry Lawler 1 (2) 256
8 Mr. M 1 224
9 Stan Hansen 1 181
10 The Crusher 3 122
11 Pat O'Connor 1 90
12 Jumbo Tsuruta 1 81
13 Mr. Saito 1 57
14 Otto Wanz 1 41
15 Gene Kiniski 1 28
16 Dr. X 1 14
17 Fritz Von Erich 1 12
18 Dick the Bruiser 1 7
Mighty Igor Vodic 1 7
19 Mr. Wrestling 1 6
Hulk Hogan 1 6

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Browning, Dan (2007-04-28). "World Wrestling sues promoter". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 2007-04-28. 
  2. ^ "News and Notes, May 4, 2007". GeorgiaWrestlingHistory.com. 2007-05-04. 
  3. ^ Ryder, Bob (2007-04-26). "WWE Files Lawsuit Against "Gagne" For Trademark Violations Associated With AWA". 1wrestling.com. 
  4. ^ "WWE wins trademark infringement lawsuit over AWA". wrestleview.com. 2008-10-28. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  6. ^ Hoops, Brian (July 20, 2015). "On this day in pro wrestling history: Brisco beats Race for NWA title, Gagne beats Crusher for AWA title, Robinson vs. Gagen". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  7. ^ Hoops, Brian (February 26, 2017). "Daily pro wrestling history (02/26): Verne Gagne wins AWA title on his birthday". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 27, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Hoops, Brian (May 10, 2015). "On this day in pro wrestling history: Gagne retires as AWA champion, Austin's ex-wife beats Lesnar's wife for WWF title, Steamboat & Youngblood, Thesz Vs Rogers". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  9. ^ Hoops, Brian (February 22, 2017). "Daily pro wrestling history (02/22): Sting defeats Hogan to win vacant WCW title". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 27, 2017. 
  10. ^ Hoops, Brian (May 13, 2015). "On this day in pro wrestling history (May 13): Rick Martel wins AWA gold, Kurt Angle wins TNA title, Nash & Hall beat one man to win tag titles". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  11. ^ Hoops, Brian (June 29, 2015). "On this day in pro wrestling history: 2nd Steve Austin WWE title reign begins, infamous Stan Hansen AWA title belt stripping story". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 19, 2017. 
  12. ^ Hoops, Brian (February 7, 2017). "On this day in pro wrestling history (Feb 7): Bobby Roode & Austin Aries wins tag gold". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  13. ^ Hoops, Brian (February 10, 2017). "DAILY PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (02/10): MASA SAITO WINS AWA GOLD AT THE TOKYO DOME". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 10, 2017. 
  14. ^ PWI Strips the AWA of World Title Status, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, May 1991.

External links[edit]