IWGP Heavyweight Championship

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Details
PromotionNew Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW)
Date establishedJune 12, 1987
Current champion(s)Kenny Omega
Date wonJune 9, 2018

The IWGP Heavyweight Championship (IWGPヘビー級選手権, IWGP hebī-kyū senshuken) is a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship[3] owned by the New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) promotion. "IWGP" is the initialism of NJPW's governing body, the International Wrestling Grand Prix.[4] The title was introduced on June 12, 1987, in the finals of an IWGP tournament.

The championship has been represented by four different belts. The current fourth generation belt was introduced in March 2008.[5] The title forms what has unofficially been called the "New Japan Triple Crown" (新日本トリプルクラウン, Shin Nihon Toripuru Kuraun) along with the IWGP Intercontinental and NEVER Openweight Championships.[6]

Title history[edit]

Throughout the history of the championship, several wrestlers have been forced to relinquish the title due to an inability to participate in title defenses. When a wrestler has been injured or unable to compete for other reasons, tournaments have been held to determine the new champion.[7][8]

In 2006, Brock Lesnar was stripped of the title for refusing to defend it, claiming he was owed money by NJPW. The company went on to crown a new champion, while Lesnar kept the physical belt.[9] He signed with Antonio Inoki's Inoki Genome Federation (IGF) in 2007, and lost the championship to Kurt Angle on the promotion's inaugural event.[10][11] Angle later lost the belt in a unification match to the NJPW-recognized champion Shinsuke Nakamura in 2008.

Overall, there have been 66 reigns shared among 28 wrestlers. Title changes happen at NJPW-promoted events. Big Van Vader, Salman Hashimikov, Scott Norton, Bob Sapp, Brock Lesnar, A.J. Styles, and current champion Kenny Omega are the seven non-Japanese wrestlers to have held the title, with Hashimikov being the first and only Soviet-born champion[12], while Omega is the first Canadian champion. The inaugural champion was Inoki, who defeated Masa Saito on June 12, 1987, in a tournament final. Hiroshi Tanahashi holds the record for most reigns, with seven. At 720 days, Kazuchika Okada's fourth reign is the longest in the title's history. Okada has the most successful defences in that reign with 12 and with a combined four reigns, also holds the record for most days as champion at 1,516. Kensuke Sasaki's fourth reign holds the record for shortest reign at 16 days. Over his seven reigns, Tanahashi successfully defended the title 28 times, the most of any champion. With zero, Big Van Vader's first and third reigns, Salman Hashimikov's only reign, Riki Choshu's first reign, Tatsumi Fujinami's third and fifth reigns, Masahiro Chono's only reign, Genichiro Tenryu's only reign, Scott Norton's second reign, Hiroyoshi Tenzan's first and third reigns, Kensuke Sasaki's fourth reign, Kazuyuki Fujita's third reign and Manabu Nakanishi's only reign are all tied for least successful defenses.

Kenny Omega is the current champion in his first reign, after defeating Kazuchika Okada on June 9, 2018, at NJPW's Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall event to win the title.

Reigns[edit]

Key
No. Overall reign number
Reign Reign number for the specific champion
Days Number of days held
Defenses Number of successful defenses
+ Current reign is changing daily
No. Champion Championship change Reign statistics Notes Ref.
Date Event Location Reign Days Defenses
1 Antonio Inoki June 12, 1987 IWGP Champion Series 1987 Tokyo, Japan 1 325 4 Inoki defeated Masa Saito in a tournament final.
Vacated May 2, 1988 Vacated due to Inoki fracturing his left foot.
2 Tatsumi Fujinami May 8, 1988 Super Fight Series 1988 Tokyo, Japan 1 19 1 Fujinami defeated Big Van Vader to win the vacant title.
Vacated May 27, 1988 Title held up after defense against Riki Choshu ended in a no contest.
3 Tatsumi Fujinami June 24, 1988 IWGP Champion Series 1988 Osaka, Japan 2 285 7 Fujinami defeated Riki Choshu to win the vacant title.
Vacated April 5, 1989 Vacated so the title could be decided in a tournament.
4 Big Van Vader April 24, 1989 Battle Satellite in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 1 31 0 Vader defeated Shinya Hashimoto in a tournament final to win the vacant title.
5 Salman Hashimikov May 25, 1989 Battle Satellite 1989 in Osaka Dome Osaka, Japan 1 48 0 [13]
6 Riki Choshu July 12, 1989 Summer Fight Series 1989 Osaka, Japan 1 29 0 [14]
7 Big Van Vader August 10, 1989 House show Tokyo, Japan 2 374 4
8 Riki Choshu August 19, 1990 House show Tokyo, Japan 2 129 1
9 Tatsumi Fujinami December 26, 1990 King of Kings Hamamatsu, Japan 3 22 0
10 Big Van Vader January 17, 1991 New Year Dash 1991 Yokohama, Japan 3 46 0
11 Tatsumi Fujinami March 4, 1991 Big Fight Series 1991 Hiroshima, Japan 4 306 3 [15]
12 Riki Choshu January 4, 1992 Super Warriors in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 3 225 4 This match was also for Choshu's Greatest 18 Championship.
13 The Great Muta August 16, 1992 G1 Climax Special 1992 Fukuoka, Japan 1 400 5 This was also for Choshu's Greatest 18 Championship.
14 Shinya Hashimoto September 20, 1993 G1 Climax Special 1993 Nagoya, Japan 1 196 4 [16]
15 Tatsumi Fujinami April 4, 1994 Battle Line Kyushu Hiroshima, Japan 5 27 0
16 Shinya Hashimoto May 1, 1994 Wrestling Dontaku 1994 Fukuoka, Japan 2 367 9
17 Keiji Mutoh May 3, 1995 Wrestling Dontaku 1995 Fukuoka, Japan 2 246 5 Mutoh previously won the title as The Great Muta. [17]
18 Nobuhiko Takada January 4, 1996 Wrestling World 1996 Tokyo, Japan 1 116 1
19 Shinya Hashimoto April 29, 1996 Battle Formation Tokyo, Japan 3 489 7
20 Kensuke Sasaki August 31, 1997 Final Power Hall in Yokohama Yokohama, Japan 1 216 3
21 Tatsumi Fujinami April 4, 1998 Antonio Inoki Retirement Show Tokyo, Japan 6 126 2
22 Masahiro Chono August 8, 1998 Rising the Next Generation in Osaka Dome Osaka, Japan 1 44 0
Vacated September 21, 1998 Title was vacated due to Chono's neck injury.
23 Scott Norton September 23, 1998 Big Wednesday Yokohama, Japan 1 103 4 Norton defeated Yuji Nagata to win the vacant title.
24 Keiji Mutoh January 4, 1999 Wrestling World 1999 Tokyo, Japan 3 340 5
25 Genichiro Tenryu December 10, 1999 Battle Final 1999 Osaka, Japan 1 25 0 [18]
26 Kensuke Sasaki/Power Warrior January 4, 2000 Wrestling World 2000 Tokyo, Japan 2 279 5
Vacated October 9, 2000 Vacated after Sasaki lost a non-title match to Toshiaki Kawada at Do Judge!!.
27 Kensuke Sasaki January 4, 2001 Wrestling World 2001 Tokyo, Japan 3 72 1 Sasaki defeated Toshiaki Kawada in a tournament final to win the vacant title.
28 Scott Norton March 17, 2001 Hyper Battle 2001 Nagoya, Japan 2 23 0
29 Kazuyuki Fujita April 9, 2001 Strong Style 2001 Osaka, Japan 1 270 2 [19]
Vacated January 4, 2002 Fujita vacated the title due to an injured achilles tendon.
30 Tadao Yasuda February 16, 2002 Fighting Spirit 2002 Tokyo, Japan 1 48 1 Yasuda defeated Yuji Nagata in a tournament final to win the vacant title. [20]
31 Yuji Nagata April 5, 2002 Toukon Special Tokyo, Japan 1 392 10
32 Yoshihiro Takayama May 2, 2003 Ultimate Crush Tokyo, Japan 1 185 3 This match was also for Takayama's NWF Heavyweight Championship. [21]
33 Hiroyoshi Tenzan November 3, 2003 Yokohama Dead Out Yokohama, Japan 1 36 0
34 Shinsuke Nakamura December 9, 2003 Battle Final 2003 Osaka, Japan 1 58 1 Nakamura defeated Yoshihiro Takayama to unify the IWGP Heavyweight Championship with the NWF Heavyweight Championship on January 4, 2004, at Wrestling World 2004.
Vacated February 5, 2004 Title was vacated due to Nakamura suffering various injuries.
35 Hiroyoshi Tenzan February 15, 2004 Fighting Spirit 2004 Tokyo, Japan 2 26 1 Tenzan defeated Genichiro Tenryu in a tournament final for the vacant title. [22]
36 Kensuke Sasaki March 12, 2004 Hyper Battle 2004 Tokyo, Japan 4 16 0
37 Bob Sapp March 28, 2004 King of Sports Tokyo, Japan 1 66 1
Vacated June 2, 2004 Title vacated after Sapp lost a K-1 fight to Kazuyuki Fujita.
38 Kazuyuki Fujita June 5, 2004 The Crush II Osaka, Japan 2 126 1 Fujita defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the vacant title.
39 Kensuke Sasaki October 9, 2004 Pro-Wrestlers Be Strongest Tokyo, Japan 5 64 2
40 Hiroyoshi Tenzan December 12, 2004 Battle Final 2004 Nagoya, Japan 3 70 0
41 Satoshi Kojima February 20, 2005 New Year Gold Series Tokyo, Japan 1 83 1 This match was also for Kojima's Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.
42 Hiroyoshi Tenzan May 14, 2005 Nexess VI Tokyo, Japan 4 65 1
43 Kazuyuki Fujita July 18, 2005 Summer Fight Series 2005 Sapporo, Japan 3 82 0 [23]
44 Brock Lesnar October 8, 2005 Toukon Souzou New Chapter Tokyo, Japan 1 280 3 This was a three-way match, also involving Masahiro Chono. [24]
Vacated July 15, 2006 Title was vacated due to Lesnar refusing to return and defend it. Lesnar kept the physical championship belt, and later was recognized by the Inoki Genome Federation as their first champion, using the same belt. [9]
45 Hiroshi Tanahashi July 17, 2006 Circuit2006 Turbulence Sapporo, Japan 1 270 4 Tanahashi defeated Giant Bernard in a tournament final for the title. [25]
46 Yuji Nagata April 13, 2007 Circuit2007 New Japan Brave tour Osaka, Japan 2 178 2
47 Hiroshi Tanahashi October 8, 2007 Explosion '07 Tokyo, Japan 2 88 1 [26]
48 Shinsuke Nakamura January 4, 2008 Wrestle Kingdom II in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 2 114 2 Nakamura defeated Kurt Angle on February 17, 2008, on the Circuit2008 New Japan Ism tour to unify the NJPW and IGF versions of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Angle had previously defeated Brock Lesnar for the IGF version of the belt.
49 Keiji Mutoh April 27, 2008 Circuit2008 New Japan Brave tour Osaka, Japan 4 252 4
50 Hiroshi Tanahashi January 4, 2009 Wrestle Kingdom III in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 3 122 3
51 Manabu Nakanishi May 6, 2009 Dissidence Tokyo, Japan 1 45 0
52 Hiroshi Tanahashi June 20, 2009 Dominion 6.20 Osaka, Japan 4 58 1
Vacated August 17, 2009 Title vacated due to Tanahashi fracturing his eye socket.
53 Shinsuke Nakamura September 27, 2009 Circuit2009 New Japan Generation tour Kobe, Japan 3 218 6 Nakamura defeated Togi Makabe to win the vacant title.
54 Togi Makabe May 3, 2010 Wrestling Dontaku 2010 Fukuoka, Japan 1 161 3
55 Satoshi Kojima October 11, 2010 Destruction '10 Tokyo, Japan 2 85 1
56 Hiroshi Tanahashi January 4, 2011 Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 5 404 11
57 Kazuchika Okada February 12, 2012 The New Beginning Osaka, Japan 1 125 2
58 Hiroshi Tanahashi June 16, 2012 Dominion 6.16 Osaka, Japan 6 295 7
59 Kazuchika Okada April 7, 2013 Invasion Attack Tokyo, Japan 2 391 8
60 A.J. Styles May 3, 2014 Wrestling Dontaku 2014 Fukuoka, Japan 1 163 2
61 Hiroshi Tanahashi October 13, 2014 King of Pro-Wrestling Tokyo, Japan 7 121 1
62 A.J. Styles February 11, 2015 The New Beginning in Osaka Osaka, Japan 2 144 1
63 Kazuchika Okada July 5, 2015 Dominion 7.5 in Osaka-jo Hall Osaka, Japan 3 280 3
64 Tetsuya Naito April 10, 2016 Invasion Attack 2016 Tokyo, Japan 1 70 1
65 Kazuchika Okada June 19, 2016 Dominion 6.19 in Osaka-jo Hall Osaka, Japan 4 720 12
66 Kenny Omega June 9, 2018 Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall Osaka, Japan 1 165+ 3 This was a no time limit two out of three falls match in which Omega won 2–1.

Combined reigns[edit]

Hiroshi Tanahashi posing with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt in front of a crowd.
Hiroshi Tanahashi has held the IWGP Heavyweight Championship a record seven times

As of November 21, 2018.

Indicates the current champion
Rank Wrestler No. of
reigns
Combined
defenses
Combined days
1 Kazuchika Okada 4 25 1,516
2 Hiroshi Tanahashi 7 28 1,358
3 Keiji Mutoh/The Great Muta 4 19 1,238
4 Shinya Hashimoto 3 20 1,052
5 Tatsumi Fujinami 6 13 785
6 Kensuke Sasaki/Power Warrior 5 11 647
7 Yuji Nagata 2 12 570
8 Kazuyuki Fujita 3 3 478
9 Big Van Vader 3 4 451
10 Shinsuke Nakamura 3 9 390
11 Riki Choshu 3 5 383
12 Antonio Inoki 1 4 325
13 A.J. Styles 2 3 307
14 Brock Lesnar 1 3 280
15 Hiroyoshi Tenzan 4 2 197
16 Yoshihiro Takayama 1 3 185
17 Satoshi Kojima 2 2 168
18 Kenny Omega 1 3 165+
19 Togi Makabe 1 3 161
20 Scott Norton 2 4 126
21 Nobuhiko Takada 1 1 116
22 Tetsuya Naito 1 1 70
23 Bob Sapp 1 1 66
24 Tadao Yasuda 1 1 48
Salman Hashimikov 1 0 48
26 Manabu Nakanishi 1 0 45
27 Masahiro Chono 1 0 44
28 Genichiro Tenryu 1 0 25

References[edit]

General
  • "Pro Wrestling Illustrated: 2008 Wrestling Almanac & Book of Facts". 29 (5). Sports & Entertainment Publications, LLC: 107–108. ISSN 1043-7576.
  • "IWGP Heavyweight Championship history". New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). NJPW.co.jp. Retrieved 2016-11-10.
Specific
  1. ^ 永田 やるぞ!IWGP50歳で戴冠!!. Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). January 31, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  2. ^ 新日本・中邑、米WWE移籍へ. Daily Sports Online (in Japanese). Kobe Shimbun. January 8, 2016. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  3. ^ Meltzer, Dave (June 23, 2017). "Daily Update: WWE house shows, Cody Rhodes, Mr. Pogo". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  4. ^ "WK9 101: The Intro". Global Force Wrestling. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
  5. ^ 4代目IWGPヘビー級ベルトが遂に完成!. New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  6. ^ 真壁 IC王座に照準の真意. Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). 2016-02-29. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  7. ^ "History of the IWGP Heavyweight Title". Official Website of the Inoki Dojo. Archived from the original on 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  8. ^ Molinaro, John F. "Vader rejuvenated in Japan". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  9. ^ a b Woodward, Buck (2007-06-29). "Kurt Angle beats Brock Lesnar in WrestleMania rematch in Japan". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  10. ^ Martin, Adam (2007-06-28). "Brock Lesnar in Japan with IWGP Title; could defend against Kurt Angle". Wrestleview. Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  11. ^ Martin, Adam (2007-07-02). "Video online of Angle vs. Lesnar in Japan, Ask TNA Wrestling, TNA Today". Wrestleview. Archived from the original on 2007-07-04. Retrieved 2009-03-26.
  12. ^ ""新IWGP王者"AJスタイルズに直撃! 「もう誰にもIWGPを渡す気はない!俺が"カネの雨"を降らせるから心配するな!」". New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). 2014-05-12. Archived from the original on 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  13. ^ Hoops, Brian (2015-05-25). "On this day in pro wrestling history (May 25): Rockers last match in AWA, Tiger Mask wins NWA Jr. Heavyweight gold, Russian amateur wrestler beats Vader". Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  14. ^ Hoops, Brian (2015-07-12). "On this day in pro wrestling history (July 12): Gagne, Bruiser & Crusher, Ladd wins Americas title, 1992 Bash with Sting vs. Vader". Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  15. ^ Hoops, Brian (2017-03-04). "Daily Pro Wrestling History (03/04): ROH 10th Anniversary Show". Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online. Retrieved 2017-03-05.
  16. ^ Hoops, Brian (2015-09-20). "On this date in pro wrestling history (9/20): Flair defeats McDaniel, Gagne beats Von Raschke". Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  17. ^ F4W Staff (2015-05-03). "On this day in pro wrestling history: Low Ki Vs. Dewitt, Punk wins OVW title, Mutoh wins IWGP belt, Bret wins NA title, Dibiase & Dr. Death, Sheik, Watts, Fargos". Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
  18. ^ Molinaro, John (1999-12-11). "Tenryu wins IWGP Heavyweight title". SLAM! Sports: Wrestling. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
  19. ^ 4月9日(月)大阪ドーム. New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2002-12-21. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  20. ^ Hoops, Brian (2017-02-16). "On this day in pro wrestling history (Feb 16): Bret Hart wins WWF gold at In Your House". Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online. Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  21. ^ Power Slam Staff (August 2003). "We are the Champions (as of July 8)". Power Slam Magazine. Lancaster, Lancashire, England: SW Publishing LTD. p. 15. 109.
  22. ^ Hoops, Brian (2017-02-15). "On this day in pro wrestling history (Feb 15): Eddie Guerrero wins the WWE Championship". Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
  23. ^ 7月18日(月)札幌・月寒グリーンドーム. New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2006-11-14. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  24. ^ Hoops, Brian (2017-10-08). "Daily Pro Wrestling History (10/08): Brock Lesnar wins IWGP title". Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  25. ^ Hoops, Brian (2015-07-17). "On this day in pro wrestling history, Kangaroos, Gagne vs. Kiniski in Hawaii, Gordy wins Triple Crown, Hogan wins WCW title from Flair at Bash at the Beach, famous Punk vs. Cena Chicago bout". Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  26. ^ "NJPW Explosion '07 official results" (in Japanese). NJPW.co.jp. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-10-08.

External links[edit]