IWGP Tag Team Championship
|IWGP Tag Team Championship|
Karl Anderson, four-time IWGP Tag Team Champion, with one of the title belts in May 2014
|Promotion||New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)|
|Date established||December 12, 1985|
|Current champion(s)||Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa)|
|Date won||October 10, 2016|
The IWGP Tag Team Championship is a professional wrestling tag team championship owned by the New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) promotion. "IWGP" is the acronym of the NJPW's governing body, the International Wrestling Grand Prix. The title was introduced on December 12, 1985 at a NJPW live event. The IWGP Tag Team Championship is not the only tag team title contested for in NJPW; the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship is also sanctioned by NJPW. According to NJPW's official website, the IWGP Tag Team Championship is considered an "IWGP Heavy Weight Class", while the Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship is listed as an "IWGP Jr. Tag Class". Like most professional wrestling championships, the title is won via the result of a scripted match. Title changes usually happen at NJPW-promoted events; although the title has only changed hands twice at a non-NJPW event, it has been defended in several other promotions.
The inaugural champions were Kengo Kimura and Tatsumi Fujinami, who defeated Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi in the finals of a tournament to win the championship on December 12, 1985, at a NJPW live event. In addition to NJPW, the IWGP Tag Team Championship was also contested in the United States-based promotions World Championship Wrestling (WCW) (now defunct) in the early 1990s and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) in 2009, and in the Mexican lucha libre promotion Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (Spanish for Worldwide Wrestling Council) in 2005.
On October 30, 2005, in Kobe, Japan, Tenzan and Chono defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura to begin their fifth overall reign as a team. On July 2, 2006, a provisional tag team title was created (known as the "IWGP Provisional Tag Team Championship") when Tenzan and Chono showed signs of inactivity. Koshinaka and Togi Makabe defeated the teams of Yuji Nagata and Naofumi Yamamoto and Giant Bernard and Travis Tomko in a three-way match to become the first champions. NJPW president Simon Kelly Inoki stripped Tenzan and Chono of the IWGP Tag Team Championship on September 20, 2006, after Tenzan and Chono ceased teaming. Manabu Nakanishi and Takao Omori, who defeated Koshinaka and Makabe on July 17, 2006, to become the IWGP Provisional Tag Team Champions, were recognized as the IWGP Tag Team Champions on September 28, 2006, by NJPW.
In 2009, The British Invasion, defeated Team 3D on July 21, 2009, at the taping of the July 30, 2009, episode of TNA's primary television program, TNA Impact!, in a tables match. Afterwards, NJPW released a statement announcing that they did not sanction the defense nor the title change, and as such were not going to recognize the reign. They continued to recognize Team 3D as the current champions and proclaimed that the next title defense would be by Team 3D and would be sanctioned by NJPW. On August 10, 2009, NJPW issued another press release stating that they were now recognizing The British Invasion of Brutus Magnus and Doug Williams as the current IWGP Tag Team Champions, making the reign official.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan currently holds the record for most reigns by an individual wrestler, with eleven. Tenzan's combined eleven reign lengths add up to 1,954 days, which is the most of any champion. At five reigns, the teams of Tenzan and Masahiro Chono, and Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima hold the record for most by a team. Tenzan and Chono's combined five reign lengths add up to 1,010 days (the most of any team). At 564 days, Bad Intentions' (Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson) only reign is the longest in the title's history. Keiji Mutoh and Shiro Koshinaka's only reign is the shortest, at six days. Currently, Bad Intentions' only reign has the most defenses, with ten. There are 18 reigns shared between 17 teams that are tied for the fewest successful defenses, with zero. Overall, there have been 72 reigns shared between 66 wrestlers.
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa) are the reigning champions and are in their second reign both individually and as a team. They won the title from The Briscoe Brothers (Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe) at NJPW's King of Pro-Wrestling event on October 10, 2016.
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The British Invasion's IWGP World Team Team Title victory over Team 3D on last week's TNA iMPACT! is not being recognized by New Japan Pro Wrestling. Team 3D will continue to defend the titles in Japan.
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