List of ROH World Champions
The ROH World Championship is a professional wrestling world championship owned and copyrighted by Ring of Honor (ROH) promotion. The championship was created and debuted on July 27, 2002 at ROH's Crowning a Champion event. Originally called the ROH Championship, the title was renamed to the ROH World Championship in May 2003 after the title was defended outside the United States for the first time—earlier that month, then-champion Samoa Joe had defeated The Zebra Kid in London, England at the Frontiers Of Honor event co-promoted with the FWA. On August 12, 2006, the ROH World Heavyweight Championship was unified with the ROH Pure Championship after then-champion Bryan Danielson defeated ROH Pure Champion Nigel McGuinness in Liverpool, England. The Pure Championship was deactivated after this match.
ROH World Championship reigns are determined by professional wrestling matches, in which competitors are involved in scripted rivalries. These narratives create feuds between the various competitors, which cast them as villains and heroes. Some reigns were held by champions using a ring name, while others used their real name. Reigns that were won on pay-per-view events aired on tape delay up to weeks or months apart. Reigns that were won at live events were released on DVD. The inaugural champion was Low Ki, whom ROH recognized to have become the champion after defeating Christopher Daniels, Spanky, and Doug Williams in a Four Way 60-minute Iron Man match on July 27, 2002 at ROH's Crowning a Champion event. As of January 2017, Adam Cole holds the record for most reigns, with three. As of January 2017, Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness have the most defenses, with 38; Kyle O'Reilly has the least, with 0. At 645 days, Samoa Joe's reign is the longest in the title's history; Kyle O'Reilly's reign is the shortest at 33 days. Overall, there have been 25 reigns among 21 wrestlers with one vacancy. The current champion is Adam Cole in his third reign.
|ROH Championship||July 2002 – May 2003|
|ROH World Championship||May 2003 – present|
|No.||Wrestlers||Reign||Date||Days held||Location||Successful defenses||Event||Notes|
|1||Low Ki||1||July 27, 2002||56||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||1||Crowning a Champion ||Defeated Christopher Daniels, Spanky, and Doug Williams in a Four-Way 60-minute Iron Man match to become the inaugural champion.|
|2||Xavier||1||September 21, 2002||182||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||4||Unscripted |
|3||Joe, SamoaSamoa Joe||1||March 22, 2003||645||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||29||Night of Champions ||After Joe defeated The Zebra Kid on May 17, 2003, in London, England, the ROH Championship was renamed the ROH World Championship.|
|4||Aries, AustinAustin Aries||1||December 26, 2004||174||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||16||Final Battle 2004 |
|5||Punk, CMCM Punk||1||June 18, 2005||55||Morristown, New Jersey||4||Death Before Dishonor III |
|6||James Gibson||1||August 12, 2005||36||Dayton, Ohio||4||Redemption ||This was a four-way elimination match also involving Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe.|
|7||Bryan Danielson||1||September 17, 2005||462||Lake Grove, New York||38||Glory by Honor IV ||Danielson unified the title with the ROH Pure Championship on August 12, 2006 by defeating Nigel McGuinness in Liverpool, England.|
|8||Homicide||1||December 23, 2006||56||New York, New York||3||Final Battle 2006 |||
|9||Morishima, TakeshiTakeshi Morishima||1||February 17, 2007||231||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||20||Fifth Year Festival: Philly |||
|10||McGuinness, NigelNigel McGuinness||1||October 6, 2007||545||Edison, New Jersey||38||Undeniable |||
|11||Lynn, JerryJerry Lynn||1||April 3, 2009||71||Houston, Texas||6||Supercard of Honor IV |||
|12||Aries, AustinAustin Aries||2||June 13, 2009||245||New York, New York||13||Manhattan Mayhem III ||This was a Three-Way Elimination match also involving Tyler Black.|
|13||Black, TylerTyler Black||1||February 13, 2010||210||New York, New York||7||8th Anniversary Show |||
|14||Strong, RoderickRoderick Strong||1||September 11, 2010||189||New York, New York||5||Glory By Honor IX ||This was a No Disqualification match with Terry Funk as the ringside enforcer.|
|15||Eddie Edwards||1||March 19, 2011||99||New York, New York||3||Manhattan Mayhem IV||Became the first ROH Triple Crown Champion.|
|16||Richards, DaveyDavey Richards||1||June 26, 2011||321||New York, New York||10||Best in the World 2011|||
|17||Steen, KevinKevin Steen||1||May 12, 2012||328||Toronto, Ontario||18||Border Wars|||
|18||Jay Briscoe||1||April 5, 2013||89||New York, New York||6||Supercard of Honor VII|||
|—||Vacated||—||July 3, 2013||—||—||N/A||N/A||The title was vacated by ROH Match Maker Nigel McGuinness after Briscoe suffered a storyline injury at the June 23 television tapings and would not be able to compete for the foreseeable future.|
|19||Cole, AdamAdam Cole||1||September 20, 2013||275||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||13||Death Before Dishonor XI||Defeated Michael Elgin in a tournament final.|
|20||Elgin, MichaelMichael Elgin||1||June 22, 2014||76||Nashville, Tennessee||7||Best in the World 2014|
|21||Jay Briscoe||2||September 6, 2014||286||Toronto, Ontario||12||All Star Extravaganza 6|||
|22||Jay Lethal||1||June 19, 2015||427||New York, New York||28||Best in the World 2015||This was a Winner Takes All match, also for Lethal's ROH World Television Championship.|
|23||Cole, AdamAdam Cole||2||August 19, 2016||105||Las Vegas, Nevada||6||Death Before Dishonor XIV|
|24||O'Reilly, KyleKyle O'Reilly||1||December 2, 2016||33||New York, New York||0||Final Battle 2016||This was a no disqualification match.|
|25||Cole, AdamAdam Cole||3||January 4, 2017||10+||Tokyo, Japan||0||NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome|
List of combined reigns
As of January 14, 2017.
|†||Indicates the current champion|
|Rank ||Wrestler||No. of
|2||McGuinness, NigelNigel McGuinness||1||38||545|
|3||Danielson, BryanBryan Danielson||1||38||462|
|4||Lethal, JayJay Lethal||1||28||427|
|5||Aries, AustinAustin Aries||2||29||419|
|6||Cole, AdamAdam Cole †||3||19||390+|
|7||Briscoe, JayJay Briscoe||2||18||375|
|8||Steen, KevinKevin Steen||1||20||328|
|9||Richards, DaveyDavey Richards||1||10||321|
|10||Morishima, TakeshiTakeshi Morishima||1||20||231|
|11||Black, TylerTyler Black||1||7||210|
|12||Strong, RoderickRoderick Strong||1||5||189|
|14||Edwards, EddieEddie Edwards||1||3||99|
|15||Elgin, MichaelMichael Elgin||1||7||76|
|16||Lynn, JerryJerry Lynn||1||6||71|
|20||Gibson, JamesJames Gibson||1||4||36|
|21||O'Reilly, KyleKyle O'Reilly||1||0||33|
- 1.^ – This event was a live event that was later released on DVD.
- 2.^ – This event was a pay-per-view that later aired on tape delay.
- 3.^ – Each reign is ranked highest to lowest; reigns with the exact number mean they are tied for that certain rank.
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