NWF Heavyweight Championship

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NWF Heavyweight Championship
Details
Promotion National Wrestling Federation
New Japan Pro-Wrestling
Date established 1970
Date retired January 4, 2004

The NWF Heavyweight Championship was a professional wrestling championship used as part of the National Wrestling Federation and later New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

History[edit]

The NWF (National Wrestling Federation) Heavyweight Championship was created by wrestling promoter Pedro Martinez for his NWF promotion in New York in 1970. The title was mainly defended in the New York/Eastern Canada area, until then-champion Johnny Powers took the belt with him on a tour of Japan with Tokyo Pro Wrestling. Powers would lose the title to Antonio Inoki, who would take the belt with him when he founded New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

Inoki became the wrestler most associated with the title due to his high profile defenses of the title, defeating the likes of Stan Hansen, André the Giant, Tiger Jeet Singh, and Ernie Ladd while champion. Recognized as a four-time NWF Heavyweight champion, between the years of 1973 and 1983, Inoki was champion for all but six months. Inoki's fourth reign was actually due to the decision to hold up the championship, following a defense against Stan Hansen on April 17, 1981 that ended in a no contest. Inoki later regained the title on April 23, 1981 by defeating Hansen in a rematch. He retired the NWF title immediately after the match due to his desire to enter the 1983 IWGP League.[1]

As part of a NJPW storyline, the NWF Heavyweight championship was revived in August 2002. Mixed martial arts fighter Kazuyuki Fujita held a tournament to crown a new champion to rival the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. The tournament participants were announced to be wrestlers with a background in MMA, including Fujita, Yoshihiro Takayama, Tsuyoshi Kosaka, and Tadao Yasuda. Takayama won the tournament on January 4, 2003, beating Kosaka with a knee kick in the finals to become the first champion in over two decades. Takayama later lost the NWF Championship to Shinsuke Nakamura exactly a year later to unify the NWF and IWGP titles. Nakamura formally announced his vacating of the NWF Heavyweight title on January 5, 2004, retiring the belt for a second time during its history.[2]

Title history[edit]

Key
No. The overall championship reign
Reign The reign number for the specific wrestler listed.
Event The event promoted by the respective promotion in which the title changed hands
N/A The specific information is not known
Used for vacated reigns in order to not count it as an official reign
No. Champion Reign Date Days held Location Event Notes Ref(s)
1 Powers, JohnnyJohnny Powers 1 1970 (NLT) [Note 1] Los Angeles, California Live event Defeated Freddie Blassie to become inaugural champion.  
2 Von Erich, WaldoWaldo Von Erich 1 November 20, 1971 18 Akron, Ohio Live event    
3 DeNucci, DominicDominic DeNucci 1 December 8, 1971 28 Buffalo, New York Live event    
4 Von Erich, WaldoWaldo Von Erich 2 January 5, 1972 156 Buffalo, New York Live event    
5 Ladd, ErnieErnie Ladd 1 June 9, 1972 15 Cleveland, Ohio Live event    
6 Abdullah the Butcher 1 June 24, 1972 [Note 2] Akron, Ohio Live event    
7 Rivera, VictorVictor Rivera 1 September 1972 (NLT) [Note 3] N/A Live event    
8 Abdullah the Butcher 2 October 1972 (NLT) [Note 4] N/A Live event    
9 Valentine, JohnnyJohnny Valentine 1 October 19, 1972 49 Cleveland, Ohio Live event    
Vacated December 7, 1972 N/A N/A After a match against Johnny Powers, Valentine left the NWF in January 1973
10 Rougeau, JaquesJaques Rougeau 1 January 24, 1973 [Note 5] Buffalo, New York Live event Defeated Waldo Von Erich in finals of tournament for the vacant title.  
11 Valentine, JohnnyJohnny Valentine 2 August 1973 (NLT) [Note 6] N/A Live event    
12 Powers, JohnnyJohnny Powers 2 1973 (NLT) [Note 7] N/A Live event Powers took the title to Japan for a tour with Tokyo Pro Wrestling  
13 Inoki, AntonioAntonio Inoki 1 December 10, 1973 429 Tokyo, Japan Live event    
Vacated February 12, 1975 N/A N/A Inoki vacated the title as refusal of an NWF ordered defense against Tiger Jeet Singh.
14 Singh, Tiger JeetTiger Jeet Singh 1 March 13, 1975 105 Hiroshima, Japan Live event Singh defeats Inoki for the vacant title.  
15 Inoki, AntonioAntonio Inoki 2 June 26, 1975 1,688 Tokyo, Japan Live event Ordered by the NWA to stop referring to belt as a world title at annual NWA meeting on August 7, 1976.  
16 Hansen, StanStan Hansen 1 February 8, 1980 55 Tokyo, Japan Live event    
17 Inoki, AntonioAntonio Inoki 3 April 3, 1980 434 Tokyo, Japan Live event   [3]
Vacated April 17, 1981 N/A N/A Vacated after a defense against Stan Hansen ends in a no contest.
18 Inoki, AntonioAntonio Inoki 4 April 23, 1981 [Note 8] Tokyo, Japan Live event    
Vacant and inactive 1981 N/A N/A Inoki vacated the title following the match to enter the NJPW IWGP League.
19 Takayama, YoshihiroYoshihiro Takayama 1 January 4, 2003 365 Tokyo, Japan Live event Defeated Tsuyoshi Kosaka in a tournament for the vacant title at Wrestling World  
20 Nakamura, ShinsukeShinsuke Nakamura 1 January 4, 2004 0 Tokyo, Japan Live event Nakamura officially unifies NWF title with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestling World  
Abandoned January 1, 2004 N/A N/A Championship merged with IWGP Heavyweight Championship, no longer promoted as a separate title

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ The exact date the championship was won is uncertain, which means that the reign lasted between 324 and 688 days.
  2. ^ The exact date the championship was lost is uncertain, which means that the reign lasted between 1 and 99 days.
  3. ^ The exact date the championship was won is uncertain, which means that the reign lasted between 1 and 99 days.
  4. ^ The exact date the championship was won is uncertain, which means that the reign lasted between 1 and 47 days.
  5. ^ The exact date the championship was won is uncertain, which means that the reign lasted between 1 and 218 days.
  6. ^ The exact date the championship was won is uncertain, which means that the reign lasted between 1 and 319 days.
  7. ^ The exact date the championship was won is uncertain, which means that the reign lasted between 1 and 319 days.
  8. ^ The exact date the championship was won is uncertain, which means that the reign lasted between 1 and 15 days.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  2. ^ Tanabe, Hisaharu. "N.W.F. Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  3. ^ F4W Staff (April 3, 2015). "On this day in pro wrestling title change history: Gotch vs. Hackenschmidt, Inoki Vs. Hansen, Guerrero Vs. Jericho". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 10, 2017. 

External links[edit]