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IWGP Heavyweight Championship/Champion history

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Champion history

Wrestlers: Reigns: Date: Location: Notes:
Antonio Inoki 1 June 12, 1987 Tokyo, Japan Defeated Masa Saito in a tournament final.
Vacated due to Inoki fracturing his left foot
Tatsumi Fujinami 1 May 8, 1988 Tokyo, Japan Defeated Big Van Vader.
Held up after a title defense against Riki Chōshū ended in a no contest.
Tatsumi Fujinami 2 June 24, 1988 Osaka, Japan Defeated Riki Chōshū in a rematch.
Vacated so the title could be decided in a tournament.
Big Van Vader 1 April 24, 1989 Tokyo, Japan Defeated Shinya Hashimoto in a tournament final with Lou Thesz as the special referee.
Salman Hashimikov 1 May 25, 1989 Osaka, Japan N/A
Riki Chōshū 1 July 12, 1989 Osaka, Japan N/A
Big Van Vader 2 August 10, 1989 Tokyo, Japan N/A
Riki Chōshū 2 August 19, 1990 Tokyo, Japan N/A
Tatsumi Fujinami 3 December 26, 1990 Hamamatsu, Japan N/A
Big Van Vader 3 January 17, 1991 Yokohama, Japan N/A
Tatsumi Fujinami 4 March 4, 1991 Hiroshima, Japan Defeated Ric Flair on March 21, 1991 in a double title match at Starrcade 1991 in Tokyo Dome to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
Riki Chōshū 3 January 4, 1992 Tokyo, Japan This match, at Starrcade 1992 in Tokyo Dome, was also for Chōshū's Greatest 18 Championship.
The Great Muta 1 August 16, 1992 Fukuoka, Japan This was also for Chōshū's Greatest 18 Championship.
Shinya Hashimoto 1 September 20, 1993 Nagoya, Japan N/A
Tatsumi Fujinami 5 April 4, 1994 Hiroshima, Japan Won the title on the Battle Line Kyushu tour.
Shinya Hashimoto 2 May 1, 1994 Fukuoka, Japan Won the title at Wrestling Dontaku.
Keiji Mutoh 2 May 3, 1995 Fukuoka, Japan Won the title at Wrestling Dontaku.
Nobuhiko Takada 1 January 4, 1996 Tokyo, Japan Won the title at Wrestling World.
Shinya Hashimoto 3 April 29, 1996 Tokyo, Japan Won the title at Battle Formation.
Kensuke Sasaki 1 August 31, 1997 Yokohama, Japan Won the title at Final Power Hall in Yokohama.
Tatsumi Fujinami 6 April 4, 1998 Tokyo, Japan Won the title at Antonio Inoki Retirement Show.
Masahiro Chono 1 August 8, 1998 Osaka, Japan Won the title at Rising the Next Generations in Osaka Dome.
Vacated due to Chono injuring his neck..
Scott Norton 1 September 23 1998 Yokohama, Japan Defeated Yuji Nagata at Big Wednesday.
Keiji Mutoh 3 January 4, 1999 Tokyo, Japan Won the title at Wrestling World.
Genichiro Tenryu 1 December 10, 1999 Osaka, Japan Won the title on the Battle Final tour.
Kensuke Sasaki 2 January 4, 2000 Tokyo, Japan Won the title at Wrestling World.
Vacated after Sasaki lost a non-title match to Toshiaki Kawada at Do Judge!!.
Kensuke Sasaki 3 January 4, 2001 Tokyo, Japan Defeated Toshiaki Kawada in a tournament final at Wrestling World.
Scott Norton 2 March 17, 2001 Nagoya, Japan Won the title on the Hyper Battle tour.
Kazuyuki Fujita 1 April 9 2001 Osaka, Japan Won the title at Strong Style.
Vacated due to an injured achilles tendon.
Tadao Yasuda 1 February 16, 2002 Tokyo, Japan Defeated Yuji Nagata in a tournament final on the Fighting Spirit tour.
Yuji Nagata 1 April 5, 2002 Tokyo, Japan Won the title at Toukon Special.
Yoshihiro Takayama 1 May 2, 2003 Tokyo, Japan This match, at Ultimate Crush, was also for Takayama's NWF Heavyweight Championship.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 1 November 3, 2003 Yokohama, Japan Won the title at Yokohama Dead Out.
Shinsuke Nakamura 1 December 9, 2003 Osaka, Japan Won the title on the Battle Final tour. Defeated Yoshihiro Takayama on January 4, 2004 at Wrestling World in Tokyo to unify Takayama's NWF title into the IWGP title.
Vacated due to various injuries.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 2 February 15, 2004 Tokyo, Japan Defeated Genichiro Tenryu in a tournament final on the Fighting Spirit tour.
Kensuke Sasaki 4 March 12, 2004 Tokyo, Japan Won the title on the Hyper Battle tour.
Bob Sapp 1 March 28, 2004 Tokyo, Japan Won the title at King of Sports.
Vacated after Sapp lost a K-1 fight to Kazuyuki Fujita.
Kazuyuki Fujita 2 June 5, 2004 Osaka, Japan Defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi at The Crush II.
Kensuke Sasaki 5 October 9, 2004 Tokyo, Japan Won the title at Pro-Wrestlers Be Strongest.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 3 December 12, 2004 Nagoya, Japan Won the title on the Battle Final tour.
Satoshi Kojima 1 February 20, 2005 Tokyo, Japan This match, on the New Year Gold Series tour, was also for Kojima's AJPW Triple Crown Championship.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 4 May 14 2005 Tokyo, Japan Won the title at Nexess VI.
Kazuyuki Fujita 3 July 18, 2005 Sapporo, Japan Won the title on the Summer Fight Series tour.
Brock Lesnar 1 October 8, 2005 Tokyo, Japan This was a triple threat match also involving Masahiro Chono at Toukon Souzou New Chapter.
Vacated due to Lesnar being unable to defend the title because of "problems with a working visa". Lesnar refuses to turn over the IWGP title belt and later is recognized by the Inoki Genome Federation as their first champion, using the same belt.
Hiroshi Tanahashi 1 July 17 2006 Sapporo, Japan Defeated Giant Bernard in a tournament final on the Circuit 2006 Turbulence tour.
Yuji Nagata 2 April 13, 2007 Osaka, Japan Won the title on the Circuit 2007 New Japan Brave tour.
Hiroshi Tanahashi 2 October 8, 2007 Tokyo, Japan Won the title at Explosion '07.
Shinsuke Nakamura 2 January 4, 2008 Tokyo, Japan Won the title at Wrestle Kingdom II in Tokyo Dome. Defeated Kurt Angle on February 17 2008 on the Circuit 2008 New Japan ISM tour to unify the IWGP Third Belt title.
Keiji Mutoh 4 April 27, 2008 Osaka, Japan Won the title on the Circuit 2008 New Japan Brave tour.
Hiroshi Tanahashi3January 4, 2009Tokyo, Japan
Manabu Nakanishi1May 6, 2009Tokyo, Japan
Hiroshi Tanahashi4June 20, 2009Osaka, Japan
Vacated on August 17, 2009 due to Tanahashi fracturing his eye socket.
Shinsuke Nakamura3September 27, 2009Kobe, Japan
Togi Makabe1 May 3, 2010Fukuoka, Japan
Satoshi Kojima2October 11, 2010Tokyo, Japan
Hiroshi Tanahashi5January 4, 2011Tokyo, Japan
Kazuchika Okada1February 12, 2012Osaka, Japan
Hiroshi Tanahashi6June 16, 2012Osaka, Japan
Kazuchika Okada2April 7, 2013Tokyo, Japan
A.J. Styles1May 3, 2014Fukuoka, Japan
Hiroshi Tanahashi7October 13, 2014Tokyo, Japan
A.J. Styles2February 11, 2015Osaka, Japan
Kazuchika Okada3July 5, 2015Osaka, Japan
Tetsuya Naito1April 10, 2016Tokyo, Japan

List of reign lengths

As of December 3, 2016.

Wrestler Days Held Date Won Date Lost
Shinya Hashimoto489April 29, 1996August 31, 1997
Hiroshi Tanahashi404January 4, 2011February 12, 2012
The Great Muta400August 16, 1992September 20, 1993
Yuji Nagata392April 5, 2002May 2, 2003
Tetsuya Naito 237+ April 10, 2016 Current Champion

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