The IWGP Third Belt Championship' is Inoki Genome Federation's only sanctioned championship title. Inoki Genome Federation, or IGF, refers to the belt as the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Total Nonstop Action Wrestling also refers to the belt in the same fashion. It is however not the original IWGP Heavyweight Championship from New Japan Pro Wrestling.
The belt was designed by Rico Mann and hand crafted by Reggie Parks and Dave Millican, It was commissioned by NJPW as a means to retire the 2nd Generation IWGP belt in honor of the recently passed Shinya Hashimoto, and to pay homage to the legacy of the IWGP title holders and it's unification with the NWF Heavyweight title. This is why it is referred to as the 3rd or 3rd Generation Belt. It was presented to Kazuyuki Fujita in an elaborate ceremony in which the 3 way title match between Fujita, Masahiro Chono, and Brock Lesnar was announced. Lesnar would go on to win the title on October 8, 2005, and defended it several times as the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. On July 15, 2006, Brock Lesnar was scheduled to appear at a New Japan Pro Wrestling show in Japan, but was unable to appear due to "visa issues" and was stripped of the title. Lesnar refused to return the belt do some reported payment and/or contract issues, forcing NJPW to not only hold a tournament, but to also return to the use of the 2nd Belt. Antonio Inoki, however, challenged the decision that Brock Lesnar was to be stripped of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and when Inoki created his new company, the Inoki Genome Federation (IGF), he claimed that Brock Lesnar never lost the title and continued to recognize him as the champion. Lesnar would go on to defend the title on a June 29, 2007 IGF card against Kurt Angle, to whom he lost the match and title. Angle was the reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion at the time. NJPW went into an obvious uproar over the use of the title belt and the IWGP name and forced a unification match between Angle and the NJPW recognized IWGP champion, Shinsuke Nakamura, who would go on to defeat Kurt Angle on February 17, 2008 to unify the IWGP titles. The belt was quickly retired along with the 2nd belt and the currently used 4th Generation belt was created, again, by Mann, Parks, and Millican.
|Brock Lesnar||1||October 8, 2005||Tokyo, Japan||Defeated champion Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono in a three-way match. NJPW strips Lesnar of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on July 15, 2006. Antonio Inoki disputes stripping Lesnar and when he leaves JPW and forms the IGF he continues to recognize and promote Lesnar as the IWGP champion.|
|Kurt Angle||1||June 29, 2007||Tokyo, Japan||Defeated Brock Lesnar to claim physical possession of the third version of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.|
|Shinsuke Nakamura||1||February 17, 2008||Tokyo, Japan||Defeated Kurt Angle on the Circuit 2008 New Japan ISM tour to unify|
- Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle are the only wrestlers that have both won the IWGP Third Belt Championship and the WWE Championship.
- Kurt Angle is the only wrestler to hold both the IWGP 3rd Belt and the TNA World Heavyweight Titles separately or simultaneously.
- Shinsuke Nakamura is the only wrestler to hold both, the IWGP 2nd, 3rd, Belts simultaneously
- Shinsuke Nakamura is the only wrestler to wear the IWGP 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Belts.