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NWA World Heavyweight Championship/Champion history

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Champion history

Note: All champions under the cream colour were when the title was defended under the NWA, all those under the blue colour were the WCW and those under the red colour were under TNA.

Wrestler: Times: Date: Location: Notes:
Orville Brown 1 January 5, 1948 Des Moines, Iowa In July 1948, the current version of National Wrestling Alliance is founded and Brown is recognized as the first NWA World champion.
Lou Thesz 1 November 27, 1949 N/A Awarded when Brown suffers career-ending injuries in an automobile accident on November 1. The title is also unified with the World Heavyweight Championship (National Wrestling Association). Thesz became the Undisputed Champion of all of wrestling by winning the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium World Heavyweight Title, the only remaining major World Championship at the time other than the NWA World Title, on May 21, 1952.
Whipper Billy Watson 1 March 15, 1956 Toronto, Ontario, Canada N/A
Lou Thesz 2 November 9, 1956 St. Louis, Missouri N/A
Édouard Carpentier # June 14, 1957 Chicago, Illinois Carpentier was awarded the title by disqualification when Lou Thesz could not continue the match due to a back injury. For 71 days, the NWA recognized the title as being in dispute between Carpentier and Thesz. When Carpentier's manager, promoter Eddie Quinn, left the NWA in August 1958, the NWA retroactively announced that Carpentier had never won title and had no claim on it.
Lou Thesz 2 July 24, 1957 Montreal, Quebec, Canada Thesz won a rematch against Carpentier by disqualification on July 24, 1957. Carpentier's claim to the title was considered withdrawn after 71 days when Montreal promoter Eddie Quinn quit the NWA in August 1958. Some territories such as Boston (AAC), Nebraska and Los Angeles (NAWA) continued to recognize Carpentier. Nebraska later recongized Verne Gagne when he defeated Carpentier in Omaha. The AAC recognized Killer Kowalski when he defeated Carpentier in Boston. The NAWA/WWA in Los Angeles recognized Carpentier as World Champion in July 1959 and recognized Freddie Blassie as champion when he defeated Carpentier in 1961.
Dick Hutton 1 November 14, 1957 Toronto, Ontario, Canada N/A
Pat O'Connor 1 January 9, 1959 St. Louis, Missouri The AWA, under Verne Gagne, seceded from the NWA and declared O'Connor their first AWA World Champion in May 1960. This was considered a compromise gesture by the AWA given that Gagne held Édouard Carpentier disputed version of the title. O'Conner was given 90 days to defend the AWA title against number one contender Gagne and when he did not, the title was awarded to Gagne.
Buddy Rogers 1 June 30, 1961 Chicago, Illinois N/A
Bruno Sammartino # August 2, 1962 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Refused to accept the strap because Rogers had wrestled with an injury.
Buddy Rogers 1 August 2, 1962 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Rogers regains the title, as a result of Sammartino not accepting it.
Bobo Brazil # August 18, 1962 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Bobo Brazil refused the title because of a groin injury that Rogers had claimed to have. However, on September 6, 1962, Brazil is declared the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion because a doctor had determined that Rogers hadn't suffered an injury.
Buddy Rogers 1 October 30, 1962 N/A. N/A.
Lou Thesz 3 January 24, 1963 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Promoters in the northeast United States refuse to recognize Rogers' one-fall loss to Lou Thesz, thus breaking away from the NWA to form a new promotion, the World Wide Wrestling Federation. Rogers is declared the first WWWF World Heavyweight Champion soon after.
Gene Kiniski 1 January 7, 1966 St. Louis, Missouri N/A.
Dory Funk, Jr. 1 February 11, 1969 Tampa, Florida N/A.
Harley Race 1 May 24, 1973 Kansas City, Missouri N/A.
Jack Brisco 1 July 20, 1973 Houston, Texas N/A.
Giant Baba 1 December 2, 1974 Kagoshima, Japan N/A.
Jack Brisco 2 December 8, 1974 Toyohashi, Japan N/A.
Terry Funk 1 December 10, 1975 Miami, Florida N/A.
Harley Race 2 February 6, 1977 Toronto, Ontario, Canada N/A.
Dusty Rhodes 1 August 21, 1979 Tampa, Florida N/A.
Harley Race 3 August 26, 1979 Orlando, Florida N/A.
Giant Baba 2 October 31, 1979 Nagoya, Japan N/A.
Harley Race 4 November 7, 1979 Amagasaki, Japan N/A.
Giant Baba 3 September 4, 1980 Saga, Japan N/A.
Harley Race 5 September 9, 1980 Ohtsu, Japan N/A.
Tommy Rich 1 April 27, 1981 Augusta, Georgia N/A.
Harley Race 6 May 1, 1981 Gainesville, Georgia N/A.
Dusty Rhodes 2 June 21, 1981 Atlanta, Georgia N/A.
Ric Flair 1 September 17, 1981 Kansas City, Missouri Wrestled to a double countout against WWF Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund on July 4 1982 in Atlanta, GA.
The Midnight Rider
(Dusty Rhodes) †
# February 9, 1982 Ohtsu, Japan Rhodes, wrestling under a mask as The Midnight Rider due to being under suspension in Florida, returned the title belt when NWA President Bob Geigel asked the Midnight Rider to unmask or return the belt (NWA rules of the time forbade masked wrestlers from holding the World Heavyweight title).
Ric Flair 1 February 9, 1982 Tampa, Florida N/A
Jack Veneno # September 1982 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic N/A.
Ric Flair † 1 September 7, 1982 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic N/A
Carlos Colón # January 6, 1983 San Juan, Puerto Rico N/A.
Ric Flair † 1 January 23, 1983 Miami, Florida N/A
Victor Jovica # February 8, 1983 Couva, Trinidad N/A.
Ric Flair † 1 February 1, 1983 Manatí, Puerto Rico N/A
Harley Race 7 June 10, 1983 St. Louis, Missouri N/A
Ric Flair 2 November 24, 1983 Greensboro, North Carolina Won the title at Starrcade in a Steel Cage Match.
Harley Race 8 March 21, 1984 Wellington, New Zealand N/A.
Ric Flair 3 March 23, 1984 Kallang, Singapore N/A
Kerry Von Erich 1 May 6, 1984 Irving, Texas N/A.
Ric Flair 4 May 24, 1984 Yokosuka, Japan N/A
Dusty Rhodes 3 July 26, 1986 Greensboro, North Carolina Won the title at The Great American Bash.
Ric Flair 5 August 9, 1986 St. Louis, Missouri N/A
Ron Garvin 1 September 25, 1987 Detroit, Michigan N/A
Ric Flair 6 November 26, 1987 Chicago, Illinois Won the title at Starrcade.
Ricky Steamboat 1 February 20, 1989 Chicago, Illinois Won the title at Chi-Town Rumble.
Ric Flair 7 May 7, 1989 Nashville, Tennessee Won the title at Wrestle War.
Sting 1 July 7, 1990 Baltimore, Maryland Won the title at The Great American Bash.
Ric Flair 8 January 11, 1991 East Rutherford, New Jersey N/A
Tatsumi Fujinami 1 March 21, 1991 Tokyo, Japan Won the title at WCW/New Japan Supershow.
Ric Flair 9 May 19, 1991 St. Petersburg, Florida Won the title at SuperBrawl.

'Flair was stripped of the title upon signing with the World Wrestling Federation on September 8 1991.
Masahiro Chono 1 August 12, 1992 Tokyo, Japan Defeated Rick Rude in tournament final.
The Great Muta 1 January 4, 1993 Tokyo, Japan Won at WCW/New Japan Supershow. Muta's IWGP Heavyweight Title was also on the line.
Barry Windham 1 February 21, 1993 Asheville, North Carolina Won the title at SuperBrawl.
Ric Flair 10 July 18, 1993 Biloxi, Mississippi Won the title at Beach Blast.
Vacated N/A N/A N/A Vacated when World Championship Wrestling withdraws from the NWA. WCW recognizes Flair as their WCW International World Heavyweight Champion.
Shane Douglas 1 August 27, 1994 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Defeated 2 Cold Scorpio in tournament final.
Vacated N/A N/A N/A Vacated when Douglas refused the NWA Title in favor of the Eastern Championship Wrestling Title, a title which he already was in possession of.
ECW withdraws from the NWA, and becomes Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Chris Candido 1 November 19, 1994 Cherry Hill, New Jersey Defeated Tracy Smothers in tournament final.
Dan Severn 1 February 24, 1995 Erlanger, Kentucky Won at a Smoky Mountain Wrestling event.
Naoya Ogawa 1 March 14, 1999 Yokohama, Japan N/A
Gary Steele 1 September 25, 1999 Charlotte, North Carolina Pinned Ogawa in a three-way match also involving Brian Anthony.
Naoya Ogawa 2 October 2, 1999 Thomaston, Connecticut N/A
Vacated N/A July 2, 2000 N/A N/A
Mike Rapada 1 September 19, 2000 Tampa, Florida Defeated Jerry Flynn in tournament final.
Sabu 1 November 14, 2000 Tampa, Florida N/A
Mike Rapada 2 December 22, 2000 Nashville, Tennessee N/A
Steve Corino 1 April 24, 2001 Tampa, Florida N/A
Held up N/A October 13, 2001 N/A Title is held up on October 13 following a match against Shinya Hashimoto.
Shinya Hashimoto 1 December 15, 2001 McKeesport, Pennsylvania This was a four-way iron man match, also involving Steve Corino, Dylan Knight and Gary Steele.
Dan Severn 2 March 9, 2002 Tokyo, Japan Match ended in controversy, as the referee gave a fast count.
Vacated N/A May 28, 2002 N/A Severn is stripped of the title on May 28, after failing to make a defence in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. NWA World Heavyweight Championship is made exclusive to TNA.
Ken Shamrock 1 June 19, 2002 Huntsville, Alabama Defeated Malice in the finals of a Gauntlet for the Gold.
Ron Killings 1 August 7 2002 Nashville, Tennessee N/A
Jeff Jarrett 1 November 20, 2002 Nashville, Tennessee Unified the title with the WWA World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Sting on May 25 2003 in Auckland, New Zealand.
A.J. Styles 1 June 11, 2003 Nashville, Tennessee This was a three-way match, also involving Raven.
Jeff Jarrett 2 October 22, 2003 Nashville, Tennessee N/A
A.J. Styles 2 April 21, 2004 Nashville, Tennessee This was a Steel Cage match.
Ron Killings 2 May 19, 2004 Nashville, Tennessee This was a four-way match, also involving Raven and Chris Harris.
Jeff Jarrett 3 June 2, 2004 Nashville, Tennessee This was a King of the Mountain match, also involving A.J. Styles, Raven, and Chris Harris.
A.J. Styles 3 May 15, 2005 Orlando, Florida Won the title at Hard Justice.
Raven 1 May 15, 2005 Orlando, Florida This was a King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary, also involving Abyss, Monty Brown, and Sean Waltman.
Jeff Jarrett 4 September 15, 2005 Windsor, Ontario, Canada Won the title at a Border City Wrestling event.
Rhino 1 October 23, 2005 Orlando, Florida Won the title at Bound for Glory. He won the right to face Jarrett in a Gauntlet for the Gold match after designated challenger Kevin Nash fell ill and withdrew.
Jeff Jarrett 5 October 25, 2005 Orlando, Florida Aired November 3 on iMPACT!.
Christian Cage 1 February 12, 2006 Orlando, Florida Won the title at Against All Odds.
Jeff Jarrett 6 June 18, 2006 Orlando, Florida This was a King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary. Jarrett won due to interference by referee Earl Hebner. Jim Cornette stripped Jarrett of the belt later that week, then returned it to him the following week on the condition that he face the winner of a #1 contender match being held at Victory Road on July 16 2006.
Sting 2 October 22, 2006 Plymouth, Michigan Won the title at Bound for Glory.
Abyss 1 November 19, 2006 Orlando, Florida Won the title at Genesis.
Christian Cage 2 January 14, 2007 Orlando, Florida This was a Three-Way Elimination match at Final Resolution, involving Abyss and Sting.
Vacated N/A May 13, 2007 N/A Christian Cage is stripped of the championship on May 13 when the NWA and TNA sever their business relationship. The NWA regains control of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
Adam Pearce 1 September 1, 2007 Bayamón, Puerto Rico Defeated Brent Albright in the finals of the Reclaiming the Glory Tournament. Pearce competed as a substitute for Bryan Danielson, who defeated Pearce in the semifinals but withdrew from the tournament due to a detached retina.
Brent Albright 1 August 2, 2008 New York, New York Won at Ring of Honor Death Before Dishonor VI.
Adam Pearce 2 September 20, 2008 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Won the title at Ring of Honor's Glory By Honor VII.
Blue Demon Jr. 1 October 25, 2008 Mexico City, Mexico N/A
Adam Pearce 3 March 14, 2010 Charlotte, North Carolina Defeated Blue Demon Jr. and Phil Shatter in a three-way match.
Colt Cabana 1 March 6, 2011 Hollywood, California N/A
The Sheik 1 April 23, 2011 Jacksonville, Florida N/A
Adam Pearce 4 July 31, 2011 Columbus, Ohio win against Shaun Tempers, Chance Prophet and Jimmy Rave in a 4-way match
Colt Cabana 2 April 8, 2012 Glendale, California N/A
Adam Pearce 5 July 21, 2012 Kansas City, Missouri This was a Two Out of Three Falls match. It was match four of a seven-match series between Cabana and Pearce.
Vacated N/A October 27, 2012 Melbourne, Australia Pearce stepped down as the champion, after the NWA refused to allow him to defend the title against Colt Cabana.
Kahagas 1 November 2, 2012 Clayton, New Jersey Won an elimination match for the vacant title by last eliminating Damien Wayne. Match also featured Chance Prophet, Jason Kincaid, Lance Erikson, Anthony Nese, Papadon, Biggie Biggs, and Lance Anoa'i. Kahagas was the reigning NWA National Heavyweight Champion at the time of his victory.
Rob Conway 1 March 16, 2013 San Antonio, Texas Conway replaced an injured Jax Dane and defeated Kahagas for the title.
Satoshi Kojima 1 January 4, 2014 Tokyo, Japan N/A
Rob Conway 2 June 2, 2014 Las Vegas, Nevada N/A
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 1 February 14, 2015 Sendai, Japan N/A
Jax Dane 1 August 29, 2015 San Antonio, TX Dane defeated Tenzan for the title at the NWA Branded Outlaw Wrestling

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