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


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/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 when he found New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Inoki became the wrestler most associated with the title due to his high-profile defenses of the title, beating 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. 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 decade. 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.

Title history

Wrestler: Reigns: Date: Place: Notes:
Johnny Powers 1 1970 Los Angeles, California Defeats Freddie Blassie to become inaugural champion
Waldo Von Erich 1 November 20, 1971 Akron, Ohio
Dominic DeNucci 1 December 8, 1971 Buffalo, New York
Waldo Von Erich 2 January 5, 1972 Buffalo, New York
Ernie Ladd 1 June 9, 1972 Cleveland, Ohio
Abdullah the Butcher 1 June 24, 1972 Akron, Ohio Reign interrupted by Victor Rivera for under a month
Johnny Valentine 1 October 19, 1972 Cleveland, Ohio Stripped of title in January 1973
Jacques Rougeau 1 January 24, 1973 Buffalo, New York Defeats Waldo Von Erich in finals of tournament for the vacant title
Johnny Valentine 2 August 1973 Location unknown
Johnny Powers 1 1973 Location unknown Powers takes the title to Japan with him on a tour with Tokyo Pro Wrestling
Antonio Inoki 1 December 10, 1973 Tokyo, Japan Inoki vacates the title on February 12, 1975 as refusal of an NWF ordered defense against Tiger Jeet Singh
Tiger Jeet Singh 1 March 13, 1975 Hiroshima, Japan Singh defeats Inoki for the vacant title
Antonio Inoki 2 June 26, 1975 Tokyo, Japan Ordered by the NWA to stop referring to belt as a world title at annual NWA meeting on August 7, 1976
Stan Hansen 1 February 8, 1980 Tokyo, Japan
Antonio Inoki 3 March 3, 1980 Tokyo, Japan Title held up after a defence on April 17, 1981 against Stan Hansen ends in a no contest
Antonio Inoki 4 April 23, 1981 Tokyo, Japan Inoki vacates the title following the match to enter the NJPW IWGP League
Title Inactive
Yoshihiro Takayama 1 January 4, 2003 Tokyo, Japan Defeats Tsuyoshi Kosaka in a tournament for the vacant title at Wrestling World
Shinsuke Nakamura 1 January 4, 2004 Tokyo, Japan Nakamura officially unifies NWF title with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestling World

External links