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World Heavyweight Championship (original)/Champion history

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Champion history

# Wrestler Reign Date Location Notes
1


Georg Hackenschmidt
1


01905-05-04May 4, 1905


New York City, New York Hackenscmidt won a world championship tournament to become the first champion. Hackenschmidt won several other tournaments in Paris, France; Hamburg, Germany; Saint Petersburg, Russia; Elberfeld, Germany; and Berlin, Germany in the same year. He also won the European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship from Tom Cannon on September 4, 1902 in Liverpool, England. He won the recognition of being the World Heavyweight Champion on January 30, 1904 in London, England by defeating Ahmed Madrali. Hackenschmidt defeated American Heavyweight Champion, Tom Jenkins, on May 4, 1905 in New York City, New York to become the recognized World Champion in North America.
2


Frank Gotch
1


01908-04-03April 3, 1908



Gotch held the title for five years until April 1, 1913. He was the fifth longest reigning World Heavyweight Champion in history behind Bruno Sammartino, Lou Thesz, Verne Gagne (who all held their World Titles for over seven years) and Bob Backlund (who held his for nearly six years).
3


Joe Stecher
1


01915-07-05July 5, 1915



Stecher defeated Charlie Cutler to become the first widely recognized world heavyweight champion after the retirement of Frank Gotch.
4


Earl Caddock
1


01917-04-09April 9, 1917



5


Joe Stecher
2


01920-01-30January 30, 1920



6


Ed Lewis
1


01920-12-13December 13, 1920



7


Stanislaus Zbyszko
1


01921-05-06May 6, 1921



8


Ed Lewis
2


01922-03-03March 3, 1922



9


Wayne Munn
1


01925-01-08January 8, 1925



10


Stanislaus Zbyszko
2


01925-04-15April 15, 1925



Though Zbyszko defeated Munn to win the championship, Munn continued to be recognized as World Heavyweight Champion in Michigan and in Illinois.
11


Joe Stecher
3


01925-05-30May 30, 1925



12


Ed Lewis
3


01928-02-21February 21, 1928



Lewis defeats Wayne Munn on February 2, 1928 in Michigan City, Indiana for the Michigan/Illonois World Heavyweight Championship version. Lewis defeats Stecher on February 21, 1928 to end the dispute.
13


Gus Sonnenberg
1


01929-01-04January 4, 1929



The recognition of being the World Heavyweight Champion was withdrawn from Gus Sonnenberg by the wrestling section of the National Boxing Association in 1929 for failing to meet real title contenders.
14


Ed Don George
1


01930-12-10December 10, 1930



15


Ed Lewis
4


01931-04-13April 13, 1931



Lewis lost the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Championship by disqualification to Henri Deglane on May 4, 1931 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, but still recognized as World Heavyweight Champion in Illinois. Lewis also defeated the title claimer, Wladek Zbyszko, on November 2, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois for the title. Lewis continued to win the New York State Athletic Commission World Title by defeating Jack Sherry on October 10, 1932.
16


Danno O'Mahoney
1


01935-06-27June 27, 1935



O'Mahoney defeated Jim Londos to win the New York State Athletic Commission World Title. Mahoney continues to win Boston's American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title by defeating Ed Don George (who had beat Deglane on February 9, 1933) on July 30, 1935 in Boston, Massachusetts to become the Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion.
17


Dick Shikat
1


01936-03-02March 2, 1936



18


Ali Baba
1


01936-04-25April 25, 1936



On April 29, 1936 it was announced by the New York Times that Ali Baba would not be recognized as World Heavyweight Champion in the New York State by The New York Athletic Commission however it was announced that Ali Baba and Dick Shikat would face each other on May 5, 1936 at Madison Square Garden for the World Heavyweight Championship. Ali Baba went on to win the professional wrestling bout and thus be recognized as the World Heavyweight Champion.
19


Dave Levin
1


01936-06-12June 12, 1936



20


Dean Detton
1


01936-09-29September 29, 1936



Detton defeated Ed Lewis in a tournament final to win the title.
21


Bronko Nagurski
1


01937-06-16June 16, 1937



Nagurski was recognized as the Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion by "The Ring" magazine.
22


Jim Londos
1


01938-11-18November 18, 1938



Londos retires as World Heavyweight Champion in 1946.
23


Lou Thesz
1


N/A


N/A


Thesz unified 3 championships to become the Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion, the National Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Championship which he won on July 20, 1948 by defeating Bill Longson, the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship which was awarded to him on November 27, 1949, and The Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium World Heavyweight Championship which he won on May 21, 1952 by defeating Baron Michele Leon.
24


Whipper Billy Watson
1


01956-03-15March 15, 1956



Watson defeated Lou Thesz by Count Out to win the world title.
25


Lou Thesz
2


01956-11-09November 9, 1956



Edouard Carpentier defeated Lou Thesz by disqualification on June 14, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois when Thesz cannot continue the match due to a back injury. The NWA rules states that a title cannot change on a disqualification and Carpentier gives the title back to Thesz. Edouard Carpentier was then recognized as World Heavyweight Champion in Omaha, Nebraska and in Boston, Massachusetts. He was then later recognized as the World Heavyweight Champion by the World Wrestling Association in Los Angeles, California. This was the last time the World Heavyweight Title has been unified and to date has never been fully unified again. The Omaha version of the World Title was later unified with the AWA World Heavyweight Championship of Boston. Lou Thesz defeated Edouard Carpentier in a rematch by disqualification on July 24, 1957 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for the title.

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