Open main menu

AWA World Heavyweight Championship

The AWA World Heavyweight Championship was a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship and the highest ranked championship in the defunct American Wrestling Association (AWA). All AWA trademarks, including the AWA World Heavyweight Championship, are now owned by WWE. The championship was generally contested in professional wrestling matches, in which participants execute worked finishes rather than contend in direct competition.

AWA World Heavyweight Championship
AWAchampbelt.JPG
Details
PromotionAWA
Date establishedMay 18, 1960
Date retiredDecember 12, 1990

Contents

HistoryEdit

The AWA World Heavyweight Championship was established in May 1960, after the AWA became a separate promotion from the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA); the AWA had previously been a part of the NWA as its Minneapolis, Minnesota-area territory. The first champion was Pat O'Connor, who was recognized as the first champion upon the AWA's secession from the NWA as O'Connor held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship as well, which he won on January 9, 1959. The creation of the AWA World Heavyweight Championship along with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship would pave the way for the creation of many other world championships in other wrestling promotions. AWA Wrestling Association and the title became inactive in late 1990 and the organization officially closed down in August 1991 with the title also being decommissioned. The championship is featured in the video games WWE '13 as a downloadable title and as an unlockable title in WWE 2K14, WWE 2K15, and WWE 2K16.

Trademark infringementEdit

In 1996, Dale Gagner and his associate Jonnie Stewart, former AWA employees, began using the AWA name in the state of Minnesota and formed a promotion known as AWA Superstars of Wrestling, infringing on the AWA name. The promotion also created their own version of the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. In April 2007, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) filed a lawsuit against Dale Gagner citing trademark infringement, as WWE owned all American Wrestling Association properties due to their purchase after the AWA's closure,[1][2][3] including the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. In October 2008, the court ruled in favor of WWE. The court ruling prohibits Gagner from exploiting or trading on the AWA name or any other derivatives.[4]

Title historyEdit

Key
No. Overall reign number
Reign Reign number for the specific champion
Days Number of days held
Championship change is unrecognized by the promotion
No. Champion Championship change Reign statistics Notes Ref.
Date Event Location Reign Days
1 Pat O'Connor May 18, 1960 N/A N/A 1 90 Held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, which he won on January 9, 1959, in St. Louis, Missouri; recognized as the first AWA World Champion in May 1960, but was given 90 days to defend the title against Verne Gagne or be stripped of the title [5]
2 Verne Gagne August 16, 1960 N/A N/A 1 329 Awarded after O'Connor failed to defend the title [5]
3 Gene Kiniski July 11, 1961 Live event Minneapolis, Minnesota 1 28 [5]
4 Verne Gagne August 8, 1961 Live event Minneapolis, Minnesota 2 154 [5]
5 Mr. M January 9, 1962 Live event Minneapolis, Minnesota 1 224 [5]
6 Verne Gagne August 21, 1962 Live event Minneapolis, Minnesota 3 322 [5]
7 The Crusher July 9, 1963 Live event Minneapolis, Minnesota 1 11 Also won Omaha version of World Heavyweight Championship from Verne Gagne on February 15, 1963, in Omaha, Nebraska [5]
8 Verne Gagne July 20, 1963 Live event Minneapolis, Minnesota 4 7 Won both the AWA title and the Omaha title [5][6]
9 Fritz Von Erich July 27, 1963 Live event Omaha, Nebraska 1 12 Won both the AWA title and the Omaha title [5]
10 Verne Gagne August 8, 1963 Live event Amarillo, Texas 5 100 Von Erich's Omaha title was not at stake. On September 7, 1963, Gagne defeated Von Erich in Omaha in a title unification match and the AWA World Heavyweight Championship becomes the surviving title [5]
11 The Crusher November 16, 1963 Live event Saint Paul, Minnesota 2 28 [5]
12 Verne Gagne December 14, 1963 Live event Minneapolis, Minnesota 6 140 [5]
13 Mad Dog Vachon May 2, 1964 Live event Omaha, Nebraska 1 14 [5]
14 Verne Gagne May 16, 1964 Live event Omaha, Nebraska 7 157 [5]
15 Mad Dog Vachon October 20, 1964 Live event Minneapolis, Minnesota 2 207 [5]
16 Mighty Igor Vodic May 15, 1965 Live event Omaha, Nebraska 1 7 [5]
17 Mad Dog Vachon May 22, 1965 Live event Omaha, Nebraska 3 91 [5]
18 The Crusher August 21, 1965 Live event Saint Paul, Minnesota 3 83 [5]
19 Mad Dog Vachon November 12, 1965 Live event Denver, Colorado 4 365 (57) [5]
Mr. Wrestling January 8, 1966 Live event Omaha, Nebraska 1 6 [5]
Mad Dog Vachon January 14, 1966 Live event Omaha, Nebraska 5 302 AWA president Stanley Blackburn reviews the match from January 8, 1966, and declares it "no contest" on January 14, 1966, since Mr. Wrestling's legs are on the rope while pinning Vachon during the final fall. Vachon later defeats Mr. Wrestling decisively for the title. [5]
20 Dick the Bruiser November 12, 1966 Live event Omaha, Nebraska 1 7 [5]
21 Mad Dog Vachon November 19, 1966 Live event Omaha, Nebraska 5 99 [5]
22 Verne Gagne February 26, 1967 Live event Saint Paul, Minnesota 8 538 [5][7]
23 Dr. X August 17, 1968 Live event Bloomington, Minnesota 1 14 [5]
24 Verne Gagne August 31, 1968 Live event Minneapolis, Minnesota 9 2625 [5]
25 Nick Bockwinkel November 8, 1975 Live event Saint Paul, Minnesota 1 1714 Wrestled WWF Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund to a double countout on March 25, 1979, in Toronto, Ontario [5]
26 Verne Gagne July 18, 1980 Live event Chicago, Illinois 10 305 Gagne retired from active wrestling while still the champion [5][8]
27 Nick Bockwinkel May 19, 1981 N/A N/A 2 467 (334) Awarded the title when Gagne retired [5][8]
Hulk Hogan April 18, 1982 Live event Saint Paul, Minnesota 1 6 Defeated Bockwinkel, with both parties using a foreign object during the match, and is declared by the referee as champion [5]
Nick Bockwinkel April 24, 1982 3 127 Awarded back by AWA president Stanley Blackburn due to the involvement of a foreign object during the match [5]
28 Otto Wanz August 29, 1982 Live event Saint Paul, Minnesota 1 41 [5][9]
29 Nick Bockwinkel October 9, 1982 Live event Chicago, Illinois 3 501 The title is held up on December 27, 1982 after a match with Jerry Lawler; it was given back to Bockwinkel after defeating Lawler in a rematch on January 10, 1983. Bockwinkel is retroactively recognized as having continued been champion during the period the title was held up. [5]
30 Jumbo Tsuruta February 22, 1984 Live event Tokyo, Japan 1 81 [5][10]
31 Rick Martel May 13, 1984 Live event Saint Paul, Minnesota 1 595 Wrestled NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair to a double countout on October 2, 1985, in Tokyo, Japan [5][11]
32 Stan Hansen December 29, 1985 Live event East Rutherford, New Jersey 1 181 Hansen took the championship belt and defended it on All Japan Pro Wrestling's cards in July 1986 [5]
33 Nick Bockwinkel June 28, 1986 Live event Denver, Colorado 4 308 Awarded when Hansen left the AWA [5][12]
34 Curt Hennig May 2, 1987 SuperClash 2 Daly City, California 1 373 Title held up immediately after the match due to controversy over interference by Larry Zbyszko on Hennig's behalf, but the title is returned to Hennig days later after the AWA Championship Committee rules that there was no evidence of interference. On February 16, 1988, the title was again held up, this time due to a no-contest between Hennig and The Grappler in Portland, Oregon. Hennig would regain the title on March 5 in Portland, thanks to his replacement The Assassin defeating The Grappler in a decision match. AWA did not recognize this, which makes Hennig a one-time champion.[13] [5]
35 Jerry Lawler May 9, 1988 Live event Memphis, Tennessee 1 256 Jackie Fargo was the special referee after getting more votes in a national telephone poll than Hennig's father, Larry "The Axe" Hennig. CWA (Memphis) owner Jerry Jarrett announced weeks before the match that Lawler promised to retire if he lost. [14] Lawler later defeated Kerry Von Erich on December 13, 1988, in Chicago to win the WCCW World Heavyweight Championship, and become the first Unified AWA World Heavyweight Champion. [5]
Vacated January 20, 1989 Lawler was stripped of the title after the Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) split from the AWA [5]
36 Larry Zbyszko February 7, 1989 Live event Saint Paul, Minnesota 1 368 Zbyszko won a battle royal, last eliminating Tom Zenk [5][15]
37 Mr. Saito February 10, 1990 Live event Tokyo, Japan 1 57 [5][16]
38 Larry Zbyszko April 8, 1990 SuperClash 4 Saint Paul, Minnesota 2 248 [5]
Vacated December 12, 1990 Title stripped when Zbyszko left the inactive AWA for World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Official kayfabe reason was that Zbyszko refused to defend the title on a tour of Japan. Pro Wrestling Illustrated withdrew recognition of world championship status in January 1991. From here on, the vacant title was recognised only as the AWA Championship.
Deactivated 1991 The AWA closed in 1991 [5]

Combined reignsEdit

 
Inaugural champion Pat O'Connor
 
Record 10-time and longest reigning champion Verne Gagne
Rank Wrestler No. of
reigns
Combined days
1 Verne Gagne 10 4,677
2 Nick Bockwinkel 4 2,990
3 Mad Dog Vachon 5 776
4 Larry Zbyszko 2 616
5 Rick Martel 1 595
6 Curt Hennig 1 373
7 Jerry Lawler 1 256
8 Mr. M 1 224
9 Stan Hansen 1 181
10 The Crusher 3 122
11 Pat O'Connor 1 90
12 Jumbo Tsuruta 1 81
13 Mr. Saito 1 57
14 Otto Wanz 1 41
15 Gene Kiniski 1 28
16 Dr. X 1 14
17 Fritz Von Erich 1 12
18 Dick the Bruiser 1 7
Mighty Igor Vodic 1 7
Mr. Wrestling 1 6
Hulk Hogan 1 6

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Browning, Dan (2007-04-28). "World Wrestling sues promoter". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 2007-04-28.
  2. ^ "News and Notes, May 4, 2007". GeorgiaWrestlingHistory.com. 2007-05-04.
  3. ^ Ryder, Bob (2007-04-26). "WWE Files Lawsuit Against "Gagne" For Trademark Violations Associated With AWA". 1wrestling.com. Archived from the original on 2008-01-02.
  4. ^ "WWE wins trademark infringement lawsuit over AWA". wrestleview.com. 2008-10-28.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  6. ^ Hoops, Brian (July 20, 2015). "On this day in pro wrestling history: Brisco beats Race for NWA title, Gagne beats Crusher for AWA title, Robinson vs. Gagen". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
  7. ^ Hoops, Brian (February 26, 2017). "Daily pro wrestling history (02/26): Verne Gagne wins AWA title on his birthday". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Hoops, Brian (May 10, 2015). "On this day in pro wrestling history: Gagne retires as AWA champion, Austin's ex-wife beats Lesnar's wife for WWF title, Steamboat & Youngblood, Thesz Vs Rogers". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
  9. ^ Oliver, Greg (September 14, 2017). "Former AWA World champion Otto Wanz dies". SLAM Wrestling. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  10. ^ Hoops, Brian (February 22, 2017). "Daily pro wrestling history (02/22): Sting defeats Hogan to win vacant WCW title". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  11. ^ Hoops, Brian (May 13, 2015). "On this day in pro wrestling history (May 13): Rick Martel wins AWA gold, Kurt Angle wins TNA title, Nash & Hall beat one man to win tag titles". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
  12. ^ Hoops, Brian (June 29, 2015). "On this day in pro wrestling history: 2nd Steve Austin WWE title reign begins, infamous Stan Hansen AWA title belt stripping story". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  13. ^ "The Grappler's Cagematch Profile". cagematch.net. 2019-01-21.
  14. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLFq6Xkjm58
  15. ^ Hoops, Brian (February 7, 2017). "On this day in pro wrestling history (Feb 7): Bobby Roode & Austin Aries wins tag gold". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  16. ^ Hoops, Brian (February 10, 2017). "DAILY PRO WRESTLING HISTORY (02/10): MASA SAITO WINS AWA GOLD AT THE TOKYO DOME". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 10, 2017.

External linksEdit