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NWA International Heavyweight Championship

The NWA International Heavyweight Championship was a singles title recognized by the National Wrestling Alliance through its partnership with the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance, and later by All Japan Pro Wrestling. It is one of the three titles that were unified into the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship in 1989. From 1981 to the withdrawal of All Japan from the NWA in 1988, the National Wrestling Alliance considered the NWA International title to be its top singles championship in Japan. In 1983, Giant Baba would elevate the title even further in the eyes of many when he, as the reigning PWF Heavyweight Champion, declared Jumbo Tsuruta to be the new "Ace" of All Japan after Jumbo won the NWA International Heavyweight Championship from Bruiser Brody. Following the withdrawal of All Japan from the NWA, the International title was briefly sanctioned by the Pacific Wrestling Federation until the unification of the Triple Crown could be completed.

NWA International Heavyweight Championship
The NWA International Heavyweight Championship belt
PromotionJapan Wrestling Association
All Japan Pro Wrestling
NWA Hollywood Wrestling
Championship Wrestling from Florida
Date establishedNovember, 1957
Date retiredApril 18, 1989
This was a regional NWA championship based in Japan. For the WCW International World championship, see WCW International World Heavyweight Championship.

Under Rikidōzan the belt had a design similar to Lou Thesz's original NWA World Heavyweight Championship belt during the 1950s, but after Rikidōzan's death, the belt given to Giant Baba had the design seen on the belt part of the Triple Crown until 2013. The original design was later used on the PWF Heavyweight Championship, the UWFI belt (which was the original Lou Thesz belt), and a belt later given to Kazushi Sakuraba for show.[1]

Title historyEdit

Symbol Meaning
No. The overall championship reign
Reign The reign number for the specific wrestler listed.
Event The event in which the championship changed hands
N/A The specific information is not known
Used for vacated reigns in order to not count it as an official reign
[Note #] Indicates that the exact length of the title reign is unknown, with a note providing more details.
# Wrestler Reign Date Days held Location Event Notes Ref.
1 Lou Thesz 1 November 1, 1957 299 N/A N/A Thesz was awarded the championship by the NWA after losing the World Heavyweight Championship to Dick Hutton. Houston NWA promoter Morris Sigel claimed that Thesz has won the title by defeating Antonino Rocca in 1949.  
2 Rikidōzan 1 August 27, 1958 2,302 Los Angeles, California, United States House show Thesz claims the match was not for the title and continues defending the title in the U.S. until regaining the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in January 1963.  
- Vacated - December 15, 1963 - N/A N/A Vacated following Rikidōzan's death from stab wounds suffered one week earlier in Tokyo, Japan.  
3 Giant Baba 1 November 24, 1965 944 Osaka, Japan House show Defeated Dick the Bruiser for the vacant title.  
4 Bobo Brazil 1 June 25, 1968 2 Nagoya, Japan House show    
5 Giant Baba 2 June 27, 1968 889 Tokyo, Japan House show    
6 Gene Kiniski 1 December 3, 1970 16 Osaka, Japan House show    
7 Giant Baba 3 December 19, 1970 623 Los Angeles, California, United States House show    
- Vacated - September 2, 1972 - N/A N/A Vacated when Baba left the Japan Wrestling Association to start All Japan Pro Wrestling.  
8 Bobo Brazil 2 December 1, 1972 3 Yokohama, Japan House show Defeated Kintaro Ohki for the vacant title.  
9 Kintaro Ohki 1 December 4, 1972 3,052 Hiroshima, Japan House show    
- Vacated - April 13, 1981 - N/A N/A After the JWA closed in 1973, Ohki took the belt to South Korea from where he defended it. After briefly returning to Japan and making some defenses in IWE, Ohki vacated the title on April 13, 1981 under orders from the NWA.  
10 Dory Funk, Jr. 1 April 30, 1981 [Note 1] Matsudo, Japan House show Won tournament for the vacant title when Bruiser Brody was injured and unable to wrestle in the finals. Defeated Terry Funk for his first title defense instead.  
11 Bruce Reed 1 June 1981 [Note 2] Florida, United States House show Title reign not recognized in Japan.  
12 Dory Funk, Jr. 2 August 1981 [Note 3] Florida, United States House show    
13 Bruiser Brody 1 October 9, 1981 23 Tokyo, Japan House show    
14 Dory Funk, Jr. 3 November 1, 1981 171 Tokyo, Japan House show    
15 Bruiser Brody 2 April 21, 1982 374 Osaka, Japan House show    
16 Jumbo Tsuruta 1 April 30, 1983 1,188 Tokyo, Japan House show    
17 Stan Hansen 1 July 31, 1986 82 Tokyo, Japan House show   [2]
18 Jumbo Tsuruta 2 October 21, 1986 523 Tokyo, Japan House show    
19 Bruiser Brody 3 March 27, 1988 22 Tokyo, Japan House show    
20 Jumbo Tsuruta 3 April 18, 1988 365 Sendai, Japan House show    
- Unified - April 18, 1989 - N/A N/A Unified with PWF Heavyweight Championship and NWA United National Championship to create the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.  

List of combined reignsEdit

Rank Wrestler No. of
Combined days
1 Kintaro Ohki 1 3,052
2 Giant Baba 3 2,456
3 Rikidōzan 1 2,302
4 Jumbo Tsuruta 3 2,076
5 Bruiser Brody 3 419
6 Lou Thesz 1 299
7 Dory Funk, Jr. 3 242 - 301
8 Stan Hansen 1 82
9 Bruce Reed 1 32 - 91
10 Gene Kiniski 1 16
11 Bobo Brazil 2 5

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The exact date that Butch Reed won the championship from Dory Funk Jr. is uncertain, which puts the title reign at between 1 day and 61 days.
  2. ^ The exact date that Butch Reed won the championship from Dory Funk Jr. is uncertain, which puts the title reign at between 1 day and 91 days.
  3. ^ The exact date that Dory Funk Jr. won the championship back from Butch Reed is uncertain, which puts the title reign at between 39 days and 69 days.


  1. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  2. ^ Hoops, Brian (July 31, 2015). "On this day in pro wrestling history (July 31): Stan Hansen wins NWA International title, Giant Baba, Hulk Hogan in AWA". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved February 11, 2017.

External linksEdit