IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.PNG
The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship belt
Details
PromotionNew Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW)
Date establishedFebruary 6, 1986
Current champion(s)Taiji Ishimori
Date wonMay 1, 2022
Three-time and current champion Taiji Ishimori
Three-time and current champion Taiji Ishimori

The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship (IWGPジュニアヘビー級王座, IWGP juniahebī-kyū ōza) is a professional wrestling world junior heavyweight championship owned by the New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) promotion. "IWGP" is the acronym of NJPW's governing body, the International Wrestling Grand Prix (インターナショナル・レスリング・グラン・プリ, intānashonaru resuringu guran puri). Only wrestlers under the junior heavyweight weight-limit may hold the championship. NJPW currently controls two junior heavyweight championships: the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. The weight-limit for the title is 100 kg (220 lb).[1]

History

The title was introduced on February 6, 1986, at a NJPW show.

From August 5, 1996, until November 5, 1997, the title was part of the J-Crown, or J-Crown Octuple Unified Championship. The J-Crown was an assembly of eight different championships from several different promotions. It was created on August 5, 1996, when The Great Sasuke won an eight-man tournament. The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, the British Commonwealth Junior Heavyweight Championship, the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship, the NWA World Welterweight Championship, the UWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship, the WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship, the WWA World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship, and the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship were the eight championships that were involved.[2] On November 5, 1997, then-champion Shinjiro Otani vacated all J-Crown belts but the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship after the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) retook control of its Light Heavyweight title, effectively ending the J-Crown.

Reigns

Inaugural and three-time champion Shiro Koshinaka
Inaugural and three-time champion Shiro Koshinaka

There have been 92 reigns shared among 41 wrestlers with eight vacancies. Title changes happen mostly at NJPW-promoted events, as it has only changed hands at non-NJPW events twice. Reigns 36 and 37 occurred on World Championship Wrestling's Nitro television program, when Juventud Guerrera defeated Jushin Thunder Liger on November 29, 1999, and on December 6, 1999, when Liger retrieved the championship by defeating Guerrera's stand-in Psychosis. Shiro Koshinaka was the first champion in the title's history. Liger holds the record for most reigns with eleven, over which he has successfully defended the title 31 times, more than any champion. He also holds the record for the longest reign in the title's history at 628 days during his sixth reign. Guerrera's only reign of 7 days is the shortest in the title's history.

Taiji Ishimori is the current champion in his third reign. He defeated El Desperado on May 1, 2022 at Wrestling Dontaku in Fukuoka, Japan.

Key
No. Overall reign number
Reign Reign number for the specific champion
Days Number of days held
Defenses Number of successful defenses
+ Current reign is changing daily
No. Champion Championship change Reign statistics Notes Ref.
Date Event Location Reign Days Defenses
1 Shiro Koshinaka February 6, 1986 New Year Dash 1986 Tokyo, Japan 1 102 1 Koshinaka defeated The Cobra in a tournament final to become the first champion. [3]
2 Nobuhiko Takada May 19, 1986 IWGP Champion Series 1986 Tokyo, Japan 1 123 6 [4]
3 Shiro Koshinaka September 19, 1986 Challenge Spirit 1986 Fukuoka, Japan 2 317 2 [5]
Vacated August 2, 1987 Koshinaka vacated the championship due to injuring his right ankle.
4 Kuniaki Kobayashi August 20, 1987 Summer Night Fever In Kokugikan Tokyo, Japan 1 129 1 Kuniaki Kobayashi defeated Nobuhiko Takada to win the vacant championship. [6]
5 Hiroshi Hase December 27, 1987 Year End in Kokugikan 1987 Tokyo, Japan 1 152 3 [7]
6 Owen Hart May 27, 1988 IWGP Champion Series 1988 Sendai, Japan 1 28 1 [8]
7 Shiro Koshinaka June 24, 1988 IWGP Champion Series 1988 Osaka, Japan 3 265 6 [9]
8 Hiroshi Hase March 16, 1989 Big Fight Series Yokohama, Japan 2 70 0 [10]
9 Jushin Liger May 25, 1989 Battle Satellite 1989 In Osaka Dome Osaka, Japan 1 77 2 [11]
10 Naoki Sano August 10, 1989 Fighting Satellite of 1989 Tokyo, Japan 1 174 2 [12]
11 Jushin Thunder Liger January 31, 1990 New Spring Gold Series 1990 Osaka, Japan 2 200 1 Previously known as Jushin Liger. [13]
12 Pegasus Kid August 19, 1990 Summer Night Fever II Tokyo, Japan 1 74 0 [14]
13 Jushin Thunder Liger November 1, 1990 Dream Tour 1990 Tokyo, Japan 3 165 2 [15]
Vacated April 15, 1991 Liger vacated the championship so a new champion could be decided in the Top of the Super Juniors tournament.
14 Norio Honaga April 30, 1991 Explosion Tour 1991 Tokyo, Japan 1 43 2 Honaga defeated Jushin Thunder Liger in the finals of the Top of the Super Juniors tournament. [16][17]
15 Jushin Thunder Liger June 12, 1991 Fighting Connection ~ Ultra-High And Mighty Declaration II ~ Tokyo, Japan 4 58 0 [18]
16 Akira Nogami August 9, 1991 Violent Storm in Kokugikan Tokyo, Japan 1 88 1 [19]
17 Norio Honaga November 5, 1991 Tokyo 3 Days Battle Tokyo, Japan 2 95 1 [20]
18 Jushin Thunder Liger February 8, 1992 NJPW Fighting Spirit 1992 Sapporo, Japan 5 139 3 [21]
19 El Samurai June 26, 1992 Masters Of Wrestling Tokyo, Japan 1 149 3 [22]
20 Último Dragón November 22, 1992 Wrestling Scramble 1992 Tokyo, Japan 1 43 1 [23]
21 Jushin Thunder Liger January 4, 1993 Fantastic Story in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 6 628 5 [24]
Vacated September 24, 1994 Liger vacated the championship due to fracturing his left ankle.
22 Norio Honaga September 27, 1994 G1 Climax Special 1994 Osaka, Japan 3 145 6 Honaga defeated Wild Pegasus in a tournament final to win the vacant championship. [25][26]
23 Koji Kanemoto February 19, 1995 Fighting Spirit 1995 Tokyo, Japan 1 73 2 [27]
24 Sabu May 3, 1995 Wrestling Dontaku 1995 Fukuoka, Japan 1 42 1 [28]
25 Koji Kanemoto June 14, 1995 Fighting Spirit Legend Tokyo, Japan 2 204 2 This match was also for Kanemoto's UWA World Welterweight Championship. [29]
26 Jushin Thunder Liger January 4, 1996 Wrestling World 1996 Tokyo, Japan 7 116 2 [30]
27 The Great Sasuke April 29, 1996 Battle Formation Tokyo, Japan 1 165 5 On August 5, 1996, Sasuke won an 8-man tournament to form the J-Crown, an octuple-belt championship that includes the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title; these titles were still considered separate, but were defended together. [31]
28 Último Dragón October 11, 1996 Osaka Crush Night Osaka, Japan 2 85 7 [32]
29 Jushin Thunder Liger January 4, 1997 Wrestling World 1997 Tokyo, Japan 8 183 4 Liger lost the WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship from the J-Crown on June 6, 1997, but continued to defend the other 7 belts. [33]
30 El Samurai July 6, 1997 Summer Struggle 1997 Sapporo, Japan 2 35 0 [34]
31 Shinjiro Otani August 10, 1997 The Four Heaven in Nagoya Dome Nagoya, Japan 1 181 5 On November 5, 1997, Otani vacated all J-Crown belts but the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title after the WWF retook control of its Light Heavyweight title, effectively ending the J-Crown. [35]
32 Jushin Thunder Liger February 7, 1998 Fighting Spirit 1998 Sapporo, Japan 9 403 8 [36]
33 Koji Kanemoto March 17, 1999 Hyper Battle 1999 Hiroshima, Japan 3 164 3 [37]
34 Kendo Kashin August 28, 1999 Jingu Climax Tokyo, Japan 1 44 1 [38]
35 Jushin Thunder Liger October 11, 1999 Final Dome Tokyo, Japan 10 49 1 [39]
36 Juventud Guerrera November 29, 1999 Nitro Denver, Colorado, U.S. 1 7 0 [40]
37 Jushin Thunder Liger December 6, 1999 Nitro Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. 11 227 3 Psychosis replaced Guerrera in the match due to Guerrera suffering a fractured right arm. [41]
38 Tatsuhito Takaiwa July 20, 2000 Summer Struggle 2000 Sapporo, Japan 1 101 2 [42][43]
39 Minoru Tanaka October 29, 2000 Get a Right!! Kobe, Japan 1 264 2 [44]
40 Masayuki Naruse July 20, 2001 Dome Quake Sapporo, Japan 1 80 1 [45]
41 Tokimitsu Ishizawa/Kendo Kashin October 8, 2001 Indicate of Next Tokyo, Japan 2 116 2 Won the title under the name Tokimitsu Ishizawa, but defended it under the name Kendo Kashin. [46]
Vacated February 1, 2002 Kashin left NJPW and returned the title to the IWGP Executive Committee. [47]
42 Minoru Tanaka February 16, 2002 Fighting Spirit 2002 Tokyo, Japan 2 153 3 Defeated Masahito Kakihara to win the championship. [48]
43 Koji Kanemoto July 19, 2002 Summer Fight Series 2002 Sapporo, Japan 4 278 6 [48]
44 Tiger Mask April 23, 2003 Strong Energy 2003 Hiroshima, Japan 1 153 4 [49][50]
Vacated September 23, 2003 The championship was vacated so it could be contested for in a battle royal.
45 Jado October 13, 2003 Ultimate Crush II Tokyo, Japan 1 62 1 Jado defeated Dick Togo, El Samurai, Gedo, Heat, Jushin Thunder Liger, Katsushi Takemura, Koji Kanemoto, Masahito Kakihara, Masayuki Naruse and Tiger Mask in a battle royal to win the vacant championship. [50]
46 Heat December 14, 2003 Battle Final 2003 Nagoya, Japan 3 387 11 Previously known as Minoru Tanaka. [50][51]
47 Tiger Mask January 4, 2005 Toukon Festival: Wrestling World Tokyo, Japan 2 277 3 [52]
48 Black Tiger October 8, 2005 Toukon Souzou New Chapter Tokyo, Japan 1 134 1 This match was also for Black Tiger's NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship. [53]
49 Tiger Mask February 19, 2006 Acceleration Tokyo, Japan 3 73 1 This match was also for Black Tiger's NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship. [54]
50 Koji Kanemoto May 3, 2006 New Japan Cup 2006 Special Fukuoka, Japan 5 235 1 [54][55]
51 Minoru December 24, 2006 Battle Xmas! Catch the Victory Tokyo, Japan 4 194 4 Previously known as Minoru Tanaka/Heat.
52 Ryusuke Taguchi July 6, 2007 New Japan Soul C.T.U Farewell Tour Tokyo, Japan 1 155 4 [56]
53 Wataru Inoue December 8, 2007 New Japan Alive Osaka, Japan 1 191 3 [57]
Vacated June 16, 2008 The championship was vacated when Inoue moved to the heavyweight division.
54 Tiger Mask July 8, 2008 New Japan Trill Tokyo, Japan 4 75 0 Tiger Mask defeated Prince Devitt in a tournament final to win the vacant championship. [58]
55 Low Ki September 21, 2008 New Japan Generation Kobe, Japan 1 105 1 [59]
56 Tiger Mask January 4, 2009 Wrestle Kingdom III in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 5 223 4 [60]
[61]
57 Místico August 15, 2009 G1 Climax 2009: New Lords, New Laws Tokyo, Japan 1 85 2 [62]
[63]
58 Tiger Mask November 8, 2009 Destruction '09 Tokyo, Japan 6 57 0 [64]
59 Naomichi Marufuji January 4, 2010 Wrestle Kingdom IV in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 1 166 5 [65]
60 Prince Devitt June 19, 2010 Dominion 6.19 Osaka, Japan 1 364 7 [66]
61 Kota Ibushi June 18, 2011 Dominion 6.18 Osaka, Japan 1 86 2 [67]
Vacated September 12, 2011 The championship was vacated after Ibushi was sidelined with a shoulder injury. [68]
62 Prince Devitt September 19, 2011 Kantaro Hoshino Memorial Show Kobe, Japan 2 227 4 Devitt defeated Kushida to win the vacant championship. [69]
63 Low Ki May 3, 2012 Wrestling Dontaku Fukuoka, Japan 2 87 1 [70]
64 Kota Ibushi July 29, 2012 Last Rebellion Tokyo, Japan 2 71 2 [71]
65 Low Ki October 8, 2012 King of Pro-Wrestling Tokyo, Japan 3 34 0 [72]
66 Prince Devitt November 11, 2012 Power Struggle Osaka, Japan 3 419 4 [73]
67 Kota Ibushi January 4, 2014 Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 3 181 4 [74]
68 Kushida July 4, 2014 Kizuna Road 2014 Tokyo, Japan 1 79 0 [75]
69 Ryusuke Taguchi September 21, 2014 Destruction in Kobe Kobe, Japan 2 105 2 [76]
70 Kenny Omega January 4, 2015 Wrestle Kingdom 9 in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 1 182 3 [77]
71 Kushida July 5, 2015 Dominion 7.5 in Osaka-jo Hall Osaka, Japan 2 80 1 [78]
72 Kenny Omega September 23, 2015 Destruction in Okayama Okayama, Japan 2 103 1 [79]
73 Kushida January 4, 2016 Wrestle Kingdom 10 in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 3 257 5 [80]
74 Bushi September 17, 2016 Destruction in Tokyo Tokyo, Japan 1 49 0 [81]
75 Kushida November 5, 2016 Power Struggle Osaka, Japan 4 60 0 [82]
76 Hiromu Takahashi January 4, 2017 Wrestle Kingdom 11 in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 1 158 4 [83]
77 Kushida June 11, 2017 Dominion 6.11 in Osaka-jo Hall Osaka, Japan 5 120 2 [84]
78 Will Ospreay October 9, 2017 King of Pro-Wrestling Tokyo, Japan 1 27 0 [85]
79 Marty Scurll November 5, 2017 Power Struggle Osaka, Japan 1 60 0 [86]
80 Will Ospreay January 4, 2018 Wrestle Kingdom 12 in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 2 156 3 This was a four-way match, also involving Hiromu Takahashi and Kushida. [87]
81 Hiromu Takahashi June 9, 2018 Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall Osaka, Japan 2 72 2 [88]
Vacated August 20, 2018 The championship was vacated after Takahashi suffered a neck injury.
82 Kushida October 8, 2018 King of Pro-Wrestling Tokyo, Japan 6 88 0 Kushida won the vacant title in a match against Marty Scurll. [89][90]
83 Taiji Ishimori January 4, 2019 Wrestle Kingdom 13 in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 1 92 2 [91]
84 Dragon Lee April 6, 2019 G1 Supercard New York City, U.S. 1 64 1 This was a three-way match, also involving Bandido. [92]
85 Will Ospreay June 9, 2019 Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall Osaka, Japan 3 209 3 [93]
86 Hiromu Takahashi January 4, 2020 Wrestle Kingdom 14 in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 3 238 1 [94]
87 Taiji Ishimori August 29, 2020 Summer Struggle in Jingu Tokyo, Japan 2 129 0 [95]
88 Hiromu Takahashi January 5, 2021 Wrestle Kingdom 15 in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 4 51 1 [96]
Vacated February 25, 2021 The championship was vacated after Takahashi suffered a pectoral muscle injury. [97]
89 El Desperado February 28, 2021 Castle Attack Osaka, Japan 1 147 2 El Desperado won the vacant title in a three-way match, also involving El Phantasmo and Bushi. [98]
90 Robbie Eagles July 25, 2021 Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome Tokyo, Japan 1 104 1 [99]
91 El Desperado November 6, 2021 Power Struggle Osaka, Japan 2 176 3 [100]
92 Taiji Ishimori May 1, 2022 Wrestling Dontaku Fukuoka, Japan 3 164+ 1 [101]

Combined reigns

As of October 12, 2022.

Record eleven-time champion Jushin Thunder Liger also holds the records for longest reign at 628 days, longest combined reign at 2,245 days, and most combined defenses at 31
Record eleven-time champion Jushin Thunder Liger also holds the records for longest reign at 628 days, longest combined reign at 2,245 days, and most combined defenses at 31
Four-time champion Minoru Tanaka, as Heat, holds the record for most defenses in one reign at 11
Four-time champion Minoru Tanaka, as Heat, holds the record for most defenses in one reign at 11
Indicates the current champion
Rank[A] Wrestler No. of
reigns
Combined
defenses
Combined
days
1 Jushin Liger/Jushin Thunder Liger 11 31 2,245
2 Prince Devitt 3 15 1,010
3 Heat/Minoru/Minoru Tanaka 4 20 998
4 Koji Kanemoto 5 14 954
5 Tiger Mask 6 12 858
6 Shiro Koshinaka 3 9 702
7 Kushida 6 8 684
8 Hiromu Takahashi 4 8 519
9 Will Ospreay 3 6 392
10 Taiji Ishimori 3 3 385+
11 Kota Ibushi 3 8 338
12 El Desperado 2 5 323
13 Kenny Omega 2 4 285
14 Norio Honaga 3 9 283
15 Ryusuke Taguchi 2 6 260
16 Low Ki 3 2 226
17 Hiroshi Hase 2 3 222
18 Wataru Inoue 1 3 191
19 El Samurai 2 3 184
20 Shinjiro Otani 1 5 181
21 Naoki Sano 1 2 174
22 Naomichi Marufuji 1 5 166
23 The Great Sasuke 5 165
24 Tokimitsu Ishizawa/Kendo Kashin 2 3 160
25 Black Tiger 1 1 134
26 Kuniaki Kobayashi 1 1 129
27 Último Dragón 2 8 128
28 Nobuhiko Takada 1 6 123
29 Robbie Eagles 1 1 104
30 Tatsuhito Takaiwa 1 2 101
31 Akira Nogami 1 88
32 Místico 2 85
33 Masayuki Naruse 1 80
34 Pegasus Kid 0 74
35 Dragon Lee 1 64
36 Jado 1 62
37 Marty Scurll 0 60
38 Bushi 0 49
39 Sabu 1 42
40 Owen Hart 1 28
41 Juventud Guerrera 0 7

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