IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
The IWGP World Heavyweight Championship belt
Details
PromotionNew Japan Pro-Wrestling
Date establishedMarch 1, 2021
Current champion(s)Tetsuya Naito
Date wonJanuary 4, 2024
Statistics
First champion(s)Kota Ibushi
Most reignsKazuchika Okada
(2 reigns)
Longest reignSanada
(271 days)
Shortest reignKota Ibushi
(31 days)
Oldest championTetsuya Naito
(41 years, 196 days)
Youngest championWill Ospreay
(27 years, 332 days)
Heaviest championKazuchika Okada
(236 lb (107 kg))
Lightest championKota Ibushi
(205 lb (93 kg))

The IWGP World Heavyweight Championship (IWGP世界ヘビー級王座, IWGP Sekai hebī-kyū ōza) is a professional wrestling world 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).[1] The championship was created on March 1, 2021 by the unification of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. The current champion is Tetsuya Naito, who is in his first reign.

History

The inaugural champion was Kota Ibushi.

In 2019, when he was IWGP Intercontinental Champion, Tetsuya Naito declared his intention of making history by becoming the first to hold the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the Intercontinental Championship at the same time.[2] By the end of the year, Jay White, who had won the Intercontinental Championship from Naito, and Kota Ibushi, who was the next challenger for the Heavyweight Championship, also expressed the same desire. After a fan vote, it was decided that Naito, White, Ibushi, and Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada would compete at Wrestle Kingdom 14 on January 4–5, 2020, where one would end up with both titles.[3] Naito achieved the feat to become the first "Double Champion" and the two titles were defended together since (apart from one time). During 2020, Naito said his original intention was for the titles to be defended separately. He requested for this, or otherwise for the titles to be unified, but no change happened.[4]

After Ibushi won the titles from Naito at Wrestle Kingdom 15 on January 4, 2021, he expressed his desire for the titles to be unified.[5] On March 1, 2021, with Ibushi still champion, the unification of the titles to create the new IWGP World Heavyweight Championship was officially announced, with Ibushi as the inaugural World Heavyweight Champion. After the announcement, Ibushi, who was scheduled to face El Desperado at the NJPW 49th Anniversary Show on March 4, 2021 in a non-title match, requested for the match to be for the Double Championship.[6] His request was granted with the title unification delayed until after the match, of which the winner would be final Double Champion and, therefore, the inaugural World Heavyweight Champion.[7] Ibushi won the match.[8]

With the announcement of the new championship was the announcement of a new championship belt.[5] Until the new belt was ready, Ibushi continued to hold the old IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championship belts. The new belt was eventually revealed and presented to the champion Ibushi in a presentation ceremony on March 30, 2021.[9] Its design incorporated the past belt designs of the two old titles.[10]

Reigns

Current and oldest champion Tetsuya Naito

As of March 21, 2024, there have been seven reigns shared among six wrestlers with one vacancy. Kota Ibushi was the inaugural champion. Sanada's singular reign is the longest at 271 days, while Ibushi's reign is the shortest at 31 days. Tetsuya Naito is the oldest champion when he won it at 41 years old, while Will Ospreay is the youngest, winning it at 27 years old.

Tetsuya Naito is the current champion in his first reign. He defeated Sanada at Wrestle Kingdom 18 in Tokyo, Japan on January 4, 2024.


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 Kota Ibushi March 4, 2021 49th Anniversary Show Tokyo, Japan 1 31 0 After Ibushi, who was the reigning IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Champion, successfully defended both titles against El Desperado at the event, they were unified into the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, with Ibushi as the inaugural champion. [8]
2 Will Ospreay April 4, 2021 Sakura Genesis Tokyo, Japan 1 46 1 [11]
Vacated May 20, 2021 The championship was vacated due to Will Ospreay suffering a neck injury. [12]
3 Shingo Takagi June 7, 2021 Dominion 6.6 in Osaka-jo Hall Osaka, Japan 1 211 3 Defeated Kazuchika Okada to win the vacant championship. [13]
4 Kazuchika Okada January 4, 2022 Wrestle Kingdom 16
Night 1
Tokyo, Japan 1 159 4 [14]
5 Jay White June 12, 2022 Dominion 6.12 in Osaka-jo Hall Osaka, Japan 1 206 2 [15]
6 Kazuchika Okada January 4, 2023 Wrestle Kingdom 17 Tokyo, Japan 2 94 2 [16]
7 Sanada April 8, 2023 Sakura Genesis Tokyo, Japan 1 271 4 [17]
8 Tetsuya Naito January 4, 2024 Wrestle Kingdom 18 Tokyo, Japan 1 77+ 1 [18]

Combined reigns

Record-setting two-time champion Kazuchika Okada

As of March 21, 2024.

Indicates the current champion
Rank Wrestler No. of
reigns
Combined
defenses
Combined
days
1 Sanada 1 4 271
2 Kazuchika Okada 2 6 253
3 Shingo Takagi 1 3 211
4 Jay White 1 2 206
5 Tetsuya Naito 1 1 77+
6 Will Ospreay 1 1 46
7 Kota Ibushi 1 0 31

References

  1. ^ "WK9 101: The Intro". Global Force Wrestling. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  2. ^ なんと挑戦者が握手を要求!? 内藤vsタイチのインターコンチネンタル王座調印式は、不気味な静けさの“挑発”合戦!【公開調印式】 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. February 1, 2019. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  3. ^ 【WK14】“ダブル選手権”が正式決定!「史上初の男になってみせますよ」内藤が“二冠”獲得に自信!「おまえのアイディアは俺が成し遂げる」王者・ジェイは不敵に挑発三昧!【東京ドーム会見(1)】 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. November 5, 2019. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  4. ^ 「タイトルマッチは別々に行った方がいい」内藤が今後の“二冠問題”に言及! 真夏の野外ビッグマッチ恒例化も熱望!SHOがジュニアタッグ王座返上に関してコメント!【8.31二夜明け会見】 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. August 31, 2020. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  5. ^ a b 「この二つのベルトを一つにしたら、もっと凄いことが生まれるんじゃないかなと。絶対おもしろいことになる」“二冠王者”飯伏幸太がベルト統一を再提案!【1.12会見】 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. January 12, 2021. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  6. ^ 菅林会長が、IWGPヘビー&IWGPインターコンチネンタル王座を統一した、“IWGP世界ヘビー級王座”の新設を発表! 王者・飯伏はデスペラードとの“二冠王座戦”を要求!【3.1一夜明け会見】 (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. March 1, 2021. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  7. ^ 【3月4日(木)日本武道館、メインはタイトル戦に変更!】飯伏とデスペラードが二冠王座戦で激突! 『NJC』1回戦で内藤とオーカーンが注目の初対決! 因縁勃発の小島とコブが激突! (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. March 1, 2021. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Elizabeth, Claire (March 4, 2021). "NJPW 49th Anniversary Show results for Thursday, March 4: Desperado vs. Ibushi, Naito vs. O-Khan, and more". cagesideseats.com. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  9. ^ "【注目!】"IWGP世界ヘビー級ベルト"がついにお披露目! 3月30日(火)後楽園ホール大会の試合前、飯伏幸太選手への"贈呈式"を実施!" (in Japanese). New Japan Pro-Wrestling. March 26, 2021. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  10. ^ "IWGP World Heavyweight Championship revealed in Korakuen Hall". New Japan Pro-Wrestling. March 30, 2021. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  11. ^ Lambert, Jeremy (April 4, 2021). "NJPW Sakura Genesis Results (4/4): Will Ospreay Battles Kota Ibushi". Fightful. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  12. ^ "Will Ospreay injured; vacates world title". njpw1972.com. May 20, 2021. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  13. ^ "2021.06.07 Dominion 6.6 in Osaka-jo Hall". New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  14. ^ Fritts, Chick (January 4, 2022). "NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 16 Night One Live Results: Shingo Vs. Okada". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  15. ^ Fritts, Chick (June 12, 2022). "NJPW Dominion live results: Six title matches, AEW interim World title eliminator Kazuchika Okada defends the IWGP title against Jay White in the main event, plus the AEW interim World title eliminator continues". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  16. ^ Powell, Jason (January 4, 2023). "NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 results: Powell's live report on Jay White vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship, Will Ospreay vs. Kenny Omega for the IWGP U.S. Championship, Kairi vs. Tam Nakano for the IWGP Women's Title, Taiji Ishimori vs. Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Desperado vs. Master Wato for the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Title". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved January 4, 2023.
  17. ^ "2023.04.08 SAKURA GENESIS 2023". NJPW. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  18. ^ Powell, Jason (January 4, 2024). "NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18 results: Powell's live review of Sanada vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP World Hvt. Championship, Kazuchika Okada vs. Bryan Danielson, Will Ospreay vs. Jon Moxley vs. David Finlay for the IWGP Global Title". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
Sporting positions Preceded byIWGP Heavyweight Championship New Japan Pro-Wrestling's top heavyweight championship 2021–present Succeeded byCurrent