|Impact World Championship|
|Date established||May 13, 2007|
|Current champion(s)||Alex Shelley|
|Date won||June 9, 2023|
The Impact World Championship is a professional wrestling world championship created and promoted by Impact Wrestling. It is the promotion's principal championship. Like most professional wrestling championships, the title is won via the result of a predetermined match. The current champion is Alex Shelley, who is in his first reign.
Before the championship was created, the promotion, then known as Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), controlled the NWA World Heavyweight Championship via an agreement with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). In 2007, the agreement between TNA and the NWA ended, leading to the creation of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. The championship was unveiled on May 14, 2007, at the taping of TNA's primary television program, Impact!, which aired on May 17, 2007. The inaugural champion was Kurt Angle, who also holds the record for the most reigns at six.
When TNA changed its name and became Impact Wrestling in March 2017, the title was renamed soon after to reflect the change. After Impact Wrestling rebranded to GFW later that year, the title was unified with the original GFW Global Championship at Slammiversary XV and became the Unified GFW World Heavyweight Championship. Following Destination X, the title took the GFW Global Championship name and kept the former TNA lineage. On October 23, 2017, the GFW name was dropped, and the company name was reverted to Impact Wrestling when the company severed ties with Jeff Jarrett, and he took the GFW name with him. However, Impact Wrestling kept the Global Championship name for their championship and the title was then called the Impact Global Championship. On the February 1, 2018, episode of Impact!, the title became known as the Impact World Championship. On June 4, 2018, the title was unified with the Impact Grand Championship and on March 13, 2021, it was unified with the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, which was briefly sanctioned in 2021 as a separate title from the Impact World Championship.
Impact Wrestling was formed as NWA: Total Nonstop Action in May 2002. Later that same year, TNA was granted control over the NWA World Heavyweight and World Tag Team Championships by the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) governing body; subsequently becoming an official NWA territory as NWA-TNA. On June 19, 2002, NWA-TNA held its first show; a weekly pay-per-view event. The main event of the telecast was a twenty-man Gauntlet for the Gold match in which 20 men sought to throw each other over the top rope and down to the floor in order to eliminate others, until there were two men left who wrestle a standard singles match to become the first ever TNA-era NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Ken Shamrock defeated Malice to win the vacant championship with Ricky Steamboat as the special guest referee at the event.
The NWA World Heavyweight and World Tag Team Championships were contested for in TNA until the morning of May 13, 2007. On that day, NWA's Executive Director Robert Trobich announced that the NWA were ending their five-year agreement with TNA, which had allowed them full control over both titles. Trobich went on to state that effective that morning, then-NWA World Heavyweight Champion Christian Cage and then-NWA World Tag Team Champions Team 3D were stripped of their respective championships. The alleged motivation behind these actions was because Cage refused to defend the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against wrestlers from NWA territories. That same day, TNA were scheduled to produce their Sacrifice event, in which both Cage and Team 3D were to defend their respective championships. On the card, Cage was scheduled to defend the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Kurt Angle and Sting in a match involving three competitors, also known as a three-way match.
That night, the onscreen graphic used to refer to the champions and their respective championships credited both Cage and Team 3D as still being NWA champions. Angle defeated Cage and Sting to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
TNA held a set of tapings for the next two episodes of Impact! on May 14, with the episodes set to air on tape delay on May 17 and May 24. At the first taping, Angle came to the ring with the new TNA World Heavyweight Championship belt and announced that he was the "new TNA World Heavyweight Champion". TNA commentator Mike Tenay announced when Angle made his way to the ring that Management Director Jim Cornette, TNA's on-screen authority figure at the time, "made the decision that due to TNA's growing worldwide exposure, the company needed to have its own TNA title belts"; thereby not acknowledging the NWA ending their agreement with TNA and giving a storyline explanation as to why the championship was created. Later on during the broadcast, Cornette stripped Angle of the TNA World Heavyweight Championship due to a controversial finish to the match at Sacrifice. Cornette then announced the championship would be contested for at TNA's Slammiversary on June 17, 2007, in a King of the Mountain match—a match which involves five participants racing to gain a pinfall or submission to become eligible to hang a championship belt to win. On May 15, 2007, Jeremy Borash unveiled the TNA World Heavyweight Championship belt on that day's edition of TNA's online video podcast TNA Today.
The five participants for the King of the Mountain match were determined in a series of standard wrestling matches that took place on Impact! leading up to the event, with Angle defeating Rhino in the first bout to gain entry on the May 17 episode of Impact!. On the May 24 episode of Impact!, Samoa Joe defeated Sting to become the second participant. The third qualification match was held on the May 31 episode of Impact! between A.J. Styles and Tomko, which Styles won. The next bout pitted Chris Harris against James Storm on the June 7 episode Impact!, which ended in a double disqualification, therefore neither man advanced to the King of the Mountain match. The final qualification match was won by Christian Cage over Abyss on the June 14 episode of Impact!. Angle ended up winning the King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary over Joe, Cage, Styles and Harris, who was a mystery participant chosen by Cornette, to become the "undisputed TNA World Heavyweight Champion".
In early 2017 After TNA rebranded as Impact Wrestling, the name of its flagship show, the TNA World Heavyweight Championship changed its name to the Impact Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship to reflect the name changes of the company.
At Slammiversary XV, GFW Global Champion Alberto El Patron defeated Impact Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley to unify the titles, with the GFW Global Championship being dropped and the Impact World Heavyweight Championship changing its name to the Unified GFW World Championship as Impact Wrestling began rebranding once again as GFW. In September 2017, GFW reverted their branding to Impact Wrestling, the championship then became known as the Impact Global Championship.
Since the February 1, 2018 episode of Impact!, the title has been known as the Impact World Championship. On June 4, 2018, the title was unified with the Impact Grand Championship, with the latter title being officially retired.
At Rebellion, Moose appeared with the old TNA World Heavyweight Championship belt (its 3rd design from 2011 to 2017, later modified with a white strap) and declared himself the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion after defeating Hernandez and Michael Elgin in a triple threat match, which was originally to be for the Impact World Championship but reigning champion Tessa Blanchard missed the tapings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the title was not recognized as an official championship by Impact, Moose had several title defenses. On the February 23, 2021, episode of Impact!, Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore announced that Moose's self-proclaimed championship was officially sanctioned. At Sacrifice, Impact World Champion Rich Swann defeated Moose to unify the championships. The TNA title was deactivated, and the Impact World Championship was briefly referred to as the Impact Unified World Championship.
On the August 19, 2010, edition of TNA Impact!, the TNA World Heavyweight Championship was vacated, after champion Rob Van Dam suffered a storyline injury. The title was put up in a tournament featuring the top eight ranked wrestlers in the TNA Championship Committee rankings. The finals of the tournament would take place at Bound for Glory on October 10.
(TV - TNA Impact!)
(PPV - No Surrender)
(PPV - Bound for Glory)
|Rob Terry||03:17|
|Douglas Williams||04:52|
|Jeff Hardy |
|Mr. Anderson||04:11|
|Matt Morgan||04:46|
* Angle and Hardy wrestled another draw on the September 16 edition of Impact!, which led to Eric Bischoff making the final match at Bound for Glory a three–way.
On October 29, 2013, TNA President Dixie Carter vacated the TNA World Heavyweight Championship after the previous champion A.J. Styles left the company with the championship title. On the October 31 edition of Impact Wrestling, Carter announced an eight-man tournament to determine a new TNA World Heavyweight Champion, that would begin on November 7. Seven of the eight men were former TNA World Heavyweight Champions including Jeff Hardy, Chris Sabin, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Kurt Angle, Austin Aries, and Samoa Joe. The eighth would be determined later in the night in a gauntlet match, which was eventually won by Magnus last eliminating Kazarian and Sting. Also, later that night, Carter announced the "Wheel of Dixie" in which she would spin a wheel full of different stipulation that the competitors would compete in. The stipulations on the "Wheel of Dixie" were a Falls Count Anywhere match, a Bull Rope match, a Submission match, a Ladder match, a Full Metal Mayhem match, a Coalminer's Glove match, a Tables match, a Dixieland match, a Tuxedo match, and Last Man Standing match. The Storm/Roode match was originally a Bull Rope match but Storm asked Carter to change it to a Florida Death match, which was not on the "Wheel of Dixie", which Carter agreed to. Also, the winner for the vacated would be decided at TNA Final Resolution of 2013.
|Impact Wrestling||Jeff Hardy||Pin1|
|Impact Wrestling||Jeff Hardy||Win5|
|Turning Point||Bobby Roode||TKO*2|
|Final Resolution||Jeff Hardy||17:42|
|Impact Wrestling||Kurt Angle||Sub3|
|Impact Wrestling||Kurt Angle||KO6|
|Turning Point||Samoa Joe||Pin4|
Jeff Hardy with his custom design, dubbed the "Immortal Championship", which would later officially become the second title belt design after being used by Mr. Anderson and Sting
Ethan Carter III with the third title belt design (2011–2017)
Eli Drake with the fourth title belt design; note the "Impact" plate added to the title belt to reflect the company reverting to the Impact Wrestling name.
Johnny Impact with the fifth design of the belt, introduced in 2018, in its blue version.
The sixth and current design of the belt, introduced in 2020, in its red version.
To date, the championship has had five belt designs, with the original title belt (which was unveiled in May 2007) having on its center plate an imprint of an eagle with its wings extended. The word "World" was placed above the eagle's head on a ribbon. The ribbon was wrapped around the bird's wings and body. Five stars were engraved on the ribbon when it passed over each of the bird's wings and the word "Champion" as it passed over the bird's talons. The words "Heavyweight Wrestling" were printed across the bird's chest. At the top of the center plate there was TNA logo. Four smaller side plates had an imprint of a globe centered with TNA's logo at the top and bottom of each. At each end of the title belt there was a small plate that covered the championship belt snaps with TNA's logo engraved on each.
At the November 8, 2010 tapings of the November 11 episode of Impact!, TNA introduced a new design for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship belt, which the champion Jeff Hardy dubbed the "Immortal Championship", as part of the Immortal storyline. The new design consisted of a purple strap with a silver center plate depicting a masked head (designed to resemble Hardy's face with face paint), the TNA logo on the forehead and blue lines along the mask. There were four irregular dodecagonal side plates on the title belt, shaped like stars with rounded edges on two of the sides of these plates.
The Immortal title belt was replaced by the third design of the championship belt at the March 14, 2011 tapings of the March 17 episode of Impact!, introduced by the reigning champion at the time, Sting. The design featured seven gold plates over a black leather strap. The center plate had faux diamonds aligned along its multiple rounded edges, similar to that of the Big Gold Belt. Over the center plate was a large TNA Wrestling logo and below it the words "Heavyweight Champion" engraved in silver. On each side of the center plate was a group of three smaller plates, one with a TNA logo engraved while the other two featured separate corresponding halves of a globe, on either side of the TNA logo side plate. This belt—modified with a white strap—returned in April 2020 after Moose declared himself as "TNA World Heavyweight Champion" following defeating several past TNA wrestlers, and with then-reigning Impact World Champion Tessa Blanchard being absent due to COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions. Moose's title would remain unrecognized until February 2021, when it became officially sanctioned and recognized by Impact executive vice president Scott D'Amore.
Following Slammiversary XV, both the TNA and original GFW Global Championship belts were used in tandem to represent the unification of both titles. At Destination X 2017, the GFW Global Championship belt, with an updated color scheme and Impact logos on the side plates, became the sole belt used. Following the departure of Jeff Jarrett from the promotion, the company reverted to the Impact Wrestling name and the title belt was updated with an Impact name plate to reflect the change. A new title design was announced and introduced at Impact Wrestling's Redemption on April 22, 2018. The gold center plate has the Impact logo with "World Champion" inscribed below the logo. An owl sits above the Impact logo, representing Impact's parent company Anthem Sports & Entertainment. On each side of the center plate is a group of four smaller gold plates, with the inner side plates featuring separate corresponding halves of a globe with "World" inscribed above the globes and "Champion" inscribed below them and the outer side plates featuring the Impact logo but without the owl design. Blue shading had filled the Impact logo, the owl design, and the globes and logos on the side plates, but in 2020, the belt was modified with red shading replacing the previous blue to reflect the new color of the Impact Wrestling logo introduced following the move to AXS TV.
At Sacrifice on March 13, 2021, Impact World Champion Rich Swann defeated TNA World Heavyweight Champion Moose to unify the two championships. Following this, the 2020 red shaded Impact belt and the white strapped TNA belt were used jointly to represent the unified world championship; the unified title was briefly referred to as the Impact Unified World Championship before reverting to being called the Impact World Championship, though still represented by both belts (with the white strap TNA belt being swapped out for the original black strap version shortly thereafter). In August 2021, after Christian Cage won the title, the TNA belt was retired once again.
Main article: List of Impact World Champions
Overall, there have been 58 reigns shared among 34 wrestlers. The inaugural champion was Kurt Angle, who won the championship by defeating Christian Cage and Sting in a three-way match on May 13, 2007, at TNA's Sacrifice event. Angle also holds the record for the most reigns, at six. Josh Alexander's first reign is the shortest at three minutes while his second reign is the longest at 335 days. Tessa Blanchard is the only woman to ever win the world title. The title has been vacated seven different times.
Alex Shelley is the current champion in his first reign. He defeated Steve Maclin on June 9, 2023, at Against All Odds in Columbus, Ohio to win the title.
The fans chanted for Christian and Angle said he is the new TNA champion.