Villano III (pictured 2018) holds the record for longest combined WWF Light Heavyweight title reign.
Villano III (pictured 2018) holds the record for longest combined WWF Light Heavyweight title reign.

The WWF Light Heavyweight Championship was a professional wrestling cruiserweight championship operated by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Only wrestlers that weighed less than 220 pounds (100 kg), called light heavyweights in professional wrestling, were allowed to challenge for the title. From 1981 through the 1990s, the WWF had a business partnership with the Universal Wrestling Association (UWA), a Mexican lucha libre-based promotion, which resulted in the creation of the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship for the UWA. When the UWA ceased operations in 1995, the title traveled to the Japanese promotions Michinoku Pro Wrestling (MPW) and New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW). In 1997, as a result of the WWF owning the trademarks to the championship, NJPW was forced to return the title to the WWF. One month later, the WWF began operating the title in the United States.[1] After World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and its assets were acquired by the WWF in March 2001,[2] the conceptually similar WCW Cruiserweight Championship was also used by the promotion, before completely replacing the Light Heavyweight Championship.[3]

Title reigns were determined by professional wrestling matches that involved wrestlers in pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines or were awarded the title due to scripted circumstances. Wrestlers were portrayed as either villains or heroes as they followed a series of tension-building events, which culminated in a match or series of matches for the championship.[4] The title was won in Japan, Mexico, and 11 American states. The first champion to be recognized by the UWA was Perro Aguayo, who won the title in a tournament final in March 1981. Shinjiro Otani was the final champion recognized by the UWA before the title was returned to the WWF; he had won the title in August 1997. Although his reign is unrecognized by the WWF, Ultimo Dragon is the only wrestler to hold a WWF championship and a WCW championship at the same time before WWF's purchase of WCW. The first champion recognized by the WWF was Taka Michinoku, who won the title in a tournament final on December 7, 1997. After winning the championship in August 2001, X-Pac was the final wrestler to have held the title before it was replaced by the Cruiserweight Championship. Aguayo and Villano III held the title the most times, with eight. At 826 days, Villano III's reign from 1984 to 1986 was the longest in the title's history. Perro Aguayo and Scotty 2 Hotty have the shortest reign, at eight days. Overall, there were 45 title reigns.

Reigns

Recognition by the UWA/MPW/NJPW

Key
No. Overall reign number
Reign Reign number for the specific champion
Days Number of days held
No. Champion Championship change Reign statistics Notes Ref.
Date Event Location Reign Days
1 Perro Aguayo March 26, 1981 NJPW Big Fight Series Shimizu, Japan 1 183 Aguayo defeated Gran Hamada in a tournament final to become the inaugural champion.
2 Fishman September 25, 1981 House show Los Angeles, CA 1 15
3 Perro Aguayo October 10, 1981 House show Los Angeles, CA 2 8
4 Chris Adams October 18, 1981 UWA event Mexico City, Mexico 1 56
5 Perro Aguayo December 13, 1981 UWA event Mexico City, Mexico 3 129
6 Gran Hamada April 21, 1982 NJPW Refugees Contribution Recruitment Charity Show Tokyo, Japan 1 130
7 Perro Aguayo August 29, 1982 UWA event Mexico City, Mexico 4 203
8 Villano III March 20, 1983 UWA event Mexico City, Mexico 1 140
9 Perro Aguayo August 7, 1983 UWA event Mexico City, Mexico 5 254
10 Gran Hamada April 17, 1984 UWF Opening Series Tokyo, Japan 2 33 [5]
11 Villano III May 20, 1984 House show Mexico City, Mexico 2 826
12 Fishman August 24, 1986 UWA event Mexico City, Mexico 2 122
13 Perro Aguayo December 24, 1986 House show Mexico City, Mexico 6 130
Vacated May 3, 1987 The UWA forced Perro Aguayo to relinquish the championship after a title defense against Villano III ended in controversy. [6]
14 Villano III June 17, 1987 UWA event Mexico City, Mexico 3 109 Villano III defeated Perro Aguayo in a rematch for the championship.
15 Rambo October 4, 1987 House show Mexico City, Mexico 1 281
16 Villano III July 11, 1988 House show Mexico City, Mexico 4 399
17 Sangre Chicana August 14, 1989 House show Mexico City, Mexico 1 62
18 Perro Aguayo October 15, 1989 House show Mexico City, Mexico 7 49
19 Sangre Chicana December 3, 1989 House show Mexico City, Mexico 2 175
20 Villano III May 27, 1990 House show Naucalpan, Mexico 5 280 [7]
21 Pegasus Kid March 3, 1991 UWA event Naucalpan, Mexico 1 560 [8]
22 Villano III September 13, 1992 UWA event Naucalpan, Mexico 6 110
23 El Signo January 1, 1993 House show Nezahualcóyotl, Mexico 1 563
24 Villano III July 18, 1994 UWA event Puebla, Mexico 7 176
Vacated January 10, 1995 Villano III was forced to vacate the championship by the UWA after he signed a contract with the PROMELL promotion.
25 Aero Flash June 16, 1995 House show Nezahualcóyotl, Mexico 1 282 Flash won the vacant championship in a tournament final.
26 The Great Sasuke March 24, 1996 MPW event Shirakawa, Japan 1 90
27 El Samurai June 22, 1996 MPW event Naruko, Japan 1 43
28 The Great Sasuke August 4, 1996 NJPW G1 Climax 1996 Tokyo, Japan 2 68 Championship becomes part of the NJPW's J-Crown
29 Último Dragón October 11, 1996 NJPW Osaka Crush Night! Osaka, Japan 1 85
30 Jushin Thunder Liger January 4, 1997 NJPW Wrestling World Tokyo, Japan 1 183
31 El Samurai July 6, 1997 NJPW Summer Struggle 1997 Sapporo, Japan 2 35
32 Shinjiro Otani August 10, 1997 NJPW The Four Heaven in Nagoya Nagoya, Japan 1 87
Vacated November 5, 1997 On November 5, 1997, the J-Crown was vacated. Shinjiro Otani returned six of the belts except the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Otani was the final wrestler in the NJPW to hold the title before it was returned to the WWF.

Recognition by the WWF

Key
No. Overall reign number
Reign Reign number for the specific champion
Days Number of days held
Days recog. Number of days held recognized by the promotion
Championship change is unrecognized by the promotion
<1 Reign lasted less than a day
No. Champion Championship change Reign statistics Notes Ref.
Date Event Location Reign Days Days recog.
33 Taka Michinoku December 7, 1997 D-Generation X: In Your House Springfield, MA 1 315 314 Michinoku defeated Brian Christopher in a tournament final to win the championship.
34 Christian October 18, 1998 Judgment Day: In Your House Chicago, IL 1 30 29
35 Duane Gill/Gillberg November 17, 1998 Raw is War Columbus, OH 1 448 445 Aired on November 23, 1998. Gill won the title under his real name but later went under the name Gillberg.
36 Essa Rios February 8, 2000 Sunday Night Heat Austin, TX 1 34 31 Aired on February 13, 2000
37 Dean Malenko March 13, 2000 Raw East Rutherford, NJ 1 35 34
38 Scotty 2 Hotty April 17, 2000 Raw State College, PA 1 8 9
39 Dean Malenko April 25, 2000 SmackDown! Charlotte, NC 2 322 321 Aired on April 27, 2000
40 Crash Holly March 13, 2001 Heat Anaheim, CA 1 47 44 Aired on March 18, 2001
41 Jerry Lynn April 29, 2001 Heat Chicago, IL 1 37 38
42 Jeff Hardy June 5, 2001 SmackDown! Grand Forks, ND 1 20 17 Aired on June 7, 2001
43 X-Pac June 25, 2001 Raw New York City, NY 1 42 41 Also defeated Billy Kidman on July 30, 2001 to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
44 Tajiri August 6, 2001 Raw Anaheim, CA 1 13 12 X-Pac's WCW Cruiserweight Championship was not on the line.
45 X-Pac August 19, 2001 SummerSlam San Jose, CA 2 201 201 Reigning WCW Cruiserweight Championship until losing title to Billy Kidman on October 9, 2001. X-Pac was the final wrestler to hold the title, a title unification match at Survivor Series against WCW Cruiserweight Champion Tajiri was canceled because X-Pac was injured. [9]
Deactivated March 8, 2002 The championship was removed from television after X-Pac's injury, but he would continue to defend the title on house shows until it was officially retired on March 8, 2002.

Combined reigns recognized by the UWA/MPW/NJPW

Rank Wrestler No. of
reigns
Combined days
1 Villano III 7 2,040
2 Perro Aguayo 7 956
3 El Signo 1 563
4 The Pegasus Kid 1 560
5 Aero Flash 1 282
6 Rambo 1 281
7 Sangre Chicana 2 237
8 Jushin Thunder Liger 1 183
9 Gran Hamada 2 163
10 The Great Sasuke 2 158
11 Fishman 2 137
12 Shinjiro Otani 1 87
13 Último Dragón 1 85
14 El Samurai 2 78
15 Chris Adams 1 56

Combined reigns recognized by WWE

Rank Wrestler No. of
reigns
Combined days
1 Duane Gill/Gillberg 1 448
2 Dean Malenko 2 357
3 Taka Michinoku 1 315
4 X-Pac 2 243
5 Crash Holly 1 47
6 Jerry Lynn 37
7 Essa Rios 34
8 Christian 30
9 Jeff Hardy 20
10 Tajiri 13
11 Scotty 2 Hotty 8

See also

References

General
Specific
  1. ^ "WWF Light Heavyweight Championship History". Wrestling Title Histories by Royal Duncan and Gary Will. Solie.org. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
  2. ^ "WWE Entertainment, Inc. acquires WCW from Turner Broadcasting". World Wrestling Entertainment Corporate. 2001-03-23. Archived from the original on 2005-04-08. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
  3. ^ "WWF LightHeavyweight Championship at WWE.com". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-12-01. The title was abandoned in 2001 when WWE finally put the WCW/ECW Alliance out of business. WWE then adopted the WCW Cruiserweight Championship as its version of the Cruiserweight Championship.
  4. ^ Grabianowski, Ed. "How Pro Wrestling Works". HowStuffWorks. Archived from the original on 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  5. ^ Hoops, Brian (April 17, 2020). "Daily pro wrestling (04/17): WCW Spring Stampede 1994". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  6. ^ Centinela, Teddy (May 3, 2015). "En un día como hoy… 1987: Perro Aguayo casi pierde la vida en el ring… Última función de El Toreo antes de la muerte de Francisco Flores". Súper Luchas (in Spanish). Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  7. ^ Centinela, Teddy (May 27, 2015). "En un día como hoy… 1990: Fallece Guillermo Hernández "Lobo Negro"… Villano III recupera el título WWF". Súper Luchas (in Spanish). Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  8. ^ Hoops, Brian (March 3, 2019). "Daily pro wrestling history (03/03): Sting wins TNA World Title". Figure Four Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  9. ^ "History of the Light Heavyweight Championship". WWE. Retrieved December 30, 2017.