ROH World Championship
The current design of the ROH World Championship belt used since 2023.
Details
PromotionRing of Honor
All Elite Wrestling
New Japan Pro-Wrestling
Date establishedJune 22, 2002[1]
Current champion(s)Eddie Kingston
Date wonSeptember 20, 2023
Other name(s)
  • ROH Championship
    (2002–2003)
  • ROH World Championship
    (2003–present)
  • Undisputed ROH World Championship
    (2022)
Statistics
First champion(s)Low Ki
Most reignsAdam Cole
(3 reigns)
Longest reignSamoa Joe
(645 days)
Shortest reignKyle O'Reilly
(33 days)
Oldest championPCO
(51 years, 348 days)
Youngest championLow Ki
(22 years, 324 days)
Heaviest championTakeshi Morishima
(320 lb (150 kg))
Lightest championJonathan Gresham
(161 lb (73 kg))

The ROH World Championship is a professional wrestling world championship created and promoted by Ring of Honor (ROH). It is considered the most prestigious title in the promotion. The current champion is Eddie Kingston, who is in his first reign. In addition to being in ROH, the championship is also defended on All Elite Wrestling's television programs (AEW being co-owned by ROH owner Tony Khan).

History

Low Ki defeated Spanky, Christopher Daniels, and Doug Williams in a 60-minute Iron Man match to become the inaugural ROH Champion at Crowning a Champion on July 27, 2002 after holding its first tournament to crown the inaugural champion on June 22, 2002.[1]

Samoa Joe had the longest title reign to date when he held the belt for 21 months and four days. During his reign, ROH held a cross-promotional show with Frontier Wrestling Alliance in the United Kingdom on May 17, 2003, called Frontiers of Honor. At that show, Joe turned the title into the ROH World Championship when he defended it against The Zebra Kid. Since then the title has been defended in Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Mexico, Japan, Ireland, Italy, and Spain.

On August 12, 2006, the ROH Pure Championship was unified with the ROH World Championship after the ROH Pure Champion Nigel McGuinness lost to the ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson in Liverpool, England in a title unification match.[2] The match was contested under pure wrestling rules, with the stipulation that both championships could be lost by disqualification or count out.

In 2010, the title belt, along with the ROH World Tag Team Championship belts, was redesigned.[3] The new belt has an eagle with its wings spread over a picture of the world with an ROH logo on the top. This design also includes various flags on different countries.

In December 2012, a new design was introduced at the Final Battle iPPV.

On July 3, 2013, the ROH World Championship has declared vacant for the first time since its inception, when ROH Match Maker Nigel McGuinness stripped then-champion Jay Briscoe of the title after he was sidelined with a storyline injury and would be unable to compete for the foreseeable future.[4][5]

In 2014, During the rivalry between Adam Cole and Jay Briscoe, Briscoe unveiled a custom ROH World Title belt.

In December 2017, ROH unveiled another new design for the title belt, which debuted at Final Battle.[6]

In late 2021, ROH announced it would go on hiatus following Final Battle. Then-ROH World Champion Bandido was supposed to wrestle Jonathan Gresham in a championship match at Final Battle until December 9 when it was announced that Bandido had tested positive for COVID-19, thus ending his participation in the scheduled match.[7][8] Jay Lethal took Bandido’s place against Gresham at Final Battle where Gresham defeated Lethal and won the vacated ROH World Championship, now represented by the original title belt.[9][10] However, during ROH’s hiatus after Final Battle, Gresham and Bandido would appear in different promotions defending their respective championships; Gresham with the original belt and Bandido with the most recently designed belt. The championship was defended on cards promoted by other companies such as longtime ROH national rival Impact Wrestling, Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), the UK-based Progress Wrestling, and All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Both men even defended their respective titles with Gresham's new promotion, TERMINUS.[11][12][13]

On January 20, 2022, it was announced that Bandido and Gresham would face each other in a championship unification match at Supercard of Honor XV, the first ROH event after the hiatus.[14] At the event, Gresham defeated Bandido to unify the ROH World Championship.[15] Afterwards, Gresham continued to carry the original belt while the belt carried by Bandido was shelved.

On March 31, 2023, a new design of the championship belt was revealed on the Countdown to Supercard of Honor show, making it the sixth design in the title's history.[16]

On November 11, 2023, AEW announced a tournament called the Continental Classic, with the winner becoming the first AEW Continental Champion.[17][18][19] Eddie Kingston, who held the ROH World Championship and NJPW's Strong Openweight Championship, announced that he would be putting his championships on the line in the tournament and that the tournament's winner would be an American Triple Crown Champion (collectively referred to as the Continental Crown). Subsequently, the ROH World Champion at the time of the next Continental Classic will be automatically entered into the tournament.[19][20] At AEW's Worlds End event, Kingston defeated Jon Moxley in the Continental Classic final, retaining the ROH World Championship and becoming the first Continental Crown Champion.

Inaugural championship tournament (2002)

On June 22, 2002, ROH held the first part of a tournament to crown the inaugural ROH Champion.[1] Sixteen wrestlers were divided into four blocks, with the winner of each block competing in a Four-Way Iron Man match on July 27, 2002 to determine the first champion.

Tournament bracket

Block A Final
    
Paul London Pin
Spanky
Spanky
Jody Fleisch Pin
Jody Fleisch
Jonny Storm Pin
Block B Final
    
Christopher Daniels
Scoot Andrews Pin
Christopher Daniels
AJ Styles Pin
AJ Styles
Jerry Lynn Pin
Block C Final
    
American Dragon
Bio-Hazard Sub
American Dragon Pin
Doug Williams
Doug Williams
Jay Briscoe Pin
Block D Final
    
Low Ki
Prince Nana TKO
Low Ki
Amazing Red Pin
Amazing Red
Xavier Pin

Final

Low Ki won the Four-Way 60-minute Iron Man match to become the inaugural champion.

Wrestler Points
Low Ki 3
Christopher Daniels 2
Doug Williams -1
Spanky -1

Belt designs

ROH World Championship belts (left-to-right): first design (2002–2004; 2004–2010; 2021–2023), second design (2004), third design (2010–2012) ,fifth design (2017–2023), and current (2023–present).

The current design of the ROH World Championship has black strap featuring 5 plates. The main plate is silver with 2 black banners. The top reading "WORLD" and the bottom banner reading "WRESTLING CHAMPION". The center of the plate features a globe with the current Ring of Honor logo on it. The side plates are circular with the Ring of Honor logo on the top and an engraved figure of a wrestler performing the "Jay Driller" finisher, paying tribute to former ROH World Champion and Hall of Famer, Jay Briscoe, who died in a car accident in January 2023.

Reigns

Main article: List of ROH World Champions

Current champion Eddie Kingston

Overall, there have been 39 ROH World Championship reigns and 32 total champions. The title has been vacated twice. The inaugural champion was Low Ki, who defeated Christopher Daniels, Spanky, and Doug Williams in a Four Way 60-minute Iron Man match at the Crowning A Champion event on July 27, 2002, to become champion.

Adam Cole holds the record for most reigns, with three. Jay Lethal has the most defenses, with 41; Kyle O'Reilly has the fewest, with 0. At 645 days, Samoa Joe has the longest reign in the title's history; Kyle O'Reilly's reign is the shortest at 33 days.

Eddie Kingston is the current champion in his first reign. He defeated Claudio Castagnoli on September 20, 2023 at AEW Grand Slam in Flushing, Queens, New York.

References

  1. ^ a b c "ROH Championship Tournament (2002) results".
  2. ^ Online World of Wrestling
  3. ^ "ROH Wrestling | www.rohwrestling.com". April 12, 2010. Archived from the original on April 12, 2010.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ Johnson, Mike (July 3, 2013). "More on ROH Championship". PWInsider. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  5. ^ "Nigel McGuinness Makes a Huge Announcement!". ROHwrestling.com. July 3, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  6. ^ Jordan, Paul (December 14, 2017). "ROH unveils new World Heavyweight Championship belt". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  7. ^ "Jonathan Gresham Gets His Shot At ROH World Champion Bandido At Final Battle". Ring of Honor. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  8. ^ Lambert, Jeremy (December 9, 2021). "Bandido Tests Positive For COVID, ROH Final Battle Match To Change". Fightful. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  9. ^ "JAY LETHAL RETURNING TO FACE JONATHAN GRESHAM AS PART OF DOUBLE MAIN EVENT AT FINAL BATTLE: END OF AN ERA!". Ring of Honor. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  10. ^ ROH Staff. "Final Battle: End Of An Era Recap: Jonathan Gresham Wins Original ROH World Title Belt; Briscoes Become 12-Time World Tag Champs; Shocking Confrontations Transpire". ROH Wrestling. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  11. ^ Jonathan Gresham to defend ROH World Title at GCW Say What You Will - 411 Mania.com
  12. ^ ROH World Title to be defended in Impact For the first time - Impact Wrestling.com
  13. ^ Lambert, Jeremy (January 16, 2022). "TERMINUS All Roads Lead Here (1/16) Results: Two ROH Title Defenses, AEW IMPACT, ROH Stars In Action". Fightful. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  14. ^ ROH Staff. "Jonathan Gresham, Bandido Will Meet At Supercard Of Honor To Determine Undisputed ROH World Champion". ROH Wrestling. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  15. ^ Faria, Colby (April 1, 2022). "ROH Supercard of Honor XV Results: Jonathan Gresham vs. Bandido For The Undisputed ROH World Title + More!". Fightful. Retrieved July 17, 2022.
  16. ^ Gibbons, Aidan (March 31, 2023). "New ROH World Title Belt Revealed". Cultaholic. Retrieved April 3, 2023.
  17. ^ Defelice, Robert (November 11, 2023). "Tony Khan Announces AEW Continental Classic Tournament Starts On 11/22, Concludes At AEW Worlds End". Fightful. Archived from the original on November 12, 2023. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  18. ^ Rose, Bryan (November 11, 2023). "AEW announces Continental Classic tournament, Bryan Danielson first entrant". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved November 14, 2023.
  19. ^ a b Renner, Ethan (November 18, 2023). "AEW announces new title & Continental Classic competitors". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved November 18, 2023.
  20. ^ Thomas, Jeremy (November 19, 2023). "Tony Khan Gives More Details on AEW Continental Classic, Will Conclude At Worlds End". 411Mania. Retrieved November 19, 2023.