Wrestling Gold: The History of the Original World Heavyweight Championship

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Wrestling Gold: The History of the Original World Heavyweight Championship
photo from wrestling-titles.com

Throughout the history of professional wrestling, the business has awarded championship belts in many divisions. While some have been forgotten over the years, some titles have stood the test of time.

The WWE has seen almost 30 titles defended, but today, only six remain.

TNA Wrestling began with three titles—the NWA World and Tag Team Championships as well its own X-Division title, but today, it owns its own belts and fans see six titles defended between its ropes.

Ring of Honor Wrestling began with just two, but has since added another title to its ranks.

While Shimmer has only been around for a few years, the most well-known all-women’s wrestling promotion currently holds two titles.

Wrestling Gold will concentrate on the active titles of the companies listed, as well as the NWA World and Tag Team Championships, and any other active title the readers would like to see!


For this edition of Wrestling Gold, I present the history of the original World Heavyweight Championship!

Established in 1905 during the catch-as-catch-can and carnival days, Georg Hackenschmidt defeated Tom Jenkins for the recognition of being the first champion. Matches were typically two-out-of-three falls matches back then, with wrestlers really fighting it out for the belt.

This title would pave the way for many of the world titles that fans see today. The World Heavyweight Championship shares a lineage with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, which in turn saw WWF/E, WCW and TNA Wrestling’s world titles break off from.

The recognition of being the single World Heavyweight champion lasted for 51 years. The last seven years of which saw the champion was recognized as the NWA World Heavyweight champion. Those last seven years will not be included here, though, as it will be featured with the NWA title edition.

Throughout the 44 years before the NWA, the original World Heavyweight Championship saw 26 official champions. At the same time, many wrestlers would lay claim to the belt even after they lost and defended their version of the title as well. As a result, it could be argued that the number is higher.

Due to the confusion and various disputes over the title, and the fact that information this old could have holes in it, some facts may be different, missing or even wrong. If anyone has any information, please direct me to the source, and I will update accordingly.

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