Abandoned: The History of the WWF International Heavyweight Championship
Throughout history, professional wrestling has seen many championships.
In WWF/E there are six major titles. Not many know that the company has had a total of at least 19 different titles, 13 of which have been abandoned for one reason or another.
The other two major companies owned by WWE are WCW and ECW, which have at least 15 abandoned and forgotten titles between them.
For as long as it takes I will be concentrating on those forgotten titles.
Each slide will feature the champion, who they defeated, where and when they won it, the length of their title reign, any special circumstances that happened during their reign and a bit of commentary.
Belts with a lengthy history will get their own articles and may be broken up into two depending on the length. Titles with a short history may be featured in a standard article, but if they’re really short they’ll be at the end of another title.
For the seventh edition of Abandoned I present the WWF International Heavyweight Championship.
The title was created in 1948 as a title for the Capitol Wrestling Corporation. It disappeared in the early 1960s but resurfaced in 1982 as a joint venture between WWF and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
The title mostly appeared in Japan at this point and was abandoned in 1985.
In its almost 20 years of existence, the title saw seven champions.
So let’s get started!
Defeated: Dick Schikat
Where: Buenos Aries, Argentina
Title Reign: 15 years
Antonio Rocca defeated Dick Schikat in a tournament final to become the first ever Capital Wrestling Corporation International Heavyweight Champion.
Some historians say that Rocca actually defeated Buddy Rogers in New York City in July 1959 for the title. Either way, Antonio is known to be the first champion.
The title would be declared vacant in 1963 for unknown reasons and it would disappear for 19 years.
This wouldn’t be the only title Rocca would win while in Capitol Wrestling as he won the United States Tag Team Championship with Miguel Perez in 1959.
Those belts would later become the WWF/E World Tag Team Championship and eventually abandoned themselves in 2010.
Antonio Rocca would unfortunately pass away on March 15, 1977.
He would be inducted posthumously into the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 1995.
Where: New York
Title Reign: anywhere from 1-8 months
The title resurfaced in 1982 as a joint venture between the World Wrestling Federation and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Toni Parisi is known to have had the title at this time, but it’s not known who he defeated to win the title. He may have just been awarded the title, though.
The WWF used to be Capital Wrestling Corporation. When they withdrew from the National Wrestling Alliance in the early 1960s, they became known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation. In 1979, they dropped “wide” and became the WWF.
During his time with the WWWF, though, Parisi would hold two other titles.
As Antonio Pugliese he held the WWWF United States Tag Team Championship in 1966 with Johnny Valentine and Spiros Arion.
His final title held in the company before the international title was the World Tag Team Championship in 1975 with Louis Cerdan.
Toni Parisi would unfortunately pass away on August 19, 2000.
Defeated: Toni Parisi
Where: Buffalo, NY
When: Aug. 1982
Title Reign: anywhere from 1-30 days
Gino Brito would hold one other title during his time with the company.
In 1975 he held the WWWF World Tag Team Championship as Louis Cerdan with the man he defeated for the international title, Toni Parisi.
Brito was last seen promoting shows for Canadian Professional Wrestling in 2005.
Defeated: Gino Brito
Where: New York, NY
When: Aug. 30, 1982
Title Reign: 216 days
Fujinami held two other titles in the WWF before this.
He won the Junior Heavyweight Championship twice in 1978 and 1979.
Three years later he won the International Tag Team Championship with Kengo Kimura.
Fujinami also had a very successful career in Japan winning multiple titles in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Defeated: Tatsumi Fujinami
Where: Tokyo, Japan
When: April 3, 1983
Title Reign: 123 days
Riki Chōshū only held one title associated with the World Wrestling Federation, but held many titles in Japan during his time with New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Chōshū is still with New Japan to this day and will wrestle on occasion.
Defeated: Riki Chōshū
Where: Tokyo, Japan
When: Aug. 4, 1983
Title Reign: a few minutes
Fujinami defeated Chōshū by count-out.
He wouldn’t accept the title due to that fact so the belt was held-up until a rematch could be scheduled.
Where: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
When: Aug. 12, 1983
Title Reign: 707 days
The rematch was scheduled for a week later in Canada. Riki Chōshū was unable to get into the country so the match was cancelled and Fujinami was recognized as the champion as he did technically win the title the week before.
On March 25, 1984 in New York City, Akira Maeda defeated Pierre Lefebvre to win a disputed version of the title.
WWF president Hisashi Shinma had created the Universal Wrestling Federation and his version of the belt was eventually turned into their World Championship.
Maeda technically is not an officially recognized WWF International Heavyweight Champion.
The belt was declared vacant on July 19, 1985 after Fujinami went to a double disqualification with Super Strong Machine.
The WWF International Heavyweight Championship was then abandoned on October 31, 1985 when WWF and New Japan ended their working relationship.
Fujinami would stay with NJPW until 2006, ending his 34-year career there.
He still wrestles on occasion in his homeland of Japan.
Statistics and Final Thoughts
Most Reigns: Tatsumi Fujinami (3)
Longest Single Reign: Antonio Rocca (15 years)
Longest Combined Reign: Antonio Rocca (15 years)
Shortest Reign: Tatsumi Fujinami (a few minutes)
City with the Most Title Changes: Tokyo (2)
State with the Most Title Changes: New York (3)
Vince McMahon and his wrestling giant worked many times with New Japan Pro Wrestling. Together they shared multiple titles, quite a few of which only appeared in Japan.
The WWF International Heavyweight Championship was one of those titles. Like other titles created under their working relationship, it was abandoned when the two companies broke ties.
Professional wrestling is considered a tradition in Japan but not here. I think that’s why New Japan stopped working with WWF.
Vince changed the face of the business and NJPW may have seen that as breaking tradition. It’s because of that titles that could still exist today are gone.
If the two companies still worked together titles like this and the Martial Arts Championship could still exist and WWE could be represented in Japan in ways they can’t today.
Unfortunately it doesn’t look like we’ll ever see the two companies working together again.
The WWF International Heavyweight Championship will remain forgotten.
Thanks for reading! Come back on Wednesday for a new edition of Abandoned featuring the two Women’s Championships of WCW!
All Photos: onlineworldofwrestling.com