Abandoned: The History of the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship

Kyle SchadlerChief Writer IDecember 12, 2011

Abandoned: The History of the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship

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    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.

    I apologize for the lateness of this edition of Abandoned. I was having computer problems and it made research very difficult.

    With my computer back up and running properly, I present the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship as voted by the readers.

    The title first appeared in 1981 and appeared in a lucha libre promotion down in Mexico called the Universal Wrestling Association. That company closed its doors in 1995, though.

    WWF apparently didn’t feel like having the title in the states so they gave it to New Japan Pro Wrestling since they were also working together at the time. That didn’t last long as their working relationship ended in 1997.

    WWF decided to keep the title for themselves this time and the company finally had their own cruiserweight division.

    When Vince McMahon bought WCW they decided to keep WCW’s Cruiserweight Championship and scrap their Light Heavyweight Championship.

    Throughout its 20 year history the title has seen 45 champions. So let’s get started!

Perro Aguayo

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    Defeated: Gran Hamada

    Where: Shimizu, Japan

    When: March 26, 1981

    Title Reign: 183 days

    Perro Aguayo defeated Gran Hamada in a tournament final to become the first World Wrestling Federation Light Heavyweight Champion.

    While the title belonged to the WWF, it was only recognized at the time in the UWA.

    Champions before 1997 are not officially recognized as holding the title.

    Aguayo has wrestled all throughout Mexico since debuting in the late 1960s. During his time with the AAA promotion he held five titles.


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    Defeated: Perro Aguayo

    Where: Los Angeles, CA

    When: Sept. 25, 1981

    Title Reign: 15 days

    Fishman spent his career in Mexico wrestling for the UWA as well as WWA. 

    While working for UWA he held their Light Heavyweight Championship four times as well as WWF’s twice.

Perro Aguayo

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    Defeated: Fishman

    Where: Los Angeles, CA

    When: Oct. 1, 1981

    Title Reign: eight days

    Aguayo has also spent some time in the National Wrestling Alliance and in Puerto Rico.

    While in the NWA affiliate Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libra he had the NWA Middleweight Championship and during his time in WWC he held their Junior Heavyweight Championship.

Chris Adams

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    Defeated: Perro Aguayo

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: Oct. 18, 1981

    Title Reign: 56 days

    This would be the only title Adams would hold a title for WWF.

    Throughout his career he spent time in WCCW as well as WCW.

    He had his most success working for WCCW winning 16 titles.

    He would retire from the ring in 2001 and unfortunately pass away later that year on October 7th.

Perro Aguayo

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    Defeated: Chris Adams

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: Dec. 13, 1981

    Title Reign: 129 days

    During his time with the UWA Aguayo held 14 titles including two WWF titles.

Gran Hamada

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    Defeated: Perro Aguayo

    Where: Tokyo, Japan

    When: April 21, 1982

    Title Reign: 130 days

    Hamada is a well-known Japanese wrestling that has wrestled all throughout Japan and Mexico.

    He would actually be the first wrestler of Japanese origin to adopt the lucha libre style of wrestling.

Perro Aguayo

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    Defeated: Gran Hamada

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: Aug. 29, 1982

    Title Reign: 203 days

    While the WWF and UWA were working together they had two titles with the Mexican promotion.

    Along with the Light Heavyweight Championship, they also had the International Tag Team Championship. Aguayo held both of them.

Villano III

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    Defeated: Perro Aguayo

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: March 20, 1983

    Title Reign: 140 days

    Villano III was the third of seven Villano’s that wrestled down in Mexico.

    This particular Villano would spend time in UWA, AAA, WWA as well as other Spanish speaking promotions like Puerto Rico’s WWC.

Perro Aguayo

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    Defeated: Villano III

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: Aug. 7, 1983

    Title Reign: 254 days

    During Aguayo’s time with the WWA, he held five titles including the World Light Heavyweight and World Heavyweight Championship.

Gran Hamada

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    Defeated: Perro Aguayo

    Where: Tokyo, Japan

    When: April 17, 1984

    Title Reign: 33 days

    This is the final time he would hold the title.

    During his career he also had brief stints with WWF and ECW.

    Hamada still wrestlers in his native Japan but when he does retire his legacy will remain intact as his two daughters also wrestle.

Villano III

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    Defeated: Gran Hamada

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: May 20, 1984

    Title Reign: 826 days

    During his time with UWA he would hold 12 championships including this title seven times.

    He also held many cruiserweight-type titles in the company.


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    Defeated: Villano III

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: Aug, 24, 1986

    Title Reign: 122 days

    This would be the final time Fishman would hold the title.

    When UWA shut down he went to the AAA promotion where he lost his mask in 2000.

    He would then retire from professional wrestling.

Perro Aguayo

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    Defeated: Fishman

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: Dec. 24, 1986

    Title Reign: 130 days

    Aguayo had a scheduled title defense against Villano III.

    The match happened as it was supposed to but it ended in controversy. What that controversy was I couldn’t find out.

    No matter what happened, the UWA forced Aguayo to vacate the title on May 3, 1987 due to that controversy.

Villano III

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    Defeated: Perro Aguayo

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: June 17, 1987

    Title Reign: 109 days

    UWA scheduled a rematch between the two to decide who will hold the vacant title.

    When Villano III defeated Aguayo he became the new champion.


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    Defeated: Villano III

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: Oct. 4 1987

    Title Reign: 281 days

    Rambo is probably best known for his time in WWF as Sniper, a member of the Truth Commission.

    He would never hold a title while there but would capture this title once while the belt was under control of the UWA.

Villano III

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    Defeated: Rambo

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: July 11, 1988

    Title Reign: 399 days

    During his time with the AAA promotion he would hold tag-team gold with Villano IV as well as Villano V.

Sangre Chicana

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    Defeated: Villano III

    Where: Mexico

    When: Aug. 14, 1989

    Title Reign: 62 days

    Chicana has competed all throughout Mexico in AAA, CMLL as well as the UWA.

    He has also competed in his fair share of the Lucha de Apuesta matches.

Perro Aguayo

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    Defeated: Sangre Chicana

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: Oct. 15, 1989

    Title Reign: 49 days

    This would be the final time Aguayo would hold the title.

    He would retire in the early 2000s but will return to the ring here and there to settle an old score or partner up with his son.

Sangre Chicana

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    Defeated: Perro Aguayo

    Where: Mexico City, Mexico

    When: Dec. 3, 1989

    Title Reign: 175 days

    Chicana can still be seen wrestling in Mexico on occasion with his son.

Villano III

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    Defeated: Sangre Chicana

    Where: Naucalpan, Mexico

    When: May 27, 1990

    Title Reign: 280 days

    Villano III became notorious in Mexico due to the Lucha de Apuesta.

    The match is where two men with a score to settle put something on the line. Usually that something was a wrestler’s mask or his hair.

    Villano would unmask over 30 wrestlers before finally be unmasked himself in 2000.

The Pegasus Kid

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    Defeated: Villano III

    Where: Naucalpan, Mexico

    When: March 3, 1991

    Title Reign: 560 days

    The Pegasus Kid was an early gimmick for Chris Benoit.

    Benoit went on to become a huge star working for ECW, WCW and WWF/E.

    He has held a huge amount titles throughout his career and was without a doubt a future hall of famer.

    We all know what happened to Benoit and what he did so there is no need to get into it.

Villano III

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    Defeated: Chris Benoit

    Where: Naucalpan, Mexico

    When: Sept. 13, 1992

    Title Reign: 110 days

    By this time the Pegasus Kid was unmasked by Villano III in a Lucha de Apuesta match.

    Once unmasked he revealed his name as Chris Benoit

El Signo

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    Defeated: Villano III

    Where: Netzahualcoyotl, Mexico

    When: Jan. 1, 1993

    Title Reign: 563 days

    After searching for hours I couldn’t find any information on this guy.

    I’m not even 100 percent sure if the picture I found is actually him as it’s a tradition in Mexico to give a new wrestler the mask to continue the legacy of a character.

Villano III

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    Defeated: El Signo

    Where: Puebla, Mexico

    When: July 18, 1994

    Title Reign: 167 days

    The title was declared vacant in January 1995 when Villano left the UWA for the PROMELL promotion. As a result this would be the final time he would hold this title.

Aero Flash

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    Defeated: Fighter

    Where: Netzahualcoyotl, Mexico

    When: June 16, 1995

    Title Reign: 282 days

    Aero Flash defeated the Fighter in a tournament final to become the new champion.

    When the UWA went out of business in 1995, WWF gave the title to New Japan Pro Wrestling, where it stayed until their working relationship ended.

    Aero Flash is another wrestler I couldn’t find much information on.

The Great Sasuke

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    Defeated: Aero Flash

    Where: Shirakawa, Japan

    When: March 24, 1996

    Title Reign: 90 days

    The Great Sasuke has wrestled throughout Japan winning many titles.

    He has also wrestled in Mexico winning titles there as well.

El Samurai

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    Defeated: The Great Sasuke

    Where: Naruko, Japan

    When: June 22, 1996

    Title Reign: 43 days

    Samurai spent his entire career wrestling for NJPW and has won many titles there.

The Great Sasuke

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    Defeated: El Samurai

    Where: Tokyo, Japan

    When: Aug. 4, 1996

    Title Reign: 68 days

    In 2003 Sasuke became the fourth Japanese wrestler to be elected to a political office.

    He did make history, though, as he was the first masked wrestler to do so and served out his term while wearing his mask.

    Sasuke still wrestles in Japan and also makes appearances in Mexico and the United States.

Ultimo Dragon

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    Defeated: The Great Sasuke

    Where: Osaka, Japan

    When: Oct. 11, 1996

    Title Reign: 85 days

    Ultimo Dragon is one of the most decorated Japanese wrestlers of all time.

    He has won titles all over the world but has only won one title with WWF.

    Ultimo Dragon can still be seen wrestling in Japan and Mexico.

Jushin Thunder Liger

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    Defeated: Ultimo Dragon

    Where: Tokyo, Japan

    When: Jan. 4, 1997

    Title Reign: 183 days

    Jushin Thunder Liger is an extremely accomplished wrestler from Japan.

    Throughout his career he has won over 20 titles in his native country as well as many others from around the world. 

    He has also appeared here in the states from time to time.

    Liger was last seen here earlier this year in Jersey All Pro Wrestling. The legendary junior heavyweight also still wrestles in Japan as well.

El Samurai

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    Defeated: Jushin Thunder Liger

    Where: Sapporo, Japan

    When: July 6, 1997

    Title Reign: 35 days

    After leaving NJPW in 2008, he now spends his time wrestling for various promotions in Japan.

Shinjiro Ohtani

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    Defeated: El Samurai

    Where: Nagoya, Japan

    When: Aug. 10, 1997

    Title Reign: 87 days

    The title would be declared vacant on November 5, 1997 when WWF and NJPW stopped working together.

    Ohtani has had a successful career in Japan winning many titles.

    This would be the only WWF title he would hold but would capture the WCW Cruiserweight Championship about a year earlier.

    Shinjiro Ohtani can still be seen wrestling in Japan.

Taka Michinoku

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    Defeated: Brian Christopher

    Where: Springfield, MA

    When: Dec. 7, 1997

    Title Reign: 315 days

    Michinoku defeated Brian Christopher in a tournament final to become the new champion.

    After WWF and NJPW broke ties the Japanese promotion returned the title to WWF. This time around they kept it.

    Michinoku got his start in the states while in ECW but got his big break in WWF when he won this title.

    He would soon become a member of the stable Kaientai, which soon became just a tag-team featuring him and Funaki.

    Before leaving the company he would unsuccessfully challenge Triple H for the WWF World Championship in 2000.

    He now wrestles in Japan.


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    Defeated: Taka Michinoku

    Where: Chicago, IL

    When: Oct. 18, 1998

    Title Reign: 30 days

    Christian won the title during his very first match with WWF.

    He would go onto win many titles in WWF including the Tag Team, Intercontinental and World Championships.

    He has also spent some time in TNA winning the NWA World Championship.

    Christian still works for WWE and was last seen on SmackDown before getting injured.


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    Defeated: Christian

    Where: Columbus, OH

    When: Nov. 17, 1998

    Title Reign: 452 days

    Gillberg was a comedy act in WWF that was a parody of WCW’s biggest act at the time, Goldberg.

    Gillberg didn’t accomplish much in the company having only won only this title.

    He was last seen at the 15th anniversary of Raw being the first eliminated during a battle royal.

Essa Rios

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    Defeated: Gillberg

    Where: Austin, TX

    When: Feb. 13, 2000

    Title Reign: 29 days

    Essa Rios ended the joke that was Gillberg’s title reign but he didn’t have the belt for long.

    Rios didn’t amount to much during his time with the company but his valet did.

    Lita debuted alongside him and she became a very accomplished wrestler in WWE’s women’s division.

Dean Malenko

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    Defeated: Essa Rios

    Where: East Rutherford, NJ

    When: March 13, 2000

    Title Reign: 35 days

    Dena Malenko got his start in ECW winning tag-team and television gold but soon found himself in WCW.

    While there he captured the Cruiserweight and United States Championships and the Tag Team Championship as a member of the Four Horsemen.

Scotty Too Hotty

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    Defeated: Dean Malenko

    Where: State College, PA

    When: April 17, 2000

    Title Reign: 10 days

    Scotty was an extremely popular wrestler during his time with WWF.

    This would be his only singles title but he would capture tag-team gold twice with Grandmaster Sexay and Rikishi.

    He left WWE in 2007 but can still be seen on the independents.

Dean Malenko

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    Defeated: Scotty Too Hotty

    Where: Charlotte, NC

    When: April 27, 2000

    Title Reign: 320 days

    After making his way to the WWF he would only win this title before retiring in 2001.

    He has made appearances here and there but no longer wrestles. He now works backstage for WWE.

Crash Holly

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    Defeated: Dean Malenko

    Where: Anaheim, CA

    When: March 13, 2001

    Title Reign: 47 days

    The super heavyweight himself had given into his light weight stature and challenged Malenko for the title.

    He captured the title and it would be the last title he’d legitimatally hold while with WWE. Even though he would win the Hardcore Championship after this he would never hold it for more than a few minutes.

    Crash Holly would unfortunately pass away on November 6, 2003.

Jerry Lynn

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    Defeated: Crash Holly

    Where: Chicago, IL

    When: April 29, 2001

    Title Reign: 37 days

    Jerry Lynn had quite a bit of success while in ECW would he wouldn’t be able to emulate that while with WWF.

    He would gain more success in TNA winning the X-Division and Tag Team Championships.

    He was last seen in TNA earlier this year before returning to the independents.

Jeff Hardy

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    Defeated: Jerry Lynn

    Where: Grand Forks, ND

    When: June 5, 2001

    Title Reign: 20 days

    Jeff Hardy was an accomplished tag-team wrestler with his brother Matt who would go on to win many titles with WWE.

    With edition to tag-team gold, he has held the Intercontinental and World Championships.

    Hardy can currently be seen in TNA where he is a former TNA world champion.


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    Defeated: Jeff Hardy

    Where: New York, NY

    When: June 25, 2001

    Title Reign: 42 days

    X-Pac’s career took a dive during his final years with the company.

    He didn’t accomplish much with his faction X-Factor and he would capture this and cruiserweight gold on a few occasions.

    Previously, he was a former tag-team champion as well as holder of the Intercontinental Championship.


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    Defeated: X-Pac

    Where: Anaheim, CA

    When: Aug. 6, 2001

    Title Reign: 13 days

    This is one of the first titles Tajiri held while with WWE.

    During his time with the company he has held US, European, and tag-team gold.

    You can still see Tajiri wrestling in his native Japan.


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    Defeated: Tajiri

    Where: San Hose, CA

    When: Aug. 10, 2001

    Title Reign: 91 days

    When Vince McMahon bought WCW in March 2001, all of the main titles of the company made their way to WWF during the invasion angle.

    On November 18, 2001 WWF defeated WCW and ECW in a 10-man elimination match which put both WCW and ECW officially out of business storyline wise.

    All of the WCW titles were scrapped except for the World and Cruiserweight Championships.

    Since WWF had WCW’s Cruiserweight Championship they decided they didn’t need their Light Heavyweight Championship anymore.

    The title was abandoned in favor of the WCW belt, which itself was abandoned seven years later.

    Reportedly X-Pac now scouts talent for WWE’s developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling.

Statistics and Final Thoughts

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    Most Reigns: Perro Aguayo and Villano III (7)

    Longest Single Reign: Villano III (826 days)

    Longest Combined Reign: Villano III (2,031 days)

    Shortest Reign: Perro Aguayo (8 days) 

    You can tell right from the start that WWF/E was never too keen on a light weight/cruiserweight division.

    For 16 of the titles 20 years of existence the title was defended in two completely companies.

    For the four years it was actually in WWF not much attention was paid to it. As soon as the title was given to Gillberg you knew the title was a joke.

    It looked like towards the end of the title’s existence WWE started to take it a bit more serious but as soon as they got a hold of WCW’s Cruiserweight Championship they didn’t need it anymore.

    Even with the WWE Cruiserweight Championship the company didn’t give it the attention it deserved.

    With the amount of cruiserweight wrestlers WWE employs right now it would makes sense for them to reinstate one of their cruiserweight titles.

    For now, though, the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship will remain gone and forgotten.

    Thanks for reading! Proceed to the next slide to vote on the next edition. 


    Previous Installments 

    WWE Women’sWWE EuropeanECW TelevisionWCW HardcoreWCW US Tag TeamWWF Martial ArtsWWF InternationalWCW Women’sECW WorldWWE Cruiserweight 






    Photos: onlineworldofwrestling.com unless noted otherwise

Vote for the Next Edition

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    After today there will be 11 titles left in the series and I want you, the readers, to vote on which one you want to see. Unfortunately you’ll only get to vote for six of them.

    Here are your choices for the next edition:

    The Million Dollar Championship

    WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship

    WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship

    WCW Six-Man Tag Team Championship

    ECW World Tag Team Championship

    ECW’s FTW World Championship

    The other five titles are WWE’s World Tag Team and Hardcore Championships and WCW’s Tag Team, International and Television Championships.

    Due to the length of their histories they will take more than one article to complete and therefore will be done last.

    So cast your vote! The title with the most votes will be seen on Wednesday!

    Don’t have a Bleacher Report account but are on Twitter? Hit me up @KSchadWrestling and cast your vote there!