WARNING: We have detected your browser is out of date. For both performance, security and a better web experience you should keep up to date to avoid viruses, malware, hijacking and stay on top of compatibility features.
 
RSS Feed

 

 

WNS Column: The Legacy of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship Part 1: The Rich History

Posted By: Caylon Knox on Oct 21, 2015

WNS Column: The Legacy of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship Part 1: The Rich History

Historically speaking, the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship may be the most prestigious and honored championship in the history of professional wrestling. In the United States and abroad, very few other wrestling titles can compare to the rich history of the NWA World Championship and the great tradition that it represents. The championship itself actually predates the National Wrestling Alliance, which was formed in 1948. The lineage of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship can be traced back to the early 1900s, during the days of the legendary Frank Gotch and George Hackenschmidt.
 
When you go back to trace the origins of modern-day American professional wrestling, Gotch and Hackenschmidt are the two names that have been immortalized. These wrestling pioneers competed for the title of "World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion" in a period when big-time wrestling matches were still very much a shoot, which is pro-wrestling slang for "real" or "unscripted".
 
The early lineage of the World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship is sketchy at best. There were several versions of the World Heavyweight Championship and no shortage of men who labeled themselves as being the "true" World Heavyweight Champion. The controversy and debate over who was truly the World Heavyweight Champion of Wrestling was one of the primary catalysts for the formation of the National Wrestling Alliance in 1948. Different wrestling territories from across the United States agreed to join forces under one banner and to recognize one true, undisputed World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion.
 
It took a man of truly exceptional qualities to even be considered as a possible contender for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The NWA World Champion would be the face of the National Wrestling Alliance and would need to carry the championship with dignity. He needed to be somebody who could draw crowds and generate revenue for the NWA, not just domestically, but around the globe. And perhaps most importantly, he needed to have legitimate skills as a grappler or fighter and be able to hold his own in a potentially unworked (unscripted) situation.
 
For decades, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship was widely regarded as being the top prize in all of professional wrestling, anywhere in the world. Although other wrestling promotions in the United States and other countries recognized their own World Champions, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship was universally considered to be the true World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship. The NWA World Title, and the champion himself, were the measuring stick which all other World Champions were compared to.
 
The NWA sanctioned numerous territories, including Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW), World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), and many others. All NWA-sanctioned promotions around the world would occasionally get a visit from the reigning NWA World Champion, who would defend the title against that promotion's top star. It was a rigorous schedule for the NWA World Champion.
 
Jim Crockett Promotions was the largest NWA affiliate in the United States and enjoyed considerable success for years in the south, even buying out Georgia Championship Wrestling to gain majority control of the southern U.S. wrestling scene. However, as JCP grew in size, the company started to suffer from financial difficulties. In 1988, Jim Crockett Jr. officially sold JCP to Ted Turner. The former JCP then became known as WCW: World Championship Wrestling.
 
The Ted Turner-owned World Championship Wrestling continued to operate under the NWA banner until splitting from the NWA in 1993. This is where the history and lineage of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship becomes murky.
 
Ted Turner's WCW still had physical possession of the well-known "Big Gold Belt" that represented the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. WCW recognized this belt as having the official lineage of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, going back to 1948 and even before the formation of the NWA. To this day, WWE and many wrestling fans accept the notion that the Big Gold Belt, which was originally introduced by "Nature Boy" Ric Flair in 1986, carried the lineage of the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
 
 
However, the NWA still had possession of the former World Title belt used in the 1970s and 80s and brought that belt out of retirement after WCW withdrew from the NWA. The NWA recognized the 70s/80s belt as being the true NWA World Heavyweight Championship, while WCW continued to recognize the Big Gold Belt as the true/former NWA World Heavyweight Championship, thus creating two different lineages of the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
 
 
At one point in the early 1990s, WCW recognized two World Champions: the WCW World Heavyweight Champion, who carried a new belt, and the WCW International Heavyweight Champion, who carried the Big Gold Belt that WCW considered to be the former NWA World Title. Ric Flair defeated Big Van Vader at Starrcade 1993 to capture the new WCW World Title belt. He then faced the WCW International Heavyweight Champion Sting, who carried the Big Gold Belt, in a World Championship Unification Match at Clash of the Champions XXVII on June 23rd, 1994.
 
 
Ric Flair defeated Sting in this World Title Unification Match and walked away with both the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and the WCW International Heavyweight Championship. The short-lived WCW World Title belt was retired in favor of the more well-known Big Gold Belt. The Big Gold Belt was used as the undisputed WCW World Heavyweight Championship from that point forward.
 
In March of 2001, World Championship Wrestling was purchased by their longtime rival, Vince McMahon, and his World Wrestling Federation (WWF). The WWF used this real-life acquisition as a storyline on television and all WCW titles, including the World Heavyweight Title, were prominently featured on WWF programming throughout 2001. As part of the now-infamous "Invasion" storyline, WCW was paired with ECW: Extreme Championship Wrestling, and threatened to put the WWF out of business. The WWF waged war against the WCW/ECW Alliance for most of 2001 until the Survivor Series pay-per-view event in November when Team WWF defeated the WCW/ECW Alliance to finally put WCW and ECW out of business.
 
The WCW World Heavyweight Championship stayed active for a short time after Survivor Series and was simply labeled as "the World Heavyweight Championship", not to be confused with the World Wrestling Federation Championship. The WWF Championship and the former WCW World Heavyweight Championship were unified at the WWF Vengeance pay-per-view in December of 2001 when Chris Jericho defeated The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the same night to become the first-ever WWF/WCW Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion.
 
The WWF and WCW World Title belts both represented the Undisputed Championship until after WrestleMania X8 in March of 2002. Triple H defeated Chris Jericho at WrestleMania and was given a brand new Undisputed World Championship belt.
 
The WWF changed its name to WWE: World Wrestling Entertainment in May of 2002. This was shortly after the company had split itself into two different rosters for Monday Night Raw and Thursday Night SmackDown. The Undisputed WWE World Champion was eligible to appear on both programs until Brock Lesnar defeated The Rock at SummerSlam 2002 and signed an exclusive contract with the SmackDown brand, leaving Raw without a World Championship.
 
Raw General Manager and former WCW President Eric Bischoff then revived the former WCW Big Gold Belt and awarded it to Triple H in September of 2002, thus creating two separate World Titles in WWE. The Undisputed Championship was simply known as the WWE Championship, and the former WCW World Heavyweight Championship was again known as "the World Heavyweight Championship".
 
The WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship co-existed in WWE for more than a decade from September of 2002 until December of 2013 at the Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view when WWE Champion Randy Orton defeated World Heavyweight Champion John Cena in a World Championship Unification Match. Since then, WWE has acknowledged one World Title: the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
 
The WWE Championship belt and the World Heavyweight Championship Big Gold Belt both represented the Unified WWE World Heavyweight Championship until Brock Lesnar won the Title from John Cena at SummerSlam 2014 and was presented with a brand new WWE World Heavyweight Title belt the following night on Raw. This has seemingly laid the former WWE/WCW/NWA Big Gold Belt to rest.
 
While WWE used the Big Gold Belt as the World Heavyweight Championship, the National Wrestling Alliance is still in operation today and still uses the classic 70s/80s title belt that was used before the Big Gold Belt. The NWA had a brief working relationship with Eastern Championship Wrestling in the 90s after the withdrawal of WCW. In August of 1994, ECW's "Franchise" Shane Douglas won a tournament to crown a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion, only to throw the historic NWA World Title on the mat after winning it. In one of the most legendary and controversial moments in wrestling history, Douglas cut a scathing promo against the NWA and its World Title, declaring that he didn't want to be the World Champion of a "dead promotion." He labeled himself as being the new ECW World Heavyweight Champion and was officially recognized by ECW as being their new World Champion. Shortly after this, Eastern Championship Wrestling changed their name to Extreme Championship Wrestling and became the third-largest promotion in the United States behind the WWF and WCW until closing down in 2001, just before WCW was sold to the WWF.
 
The NWA and the NWA World Title became scarce throughout the rest of the 1990s and early 2000s until former WWE and WCW Superstar Jeff Jarrett, along with his father, longtime wrestling promoter Jerry Jarrett, formed Total Nonstop Action Wrestling under the NWA banner in June of 2002. TNA brought new life to both the NWA World Heavyweight Title and the NWA World Tag Team Titles for five years until TNA and the NWA finally parted ways in the summer of 2007.
 
Since parting ways from TNA, the NWA has continued to promote shows around the world and remains a fairly active force on the independent circuit. The NWA World Heavyweight Championship is still one of the most coveted and sought-after titles on the independent scene, simply for its illustrious history if nothing else.
 
While the NWA may have fallen from the mainstream spotlight, nothing will ever erase the incredible history and background of the once-great promotion. Regardless of the controversy and debate surrounding the official lineage of the NWA World Heavyweight Title, the fact remains that the NWA World Heavyweight Championship was once the single most prestigious prize in all of professional wrestling and one of the most prestigious championships in all of sports. The men who held the NWA World Title in its glory days were some of the most honored competitors to ever grace the squared circle, and their contributions to the wrestling industry should not be forgotten or overlooked.
 
The second part of this article will profile ten of the greatest NWA World Heavyweight Champions of all time.
 

Tags: #nwa #national wrestling alliance #world heavyweight championship #columns
https://wrestlr.me/40576/  
Adding comments is disabled due to age of article.
 

» More News From This Feed

Jul 12
Rusev Tests Positive for COVID-19
It was reported earlier in the week that WWE's Lana had tested positive for COVID-19. Well, as it turns out, her husband Rusev has now also tested positive. Rusev released the following video explain[...]
Jul 12 - It was reported earlier in the week that WWE's Lana had tested positive for COVID-19. Well, as it turns out, her husband Rusev has now also tested positive. Rusev released the following video explain[...]
Jul 12
Cody Rhodes Rips Into Fan For Using Homophobic Slur at Sonny Kiss
Hyping up his upcoming TNT Championship defense against Sonny Kiss, Cody Rhodes went on Twitter and wrote a tweet complimenting Sonny's abilities in the ring, but took the time to assure that he would[...]
Jul 12 - Hyping up his upcoming TNT Championship defense against Sonny Kiss, Cody Rhodes went on Twitter and wrote a tweet complimenting Sonny's abilities in the ring, but took the time to assure that he would[...]
Jul 12
Chris Jericho On The Most Unsafe Wrestlers He's Ever Worked With
During Chris Jericho's Saturday Night Special the other day, Jericho was asked what superstars were the most unsafe to work with. “Christian’s bodyguard was Tyson Tomko, his finish was [...]
Jul 12 - During Chris Jericho's Saturday Night Special the other day, Jericho was asked what superstars were the most unsafe to work with. “Christian’s bodyguard was Tyson Tomko, his finish was [...]
Jul 12
Chris Jericho On Why He Changed His Opinion On Orange Cassidy
Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy have recently been working a feud together on AEW television the last few weeks, which has gotten a lot of people talking. During Chris Jericho's Saturday Night Specia[...]
Jul 12 - Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy have recently been working a feud together on AEW television the last few weeks, which has gotten a lot of people talking. During Chris Jericho's Saturday Night Specia[...]
Jul 12
Possible SPOILERS Regarding WWE Championship Plans for Extreme Rules, SummerSlam & Beyond
According to a report from WrestleTalk.com, WWE's current plan for the WWE Championship Match at the SummerSlam pay-per-view is to have Drew McIntyre defending against Randy Orton, which wou[...]
Jul 12 - According to a report from WrestleTalk.com, WWE's current plan for the WWE Championship Match at the SummerSlam pay-per-view is to have Drew McIntyre defending against Randy Orton, which wou[...]
Jul 12
Friday's SmackDown Draws Second Lowest Number Since Joining FOX
Friday's episode of WWE SmackDown drew an average of 1,905,000 viewers, which is an increase from last week’s 1,777,000 viewers (the lowest they've drawn on FOX), but it is still the s[...]
Jul 12 - Friday's episode of WWE SmackDown drew an average of 1,905,000 viewers, which is an increase from last week’s 1,777,000 viewers (the lowest they've drawn on FOX), but it is still the s[...]
Jul 12
Becky Lynch Reveals Origin of Her WWE Ring Name, Other Names That Were Considered
WWE Monday Night Raw Superstar Becky Lynch recently spoke to Sports Illustrated and revealed the origin of her WWE ring name, as well as some of the other ring names that were cons[...]
Jul 12 - WWE Monday Night Raw Superstar Becky Lynch recently spoke to Sports Illustrated and revealed the origin of her WWE ring name, as well as some of the other ring names that were cons[...]
Jul 12
Video: Lana Talks About Both of Her Parents Having COVID-19, Thanks Fans for Support
WWE Monday Night Raw Superstar Lana posted the following on her official YouTube channel: [...]
Jul 12 - WWE Monday Night Raw Superstar Lana posted the following on her official YouTube channel: [...]
Jul 11
Nyla Rose: "A young Impact fan thought I was Tamina Snuka"
During the latest AEW Unrestricted podcast, Nyla Rose told a funny story about a young fan mistaking her for WWE's Tamina Snuka. "So we’re standing there, wearing our all black as ring crew d[...]
Jul 11 - During the latest AEW Unrestricted podcast, Nyla Rose told a funny story about a young fan mistaking her for WWE's Tamina Snuka. "So we’re standing there, wearing our all black as ring crew d[...]
Jul 11
Palace of Auburn Hills Demolished
The Palace of Auburn Hills, a famous venue that hosted events such as WWF SummerSlam 1993, WCW World War 3 1997 & 1998, Slammiversary 2009 and others has been demolished today. Watch: The Palac[...]
Jul 11 - The Palace of Auburn Hills, a famous venue that hosted events such as WWF SummerSlam 1993, WCW World War 3 1997 & 1998, Slammiversary 2009 and others has been demolished today. Watch: The Palac[...]
Jul 11
RUMOR: WWE Planning "Evolution 2" Women's Network Event?
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful has stated that there is a plan to have a WWE Network special on August 30th, which is the weekend of this year's SummerSlam event. It hasn't been fully decided if they want[...]
Jul 11 - Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful has stated that there is a plan to have a WWE Network special on August 30th, which is the weekend of this year's SummerSlam event. It hasn't been fully decided if they want[...]
Jul 11
FTR On The Difference Between Tony Kahn and Vince McMahon
Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler both sat down with The Ropes to discuss a variety of topics, one of which being the difference between Vince McMahon and Tony Kahn now that they've had experience working [...]
Jul 11 - Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler both sat down with The Ropes to discuss a variety of topics, one of which being the difference between Vince McMahon and Tony Kahn now that they've had experience working [...]
Jul 11
FTR "Not 100% Sure" If They're Going To Stay In AEW
FTR has gotten a lot of attention lately following their departure from WWE (where they were The Revival), and their joining AEW. However, despite the large amounts of TV time they've been getting on [...]
Jul 11 - FTR has gotten a lot of attention lately following their departure from WWE (where they were The Revival), and their joining AEW. However, despite the large amounts of TV time they've been getting on [...]
Jul 11
Brian Pillman Jr. To Face Brian Cage for FTW Championship on AEW Dark This Tuesday
After making his AEW debut last Tuesday in a match against Shawn Spears, Brian Pillman Jr. is already getting a chance at championship gold in AEW. He will face Brian Cage on AEW Dark for the FTW Cham[...]
Jul 11 - After making his AEW debut last Tuesday in a match against Shawn Spears, Brian Pillman Jr. is already getting a chance at championship gold in AEW. He will face Brian Cage on AEW Dark for the FTW Cham[...]
Jul 11
SmackDown Quick Results (07/10/2020)
Below are last night's results for Friday Night SmackDown: *Singles Match* Jeff Hardy defeats Miz via pinfall *Tag Team Match* Bayley and Sasha Banks defeat Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross via pinfall[...]
Jul 11 - Below are last night's results for Friday Night SmackDown: *Singles Match* Jeff Hardy defeats Miz via pinfall *Tag Team Match* Bayley and Sasha Banks defeat Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross via pinfall[...]
Jul 11
Why AEW Is Allowed To Use The FTW Championship
As reported on PWInsider, it turns out that Taz actually owns the rights to the FTW Championship and never signed over any of the rights to Paul Heyman or ECW, meaning that he can do whatever he wants[...]
Jul 11 - As reported on PWInsider, it turns out that Taz actually owns the rights to the FTW Championship and never signed over any of the rights to Paul Heyman or ECW, meaning that he can do whatever he wants[...]
Jul 11
Heath Slater Teasing Something Big for July 18th
Heath Slater, who was recently released from WWE, has taken to Twitter to tease something big happening on July 18th. July 18th Watch the hell out. pic.twitter.com/R4JyzvB8bx — HEATHXXII (@H[...]
Jul 11 - Heath Slater, who was recently released from WWE, has taken to Twitter to tease something big happening on July 18th. July 18th Watch the hell out. pic.twitter.com/R4JyzvB8bx — HEATHXXII (@H[...]
Jul 11
Tommaso Ciampa: "Creative has nothing for me."
After his loss to Karrion Kross at NXT Takeover: In Your House, Tommaso Ciampa has been off of TV. This is obviously a huge change from when he was heavily featured on the show, and Tommaso has taken [...]
Jul 11 - After his loss to Karrion Kross at NXT Takeover: In Your House, Tommaso Ciampa has been off of TV. This is obviously a huge change from when he was heavily featured on the show, and Tommaso has taken [...]
Jul 11
Ben Kerin Stepping Down As Director of WrestlingNewsSource.com
It is with a heavy heart after 14 years, I am standing down as the Director of WrestlingNewsSource.com. My decision to step back from this role after such a long time hasn’t been an easy o[...]
Jul 11 - It is with a heavy heart after 14 years, I am standing down as the Director of WrestlingNewsSource.com. My decision to step back from this role after such a long time hasn’t been an easy o[...]
Jul 11
Drew McIntyre: Heath Slater Was Against Returning On RAW
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre has claimed that Heath Slater was opposed to his return to RAW this week, following his release from the company in April.  While speaking to Talk Sport, McIntyre expl[...]
Jul 11 - WWE Champion Drew McIntyre has claimed that Heath Slater was opposed to his return to RAW this week, following his release from the company in April.  While speaking to Talk Sport, McIntyre expl[...]
Jul 11
Minoru Suzuki Will Miss NJPW's Osaka Jo Hall Events Due to Fever
New Japan Pro Wrestling's official website is reporting that on July 10th, Minoru Suzuki developed a fever, and in order to assure the safety of himself and everyone involved in the upcoming events at[...]
Jul 11 - New Japan Pro Wrestling's official website is reporting that on July 10th, Minoru Suzuki developed a fever, and in order to assure the safety of himself and everyone involved in the upcoming events at[...]
Jul 11
AJ Styles: Paul Heyman Is A Bold-Face Liar
WWE Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles has refuted claims that teasing led to his move from RAW to SmackDown, and has blasted the red brand's former Executive Director as a bold-face liar.  In [...]
Jul 11 - WWE Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles has refuted claims that teasing led to his move from RAW to SmackDown, and has blasted the red brand's former Executive Director as a bold-face liar.  In [...]
Jul 11
Sami Zayn Launches Mobile Clinic & Fundraiser for Syria
Sami Zayn has teamed up with the Syrian American Medical Society Foundation to bring portable medical care to those affected by the growing crisis in Syria. As many know, Zayn is the first WWE wres[...]
Jul 11 - Sami Zayn has teamed up with the Syrian American Medical Society Foundation to bring portable medical care to those affected by the growing crisis in Syria. As many know, Zayn is the first WWE wres[...]
Jul 11
Jon Moxley and Renee Young Both Test Negative for COVID-19
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, both AEW World Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley and WWE on-air personality Renee Young have both tested negative for COVID-19 in their most recent testin[...]
Jul 11 - According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, both AEW World Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley and WWE on-air personality Renee Young have both tested negative for COVID-19 in their most recent testin[...]
Jul 08
Lana Reveals That Her Mother Has Tested Positive for COVID-19, Currently in ICU
WWE Monday Night Raw Superstar Lana posted the following on Twitter: My mom tested positive for covid. She is in the ICU right now. She is asthmatic and is on oxygen. Thank you for all the [...]
Jul 08 - WWE Monday Night Raw Superstar Lana posted the following on Twitter: My mom tested positive for covid. She is in the ICU right now. She is asthmatic and is on oxygen. Thank you for all the [...]

© 2006-2020 wrestlingnewssource.com

All rights reserved. All other trademarks, logos, video, likeness and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.
Terms of Service · Privacy Policy · Π