For further reading on this championship, check out Hisaharu Tanabe's website at the following
link: NWA World Heavyweight Title at www.wrestling-titles.com
National Wrestling Alliance Heavyweight Championship Committee:
When explaining the role of the heavyweight championship
committee to outsiders, Sam Muchnick described it as the
committee that oversaw the booking of the champion in member
territories and discussed likely contenders to the throne.
However, this committee and later the NWA Board of Directors
were in charge of determining who would wear the heavyweight
championship belt and when and where the reigning champion
would lose. Plenty of politics was involved in these
determinations, particularly in naming the next heavyweight
champ. But even the selection of the city in which the title
would change hands in was important.
Orville Brown was recognized as the World Heavyweight
Champion of the newly chartered National Wrestling Alliance
on July 18, 1948. The NWA would be an expanded version of Pinkie George's local "Alliance"
Wichita, Kansas: December 20, 1948
(The Forum) … Buddy Rogers b. Orville Brown to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
(2/3) … (promoter: Bill Atkinson) … (referee: Ray Steele)
Notes: During the closing moments of the bout, Rogers used a “cold-cream” jar to knock the
champion out, then scored a pinfall. Once Steele learned of the illegal weapon being used, he
then disqualified Rogers. However, immediately after the match, promoters in California backed
Rogers as the new World Champion. Promoter, Bill Atkinson of Wichita also backed Rogers as
the new champion and was going against the National Wrestling Alliance and Orville Brown’s
claim. A rematch between the two was scheduled for Monday, January 3rd to settle the affair.
The NWA threatened to suspend Atkinson if he billed Rogers as the World Champion. The
California “backers” of Rogers, understood the title match in Wichita and would back the
winner. The 1-3-49 match went to a 90-minute draw with no falls. Brown remained the NWA
Champion in most territories. In the first week of 1949, promoter Bill Atkinson reversed his
decision to back Rogers as the titleholder.
On November 1, 1949, three miles north of Eagleville, Missouri in northwestern Missouri, a
1949 Cadillac sedan driven by recognized NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Orville Brown,
ran underneath the trailer of a stalled truck on U.S. Highway 69. Both Brown and his
passenger, Robert Bruns, suffered severe injuries. The two men had been returning to Kansas
City from a wrestling show in Des Moines. Brown’s career as a wrestler would be over. The
next day, Charles Orchard, the Missouri State Athletic Commission Chairman, called a meeting
for Wednesday morning between Sam Muchnick and Martin Thesz to discuss future plans now
that the match had been called off.
*The decision was made on November 27, 1949, at the 2nd annual convention of the National
Wrestling Alliance in St. Louis, that Lou Thesz would be named World Heavyweight Champion.
Thesz was responsible for a $10,000 bond guaranteeing his appearance at a scheduled match.
*On January 16, 1950, Sam Muchnick, in a letter to all NWA members, announced that "Thesz
has completed his appearance forfeit arrangements."
San Francisco, California: Tuesday, March 22, 1955
(Cow Palace) … Leo Nomellini b. Lou Thesz to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title (2/3)
(Thesz won the first fall in 28:59, Nomellini won the second by countout in 10:30, Nomellini won
the third fall by disqualification in 11:16, when Thesz repeatedly kicked him off the ring apron)
(Malcewicz accompanied Nomellini to the ring, while Lewis accompanied Thesz) … Gene
DuBuque and Art Michalik drew … Rocky Brown b. Ben Sharpe (DQ) (11:49) … Bobo Brazil
and Mike Sharpe drew (20:00) … Gene Kiniski and Lord James Blears b. George Scott and
Enrique Torres (22:25) … (promoter: Joe Malcewicz) … (referee: Mike Mazurki) … (12,253
fans) … (gate: $41,607.53)
Notes: Thesz’s manager Ed “Strangler” Lewis claimed that NWA By-Laws prevented the
champion from losing his championship via disqualification; Nomellini’s manager was listed as
Joe Malcewicz; Malcewicz laid claim to the championship on behalf of his wrestler; the California
Athletic Commission allowed championships to change hands on disqualifications and
commissioner Joe Phillips was on hand, agreeing with the decision; Lewis and Thesz stated that
they were going to immediately call NWA President Sam Muchnick in protest to the decision;
both Thesz and Nomellini left the building with claims to the World Title; reportedly Thesz’s first
loss in 937 matches; Nomellini’s wife and mother were ringside to the see the match
Thesz continued to be booked by NWA President Sam Muchnick as World Heavyweight
Champion. However, Nomellini was also booked by Muchnick as a world championship
claimant. In some regards, Nomellini and Thesz were co-NWA World Champions, creating a
controversial situation that was meant to draw attention and build toward what they hoped
would be a big series of Nomellini-Thesz matches across the country. Unfortunately for them,
there was little fan interest in the scheme. You can read more about the Thesz-Nomellini
situation here. A quick summation: On July 15, 1955 in St. Louis, Thesz beat Nomellini in what
could be referred to as a unification match, and returned to the NWA trail as the singular
Toronto, Ontario: Thursday, March 15, 1956
(Maple Leaf Gardens) … “Whipper” Billy Watson b. Lou Thesz to capture the NWA World
Heavyweight Title (30:33) (Watson won by countout after ten seconds) (special referee: Jack
Dempsey) (after the match, Thesz rolled back into the ring, and had his left arm taped to his
right shoulder) (Thesz was taken to a local hospital for X-rays) (It was reported that Thesz had
suffered strained ligaments in his elbow, and possible torn ligaments in one of his ankles) …
Gorgeous George b. Bob Leipler (46-seconds) … Fred Atkins and Hard Boiled Haggerty b. Ilio
DiPaolo and Nick Roberts … Pat O’Connor b. Don Beitleman … Dick Huffman b. Pat Fraley
(promoter: Frank Tunney … (referee: Jack Dempsey) … (in attendance: Ontario Athletic
Commission Physician Dr. Myron Millar) … (15,000 fans)
St. Louis, Missouri: Friday, November 9, 1956
(Kiel Auditorium) … Lou Thesz b. Billy Watson to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title (one-
fall match) (Thesz won by countout, as Watson was unable to revive after a 10-count) (Thesz,
at the same time, was outside the ring and was being given a 20-count) (Thesz returned to the
ring prior to being counted out and won the title) (During the match, referee Davis was knocked
out and replaced by John Turner) (Turner was assigned by Missouri State Athletic
Commissioner Charles Pian) (after the match, Watson attacked the referee) (37:05) … Tex
McKenzie b. Sky-Hi Lee (8:23) … The Mighty Ursus b. Barney Bernard (5:44) and Emil Dusek
(3:37) … Billy Darnell and Dr. Lee Grable b. The Dusek Brothers (Ernie and Joe Dusek) (2/3)
(Ernie pinned Darnell in 9:20 with a stepover toe hold for the first fall, Darnell pinned Ernie in 11:
59 for the second, Grable won the third by disqualification when the Duseks threw him over the
top rope in 10:07) … Rocky Monroe and Carlos Moreno drew (15:00) … (promoter: Sam
Muchnick) … (referees: Wee Willie Davis, John Turner) … (9,000 fans)
Chicago, Illinois: Friday, June 14, 1957
(International Amphitheatre) … Edouard Carpentier b. Lou Thesz to capture the NWA World
Heavyweight Title (2/3) (Thesz won the first fall in 17:22, Carpentier won the second in 3:39,
Carpentier won the third in 4:42 by disqualification) (Carpentier won the third when Thesz was
disqualified) (Thesz was injured and using the ropes for protection) (Thesz was also going from
corner to corner to stay away from his opponent) (referee: Ed Whalen) … The Lisowskis
(Reggie and Stanley) b. Pedro Godoy and Bill Melby … Wilbur Snyder b. The Sheik of Araby …
Sharon Lass b. Ada Ash … Angelo Poffo b. Larry Moquin … (promoter: Fred Kohler) …
(referee: Ed Whalen) … (5,682 fans) … (gate: $13,246)
Note: The Chicago American newspaper and Fred Kohler’s official program both printed that
Edouard Carpentier was the new World Heavyweight Champion.
Not so dissimilar to what happened in 1955 between Thesz and Nomellini, the Carpentier-Thesz
match in Chicago created a situation in which NWA bookers were utilizing two world
championship claimants simultaneously. Carpentier was booked in many Alliance territories as
the champion, and major industry publications like Wrestling Life announced him as the new
"National Wrestling Alliance" king. A "backstage" rift between Muchnick, who represented the
interests of the NWA, and Montreal promoter Eddie Quinn, representing Carpentier, caused the
deal to fracture. Muchnick proclaimed that Thesz was the only champion, while Quinn
continued to book Carpentier as a title claimant, often using the "National Wrestling
Association" designation. More about the Thesz-Carpentier situation can be found here.
Toronto, Ontario: Thursday, November 14, 1957
(Maple Leaf Gardens) … Dick Hutton b. Lou Thesz to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
(35:15) (Hutton won with an abdominal stretch) (No time-limit match, no curfew, winner must be
decided) (Hutton put up $2,000 instead of his normal $1,000, with no time restriction; one going
to Thesz and the other going to charity) … The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello and Roy
Heffernan) b. Tiger Tasker and The Mighty Ursus (Heffernan pinned Tasker) … Roy McClarity
b. Pierre LaBelle (sleeperhold) … Jim Bernard and Farmer Boy drew (20:00) … Fred Atkins
and Joe Blanchard drew (20:00) … (promoter: Frank Tunney) … (referee: Bert Maxwell) … (in
attendance: Sam Muchnick) … (10,000 fans)
Note: In Lou Thesz’s autobiography, he claimed that Hutton was a “last-minute substitution” for
“Whipper” Billy Watson on November 14, 1957 in Toronto.
Amarillo, Texas: Thursday, October 2, 1958
(Sports Arena) … Dory Funk Sr. b. Dick Hutton to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
(2/3) (Funk forced Hutton to submit to his spinning toehold) (Hutton claimed that he threw Funk
over the top rope before submitting, and should have been disqualified) (Doug Donovan
knocked out referee “Big Train” Clements during the match) … World Tag Team Champions
Mike DiBiase and Art Nelson b. Larry Chene and Ricky Romero (2/3) … Kathy Starr b. Helen
Hild (10:30) … Ali Bey b. Al Kashey (11:15) … Doug Donovan b. Bad Boy Hines (15-seconds)
… (promoter: Karl Sarpolis)
Note: According to the Amarillo Daily News, the Texas State Athletic Commission was going to
meet “early next week in Dallas” to determine whether Funk was the new champion or not.
*On Tuesday, October 7, 1958, members of the Texas State Wrestling Commission met in
Dallas and refused to rule on the dispute between Funk and Hutton, and because of that,
Hutton was still recognized as World Champion. Officials stated that Funk needed to take up
the issue with the National Wrestling Alliance Grievance Committee, if he wanted to appeal.
St. Louis, Missouri: January 9, 1959
(Kiel Auditorium) … Pat O’Connor b. Dick Hutton to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
(15:03) … Gene Kiniski beat Adrian Baillargeon (sub for Tex McKenzie) … Edouard Carpentier
& Bobby Managoff beat El Lobo & Hans Schmidt … Bobby Bruns drew Rip Hawk … Bob (Legs)
Langevin beat Suni War Cloud … (4,896 fans)
Chicago, Illinois: Friday, June 30, 1961
(Comiskey Park) … Buddy Rogers b. Pat O’Connor to capture the NWA World Heavyweight
Title (2/3) (Rogers pinned O’Connor for the first fall in 8:30, O’Connor pinned Rogers for the
second fall in 6:00 with a reverse cradlehold, Rogers pinned O’Connor after a missed dropkick
in 7:00) (Rogers was the United States Heavyweight Champion) (Rogers was accompanied by
Bobby Davis) … Sweet Daddy Siki, S. Art Thomas and Johnny Valentine b. The Fabulous
Kangeroos (Al Costello and Roy Heffernan) and Red Berry (2/3) … Vittorio Apollo b. Mighty
Atlas … Antonino Rocca b. Karl Von Hess … The Angel b. Moose Cholak … Bob Orton Sr. b.
Dick Steinborn … Fred Atkins b. Hans Schmidt … (promoters: Fred Kohler and Vincent J.
McMahon) … (referees: Fred Ledebuhr, Stan Sarbarneck) … (announcer: Leonard Sterling)
… (commentator: Russ Davis) … (In Attendance: Vincent McMahon, Joe “Toots” Mondt, Fred
Kohler, Nick Londes, Jules Strongbow, Sam Muchnick) … (38,000 fans) … (gate: $125,000)
Note: Russ Davis for “Wrestling Champions” stated that 50,000+ wrestling fans were in
Newark, New Jersey: Saturday, August 18, 1962
(Newark Armory) … Bobo Brazil b. Buddy Rogers to capture the World Heavyweight Title (Brazil
won the match by countout, while Rogers laid in the middle of the ring) (TOM: 18:20) … The
Famous Hillbillies and Cousin Alfred b. The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello and Roy
Heffernan) and Red Berry … Miguel Perez b. Johnny Barend … (promoters: Babe Culnan,
Willie Gilzenberg) … (referee: Tom Geidhauser) … (6,112 fans)
Notes: After the match, Bobo Brazil stated that he refused to accept the World Championship
because he never pinned the champion; championships were not recognized in New Jersey.
Montreal, Quebec: Wednesday, November 21, 1962
(Montreal Forum) … Wladek Kowalski b. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Buddy Rogers (1-
0) (52 seconds) (Rogers was unable to continue) (“immediately after the start of the match,”
Rogers jumped from the ring to avoid his opponent and suffered a compound fracture of his
right ankle) (he was taken to General Hospital and received X-rays in the emergency room) (it
was said that Buddy’s NWA title was not on the line) (Kowalski was the International Champion)
… Johnny Rougeau b. Hans Schmidt (decision after a double fall) … Bobo Brazil b. Frank
Valois … Bruno Sammartino b. Fred Atkins … Buddy Austin b. Pat Kennedy … Shohei Baba b.
Ovila Asselin … Gerard Dugas and Jerry Turenne drew … (promoter: Eddie Quinn)
Notes: It was reported that Buddy Rogers was going to lose a lot of money in engagements,
including a spot in Quebec City on November 22 versus Johnny Rougeau, and against Lou
Thesz in 10 days at Madison Square Garden. By December 10, Rogers claimed to have
already lost $10,000 in purses. It was suspected that he’d miss three months, at least. Eddie
Quinn said that the job Kowalski did on Rogers made him “the hottest property in the business,”
and that the “Killer” was going to replace Rogers in certain cities.
Toronto, Ontario: Thursday, January 24, 1963
(Maple Leaf Gardens) … Lou Thesz b. Buddy Rogers to capture the NWA World Heavyweight
Title (14:54) … Bulldog Brower and Hans Schmidt b. Billy Red Lyons and Sam Steamboat …
Bruno Sammartino b. Buddy Austin … Johnny Valentine b. Fred Atkins … Sweet Daddy Siki b.
Jim Hady … The Beast b. Gino Marella … (promoter: Frank Tunney) … (referee: Tiger
Tasker) … (9,000 fans)
Notes: Sam Muchnick presented Thesz with the championship belt in the ring. This marked
Thesz's third "National Wrestling Alliance" world title victory.
St. Louis, Missouri: Friday, January 7, 1966
(Kiel Auditorium) … Gene Kiniski b. Lou Thesz to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
(2/3) (Thesz won the first fall by pinfall in 18:08, Kiniski won the second by disqualification when
he was tossed over the top rope in 4:28, Kiniski pinned Thesz in 1:17 for the third fall) … Bobby
Managoff and Johnny Powers b. Dick the Bruiser and Bobby “Hercules” Graham (2/3) … Wilbur
Snyder b. Moose Cholak … Fritz Von Erich b. Bob Ellis and Ray Gordon in a special handicap
match (Von Erich b. Gordon in 12:02 with a clawhold) … Lee Henning and Joe Tangaro drew
(20:00) … Angelo Poffo b. Johnny Long (7:42) … (promoter: Sam Muchnick) … (matchmaker:
Bobby Bruns) … (11,612 fans)
Tampa, Florida: Tuesday, February 11, 1969
(Fort Homer Hesterly Armory) … Dory Funk Jr. b. Gene Kiniski to capture the NWA World Title
(Funk used his spinning toe-hold for the victory in 27-minutes) … The Fabulous Moolah b.
Sherri Lee to regain her Women’s World Title … The Infernos (I and II) b. The Infernos (I and II)
to capture the NWA World Tag Team Title (The defending champions were managed by J.C.
Dykes) … Jack Brisco b. The Missouri Mauler for the Southern Heavyweight Title … Hans
Mortier b. Tarzan Tyler to retain the Florida Heavyweight Title … The Medics (I and II) b. The
Gladiator and Joe Scarpa to retain the Florida Tag Team Title … The Great Malenko b. Nick
Kozak to retain the NWA Florida Brass Knuckles Title … (promoter: Cowboy Luttrall) ... (7,000
Kansas City, Kansas: May 24, 1973
(Memorial Hall) ... Harley Race b. Dory Funk Jr. to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
(2/3) ... (promoter: Bob Geigel) ... (referee: Richard Moody)
Houston, Texas: July 20, 1973
(Sam Houston Coliseum) ... Jack Brisco b. Harley Race to capture the NWA World Heavyweight
Title (2/3) ... (promoter: Paul Boesch) ... (referee: Bronko Lubich) ... (in attendance: Sam
Muchnick, Eddie Graham)
Note: Brisco had the NWA championship belt strapped around his waist by Tiger Conway Sr.
Kagoshima, Japan: December 2, 1974
(Prefectural Gym) ... Giant Baba b. Jack Brisco to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
Toyohashi, Japan: December 9, 1974
(Municipal Gym) ... Jack Brisco b. Giant Baba to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title (2/3)
Miami Beach, FL: December 10, 1975
(Convention Center) ... Terry Funk b. Jack Brisco to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
... (promoter: Chris Dundee) ... (5,164 fans)
Note: Dory Funk Jr. was originally billed to meet Brisco for the title in Miami and Terry was a
Toronto, Ontario: February 6, 1977
(Maple Leaf Gardens) ... Harley Race b. Terry Funk to capture the NWA World Heavyweight
Title (Race forced Funk to submit to the Indian Deathlock) (14:10) ... (promoter: Frank Tunney)
Note: Race's second NWA title win.
In July 1978, Rick Steamboat beat Harley Race to capture a claim to the NWA World
Heavyweight Title. A match between the two had gone sixty-minutes to a draw when both
wrestlers asked for an additional five-minutes to secure a decision. In the extra time-span,
Steamboat pinned Race. Officials National Wrestling Alliance Officials returned the
championship to Race, citing the pinfall unofficial due to it being after the scheduled time-limit.
Any wrestling done after that was done because they wanted to do it and was out of the
Tampa, FL: August 21, 1979
(Fort Homer Hesterly Armory) ... Dusty Rhodes b. Harley Race to capture the NWA World
Heavyweight Title ... (promoter: Eddie Graham)
Orlando, FL: August 26, 1979
(Sports Stadium) ... Harley Race b. Dusty Rhodes to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title
Notes: Race's third NWA World Title win. Rhodes had wrestled earlier that afternoon,
successfully defending his title against Don Muraco at Jacksonville, FL. Before the match,
Rhodes was attacked by Terry Funk and suffered a broken right wrist. Race was advised by
Nagoya, Japan: October 31, 1979
(Aichi Prefectural Gym) ... Giant Baba b. Harley Race to capture the NWA World Heavyweight
Note: Baba's second NWA World Title win.
Amagaseki, Japan: November 7, 1979
(City Gym) ... Harley Race b. Giant Baba to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title
Note: Race's record fourth NWA World Title win.
Saga, Japan: September 4, 1980
(Sports Center) ... Giant Baba b. Harley Race to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title
Note: Baba's third NWA World Title win.
Ostu, Japan: September 10, 1980
(Park Gym) ... Harley Race b. Giant Baba to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title
Note: Race's fifth NWA World Title victory.
Augusta, Georgia: April 27, 1981
(Civic Center) ... Tommy Rich b. Harley Race to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
(27:22) ... (referee: Ron West)
Notes: Tommy Rich became the youngest man to hold the NWA Title. Jim Crockett, the NWA
President, was in attendance.
Gainesville, Georgia: May 1, 1981
(Civic Center) ... Harley Race b. Tommy Rich to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Notes: Race's sixth NWA World Title win.
Atlanta, Georgia: June 21, 1981
(Omni Coliseum) ... Dusty Rhodes b. Harley Race to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
Note: Rhodes' second.
Kansas City, Missouri: September 17, 1981
(Memorial Auditorium) ... Ric Flair b. Dusty Rhodes to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
... (promoter: Bob Geigel) ... (referee: Lou Thesz)
*Ric Flair ventured into Puerto Rico as the NWA World Champion and wrestled the WWC World
Champion, Carlos Colon to determine who would be universally recognized as the World’s
Heavyweight Champion on January 6, 1983. Colon won and was known as the WWC Universal
Heavyweight Champion, a title which is still recognized today. Flair remained the World
Champion in the eyes of the National Wrestling Alliance.
*Before 6,196 fans at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida on
Wednesday, February 9, 1983, The Midnight Rider beat Ric Flair for the NWA World
Heavyweight Title. NWA President, Bob Geigel reversed the decision after asking the Midnight
Rider to unmask and he refused. The Rider turned out to be suspended Dusty Rhodes.
St. Louis, Missouri: June 10, 1983
(Kiel Auditorium) ... Harley Race b. Ric Flair to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title (2/3)
... (promoter: Bob Geigel)
Notes: Race's seventh NWA World Title win. Race was also the NWA Missouri and Central
States Heavyweight Champion. Dusty Rhodes had originally been scheduled to face Flair for
the title but he had accepted a match a few nights earlier in Houston against another World
Champion, Nick Bockwinkel. Race won the first in 11:10 by pinfall. Flair took the second
by submission to his figure-four in 10:23. Race won the deciding fall in 6:17 with a pin.
Greensboro, NC: November 24, 1983
(Greensboro Coliseum) ... Ric Flair b. Harley Race to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title
(33:29) (Cage Match) (referee: Gene Kiniski) ... (promoter: Jim Crockett Promotions) ...
Notes: Flair's second NWA World Title win. This was the first annual Starrcade event, held on
Wellington, New Zealand: March 21, 1984
( ) ... Harley Race b. Ric Flair to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title
Note: Race's eighth NWA World Title victory.
Kallang, Singapore: March 23, 1984
( ) ... Ric Flair b. Harley Race to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title
Note: Flair's third.
Irving, Texas: May 6, 1984
(Texas Stadium) ... Kerry Von Erich b. Ric Flair to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
(25:42) ... (promoter: Jack Adkisson) ... (40,000 fans)
Note: David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions event.
Yokosuka City, Japan: May 24, 1984
(Yokosuka City Gym) ... Ric Flair b. Kerry Von Erich to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title
(2/3) (Von Erich won the first with his claw in 15:51. Flair won the second with a figure four in 3:
24 and then the third in 7:19 by pinfall)
Note: Flair's fourth.
Greensboro, North Carolina: July 26, 1986
(Greensboro Coliseum) ... Dusty Rhodes b. Ric Flair to capture the NWA World Heavyweight
Title (cage match) ... (promoter: Jim Crockett Promotions) ... (15,000 fans)
Notes: Rhodes' third NWA World Title. This was the 13th card of the Great American Bash
St. Louis, Missouri: August 9, 1986
(Kiel Auditorium) ... Ric Flair b. Dusty Rhodes to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title (cage
match) (20:12) (Rhodes was pinned while in the figure-four leglock) ... (promoter: Jim Crockett
Note: Flair's fifth NWA World Title. Great American Bash tour.
Detroit, Michigan: September 25, 1987
(Joe Louis Arena) ... Ron Garvin b. Ric Flair to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title (cage
match) (33:17) ... (8,000 fans)
Chicago, Illinois: November 26, 1987
(UIC Pavilion) ... Ric Flair b. Ron Garvin to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title (cage
match) ... (referee; Tommy Young)
Notes: Flair's sixth NWA championship. Starrcade 1987 event.
Jim Crockett Promotions, Inc. was purchased by the Turner Broadcasting System.
Chicago, Illinois: February 20, 1989
(UIC Pavilion) ... Ricky Steamboat b. Ric Flair to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title ...
(23:06) ... (referee: Tommy Young, who was knocked out during the match. Teddy Long
counted the final pinfall)
Note: Chi-Town Rumble pay-per-view.
Nashville, Tennessee: May 7, 1989
(Municipal Auditorium) ... Ric Flair b. Ricky Steamboat to regain the NWA World Heavyweight
Title ... (referee: Tommy Young)
Notes: Flair's seventh NWA World Title. After the match, Terry Funk attacked the new
champion and piledrove him through a table. NWA Music City Showdown PPV.
Baltimore, Maryland: July 7, 1990
(Baltimore Arena) ... Sting b. Ric Flair to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title
Notes: Stipulations: Dudes with Attitudes surrounded the ring to protect the match from
Horsemen involvement. Ole Anderson was handcuffed to El Gigante. Great American Bash
East Rutherford, New Jersey: January 11, 1991
(Meadowlands Arena) ... Ric Flair b. Sting to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Notes: Flair's eighth NWA World championship victory. WCW Meadowlands House Show.
Tokyo, Japan: Thursday, March 21, 1991
(Tokyo Dome) ... IWGP World Heavyweight champion Tatsumi Fujinami b. Ric Flair to capture
the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Notes: Flair remained the WCW World Champion in the United States. Title vs. Title Match.
Referee Bill Alfonso was knocked out during the match and alternate referee Masao Hattori
counted Fujinami’s pin on Flair. Ruled a no-contest by WCW Officials, but recognized by
promoters in Japan. 64,500 fans in attendance.
St. Petersburg, Florida: May 19, 1991
(Bayfront Auditorium) ... Ric Flair b. Tatsumi Fujinami to regain the NWA World Heavyweight
Notes: Flair's ninth, breaking the record he shared with Harley race. SuperBrawl PPV, rematch.
During the evolving period of 1990-’91, the name “NWA” was rarely heard in places fans were
used to hearing the name. World Championship Wrestling was the prominent wrestling show
on Turner Networks and Ric Flair’s belt was referred to as the WCW World Title, although many
knew he was in his ninth NWA reign. Flair was not booked by other NWA Promoters. A
contract dispute between WCW and Flair in July 1991 saw the reigning World Champion leave
the organization and appear on WWF Television with the Gold NWA Belt. WCW had stripped
him of recognition, but the NWA continued recognizing Flair into September 1991. A lawsuit
was subsequently filed to get the NWA World Title Belt back. Officials organized a tournament
in 1992 to determine an NWA World Champion in-conjunction with promoters in WCW and in
New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Tokyo, Japan: August 12, 1992
(Sumo Hall) ... Masa Chono defeated Rick Rude in a tournament final to capture the vacant
NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Notes: Rude was the WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion. The tournament began on August 6th.
Sponsored by New Japan Pro Wrestling in-conjunction with World Championship Wrestling.
Tokyo, Japan: January 4, 1993
(Tokyo Dome) ... Keiji Mutoh (The Great Muta) defeated Masa Chono to capture the NWA
World Heavyweight Title.
Notes: Mutoh was also the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. Title vs. Title Match.
Sponsored by New Japan Pro Wrestling. Annual NJPW Tokyo Dome Show. 63,500 fans in
Asheville, North Carolina: February 21, 1993
(Civic Center) ... Barry Windham defeated Keiji Mutoh (The Great Muta) to capture the NWA
World Heavyweight Title.
Note: SuperBrawl III.
Biloxi, Mississippi: July 18, 1993
(MS Coast Coliseum) ... Ric Flair defeated Barry Windham to capture the NWA World
Notes: Flair's tenth NWA World Title. Flair won by pinfall while Windham was in the figure-four.
Beach Blast ’93 event.
In September 1993, the National Wrestling Alliance separated from World Championship
Wrestling after Rick Rude beat Ric Flair for the World Heavyweight Title. The NWA continued
to recognize Ric Flair as the champion in the months following until he was stripped in 1994.
The “Nature Boy” Ric Flair followed his WCW contractual obligations during this time and did
not appear for the NWA. Promoters Dennis Coralluzzo and Tod Gordon scheduled a
tournament to be sponsored by Eastern Championship Wrestling for Saturday, August 27,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: August 27, 1994
(ECW Arena) ... Shane Douglas defeated 2 Cold Scorpio in a tournament final to capture the
vacant NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Notes: An eight-man, single-elimination tournament, sponsored by NWA Eastern Championship
After the match, Douglas denounced the National Wrestling Alliance, claiming that it was a dead
organization. He proclaimed himself the first Extreme Championship Wrestling World
Heavyweight Champion. NWA Promoter Dennis Coralluzzo was in attendance, and after the
event stated that Douglas was the World Champion of the NWA. The Alliance stripped him of
recognition and later announced a new tournament would be held in-conjunction with Jim
Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling.
Cherry Hill, New Jersey: November 19, 1994
(National Guard Armory) ... Chris Candido defeated Tracey Smothers in a tournament final to
capture the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Notes: A ten-man, single-elimination tournament. Sponsored by Smoky Mountain Wrestling
and the National Wrestling Alliance. Candido became the youngest man to hold the title.
Erlanger, Kentucky: February 24, 1995
(Peel's Palace) ... Dan Severn defeated Chris Candido to capture the NWA World Heavyweight
Title. (Severn won by submission)
Note: On April 7, 1995, Severn won the Ultimate Fighting Championship V.
Yokohama, Japan: March 14, 1999
(Yokohama Arena) ... Naoya Ogawa defeated Dan Severn to capture the NWA World
Heavyweight Title. (Ogawa won by submission) (TOM: 7:56) (Special Referee: Dory Funk Jr.)
Note: Ogawa represented Universal Fighting Organization (UFO).
Charlotte, North Carolina: September 25, 1999
(Grady Cole Center) ... Gary Steele defeated Naoya Ogawa and Brian Anthony in a three-way
match to capture the NWA World Heavyweight Title. (Three-Way Elimination Match) (Ogawa
forced Anthony to submit for the first elimination and was later pinned by Steele) (Ogawa was
the defending NWA Champion)
Note: NWA’s 51st Anniversary Show. Steele became the first wrestler from the United Kingdom
to capture the NWA World Title.
Thomaston, Connecticut: October 2, 1999
(Thomaston High School) ... Naoya Ogawa b. Gary Steele to regain the NWA World
Heavyweight Title (7:01)
Notes: Ogawa's second NWA World Title. Tony Rumble interfered in the finish of the match,
causing Steele to lose the championship. NWA New England Show.
On July 2, 2000, Naoya Ogawa gave up his claim to the NWA World Heavyweight Title due to
injury. The belt was subsequently declared vacant and a tournament was scheduled by NWA
President, Howard Brody.
Tampa, Florida: September 19, 2000
(Fort Homer Hesterly Armory) ... Mike Rapada defeated Jerry Flynn in a tournament final to
capture the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Notes: Rapada was attacked by Sabu after the match. Rapada was also the NWA North
American Heavyweight Champion, which was subsequently declared vacant after his victory. A
six-man, single-elimination tournament. 623 fans in attendance. Promoted by NWA President,
Tampa, Florida: November 14, 2000
(Fort Homer Hesterly Armory) ... Sabu defeated Mike Rapada to capture the NWA World
Notes: The match started in the back before going to the ring. Sabu put Rapada through a
table prior to the pinfall. 500 fans in attendance. NWA Night of Decisions ’00. Promoted by
NWA President, Howard Brody. Sabu was also the XPW World Heavyweight Champion.
Nashville, Tennessee: December 22, 2000
(State Fairgrounds) ... Mike Rapada defeated Sabu to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Title
Notes: Rapada's second NWA World Title. Rapada pinned Sabu. Sabu injured his wrist during
the match and was bleeding.
Tampa, Florida: April 24, 2001
(Fort Homer Hesterly Armory) ... Steve Corino defeated Mike Rapada to capture the NWA World
Heavyweight Title. (No Disqualification, Countout or Time-Limit Match) (22:45)
Note: NWA No Recounts Needed ’01 event.
St. Petersburg, Florida: October 13, 2001
(Florida Wrestleplex) ... Shinya Hashimoto defeated Steve Corino to capture the NWA World
Heavyweight Title. (referee Fred Richards stopped the match after Corino was unable to
continue.) (Corino was bloody and on the mat when the bell rang) (10:05) (NWA Battle of the
Belts ’01 – 53rd Anniversary Show) (300 fans)
Notes: After the match, NWA President Jim Miller announced that the World Heavyweight Title
was declared held-up and that he had control of the NWA Title Belt. A rematch was pending.
Steve Corino traveled to the United Kingdom later in the month as the defending NWA World
Andover, Hampshire, United Kingdom: October 27, 2001
(Leisure Centre) ... Gary Steele defeated Steve Corino to capture the NWA World
Notes: Steele's second. Special Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match. The NWA World Title Belt
was suspended above the ring. Corino had possession of the belt on the ladder, only for it to
fall into the hands of Steele. 1st NWA World Title Change in the United Kingdom. NWA
Officials were forced to comment on the growing controversy surrounding the World
Heavyweight Title. Steve Corino did not have a clear-cut claim to the NWA Title. Neither did
Shinya Hashimoto and for that case, Gary Steele. Corino could not have defended a title he
did not have. On October 28, 2001, NWA President Jim Miller gave a statement concerning the
title situation. The title was announced as being vacant. Several days later on October 31st,
Jim Miller announced that a three-way “Iron Man” contest had been scheduled for December
15th in McKeesport. Corino would face Hashimoto and Steele to determine a new NWA World
Champion. The dispute would finally be settled.
McKeesport, Pennsylvania: December 15, 2001
(The Sportatorium) ... Shinya Hashimoto defeated Steve Corino and Gary Steele in a three-way
round-robin match to capture the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Notes: Hashimoto's second NWA World Title victory. A three-way, round-robin “Iron Man”
match. Corino pinned Steele. Hashimoto forced Steele to submit. Hashimoto pinned Corino in
the final match. Afterwards, Hashimoto was attacked by a masked individual, who turned out to
be former NWA Champion, Dan Severn. NWA Clash of the Champions ’01. Sponsored by
NWA East and NWA President Jim Miller.
Tokyo, Japan: March 9, 2002
(Korakuen Hall) ... Dan Severn defeated Shinya Hashimoto to capture the NWA World
Notes: Severn's second NWA World Title win. NWA President Jim Miller was involved in the
finish of the match, telling the referee to give a fast count. Referee: Fred Richards. 3,000
fans in attendance. A Zero-One Wrestling Program.
On May 29, 2002, the National Wrestling Alliance Board of Directors announced that it was
stripping Dan Severn of the World Heavyweight Title. The group had made a unanimous vote
to strip Severn of the championship because he would be unable to defend his title on the initial
NWA TNA pay-per-view on June 19th because of other commitments. The title would be put up
in a special gauntlet match between 20 competitors on June 19th in Huntsville, Alabama. Jerry
Jarrett was the promoter for the event.
Huntsville, Alabama: June 19, 2002
(Von Braun Center) ... Ken Shamrock defeated Malice in the finals of a 20-man Gauntlet match
to capture the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Notes: 20-Man Gauntlet Match Final. Special Referee: Rick Steamboat. Initial NWA Total Non-
Stop Action Pay-Per-View.
Nashville, Tennessee: August 7, 2002
(State Fairgrounds) ... Ron Killings defeated Ken Shamrock to capture the NWA World
Notes: Killings pinned Shamrock to score the win. A number of wrestlers participated in the
match. NWA-TNA #8 PPV. Killings became the first African-American to hold the NWA World
Research by Tim Hornbaker, Hisaharu Tanabe
|National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Title (1948-Present)