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(as of 2017/12/09)

Orville Brown 1948/07  
Has been recognized as world champion by the following organizations in the midwest: Recognized as the first champion when the National Wrestilng Alliance is founded in 48/07 in Waterloo, IA by Pinkie George with five other promoters.
Lou Thesz 1949/11/27  
Unifies following world heavyweight titles:
  • National Wrestling Association title, having defeated Bill Longson on 48/07/20 in Indianapolis, IN
  • National Wrestling Alliance title, awarded on 49/11/27 when champion Orville Brown is injured in an automobile accident on 49/11/01 before a unification match scheduled on 49/11/25 in St. Louis, MO
  • Los Angeles version, defeating Baron Michele Leone on 52/05/21 in Los Angeles, CA.
Also defeats American Wrestling Association (Boston) champion Gorgeous George on 50/07/27 in Chicago, IL (AWA title not on line).
Leo Nomellini # 1955/03/22 San Francisco, CA
Defeats Thesz by countout in the second round and disqualification in the third round; California Athletic Commission recognizes the title change by disqualification, but both Thesz and Nomellini continue to claim the title.
Lou Thesz # 1955/07/15? St. Louis, MO
Defeats Nomelini in rematch.
Whipper Billy Watson 1956/03/15 Toronto, ON, CAN
Wins by count out.
Lou Thesz [2] 1956/11/09 St. Louis, MO
Edouard Carpentier # 1957/06/14 Chicago, IL
Wins when Thesz cannot continue due to a back injury; loses to Thesz by DQ on 57/07/24 in Montreal, QC but continues to be recognized by the NWA.
Lou Thesz # 1957/08/25  
Carpentier withdraws his claim to the title when Montreal promoter Eddie Quinn leaves NWA; NWA voids all recognition of Carpentier as champion on 57/08/25; Carpentier continues to be recognized as world champion in Omaha and by World Wrestling Association in Los Angeles to legitimate the lineages of their world titles.
Dick Hutton 1957/11/14 Toronto, ON, CAN
Pat O'Connor 1959/01/09 St. Louis, MO
Buddy Rogers 1961/06/30 Chicago, IL
Bruno Sammartino defeats Rogers on 62/08/02 in Toronto, ON but refuses the title as Rogers is injured during the match.
Bobo Brazil # 1962/08/18 Newark, NJ
Wins when Rogers claims a groin injury; Brazil refuses the victory; however, it is announced on 62/09/06 that Brazil is the new champion because nothing has been found wrong with Rogers by the doctor.
Buddy Rogers # 1962/10/30 Toledo, OH
Killer Kowalski defeats Rogers on 62/11/21 in Montreal, QC after Rogers' ankle is broken in first fall; Kowalski is recognized as champion in some places including Texas; Rogers defeats Kowalski on 63/01/21 in New York, NY, but Kowalski claims the match is not for the title.
Lou Thesz [3] 1963/01/24 Toronto, ON, CAN
Promoters in northeast refuse to recognize Rogers's one-fall loss to Thesz and start World Wide Wrestling Federation with Rogers as the first WWWF World Heavyweight champion; Thesz defeats Rogers in a two-out-of-three-falls rematch on 63/02/07 in Toronto, ON; defeats Kowalski on 63/02/01 in Houston, TX; unifies AWA (Alliance) World Title, defeating Karl Krauser on 64/09/07 in Columbus, OH and WWA World Title, defeating Dory Funk Jr. on 65/01/04 in Albuquerque, NM.
Gene Kiniski 1966/01/07 St. Louis, MO
Dory Funk Jr. 1969/02/11 Tampa, FL
Harley Race 1973/05/24 Kansas City, MO
Jack Brisco 1973/07/20 Houston, TX
Giant Baba 1974/12/02 Kagoshima, JPN
Jack Brisco [2] 1974/12/09 Toyohashi, JPN
Terry Funk 1975/12/10 Miami, FL
Harley Race [2] 1977/02/06 Toronto, ON, CAN
Dusty Rhodes 1979/08/21 Tampa, FL
Harley Race [3] 1979/08/26 Orlando, FL
Giant Baba [2] 1979/10/31 Nagoya, JPN
Harley Race [4] 1979/11/07 Amagasaki, JPN
Giant Baba [3] 1980/09/04 Saga, JPN
Harley Race [5] 1980/09/09 Ohtsu, JPN
Tommy Rich 1981/04/27 Augusta, GA
Harley Race [6] 1981/05/01 Gainsville, GA
Dusty Rhodes [2] 1981/06/21 Atlanta, GA
Ric Flair 1981/09/17 Kansas City, MO
Wrestles to a double count-out against WWF Heavyweight champion Bob Backlund on 82/07/04 in Atlanta, GA; around 82 in DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, Flair allows himself to be pinned by Jack Veneno to avoid the riot from the audience, but the title is returned to Flair; Veneno continues to claim the title in Domincan Republic as of 92/03; Victor Jovica pins Flair around 83 in TRINIDAD but the decision is reversed because of Jovica's feet being on the rope; Midnight Rider (Dusty Rhodes under mask) defeats Flair on 83/02/09 in Miami, FL but returns the belt when asked to indentify himself by NWA president Bob Geigel.
Carlos Colon # 1983/01/06 San Juan, PR
Ric Flair # 1983/01/10<
Harley Race [7] 1983/06/10 St. Louis, MO
Ric Flair [2] 1983/11/24 Greensboro, NC
Harley Race # 1984/03/20 Wellington, NZL
Flair claims a fast count.
Ric Flair # 1984/03/22
Announced by the NWA as the champion; defends againt Race on 84/03/25 in Geylang, SIN.
Kerry Von Erich 1984/05/06 Irving, TX
Ric Flair [3] 1984/05/24 Yokosuka, JPN
Wrestles to a double count-out against AWA World heavyweight champion Rick Martel on 85/10/21 in Tokyo, JPN.
Dusty Rhodes [3] 1986/07/26 Greensboro, NC
Ric Flair [4] 1986/08/09 St. Louis, MO
Ronnie Garvin 1987/09/25 Detroit, MI
Ric Flair [5] 1987/11/26 Chicago, IL
Ricky Steamboat 1989/02/20 Chicago, IL
Ric Flair [6] 1989/05/07 Nashville, TN
Sting 1990/07/07 Baltimore, MD
Ric Flair [7] 1991/01/11 E. Rutherford, NJ
Tatsumi Fujinami 1991/03/21 Tokyo, JPN
Ric Flair [8] 1991/05/19 St. Petersburg, FL
Stripped on 91/09/08 when Flair signs with WWF, where he claims the "Real World Heavyweight Title"; NWA World Heavyweight Title is vacant for the first time since the foundation of the NWA in 1948; Flair wins WWF World Heavyweight Title on 92/01/19 in Albany, NY; some reports say Lex Luger, who has won the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Title by defeating Barry Windham on 91/07/14 in Baltimore, MD, is briefly given recognition as NWA World champion by the NWA board, controlled by WCW Vice President Jim Herd; Luger is not recognized by NWA as a former champion.
Masahiro Chono 1992/08/12 Tokyo, JPN
Defeats Rick Rude in tournament final to win the vacant title.
Great Muta 1993/01/04 Tokyo, JPN
Barry Windham 1993/02/21 Asheville, NC
Ric Flair [9] 1993/07/18 Biloxi, MS
Recognition dropped by NWA in 93/09 after WCW withdraws from NWA; WCW continues to recognize "WCW International" World Heavyweight title with Flair as the champion.
Shane Douglas 1994/08/27 Phiadelphia, PA
Defeats Too Cold Scorpio in tournament final but refuses the belt; ECW immediately announces their withdrawal from the NWA.
Chris Candido 1994/11/19 Cherry Hill, NJ
Defeats Tracy Smothers in tournament final.
Dan Severn 1995/02/24 Erlanger, KY
Naoya Ogawa 1999/03/14 Yokohama, JPN
Gary Steele 1999/09/25 Charlotte, NC
Defeats Ogawa and Brian Anthony in a 3-way match.
Naoya Ogawa [2] 1999/10/02 Thomaston, CT
Vacates on 00/07/02.
Mike Rapada 2000/09/19 Tampa, FL
Defeats Jerry Flynn in 8-man tournament final.
Sabu 2000/11/14 Tampa, FL
Mike Rapada [2] 2000/12/22 Nashville, TN
Steve Corino 2001/04/24 Tampa, FL
Title held-up after a match against Shin'ya Hashimoto on 01/10/13 in St. Petersburg, FL when Corino is unable to continue due to injury.
Shin'ya Hashimoto 2001/12/15 McKeesport, PA
Defeats Corino and Gary Steele in a round-robin triangle match.
Dan Severn [2] 2002/03/09 Tokyo, JPN
Referee gives a fast count; stripped on 02/05/28 by unanimous vote of the NWA Board of Directors for not being able to schedule a title defense on 02/06/19 in Huntsville, AL.
Ken Shamrock 2002/06/19 Huntsville, AL
Defeats Malice after the two become the finalists of a battle royal; Total Nonstop Action Wrestling is given a control of the title by the NWA Board of Directors after this point.
Ron Killings 2002/08/07 Nashville, TN
Jeff Jarrett 2002/11/20 Nashville, TN
Defeats Sting 03/05/25 in Auckland, NZL to unify WWA World Title.
A.J. Styles 2003/06/11 Nashville, TN
Jeff Jarrett [2] 2003/10/22 Nashville, TN
A.J. Styles [2] 2004/04/21 Nashville, TN
Ron Killings [2] 2004/05/19 Nashville, TN
Defeats Styles, Chris Harris, and Raven in a 4-way match.
Jeff Jarrett [3] 2004/06/02 Nashville, TN
A.J. Styles [3] 2005/05/15 Orlando, FL
Raven 2005/06/19 Orlando, FL
Defeats Styles, Sean Waltman, Monty Brown, and Abyss in a "King of the Mountain" match.
Jeff Jarrett [4] 2005/09/15 Oldcastle, ON
Rhino 2005/10/23 Orlando, FL
Jeff Jarrett [5] 2005/10/25 Orlando, FL
Christian Cage 2006/02/12 Orlando, FL
Jeff Jarrett [6] 2006/06/18 Orlando, FL
Defeats Cage, Sting, Abyss, and Ron Killings in a "King of the Mountain" match.
Sting [2] 2006/10/22 Plymouth, MI
Abyss 2006/11/19 Orlando, FL
Wins by DQ.
Christian Cage [2] 2007/01/14 Orlando, FL
Defeats Abyss and Sting in a 3-way match; stripped by NWA on 07/05/13 after NWA and TNA discontinues the working agreement; Kurt Angle defeats Cage and Sting in what is billed as a "world heavyweight title match" by TNA later on the same day in Orlando, FL but is stripped of the title on the following day due to a controversial ending of the match.
Adam Pearce 2007/09/01 Bayamón, PR
Loses to Bryan Danielson in the semi-final of 16-man tournament which takes place starting from 07/06/02 in various locations in the U.S., but due to Danielson's eye injury, Pearce replaces him and defeats Brent Albright in the final.
Brent Albright 2008/08/02 New York, NY
Adam Pearce [2] 2008/09/20 Philadelphia, PA
Blue Demon Jr. 2008/10/25 Mexico City, MEX
Adam Pearce [3] 2010/03/14 Charlotte, NC
Defeats Demon and Phill Shatter in a 3-way match.
Colt Cabana 2011/03/06 Hollywood, CA
The Sheik (Joseph Cabibbo) 2011/04/23 Jacksonville, FL
Also defeats Ryoji Sai for "AWA" World Title in a double title match on 11/07/03 in Tokyo; stripped on 11/07/11 for refusing the scheduled title defense against Adam Pearce on 11/07/31 in Columbus, OH.
Adam Pearce [4] 2011/07/31 Columbus, OH
Defeats Chance Prophet, Jimmy Rave, and Shawn Tempers in a 4-way match.
Colt Cabana [2] 2012/04/08 Glendale, CA
Adam Pearce [5] 2012/07/21 Kansas City, KS
Vacates on 12/10/27 in Berwick, AUS after losing to Colt Cobana in a non-title match which is the last of a 7-match series between the two.
Kahagas 2012/11/02 Clayton, NJ
Wins an 9-man elimination match, last eliminating Damien Wayne.
Rob Conway 2013/03/16 San Antonio, TX
Replaces Jax Dane, who is injured after being attacked by Scot Summers & Ryan Genesis earlier on the card, and defeats Kahagas
Satoshi Kojima 2014/01/04 Tokyo, JPN
Rob Conway [2] 2014/06/02 Las Vegas, NV
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 2015/02/14 Sendai, JPN
Jax Dane 2015/08/29 San Antonio, TX
Tim Storm 2016/10/21 Sherman, TX
Nick Aldis 2017/12/09 Sewell, NJ

The Records of the NWA World Heavyweight Title Matches
(1940s - present)