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Last updated on 2015/05/08


(picture of Santel here)
Ad Santel

National Wrestling Association ( 1930/04 - 1952 )
National Wrestling Alliance ( 1951/12< - 1958 )
NWA/Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre ( 1958 - 2010/08 )

Martin "Farmer" Burns 1890s
Said to have held the title before winning American Heavyweight Title on 1895/04/20.
Fred Beell 1911
Still champion as of 13/01/04..

Clarence Bouldin 1905/06/13 Cleveland, OH, USA
Defeats James Parr.

Fred Beell 1908/01/04<  
Americus (Gus Schoenlein) 1908/04/08Baltimore, MD, USA
Previously billed as American Light Heavyweight champion; recognized as world champion after defeating Beell; still champion as of 13/01/04..

William Demetral 1906 London, ENG *
Wins a 2-week tournament.
Yussif Hussane 1909/09/02 Dallas, TX, USA
William Demetral [2] 1909/11/04<
Ad Santel (Adolph Ernst) 1913/01/14 Woodward, OK, USA
Jack Harbertson defeats John Berg, who disputes Santel's claim for not making the 170lb limit, on 18/05/21 in Ogden, UT to claim the title; Santel defeats Harbertson on 19/01/08 in Ogden, UT; Santel loses to Clarence Eklund in a tournament on 28/11/20 in Melbourne, AUS (see below); may continue to claim the title in Northern California until 31 or 32.

Elmer "Pet" Brown 1916
Defeats George Grim.
Clarence Eklund 1916/09/14 Houston, TX, USA
Helmer Myre 1918/01 Charles City, IA, USA
Clarence Eklund [2] 1919 Charles City, IA, USA
Helmer Myre [2] 1922/04/04 Abert Lea, MN, USA
Clarence Eklund [3] 1922/10/20 Sheridan, WY, USA
Charlie Rentrop 1923/01/04 Sheridan, WY, USA
Clarence Eklund [4] 1923/01/26 Sheridan, WY, USA
Ted Thye 1926/02/10 Columbus, OH, USA
Clarence Eklund [5] 1926/05/12 Portland, OR, USA
Thye continues to claim the title in Ohio but loses to Eklund on 26/06/02 in Columbus, OH; Thye also continues to be recognized in Australia, loses to Sam Clapham sometime in 26, and regains on 27/08/20 in W. Melbourne, AUS.
Ira Dern 1927/01/01 Columbus, OH, USA
Eklund may continue to claim the title outside Ohio; vacant in Ohio sometime after 27/07/20 when Dern's weight exceeds the division limit.
Pinky Gardner 1927/08/24 Columbus, OH, USA
Defeats Clarence Eklund for the local recognition.
Clarence Eklund [6] 1927/12/14 Columbus, OH, USA
John Shimkus 1928/01/24 Dallas, TX, USA
Clarence Eklund [7] 1928/02/14 Dallas, TX, USA
Wins tournament on 28/11/20 in Melbourne, AUS to become the undisputed champion (see below).

Jim Londos 1917/02/21<
Billed as champion in Sioux Falls, SD; still/again champion in Missouri as of 22/06/06 at least through 23/02/24.

Pete Sauer 1920/05/09<
Pete Sauer [2] 1922/10/09 Santa Paula, CA, USA
Defeats Clarence Ecklund.
Ted Thye 1923/01/24 Portland, OR, USA
Billy Edwards 1924/04/02 Portland, OR, USA
Charlie Fischer 1929/12/05? Kansas City, KS, USA
Or "fall of 1929", according to various newspapers; still/again billed as champion as of 31/09/30 in Dubuque, IA, 32/01/26 in Kansas City, KS, 35/04/24 in Springfield, OH, and 38/10/11 in Illinois.

Clarence Eklund 1928/11/20 Melbourne, AUS
Wins tournament to become the undisputed champion, defeating Ted Thye in the final and Ad Santel in earlier round; declared vacant by the National Wrestling Association when Eklund declines invitation to participate in tournament in 30; continue to claim the title in Montana but retires in 31 (or 32?).
Hugh Nichols 1930/04/04 Cincinnati, OH, USA
Defeats Joe Banaski in NBA World Light Heavyweight Wrestling Championship tournament final.
Frank Wolf 1933/03/08 Dallas, TX, USA
NBA claims Nichols was fouled and continues to recognize him as champion although they do sanction the rematch in 33/06.
Hugh Nichols [2] 1933/06/07 Oklahoma City, OK, USA
Defeats Wolf in the rematch.
Leroy McGuirk 1934/03/05 Tulsa, OK, USA
Ted Christy defeats McGuirk on 36/01/13 in Hollywood, CA and is recognized as champion in California; McGuirk continues to be recognized by NWA.
Bobby Chick 1936/12/14 Tulsa, OK, USA
Hugh Nichols [3] 1937/04/28 Oklahoma City, OK, USA
One report says Nichols is billed as champion in Lima, OH as of 37/05/11.
Red Berry 1937/05/31 Tulsa, OK, USA
Danny McShain 1937/10/11 Hollywood, CA, USA
Leroy McGuirk [3] 1938/05/16 Tulsa, OK, USA
Danny McShain [2] 1938/12/05 Hollywood, CA, USA
Jesse James defeats McShain by DQ in the third fall on 39/03/06 in Hollywood, CA, but McShain continues to be recognized by NWA because the title cannot change hands by DQ; James is recognized in California; McShain defeats James on 40/01/15 in Hollywood, CA to unify the California version.
Jesse James 1940/03/13 Tulsa, OK, USA
Red Berry [2] 1940/09/02 Hollywood, CA, USA
Paavo Katonan 1941/08/04 Hollywood, CA, USA
Danny McShain [3] 1941/08/25 Hollywood, CA, USA
Red Berry [3] 1941/09/01 Hollywood, CA, USA
Billy Varga 1941/12/01 Hollywood, CA, USA
Red Berry [4] 1941/12/22 Hollywood, CA, USA
Paavo Katonen # 1942/05/18 Tulsa, OK, USA
Wins by DQ for a local recognition.
Red Berry # 1942/06/01 Tulsa, OK, USA
Billy Raborn 1942/08/24 Tulsa, OK, USA
Billy Varga [2] 1943/03/22 Hollywood, CA, USA
Gorilla Ramos 1943/04/26 Hollywood, CA, USA
Red Berry [5] 1943/10/11 Hollywood, CA, USA
Gray Mask 1943/12/27 Hollywood, CA, USA
Gorilla Ramos [2] 1944/03/13 Hollywood, CA, USA
Gray Mask [2] 1944/03/27 Hollywood, CA, USA
Red Berry [6] 1944/04/24 Hollywood, CA, USA
Dick Trout 1944/12/11 Hollywood, CA, USA
Danny McShain [4] 1945/01/22 Hollywood, CA, USA
Dick Trout [2] 1945/03/26 Hollywood, CA, USA
Danny McShain [5] 1945/04/16 Hollywood, CA, USA
Red Berry [7] 1945/09/10 Hollywood, CA, USA
Ernie Piluso 1946/01/14 Hollywood, CA, USA
Martino Angelo 1946/08/19 Hollywood, CA, USA
Danny McShain [6] 1946/09/16 Hollywood, CA, USA
Martino Angelo [2] 1946/09/23 Hollywood, CA, USA
Danny McShain [7] 1947/01/27 Hollywood, CA, USA
Martino Angelo [3] 1947/02/10 Hollywood, CA, USA
Danny McShain [8] 1947/05/05 Hollywood, CA, USA
Dick Trout 1947/07/23 Bakersfield, CA, USA
Danny McShain [9] 1947/08/06 Bakersfield, CA, USA
Red Berry [8] 1947/09/02 San Diego, CA, USA
McShain may regain the title on 47/09/13 in Visalia, CA.
Jan Blears 1947/09/15 Phoenix, AZ, USA
Still champion as of 48/03/18; Billy Goelz is billed as NWA champion in Illinois; may be vacant in California in 48/03.
Jackie Nichols 1948/04/05<
May have won international tournament in Hollywood, CA, defeating Blears in the final; still champion as of 48/06/02.

Carroll (Pink) Gardner 1949/12/14<
Recognized in Schenectady, NY.

Andy Tremaine 1950/04/18 El Paso, TX, USA
Defeats Monte LaDue to be recognized by National Wrestling Association; still holds the title as of 52/08/21; declines the offer to wrestle National Wrestling Alliance champion in a unification match and retires as champion in 52.

Johnny Balbo 1951/12/09<
Recognized as National Wrestling Alliance champion in Iowa; also recognized as champion in Illinois as of 52/01/08 (may not be billed as an NWA champion); Carl Engstrom defeats Balbo in what is most likely a non-title match on 52/06/28 in Chicago, IL and is billed as champion as late as 52/08/26 in some towns in Wisconsin and Iowa where Balbo is billed as a former champion; Balbo continues to be billed as champion in Illinois and is again billed as NWA champion in Iowa in 52/10.
Gypsy Joe (Frank Dorsetti) 1952/11/05 Des Moines, IA, USA
Frank Stojack 1953/08/10 Spokane, WA, USA
Stripped by NWA in 58 for inactivity; Stojack retires in the same year.
Moe Smith 1958/10/29 Carson City, NV, USA
Defeats Luigi Macera in the final of a tournament which has initially been considered for the NWA recognition but is rejected by the time it takes place; NWA gives the control of the title to EMLL.
Dory Dixon 1959/02/13 Mexico City, MEX
Defeats Al Kashey, contender appointed by the National Wrestling Association, to be recognized by the National Wrestling Alliance, with presidents from both organizations in attendance; some sources say that Kashey has been awarded on 57/11/30 in Tulsa, OK.

* See NWA World Light Heavyweight Title.

Other World Light Heavyweight Titles

Canada & The United States