IWGP Heavyweight Championship - Title History

Title History

Key
Reign The reign number for the specific set of wrestlers listed.
Event The event promoted by the respective promotion in which the titles were won
Successful defenses The number of successful defenses the champion had during his reign
N/A The specific information is not known
Used for vacated reigns in order to not count it as an official reign

Statistics correct as of December 8, 2012

# Wrestler Reign Date Days
held
Location Event Successful defenses Notes
01 !1 Inoki, AntonioAntonio Inoki 01 !1 01987-06-12June 12, 1987 325 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Live event !Live event 04 !4 Defeated Masa Saito in a tournament final.
01.5 !— — !Vacated 01 !1 01988-05-02May 2, 1988 zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A Vacated due to Inoki fracturing his left foot.
02 !2 Fujinami, TatsumiTatsumi Fujinami 01 !1 01988-05-08May 8, 1988 19 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Live event !Live event 01 !1 Defeated Big Van Vader.
02.5 !— — !Vacated 01 !1 01988-05-27May 27, 1988 zz !N/A Sendai !Sendai, Japan zz !N/A zz !N/A Held up after a title defense against Riki Chōshū ended in a no contest.
03 !3 Fujinami, TatsumiTatsumi Fujinami 02 !2 01988-06-24June 24, 1988 285 Osaka !Osaka, Japan Live event !Live event 07 !7 Defeated Riki Chōshū in a rematch.
03.5 !— — !Vacated 01 !1 01989-04-05April 5, 1989 zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A Vacated so the title could be decided in a tournament.
04 !4 Vader, Big Van !Big Van Vader 01 !1 01989-04-24April 24, 1989 31 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Live event !Live event 00 !0 Defeated Shinya Hashimoto in a tournament final with Lou Thesz as the special referee.
05 !5 Hashimikov, SalmanSalman Hashimikov 01 !1 01989-05-25May 25, 1989 48 Osaka !Osaka, Japan Live event !Live event 00 !0
06 !6 Chōshū, RikiRiki Chōshū 01 !1 01989-07-12July 12, 1989 29 Osaka !Osaka, Japan Live event !Live event 00 !0
07 !7 Vader, Big Van !Big Van Vader 02 !2 01989-08-10August 10, 1989 374 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Live event !Live event 04 !4
08 !8 Chōshū, RikiRiki Chōshū 02 !2 01990-08-19August 19, 1990 129 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Live event !Live event 01 !1
09 !9 Fujinami, TatsumiTatsumi Fujinami 03 !3 01990-12-26December 26, 1990 22 Hamamatsu !Hamamatsu, Japan Live event !Live event 00 !0
10 !10 Vader, Big Van !Big Van Vader 03 !3 01991-01-17January 17, 1991 46 Yokohama !Yokohama, Japan Live event !Live event 00 !0
11 !11 Fujinami, TatsumiTatsumi Fujinami 04 !4 01991-03-04March 4, 1991 306 Hiroshima !Hiroshima, Japan Live event !Live event 03 !3
12 !12 Chōshū, RikiRiki Chōshū 03 !3 01992-01-04January 4, 1992 225 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Starrcade 1992 in Tokyo Dome !Starrcade 1992 in Tokyo Dome 04 !4 This match was also for Chōshū's Greatest 18 Championship.
13 !13 Great Muta, The !The Great Muta 01 !1 01992-08-16August 16, 1992 400 Fukuoka !Fukuoka, Japan Live event !Live event 05 !5 This was also for Chōshū's Greatest 18 Championship.
14 !14 Hashimoto, ShinyaShinya Hashimoto 01 !1 01993-09-20September 20, 1993 196 Nagoya !Nagoya, Japan Live event !Live event 04 !4
15 !15 Fujinami, TatsumiTatsumi Fujinami 05 !5 01994-04-04April 4, 1994 27 Hiroshima !Hiroshima, Japan Battle Line Kyushu tour !Battle Line Kyushu tour 00 !0
16 !16 Hashimoto, ShinyaShinya Hashimoto 02 !2 01994-05-01May 1, 1994 367 Fukuoka !Fukuoka, Japan Wrestling Dontaku 1994 !Wrestling Dontaku 09 !9
17 !17 Mutoh, KeijiKeiji Mutoh
(formerly The Great Muta)
02 !2 01995-05-03May 3, 1995 246 Fukuoka !Fukuoka, Japan Wrestling Dontaku 1995 !Wrestling Dontaku 05 !5
18 !18 Takada, NobuhikoNobuhiko Takada 01 !1 01996-01-04January 4, 1996 116 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Wrestling World 1996 !Wrestling World 01 !1
19 !19 Hashimoto, ShinyaShinya Hashimoto 03 !3 01996-04-29April 29, 1996 489 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Battle Formation !Battle Formation 07 !7
20 !20 Sasaki, KensukeKensuke Sasaki 01 !1 01997-08-31August 31, 1997 216 Yokohama !Yokohama, Japan Final Power Hall in Yokohama !Final Power Hall in Yokohama 03 !3
21 !21 Fujinami, TatsumiTatsumi Fujinami 06 !6 01998-04-04April 4, 1998 126 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Antonio Inoki Retirement Show !Antonio Inoki Retirement Show 02 !2
22 !22 Chono, MasahiroMasahiro Chono 01 !1 01998-08-08August 8, 1998 44 Osaka !Osaka, Japan Rising the Next Generation in Osaka Dome !Rising the Next Generation in Osaka Dome 00 !0
22.5 !— — !Vacated 01 !1 01998-09-21September 21, 1998 zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A Vacated due to Chono's neck injury.
23 !23 Norton, ScottScott Norton 01 !1 01998-09-23September 23, 1998 103 Yokohama !Yokohama, Japan Big Wednesday !Big Wednesday 04 !4 Defeated Yuji Nagata to win the vacant title.
24 !24 Mutoh, KeijiKeiji Mutoh 03 !3 01999-01-04January 4, 1999 340 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Wrestling World 1999 !Wrestling World 05 !5
25 !25 Tenryu, GenichiroGenichiro Tenryu 01 !1 01999-12-10December 10, 1999 25 Osaka !Osaka, Japan Battle Final tour 1999 !Battle Final tour 00 !0
26 !26 Sasaki, KensukeKensuke Sasaki 02 !2 02000-01-04January 4, 2000 279 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Wrestling World 2000 !Wrestling World 05 !5
26.5 !— — !Vacated 01 !1 02000-10-09October 9, 2000 zz !N/A Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan zz !N/A zz !N/A Vacated after Sasaki lost a non-title match to Toshiaki Kawada at Do Judge!!.
27 !27 Sasaki, KensukeKensuke Sasaki 03 !3 02001-01-04January 4, 2001 72 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Wrestling World 2001 !Wrestling World 01 !1 Defeated Toshiaki Kawada in a tournament final.
28 !28 Norton, ScottScott Norton 02 !2 02001-03-17March 17, 2001 23 Nagoya !Nagoya, Japan Hyper Battle tour 2001 !Hyper Battle tour 00 !0
29 !29 Fujita, KazuyukiKazuyuki Fujita 01 !1 02001-04-09April 9, 2001 270 Osaka !Osaka, Japan Strong Style !Strong Style 02 !2
29.5 !— — !Vacated 01 !1 02002-01-04January 4, 2002 zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A Vacated due to an injured achilles tendon.
30 !30 Yasuda, TadaoTadao Yasuda 01 !1 02002-02-16February 16, 2002 48 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Fighting Spirit tour !Fighting Spirit tour 01 !1 Defeated Yuji Nagata in a tournament final.
31 !31 Nagata, YujiYuji Nagata 01 !1 02002-04-05April 5, 2002 392 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Toukon Special !Toukon Special 10 !10
32 !32 Takayama, YoshihiroYoshihiro Takayama 01 !1 02003-05-02May 2, 2003 185 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Ultimate Crush !Ultimate Crush 03 !3 Was also for Takayama's NWF Heavyweight Championship.
33 !33 Tenzan, HiroyoshiHiroyoshi Tenzan 01 !1 02003-11-03November 3, 2003 36 Yokohama !Yokohama, Japan Yokohama Dead Out !Yokohama Dead Out 00 !0
34 !34 Nakamura, ShinsukeShinsuke Nakamura 01 !1 02003-12-09December 9, 2003 58 Osaka !Osaka, Japan Battle Final tour 2003 !Battle Final tour 01 !1 Defeated Yoshihiro Takayama to unify the IWGP Heavyweight Championship with the NWF Heavyweight Championship on January 4, 2004, at Wrestling World 2004.
34.5 !— — !Vacated 01 !1 02004-02-05February 5, 2004 zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A Vacated due to various injuries.
35 !35 Tenzan, HiroyoshiHiroyoshi Tenzan 02 !2 02004-02-15February 15, 2004 26 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Fighting Spirit tour !Fighting Spirit tour 01 !1 Defeated Genichiro Tenryu in a tournament final
36 !36 Sasaki, KensukeKensuke Sasaki 04 !4 02004-03-12March 12, 2004 16 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Hyper Battle tour 2004 !Hyper Battle tour 00 !0
37 !37 Sapp, BobBob Sapp 01 !1 02004-03-28March 28, 2004 66 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan King of Sports !King of Sports 01 !1
37.5 !— — !Vacated 01 !1 02004-06-02June 2, 2004 zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A Vacated after Sapp lost a K-1 fight to Kazuyuki Fujita.
38 !38 Fujita, KazuyukiKazuyuki Fujita 02 !2 02004-06-05June 5, 2004 126 Osaka !Osaka, Japan Crush 2 !The Crush II 01 !1 Defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to win the vacant title.
39 !39 Sasaki, KensukeKensuke Sasaki 05 !5 02004-10-09October 9, 2004 64 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Pro-Wrestlers Be Strongest !Pro-Wrestlers Be Strongest 02 !2
40 !40 Tenzan, HiroyoshiHiroyoshi Tenzan 03 !3 02004-12-12December 12, 2004 70 Nagoya !Nagoya, Japan Battle Final tour 2004 !Battle Final tour 00 !0
41 !41 Kojima, SatoshiSatoshi Kojima 01 !1 02005-02-20February 20, 2005 83 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan New Year Gold Series !New Year Gold Series 01 !1 This match was also for Kojima's AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.
42 !42 Tenzan, HiroyoshiHiroyoshi Tenzan 04 !4 02005-05-14May 14, 2005 65 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Nexess 6 !Nexess VI 01 !1
43 !43 Fujita, KazuyukiKazuyuki Fujita 03 !3 02005-07-18July 18, 2005 82 Sapporo !Sapporo, Japan Summer Fight Series tour !Summer Fight Series tour 00 !0
44 !44 Lesnar, BrockBrock Lesnar 01 !1 02005-10-08October 8, 2005 280 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Toukon Souzou New Chapter !Toukon Souzou New Chapter 03 !3 This was a three–way match that also included Masahiro Chono.
44.5 !— — !Vacated 01 !1 02006-07-15July 15, 2006 zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A Vacated due to Lesnar being unable to defend the title because of "problems with a working visa". Lesnar refuses to turn over the championship belt, and later is recognized by the Inoki Genome Federation as their first champion, using the same belt.
45 !45 Tanahashi, HiroshiHiroshi Tanahashi 01 !1 02006-07-17July 17, 2006 270 Sapporo !Sapporo, Japan Circuit 2006 Turbulance !Circuit 2006 Turbulance 04 !4 Defeated Giant Bernard in a tournament final.
46 !46 Nagata, YujiYuji Nagata 02 !2 02007-04-13April 13, 2007 178 Osaka !Osaka, Japan Circuit 2007 New Japan Brave tour !Circuit 2007 New Japan Brave tour 02 !2
47 !47 Tanahashi, HiroshiHiroshi Tanahashi 02 !2 02007-10-08October 8, 2007 88 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Explosion '07 !Explosion '07 01 !1
48 !48 Nakamura, ShinsukeShinsuke Nakamura 02 !2 02008-01-04January 4, 2008 114 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Wrestle Kingdom 2 !Wrestle Kingdom II in Tokyo Dome 02 !2 Defeated Kurt Angle on February 17, 2008 on the Circuit 2008 New Japan ISM tour to unify the NJPW and IGF versions of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
49 !49 Mutoh, KeijiKeiji Mutoh 04 !4 02008-04-27April 27, 2008 252 Osaka !Osaka, Japan Circuit 2008 New Japan Brave tour !Circuit 2008 New Japan Brave tour 04 !4
50 !50 Tanahashi, HiroshiHiroshi Tanahashi 03 !3 02009-01-04January 4, 2009 122 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Wrestle Kingdom 3 !Wrestle Kingdom III in Tokyo Dome 03 !3
51 !51 Nakanishi, ManabuManabu Nakanishi 01 !1 02009-05-06May 6, 2009 45 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Dissidence !Dissidence 00 !0
52 !52 Tanahashi, HiroshiHiroshi Tanahashi 04 !4 02009-06-20June 20, 2009 58 Osaka !Osaka, Japan Dominion 6.20 !Dominion 6.20 01 !1
52.5 !— — !Vacated 01 !1 02009-08-17August 17, 2009 zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A zz !N/A Vacated due to Tanahashi fracturing his eye socket.
53 !53 Nakamura, ShinsukeShinsuke Nakamura 03 !3 02009-09-27September 27, 2009 218 Kobe !Kobe, Japan Circuit 2009 New Japan Generation tour !Circuit 2009 New Japan Generation tour 06 !6 Defeated Togi Makabe to win the vacant title.
54 !54 Makabe, TogiTogi Makabe 01 !1 02010-05-03May 3, 2010 161 Fukuoka !Fukuoka, Japan Wrestling Dontaku 2010 !Wrestling Dontaku 2010 03 !3
55 !55 Kojima, SatoshiSatoshi Kojima 02 !2 02010-10-11October 11, 2010 85 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Destruction '10 !Destruction '10 01 !1
56 !56 Tanahashi, HiroshiHiroshi Tanahashi 05 !5 02011-01-04January 4, 2011 404 Tokyo !Tokyo, Japan Wrestle Kingdom 5 !Wrestle Kingdom V in Tokyo Dome 11 !11
57 !57 Okada, KazuchikaKazuchika Okada 01 !1 02012-02-12February 12, 2012 125 Osaka !Osaka, Japan New Beginning !The New Beginning 02 !2
58 !58 Tanahashi, HiroshiHiroshi Tanahashi 06 !6 02012-06-16June 16, 2012 175+ Osaka !Osaka, Japan Dominion 6.16 !Dominion 6.16 05 !5

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