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NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE DETAILS




Back to the NWA World title history.

written by Richard O'Sullivan

July 14, 1948 - Orville Brown is recognized as the World heavyweight champion by the National Wrestling Alliance at its first annual convention in Iowa. Brown had previously been recognized as champion by the Midwestern Wrestling Association.

November 27, 1949 - Lou Thesz (Lajos Tiza), the reigning World champion of the National Wrestling Association is awarded the National Wrestling Alliance World title at the second annual NWA convention in St. Louis, Missouri, USA after a unification match with Orville Brown, scheduled for November 25, 1949, is cancelled due to Brown suffering injuries in an automobile accident on November 1, 1949. Thesz eventually goes on to achieve the record for being the longest-reigning World champion in NWA history, setting a mark that still stands to this day.

July 27, 1950 - NWA World champion Lou Thesz (Lajos Tiza) pins AWA World champion Gorgeous George (Raymond George Wagner) in Chicago, Illinois, USA to unify both titles. That version of the American Wrestling Association, based out of Boston, is then absorbed into the NWA. A group of promoters in the midwestern United States revive the AWA name a decade later.

May 21, 1952 - NWA World champion Lou Thesz (Lajos Tiza) defeats Baron Michele Leone, who is recognized by California promoters as World champion, at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, USA. In doing so, Thesz basically becomes the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

March 15, 1956 - Whipper Billy Watson defeats Lou Thesz (Lajos Tiza) via countout to win the NWA World title in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The referee is former boxing champion Jack Dempsey. The match is presented by Maple Leaf Wrestling.

November 9, 1956 - Lou Thesz (Lajos Tiza) pins Whipper Billy Watson in St. Louis, Missouri, USA to capture the NWA World title (alliance version) for the second time. The match is presented by the St. Louis Wrestling Club.

November 14, 1957 - Dick Hutton pins Lou Thesz (Lajos Tiza) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to take the NWA World title. The match is presented by Maple Leaf Wrestling.

January 9, 1959 - Pat O'Conner pins Dick Hutton in St. Louis, Missouri, USA to garner the NWA World title. The match is presented by the St. Louis Wrestling Club.

June 30, 1961 - "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers (Herman "Dutch" Rohde) pins Pat O'Conner at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois, USA to win the NWA World title. The match is presented by Fred Kohler Wrestling.

January 24, 1963 - Lou Thesz (Lajos Tiza) pins "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers (Herman "Dutch" Rohde) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to capture the NWA World title (alliance version) for the third and final time. Rogers is subsequently recognized as WWWF World champion by a group of former NWA promoters in the northeast, who bill their new organization as the World Wide Wrestling Federation (later known as the World Wrestling Federation). The match is presented by Maple Leaf Wrestling.

January 7, 1966 - "Big Thunder" Gene Kiniski pins Lou Thesz (Lajos Tiza) in St. Louis, Missouri, USA to take the NWA World title. The match is presented by the St. Louis Wrestling Club.

February 11, 1969 - Dory Funk Jr. pins "Big Thunder" Gene Kiniski in Tampa, Florida, USA to garner the NWA World title. The match is presented by Championship Wrestling from Florida.

May 24, 1973 - Harley Race pins Dory Funk Jr. in Kansas City, Kansas, USA to win the NWA World title for the very first time. The match is presented by Heart of America Sports Attractions.

July 20, 1973 - Jack Brisco pins Harley Race in Houston, Texas, USA to capture the NWA World title. The match is presented by Houston Wrestling.

December 2, 1974 - Shohei "Giant" Baba pins Jack Brisco in Kagoshima, Japan to take his first NWA World title. The match is presented by All Japan Pro Wrestling.

December 9, 1974 - Jack Brisco pins Shohei "Giant" Baba in Toyohashi, Japan to garner the NWA World title for the second time. The match is presented by All Japan Pro Wrestling.

December 10, 1975 - Terry Funk pins Jack Brisco in Miami, Florida, USA to win the NWA World title. The match is presented by Championship Wrestling from Florida.

February 6, 1977 - Harley Race defeats Terry Funk via submission with an Indian deathlock at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to capture the NWA World title for the second time of his career. The match is presented by Maple Leaf Wrestling.

August 21, 1979 - "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Runnels) pins Harley Race in Tampa, Florida, USA to take the NWA World title for the first time. The match is presented by Championship Wrestling from Florida.

August 26, 1979 - Harley Race pins "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Runnels) in Orlando, Florida, USA to garner the NWA World title for the third time. The match is presented by Championship Wrestling from Florida.

October 31, 1979 - Shohei "Giant" Baba pins Harley Race in Nagoya, Japan to win the NWA World title for the second time. The match is presented by All Japan Pro Wrestling.

November 7, 1979 - Harley Race pins Shohei "Giant" Baba in Amagasaki, Japan to capture the NWA World title for the fourth time. The match is presented by All Japan Pro Wrestling.

September 4, 1980 - Shohei "Giant" Baba pins Harley Race in Saga, Japan to take the NWA World title for the third and final time of his career. The match is presented by All Japan Pro Wrestling.

September 9, 1980 - Harley Race pins Shohei "Giant" Baba in Ohtsu, Japan to garner the NWA World title for the fifth time. The match is presented by All Japan Pro Wrestling.

April 27, 1981 - Tommy "Wildfire" Rich (Thomas Richardson) pins Harley Race in Augusta, Georgia, USA to win the NWA World title. The match is presented by Georgia Championship Wrestling.

May 1, 1981 - Harley Race pins Tommy "Wildfire" Rich (Thomas Richardson) in Gainsville, Georgia, USA to capture the NWA World title for the sixth time. The match is presented by Georgia Championship Wrestling.

June 21, 1981 - "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Riley Runnels) pins Harley Race at the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia, USA to take the title NWA World title for the second time. The match is presented by Georgia Championship Wrestling.

September 17, 1981 - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) pins "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Riley Runnels) at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas, USA to garner the NWA World title for the very first time. The match is presented by Heart of America Sports Attractions.

February 9, 1982 - The Midnight Rider, who is Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Riley Runnels) in a mask, pins Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) in Tampa, Florida, USA to seemingly win the NWA World title. However, after the match, NWA president Bob Geigle, who was also the special referee for the bout, orders Rhodes to unmask due to "NWA regulations." Rhodes refuses to do so, since he is wrestling under the mask to "conceal his identity" while suspended, and thus Geigle returns the belt to Flair and strikes the title win from the official record.

June 10, 1983 - Harley Race pins "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri, USA to win the NWA World title for the seventh time. The match is presented by the St. Louis Wrestling Club.

November 24, 1983 - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) pins Harley Race inside a steel cage at the Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA to capture the NWA World title for the second time. This match, the main event of a card billed as Starrcade '83: A Flare for the Gold, is shown on closed-circuit and satellite TV around the world. Former NWA World heavyweight champion "Big Thunder" Gene Kiniski is the special referee. The match is presented by Jim Crockett Promotions.

March 31, 1984 - Harley Race pins "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) in Wellington, New Zealand to take the NWA World title for the eighth and final time of his career. The match is presented by promoter Steve Rickard (Sydney Mervin Batt).

March 23, 1984 - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) pins Harley Race in Kallang, Singapore to garner the NWA World title for the third time. The match is presented by promoter Steve Rickard (Sydney Mervin Batt).

May 6, 1984 - "Modern Day Warrior" Kerry Von Erich (Kerry Gene Adkisson) pins "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, USA to win the NWA World title. David Manning is the referee. The match is the main event of a card billed as the David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions presented by Southwest Sports.

May 24, 1984 - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) pins "Modern Day Warrior" Kerry Von Erich (Kerry Gene Adkisson) in Yokosuka, Japan to capture the NWA World title for the fourth time. The referee is Joe Higuchi. The match is presented by All Japan Pro Wrestling.

July 25, 1986 - "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Riley Runnels) pins "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) inside a steel cage at the Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA to take the NWA World title for the third and final time of his career. The match is part of the Great American Bash Tour '86. The referee is Tommy Young. The match is presented by Jim Crockett Promotions.

August 7, 1986 - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) pins "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Riley Runnels) in St. Louis, Missouri, USA to garner the NWA World title for the fifth time. The referee is Gene Ligon. The match is presented by Jim Crockett Promotions.

September 25, 1987 - Ron Garvin (Roger Barnes) pins "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) inside a steel cage at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, USA to win the NWA World title. The match is presented by Jim Crockett Promotions.

November 26, 1987 - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) pins Ron Garvin (Roger Barnes) inside a steel cage at the UIC Pavillion in Chicago, Illinois, USA thus capturing the NWA World title for the sixth time. The referee for this match, televised on pay-per-view as Starrcade '87: Chi-Town Heat, is Tommy Young. The match is presented by Jim Crockett Promotions.

February 20, 1989 - Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat (Richard Blood) pins the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) at the UIC Pavillion in Chicago, Illinois, USA to take the NWA World title. This match is televised on a Turner Home Entertainment PPV called Chi-Town Rumble. The referee of record is Tommy Young (with an assist by Teddy Long). The match is presented by World Championship Wrestling.

May 7, 1989 - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) pins Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat (Richard Blood) in Nashville, Tennessee, USA to garner the NWA World title for the seventh time. This match is televised on a Turner Home Entertainment PPV called Wrestle War: Music City Showdown. The referee is Tommy Young. The match is presented by World Championship Wrestling.

July 7, 1990 - Sting (Steve Borden) pins "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) to win the NWA World title in the main event of the Turner Home Entertainment PPV called Great American Bash '90 from the Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. The match is presented by World Championship Wrestling.

January 11, 1991 - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) pins Sting (Steve Borden) at the Meadowlands' Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA. In doing so, Flair captures the NWA World title for the eighth time. Also, it is during this reign that Flair is recognized by World Championship Wrestling (a member of the NWA) as the WCW World heavyweight champion, although the NWA World title and WCW World title remain two separate championships. This makes Flair a nine-time World champion overall. The match is presented by World Championship Wrestling.

March 21, 1991 - Tatsumi Fujinami pins "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) at the Egg Dome in Tokyo, Japan. Flair loses the NWA World title, but retains the WCW crown. This match is televised via tape delay on PPV from Turner Home Entertainment and has involvement from two referees, Bill Alphonso and Masa Hatori. The match is presented by New Japan Pro Wrestling.

May 19, 1991 - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) pins Tatsumi Fujinami at the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA to win the NWA World title for the ninth time, thus making him a 10-time World champion. This bout is the main event on a Turner Home Entertainment PPV called WCW SuperBrawl I. The match is presented by World Championship Wrestling.

September 8, 1991 - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) is stripped by the National Wrestling Alliance of the NWA World title after signing a contract with Titan Sports Inc. (the parent company of the World Wrestling Federation). Flair had previously been stripped of the separate WCW World heavyweight championship by WCW, Inc. on July 1, 1991.

August 12, 1992 - Masahiro Chono pins Ravishing Rick Rude (Richard Rood) in the finals of a tournament at Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan to capture the NWA World title. The match and tournament are presented by New Japan Pro Wrestling.

January 4, 1993 - The Great Muta (Keiji Mutoh) pins Masahiro Chono at the Egg Dome in Tokyo, Japan to take the NWA World title. This bout is televised via tape delay on a Turner Home Entertainment PPV called the WCW Japan Supershow. The match is presented by New Japan Pro Wrestling.

February 21, 1993 - Barry Windham pins The Great Muta (Keiji Mutoh) to garner the NWA World title at the Civic Center in Asheville, North Carolina, USA as part of a Turner Home Entertainment PPV known as SuperBrawl III. The match is presented by World Championship Wrestling.

July 18, 1993 - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) pins Barry Windham in Biloxi, Mississippi, USA at a Turner Home Entertainment PPV called Beach Blast '93. In doing so, Flair becomes a ten-time NWA World champion and a 13-time World champion overall (having been recognized as WCW World champion in 1991 and having won the WWF World title on two occasions in 1992). The match is presented by World Championship Wrestling.

1993 - After a legal dispute between the National Wrestling Alliance and member promotion World Championship Wrestling ends in a Charlotte, North Carolina, USA courtroom (with the NWA prevailing over WCW), "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (Richard Morgan Fliehr) is stripped of the NWA World title. However, WCW keeps the physical belt which had represented the NWA World title since 1986 and uses it to launch a new brand new title, totally unrelated to the NWA World title, called the WCWI World heavyweight championship.

August 27, 1994 - Shane Douglas (Troy Martin) pins Too Cold Scorpio (Charles Skaggs) in the finals of a one-night tournament at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA to win the NWA World title. After the match, Douglas relinquishes the championship, declaring himself the ECW World heavyweight champion. The match and tournament are presented by Extreme Championship Wrestling.

November 19, 1994 - Chris Candido pins Tracy Smothers in the finals of a one-night tournament in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA to capture the NWA World title. The referee of the bout is Mark Curtis (Brian Hildebrand). The match and tournament are presented by promoter Dennis Coraluzzo.

February 24, 1995 - Dan "The Beast" Severn defeats Chris Candido in Erlanger, Kentucky, USA to take the NWA World title. The match is presented by Smoky Mountain Wrestling.

March 14, 1999 - Naoya Ogawa beats Dan "The Beast" Severn via submission in Yokohama, Japan to garner the NWA World title. The match is presented by the Universal Fighting-Arts Organization.

September 26, 1999 - Gary Steele wins a three-way match at the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA over reigning champion Naoya Ogawa and Brian Anthony to win the NWA World heavyweight championship. The match is presented by Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.

October 2, 1999 - Naoya Ogawa beats Gary Steele in Thomaston, Connecticut, USA to win the title for the second time of his career.


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