Recent years have seen the demise of several WWE titles and the unification of others. Fans during the Attitude Era had the Light Heavyweight Title and European Title – which have both ceased to exist. Also now gone is the Hardcore title, a belt that was unlikely to survive the transition from adult orientated entertainment into the supposed PG era.
Those listed above just scratch the surface, however. In this piece, Craig will delve further back in time and look at a number of defunct WWE tiles, with some even pre-dating Wrestlemania.
WWF International Heavyweight Championship
The WWF International Heavyweight Championship is a former championship recognized by NWA Northeast, the World Wrestling Federation, New Japan Pro Wrestling and the Japanese UWF.
The title existed from 1959 through 1963 and again from 1982 through 1985. Despite having two spells, only six champions with Tatsumi Fujinami holding it twice.
The final champion was Akira Maeda. He defeated Pierre Lefebvre at MSG to be recognized by the WWF before returning to the Japanese UWF in April 1984 and defended it until July of that year when UWF President Hisashi Shinma jumped to All Japan Pro Wrestling, thus ending the relationship between the UWF and the WWF and the title was retired.
WWF Junior heavyweight titles
This title started in 1965 as the World Junior Heavyweight Title in Pittsburgh at the WWWF affiliate. It was brought into the WWWF in 1978 as the Junior Heavyweight Title and remained until New Japan and the WWF split in October 1985.
In April 1994, the championship belt was used as a trophy for the first ever Super J Cup, which was won by Chris ‘Wild Pegasus’ Benoit.
WWF International tag team titles
Held by ring legends like Bruno Sammartino, Dominic DeNucci and Professor Toru Tanaka, the International Tag Team Titles ought to be one of the most highly regarded tag championships in wrestling. Instead, it is one of the most obscure.
In Sammartino’s hometown of Pittsburgh on Dec. 8, 1969, Bruno teamed with Tony Marino to win the titles from The Rising Suns — Tanaka & Mitsu Arakawa. Marino wrestled as “The Battman,” a blatant Dark Knight rip-off. Sammartino was the reigning WWE Champion and the rulebook stated he could not hold both titles, so Marino replaced his strong Italian pal with Victor Rivera.
Marino and Rivera were defeated by the terrifying Mongols — Bepo & Geto — who would go on to be the only team to hold the titles on two occasions. Bepo even won the titles a third time with Johnny De Fazio before going onto a WWE Hall of Fame career as Nikolai Volkoff. Bruno also held the titles on another occasion, this time with DeNucci, who famously taught Mick Foley how to wrestle.
The titles were sold to the National Wrestling Federation in 1972 and were revived in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1985, but the new versions there lasted less than a year.
WWF Canadian Championship
Only one man ever carried the strap and it lasted in the WWF for less than five months but it still makes our list. In August 1985, at the height of the WWF’s aggressive takeover of various wrestling territories, they took over the Montreal-based International Wrestling promotion. One of the promotion’s superstars was Dino Bravo who, upon joining the WWF roster, was billed as the WWF Canadian Champion in some Canadian cities until January 1986, when the title was dropped.
This title lasted a little longer, from February 1979 until March 1981. It was awarded to Ted Dibiase on his debut with the WWF. He held the gold for 126 days until dropping it to Pat Patterson. The third, and final, champion was Seiji Sakaguchi who held the title until 20 March 1981, when it was retired. It is considered by some as the spiritual predecessor to the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship
When Velvet McIntyre and Princess Victoria joined the WWF in 1983, they were already the reigning NWA Women’s World Tag Team Champions. The WWF, however, had since withdrawn from the National Wrestling Alliance, which owned the championship, and McIntyre and Victoria were instead recognized as the first WWF Women’s Tag Team Champions.
On 1 September 1984 Princess Victoria suffered a career-ending neck injury with Desiree Petersen taking her place. In August 1985, The Glamour Girls – Leilani Kai and Judy Martin – won the belts in Egypt. Their run lasted 906 until they lost to Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki, the Jumping Bomb Angels at the 1988 Royal Rumble. In June the Glamour Girls won the tiles back and held them until they were abandoned in 1989. Over the course of their two reigns Kai and Martin held the titles for a staggering 1,157 days.