For many WWE Superstars and wrestlers alike, being crowned champion is the greatest accomplishment in their career. Winning a title not only establishes a wrestler as a top star, but it also leads to their names being etched in the record books where they'll always be a part of history.
As the year progresses, new champions come and go, while some are remembered more than others. While capturing the gold can skyrocket a wrestlers' career to the top, a forgettable reign can diminish the credibility of the title and the person possessing it.
Over the years, a lot of championships in WWE have been retired or unified to form new ones, with most of them ending up in obscurity. Here are 10 championships you may or may not know existed in WWE.
#10 WWE Canadian Championship
You've heard of the United States Championship, but have you ever heard of the Canadian Championship? If you answered no, we don't blame you. But, if you said yes, then you're probably a fossil. There's a reason why this championship faded into obscurity.
In 1985, Vince McMahon acquired International Wrestling, a wrestling promotion that was based in Montreal, Canada. As a result, Dino Bravo, who was the Canadian International Heavyweight Champion, returned to WWE and the company named him their Canadian Champion.
He defended the title in various cities before it was abandoned without an official explanation in January 1986. This makes Dino Bravo the inaugural and sole WWE Canadian Champion in history.
#9 WWE Junior Heavyweight Championship
The Junior Heavyweight Championship was created for the light heavyweight or cruiserweight division in the '60s and it had a notable history that spanned almost two decades.
It disappeared in 1972 after the reigning champion went into retirement and six years later the championship was once again in circulation. The title was held by notable competitors such as Tiger Mask, Tatsumi Fujinami, and The Dynamite Kid.
In the 1980s, the title was defended mostly in Japan as part of WWE's relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling. After their relationship dissolved in 1985, the Junior Heavyweight Championship was abandoned.
#8 WWE United States Heavyweight Championship
WWE recently unveiled a new version of the United States Championship, one of their top titles in the company. Even though it carries the WWE name, the U.S. Title was owned by WCW, which was bought by Vince McMahon in 2001.
The WWE United States Championship's lineage dates back to the territorial days of the NWA, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, and the crowning of WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race as the inaugural titleholder back in 1975.
However, WWE also had their version of the U.S. Title. Bobo Brazil was the first-ever WWWF United States Heavyweight Champion. He held the gold for a record 7 times for a combined reign of 1,837 days. After Pedro Morales vacated the title, Bobo was awarded the belt on 19 February 1971.
The following month, the United States Heavyweight Championship was deactivated.
#7 WWE International Heavyweight Championship
The WWF International Heavyweight Championship has probably the most unusual lineage in pro wrestling history. It was recognized by Capitol Wrestling Corporation/WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling and UWF.
It was established in 1948 and retired in 1963 before being recovered in 1982 and abandoned by WWE in 1985. The inaugural champion was Antonino Rocca who won the title by defeating Dick Schikat in the tournament final in a house show in 1948.
From 1948 to 1959, the belt's history is unrecorded. Rocca defeated inaugural WWE Champion and Hall of Famer Buddy Rogers in 1959 to once again establish himself as the champion.
In the 1960s, the championship went missing and it was brought back by WWE in the '80s. It was mostly defended in Japan as part of the company's relationship with NJPW. It was abandoned once again after NJPW and WWE split.
#6 WWE United States Tag Team Championship
Although this belt faded deeply into vagueness, it still holds a great piece of history in professional wrestling. What's so special about this old and ugly little thing you ask? I'm glad you did because the answer will surprise you.
Before there was the WWE World Heavyweight Championship or WWE the Intercontinental Championship, there was the WWWF United States Tag Team Championship.
When this title was created, Vince McMahon Sr. was still running WWE as a member of the National Wrestling Alliance under the name Capitol Wrestling Corporation. The title was also the initial version of the main tag team championship in the WWWF from 1963 until 1967.
It was retired after Bruno Sammartino and his tag team partner Spiros Arion captured it. Because Bruno was also the reigning WWWF Champion, he couldn't defend both titles, so the US Tag Team Championship was deactivated.
See, told you it was special. Now that you've become a wrestling guru, go surprise all your friends and family!
#5 WWE North American Heavyweight Championship
If you've ever wondered how the Intercontinental Championship got its name or what it represented, its predecessor, the WWF North American Heavyweight Championship, can shed some light on that.
The short-lived championship was introduced by WWE in 1978 and awarded to "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase after he signed with the WWWF. The final champion was Seiji Sakaguchi, who held the title for 532 consecutive days.
According to WWE, Pat Patterson "won a tournament" for the South American Heavyweight Championship in Brazil and unified it with the North American Heavyweight Championship to form the Intercontinental Championship.
In March 2018, the company introduced the NXT North American Championship for their weekly Wednesday night show though it does not carry the lineage of the original North American Championship.
#4 WWE International Tag Team Championship
This championship was held by notable wrestlers such as Bruno Sammartino, Toru Tanaka, and Mitsu Arakawa. The title was established in 1969 and the inaugural champions were The Rising Suns (pictured above) who won a kayfabe tournament to become the first champions.
In 1972, the championship was sold to the defunct National Wrestling Federation promotion and in 1985 it resurrected in NJPW. After WWE ended their partnership with the Japanese promotion, the International Tag Team Championship was once again deserted.
#3 WWE Intercontinental Tag Team Championship
Woah, WWE really had a lot of tag titles in those days. Couldn't they just stick to one instead or retiring and creating new ones? Anyway, the final Tag Team Championship we're going to look at today is a title you've most likely never heard of, just like every other belt in this feature, the Intercontinental Tag Team Championship.
We already talked about how the IC Title got its name, so is it similar to the IC Tag Titles? Did a tag team also win a fictitious tournament in South America to unify two championships? The answer is no.
The WWF Intercontinental Tag Team Championship was never even defended in the United States. In fact, it was only held by one tag team -- ever. The title was created due to WWE's association with another Japanese promotion, Universal Wrestling Federation.
The first and last IC Tag Team Champions were Perro Aguayo and Gran Hamada. After WWE severed all ties with UWF, the title was deactivated in July 1991, the same year it was created. Talk about obscurity.
#2 WWF Women's Tag Team Championship
Okay, okay, seriously now, this is the last tag title we're going to be talking about, so you can calm down now. Thank you.
The WWE Universe was introduced to the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship in early 2019, but popular women tag teams like The Glamour Girls and Princess Victoria & Velvet McIntyre held tag team gold in the 1980s.
The current Women's Tag Team Championship and the former one don't carry the same lineage, but the original one will always be a part of history. The first-ever WWF Women's Tag Team Champions were Victoria and McIntyre, who won held it for 574 days.
The longest-reigning champions were The Glamour Girls, who held it for 1,157 combined reigns. The championship didn't last long though, as it was abandoned in 1989 after six years.
This happened mostly because of the lack of tag teams in the women's division, and a lack of female wrestlers at the time.
#1 WWE World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship
There isn't a more pointless championship in WWE history than the WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship. WWE is a pro wrestling company, so why did they need to have an MMA title?
Your guess is as good as mine, so let's find out why. The championship was created for WWE Hall of Famer and NJPW founder Antonio Inoki. Inoki was a mainstream athlete, even colliding with boxing legend Muhammad Ali in Tokyo.
In 1978, Vince McMahon Sr. was very pleased to have Inoki in his promotion, so he awarded the latter with the WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship.
Inoki's first reign lasted 3,780 days, with a total of 4000 combined days as champion. That's mental. The only other person to hold the title was Shota Chochishvili, who lost it back to Inoki in a month.
On 31 December 1989, the WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship was abandoned by New Japan Pro Wrestling.