The Complete History of the WWE Championship - Part 1
The WWE Championship (currently held by Kofi Kingston at the time of this writing) began life 56 years ago as the World Wide Wrestling Federation Championship - aka the WWWF title.
It was promoted as the premier belt - a World Championship no less, by Vince McMahon Senior's WWWF promotion (formerly Capitol Wrestling Corporation).
Back in 1963, and for many years before that, WWWF was one of many regional promotions under the National Wrestling Alliance banner. The NWA would choose a World Champion by committee from one of these companies and then request that World Champion tour all of the other promotions, usually against each of it's top stars.
Under this model, most of these regional promotions thrived in their local strongholds and not one of them would promote outside of boundaries drawn up by the NWA.
Rogers's bookings as NWA Champion were controlled by McMahon Sr and his second in command, Toots Mondt. Rogers was a box office sensation, particularly in their North East stronghold, New York. Rogers found himself being booked more and more frequently in the New York area to the detriment (in the NWA's eyes) of other regions.
Therefore, the NWA committee began to make plans to relieve Rogers of the title. That occurred under protest from McMahon Sr. and Mondt on January 24, 1963, when Rogers dropped the belt to Lou Thesz. Rogers's hugely successful title run was over.
Or was it?
McMahon Sr immediately resigned from the NWA, following Rogers's title loss and established his own World title, the WWWF Championship and appointed Rogers as his inaugural champion.
That's what really happened anyway. In a pre-digital age, McMahon Sr. was able to dupe the public by falsely advising them that Rogers had won a tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to claim the new title.
The WWWF Championship was now in circulation. 56 years later, it is the most famous and respected World title in the world.
This series of articles will cover every single title reign in the belt's illustrious history.