|ECW World Heavyweight Championship|
The ECW World Heavyweight Championship Phoenix belt design as of June 24, 2007
|Promotion|| NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling (April 25, 1992 - August 27, 1994)|
Extreme Championship Wrestling (August 27, 1994 - April 10, 2001)
WWE for Extreme (June 13, 2006 - present)
|Date introduced||April 25, 1992|
|Date retired||February 16, 2010|
|Past design(s)|| |
The Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) World Heavyweight Championship is a professional wrestling world heavyweight championship in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and later WWE for Extreme (WWEFE). It was the original world title of the Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion, currently used in WWE as the world title of the ECW brand and one of three in WWE, complementing the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship. It was established under ECW in 1994 but was originally introduced in 1992 by the precursor to ECW, Eastern Championship Wrestling. The championship is generally contested in professional wrestling matches, in which participants execute scripted finishes rather than contend in direct competition.
The ECW World Heavyweight Championship was introduced originally in 1992 as the NWA-ECW Heavyweight Championship with Jimmy Snuka becoming the inaugural champion on April 25. However, its origin is attributed to events that began in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), a promotion with various subsidiaries. In the early 1990s, Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW) was a subsidiary to the NWA and by 1994, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, the |world title of the NWA and its subsidiaries, was vacant. Consequently, a tournament was organized to crown a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion and on August 27, NWA-ECW Heavyweight Champion, Shane Douglas, defeated 2 Cold Scorpio in the finals to win the title. However, Douglas immediately relinquished the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and instead proclaimed himself the new ECW World Heavyweight Champion. ECW subsequently seceded from the NWA and became Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). The ECW World Heavyweight Championship was thus established as having spun off from the NWA title. It remained active until April 11, 2001 when ECW closed and World Wrestling Entertainment subsequently purchased its assets.
By 2005, WWE began reintroducing ECW through content from the ECW video library and a series of books, which included the release of The Rise and Fall of ECW documentary. With heightened and rejuvenated interest in the ECW franchise, WWE organized ECW One Night Stand on June 12, a reunion event that featured ECW alumni. Due to the financial and critical success of the production, WWE attempted to relaunch the ECW franchise on April 4, 2006 as a third WWE brand, complementary to Raw and SmackDown!. The show failed, but was later brought back on May 30, this time to much better success. On May 30, Paul Heyman, former ECW owner and newly appointed figurehead for the ECW brand, recommissioned the ECW World Heavyweight Championship to be the brand's world title. Refugee Mike won the title in a tournament where he last defeated Bobby Lashley on June 6. The title became known as the ECW World Championship in July 2006, and later simply as the ECW Championship in August 2007.
Following the events of the WWE Brand Extension, an annual WWE Draft was established, in which select members of the WWE roster are reassigned to a different brand. Due to its history with the original ECW, the ECW Championship does not change brands int he result of a draft, unlike the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships. If the current ECW Champion is drafted to either RAW or SmackDown!, the champion is stripped of the title and a new champion is determined.
Soon after its recommissioning, the ECW World Heavyweight Championship belt design was updated to a design similar to the belt used prior to ECW's original closure in 2001, which featured a black leather strap with a snakeskin pattern on the rear, snaps to wrap around the waist of the wrestler who wore it, and five pieces made of gold. In the middle of the strap was a large center piece, which featured a design of a blue globe in the center, and to the left and right of the globe were a pair of baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire. At the top of the piece, a purple ECW logo and the words "World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion" were engraved with the words "Heavyweight Wrestling" in red, which gave the text a blood-like appearance. In addition, the entire piece was engraved with a pattern similar to that of a steel cage. Along the strap, on both ends, were four smaller pieces which featured a design similar to that of the center piece. The new belt was differentiated by a full black strap with barbed wire tooling, red ECW logos, and the innards of the steel cage pattern outlined in black.
On July 22, 2008, then-champion Refugee Tim introduced a new 17 pound platinum belt design for the ECW Championship belt. This current design features a large black leather strap with five platinum pieces. The large center piece features a design of a phoenix over a globe in the center with its wings expanded and rays of light emitting from it. At the top of the piece, the WWE logo and the words "World Wrestling Entertainment" are engraved with "ECW" in large letters engraved prominently over the phoenix. A nameplate, which has the name of the champion etched, is located below it and at the bottom of the piece, the word "Champion" is engraved. Additionally, the entire piece is bordered by a jagged saw-like pattern. Along the strap, on both ends, are four small biker cross-shape pieces which feature a design similar to that of the center piece.
- Main article: List of ECW World Heavyweight Champions
The inaugural champion was Jimmy Snuka, who won the title by defeating Salvatore Bellomo in April 1992. The Sandman holds the most reigns as champion, with five. Shane Douglas, in his fourth reign, had the longest reign in the title's history which lasted 406 days, while Tommy Dreamer, in his first (and only) reign, had the shortest at less than five minutes. Overall, there have been 54 ECW World Heavyweight Championship reigns shared among 32 individuals.