SANADA Makes History, Becomes Longest Reigning IWGP World Heavyweight Champion

SANADA is now the longest reigning IWGP World Heavyweight Champion in NJPW history

Records are there to be broken, and IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA has done just that, become the longest reigning champion in the title’s lineage.

SANADA’s reign passed the 212 day mark on November 6, overtaking Shingo Takagi’s 211 day run with the belt in 2021/2022. The Just 5 Guys member won the title from Kazuchika Okada at Sakura Genesis on April 8, and has successfully defended the title on four occasions.

Whilst SANADA may have the record for longest single reign, he is still behind Okada in terms of cumulative days as champ, with ‘The Rainmaker’ enjoying over 253 days as champion across two reigns. However, with SANADA’s next scheduled defence of the belt coming at Wrestle Kingdom 18 on January 4 against Tetsuya Naito, it looks certain that he will overtake Okada before 2023 is out.

Since the belt was controversially established in 2021, there have been six different champions, with Kota Ibushi serving as inaugural champion. Ibushi combined the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and IWGP Intercontinental Championship to create the new title, and its new lineage.

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Written by Jack Atkins

Scripts, news, and features writer. Anything with words, basically.