NWA/ECW Heavyweight Championship
The ECW Championship was a world heavyweight championship. The title was the highest ranked championship of the Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion. After ECW went bankrupt in 2001, the belt was retired, but World Wrestling Entertainment would bring it back as the main title for the newly launched ECW Brand. When the brand was discontinued, the belt was retired once again.
The ECW Heavyweight Championship was originally a National Wrestling Alliance title known as the Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW) Heavyweight Championship. However, in 1994, the ECW Heavyweight Champion, Shane Douglas, was entered into a tournament for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. On August 27, he defeated 2 Cold Scorpio in the tournament final to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, but immediately relinquished it and instead proclaimed himself the new ECW World Heavyweight Champion. Days later, Eastern Championship Wrestling left the National Wrestling Alliance as the name of the promotion was changed to Extreme Championship Wrestling, thus the title became known as the Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) World Heavyweight Championship. The title officially gained its “World” status on August 27, 1999 after years of being defended internationally against challengers from around the world and remained active until April 11, 2001 when World Wrestling Entertainment subsequently purchased the promotion after its closure.
The title was reactivated following WWE’s decision to revive Extreme Championship Wrestling as a third brand. Prior to One Night Stand 2006, Paul Heyman stated that if Rob Van Dam was to win the WWE Championship at One Night Stand, the ECW World Heavyweight Championship would replace the WWE Championship. When Rob Van Dam went on to defeat John Cena for the WWE Championship at the event, the ECW World Heavyweight Championship was presented to Rob Van Dam by Paul Heyman during the premiere episode of the new ECW brand. However, Rob Van Dam stated that he would continue to use both titles and remain WWE Champion while being the new ECW World Heavyweight Champion.
Weeks later, the ECW World Heavyweight title belt was replaced with a new similar belt that features the new ECW logo and new plates. The title was then renamed the ECW World Championship around the start of The Big Show’s reign to avoid confusion with the SmackDown! brand’s World Heavyweight Championship. Around the time of John Morrison’s reign, the title was simply referred to as the ECW Championship. The championship has yet to regain world title status from PWI.
After Mark Henry defeated Kane at The Great American Bash 2008 to win the championship, it received a new design. The belt was now all-black and heavier and broader than its progenitors. WWE would maintain this design until they deactivated the belt.
The ECW Championship remained contested until WWE announced that they were discontinuing the brand in early 2010. The championship was contested for the last time on February 16, 2010, which is when ECW of SyFy’s last show aired. Ezekiel Jackson would defeat Christian for the tile in an Extreme Rules match. After that, the brand was discontinued for good. Jackson is recognized as the brand’s final champion.
The first title known as the National Wrestling Alliance Eastern Championship Wrestling Heavyweight title began use when Jimmy Snuka defeated Sal Bellomo after the two were finalists from separate battle royals. Jimmy Snuka won the title on April 25, 1992 and received a five plate title belt made by Mike Vartanian. The belt is pretty much an exact copy of NWA-ECW’s forerunner Tri-State Wrestling Alliance’s Heavyweight title. The only differences being that the NWA-ECW’s main plate featured the promotions name and had areas painted blue. During this belt’s period of use, it was treated badly and was grinded, repainted, had jewels placed on the main plate, which would explain why it appears different in almost every photo of it. By the time the title was replaced, it was in a very bad state and two of the side plates were broken off/missing.
When Eastern Championship Wrestling withdrew from the NWA to become Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1994 it continued using this title until 1996 when it had a new title created that was began use in 1996 during Raven’s 2nd title reign and was use through 1998.
In 1998 ECW had a new title created that would be used until the promotion was purchased by Vince McMahon in 2001.
This version of the title was used when the WWE brought ECW back as a brand in 2006 although it was repainted slightly by the WWE compared to the original ECW version.
The WWE then created an original design that was used from 2008 until the brand was retired in 2010.