|GHC National Championship|
The GHC National Championship (GHCナショナル王座 GHC Nashonaru Ōza) is a professional wrestling championship owned and promoted by the Pro Wrestling Noah (Noah) promotion. GHC is the acronym of Noah's governing body, the Global Honored Crown. The title was announced on October 3, 2019, with the inaugural champion crowned being crowned on November 2, 2019 at Noah the Best 2019. The title became Noah's fifth active championship.
The title is scheduled to be defended exclusively in Japan. Instead of being another "heavyweight" championship, Noah categorizes the title as an openweight title, with both heavyweight and junior heavyweight wrestlers being eligible to challenge for it.
History[edit | edit source]
Background[edit | edit source]
Between 2004 and 2009, Pro Wrestling Noah promoted the GHC Openweight Hardcore Championship. During the title's history, the title was seen as a semi-official title, and sometimes it turned to singles or tag team title. During these years, Noah had attempted to establish a tertiary championship to elevate its wrestlers such as Jun Akiyama and Naomichi Marufuji, but their concept didn't work and the title started to be seen as comedy championship, leading to the title being retired on December 23, 2009. In January 2019, LIDET Entertainment took over the ownership of Noah and on October 3, Riki Choshu announced on behalf of LIDET Entertainment, the creation of the GHC National Championship, with the inaugural champion crowned being crowned on November 2, 2019, at Noah the Best 2019, in a match between Michael Elgin and Takashi Sugiura. The title would also serve as a secondary heavyweight championship for the promotion. Instead, it was later announced that the title would be an openweight title, with both heavyweight and junior heavyweight wrestlers being eligible to challenge for it, being a secondary title for any division in Noah. The title was scheduled to be defended exclusively in Japan and was part of a plan by LIDET Entertainment to relaunch the promotion, as the second largest promotion in Japan. On November 2, 2019, Takashi Sugiura went on to defeat Michael Elgin to become the inaugural GHC National Champion, before losing the title to Katsuhiko Nakajima on May 9, 2020.
Establishment and elevation[edit | edit source]
Since its creation, the GHC National Championship drew a comparison with NJPW's IWGP Intercontinental Championship and Stardom's Wonder of Stardom Championship. The title was also seen as a way to equal with the GHC Heavyweight Championship and for wrestlers to regain momentum after failing to win the GHC Heavyweight Championship or compete with the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Afterwards, inaugural champion Takashi Sugiura began to establish a value to the new championship defending it against established heavyweight wrestlers such as Kaito Kiyomiya, Masa Kitamiya, and Shuhei Taniguchi, until Minoru Tanaka became the first junior heavyweight wrestler to challenge for the title on March 29, 2020, failing to win the title. In May, after Katsuhiko Nakajima won the title from Takashi Sugiura, Nakajima proposed a new approach of the title, with the focus being on hardcore and ladder matches, based on the rules of the former GHC Openweight Hardcore Championship to shift partly the value of the championship. Nakajima also proposed an openweight tournament, later named "All Four Sides" to decide his second challenger to the championship. The tournament contained eight heavyweight wrestlers and six junior heavyweight wrestlers, with the eventual winner being heavyweight wrestler Manabu Soya on June 20.
The continuous elevation of the GHC National Championship culminated on August 10 at NOAH The Chronicle Vol. 3, with the GHC National Championship being defended in a double title match also for the GHC Heavyweight Championship, between reigning GHC National Champion Kenoh and reigning GHC Heavyweight Champion Go Shiozaki, as part of Pro Wrestling Noah's 20th anniversary, which ended in a 60-minute time limit draw.
Championship belt design[edit | edit source]
The base design is similar to the GHC Heavyweight Championship, with notable differences. Like the GHC Heavyweight Championship, the center plate the centerpiece design has a crown above, but one notable difference is that the center plate on the national championship is written national above the crown and above the title as the Hinomaru (日の丸, the "circle of the sun"), which embodies the country's sobriquet Land of the Rising Sun. The title belt was also made red to distinguish it from the black heavyweight championship to represent the color of Japan.
Title History[edit | edit source]
|1||Takashi Sugiura||1||November 2, 2019||Tokyo||189 Days||4||Defeated Michael Elgin to become the inaugural champion.|
|2||Katsuhiko Nakajima||1||May 9, 2020||Kanagawa||87 Days||2|
|3||Kenoh||1||August 4, 2020||Tokyo||170+||3|
Gallery[edit | edit source]