Championships are a key aspect of pro wrestling. Having a physical prize allows wrestlers to have a goal in their respective promotions. That goal can be many things. Fame, notoriety, cash, whatever it may be, championships are seen as a symbol of success… if they are used properly.
Many championships have been devalued over the years, and some have never held much value to begin with. On this list, we will gather the ten most prestigious wrestling championships from around the world. Different factors may be used to justify each title’s position on this list but we hope you listen to our reasoning and agree with our conclusions. If not, tell us on Twitter. That’s what it’s there for.
10. AEW World Championship (est. 2019)
Our first entry is also the youngest championship on this list. All Elite Wrestling is still in its infancy as a promotion, and the AEW World Championship is younger still, but a year after its inception, there is no question it is one of the most coveted titles in wrestling.
There have only been two champions as of this writing, Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley. However, the exclusivity of its title history works to its benefit. It is clear that only a select few will be chosen to represent AEW as its champion. As a result, the title has been protected with the utmost care.
Since being won by Chris Jericho at All Out 2019, the champion has only been pinned in non-title matches once. If you need to ask who the most protected person in the promotion is at any time, you need only look at who is in possession of ‘Pretty Platinum’. Time will tell how the belt will be perceived but on its current trajectory, this title will only climb this list.
9. ROH World Championship (est. 2002)
Ring of Honor holds a special place in wrestling history. For years it was the promotion of choice for fans who felt turned away from WWE and TNA. It held this position for a long time too. From 2002 until the mid 2010s, if you wanted the best in-ring product in America, odds are you would find it in Ring of Honor.
The ROH World Championship was treated with tremendous amounts of respect for a long time as well. Long reigns and an alumni filled with some of the top names in the business made the title one of wrestling’s cornerstones. Why does it rank so low on this list, you ask? Well, it’s complicated.
Since the turn of the last decade ROH has lost its identity. As mentioned above, ROH was the wrestling purist’s promotion of choice. However, the rise of promotions like New Japan Pro Wrestling, NXT, and AEW has taken the shine off of ROH. It is no longer the place to be as a top worker and its championship has suffered as a result.
For years you could make the argument that the ROH World Champion was the best wrestler in the world. CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, Nigel McGuinness, the list goes on. Now, the same does not hold true.
8. CMLL Heavyweight Championship (est. 1991)
Being the heavyweight champion of the world’s oldest wrestling promotion brings with it a certain amount of prestige. CMLL was formed all the way back in 1933 and it wasn’t until 1991 that the promotion’s current heavyweight championship was created.
Lucha Libre tends to be more separate from the rest of the world with less crossover than with American, British or Japanese wrestling. There are notable exceptions, of course, but many of the top stars of CMLL have remained stars of Mexico exclusively. This explains their title’s place at number eight on this list as it doesn’t have the reach of some of the others, but it does have a prestigious history.
The promotion’s focus on long reigns has helped the championship mean more. Title changes are not frequent at all in CMLL. The average length of a title reign is over 530 days. Being on the exclusive list of champions is an achievement and the prestige of the title finds its place on this list.