7. GHC Heavyweight Championship (est. 2001)
Pro Wrestling NOAH is in a similar place as Ring of Honor when it comes to this list and their position in wrestling. The promotion, at one point, was the best in Japan and arguably the world. The GHC Heavyweight Championship highlighted this as matches between the likes of Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, and Jun Akiyama stand as some of the best of all time.
Similar to the ROH Champion, the GHC Heavyweight Champion could at one point stake their claim as the best wrestler in the world. If you were a fan of Japanese wrestling, this was the promotion and the championship of the 2000s. However, as you could probably tell, that wave of success came to a pretty sudden halt in 2009.
The tragic death of Mitsuharu Misawa played a large role in derailing the promotion and since then it has never really recovered. The GHC Championship is often held by extremely talented performers such as Go Shiozaki and Naomichi Marufuji and you can see excellent matches if you tune in to see them. The problem is very few do.
6. NXT Championship (est. 2012)
Few would have thought that NXT and the NXT Championship would rise to the levels they have since 2012. What started as WWE’s developmental brand has now become the company’s answer to Ring of Honor. With a renewed reliance on world-class in-ring workers and clever booking on television, NXT rose to become one of the top wrestling brands in the world.
The NXT Championship itself grew to become arguably WWE’s most prestigious championship. Through its own exclusivity, the NXT Championship has one of the best list of champions in wrestling… as long as you forget about Bo Dallas.
The problems with the NXT Championship are minimal but they do exist. A few of its titleholders, particularly Dallas, have been so-so with reigns that are pretty forgettable. However, the biggest damage done to the title has been recent.
The NXT Championship has had a difficult time since the brand started going head-to-head with AEW. Adam Cole’s reign was ended in an attempt to counter-program the competition, leading to Keith Lee’s transitional reign. Then Karrion Kross’ reign was cut short by injury. While neither Lee nor Kross would make bad champions, their reigns have taken the title down a notch.
5. NXT Women’s Championship (est. 2013)
While the NXT Championship has had some dud champions, you will be hard-pressed to find a “bad” NXT Women’s Champion. NXT’s use of women’s wrestling has been a key component to their increased use and representation on the main roster. Much of that can be seen through the NXT Women’s Championship.
From Paige’s inaugural title win onward, the list of NXT Women’s Champions is impressive. Another title focused on long reigns, the likes of Asuka and Shayna Baszler have highlighted the list of former champions with their year-long reigns.
NXT’s women have been just as important to the growth and success as the men and you will find it difficult to find problems with this title or its champions. The handling of the Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair storyline this year is the most notable exception.
4. AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship (est. 1989)
In many ways the precursor to Pro Wrestling NOAH’s GHC Heavyweight Championship, All Japan Pro Wrestling’s Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship was the top prize of the 90s. Held by the same names that made the GHC title prestigious, Misawa, Kobashi, and Akiyama, as well as Toshiaki Kawada and Akira Taue, helped make this the workhorse title of wrestling.
Upon the mass exodus of stars led by Misawa in 2000, the title immediately lost its luster. There were still top names who held the title such as Minoru Suzuki, The Great Muta, and Shinya Hashimoto, but the promotion still had a sour feeling to it once its own top stars jumped ship.
Similar to the GHC title, the Triple Crown Championship has had great workers hold it in recent years. Kento Miyahara, in particular, is perhaps the most underrated wrestler in the world today. While the title is not as recognized as it once was, its years of prominence in some of the best matches of all time, give it a spot near the top of the list.