The TNA World Heavyweight Championship is the premier title of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. The title was introduced in May 2007 when TNA and the NWA officially parted ways, thus disallowing TNA to recognize the NWA World Heavyweight Champion as their top wrestler.
Kurt Angle was the first man to win the TNA championship, after Christian Cage was stripped of the NWA title by the NWA Board of Directors. Angle defeated Sting and Christian in a triple-threat match, but due to the controversial finish, Angle was immediately stripped of the belt and TNA no longer recognizes his first championship reign.
Angle then defeated Samoa Joe, Chris Harris, Christian Cage, and A.J. Styles, in a King of the Mountain match on June 17, 2007 at Slammiversary 2007, just to prove his point. He was then recognized as the first TNA Champion.
Rob Van Dam is the current champion, enjoying his first title reign, after dethroning AJ Styles on April 19, 2010. Kurt Angle has now (officially) held the belt three times, and he has the most title reigns. AJ Styles held the belt the longest, with a reign of 211 days (narrowly surpassing Sting's record-setting 189 days). Sting still has the shortest reign, at just 2 days.
TNA recognizes all NWA World Heavyweight Champions who won the title while in TNA as former TNA World Heavyweight Champions. For example, Ron Killings, who won the NWA title two times while in TNA, is recognized as a two-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion, despite never holding the TNA belt. For purposes of clarity, former NWA-TNA Champions have their own gallery. Below them is the gallery of TNA Champions.
GALLERY: COMING SOON (OR LATER)