“I am officially relinquishing [the Texas Heavyweight Championship],” stated Hannibal, the most recent holder of the championship (as The Blood Hunter) via YouTube. “I’m moving on to acting, I have zero interest really in wrestling anymore.” He bought it late last year from the previous owner and sold the championship to a doctor based in Ohio this week. When he had put it up for sale, Hannibal had announced the selling price as a minimum of $2 thousand plus shipping, but based on the championship’s history, it’s priceless.
The lineage of the Texas Heavyweight Championship began in the 1930s, making it one of the oldest championships in the pro-wrestling industry. Some of the earliest famous holders of the championship were Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, and Antonio Rocca.
During this period, Texas Heavyweight Championship matches took place in the territory operated by Southwest Sports. In 1948, Southwest Sports became an affiliate of the NWA, changing the name of the championship to the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship. Legends who held the championship after this name change included Verne Gagne, The Shiek, Boris Malenko (as Crusher Duggan), Sputnik Monroe, Bill Watts, Fritz Von Erich, and Ernie Ladd.
In 1966, Southwest Sports became known as NWA Big Time Wrestling. Legends who held the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship while it was under that banner included Wahoo McDaniel, Stan Stasiak, Blackjack Mulligan, Peter Maivia, Stan Hansen, Rocky Johnson, Jimmy Snuka, and Bruiser Brody.
In 1982, the promotion changed names again, this time to one of the names it is best remembered as- World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW).
Legends who held the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship while it was under that banner included David Von Erich and Jimmy Garvin.
In 1986, WCCW left the NWA and changed the name of the championship to the WCWA Texas Heavyweight Championship. This was because even though the promotion’s business name was still World Class Championship Wrestling, its company name was now World Class Wrestling Association. Legends who held it after this name change included Buzz Sawyer, Ultimate Warrior (as Dingo Warrior), Kevin Von Erich, and Brickhouse Brown.
In 1989, WCCW merged with the Tennesse-based Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) to create the Tennesse-based United States Wrestling Association (USWA).
The championship became known as the USWA Texas Heavyweight Championship, and during this time it was held by Kerry Von Erich, Jerry Lawler, and a man named The Punisher. This man later became known as The Undertaker. Yes, the man who is considered by many to be the greatest wrestler of all time is a part of the lineage of the Texas Heavyweight Championship.
The championship went inactive in 1992, but was reactivated as the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship from the 1990s to the 2010s, defended in NWA Southwest and later NWA Houston after NWA Southwest went inactive in 2011.
Champions during this period included Redd Dogg Begnaud (better known as Rodney Mack), Hernandez, Charlie Haas, and Lance Hoyt (current AEW star Lance Archer). It was merged with the NWA Lone Star Heavyweight Championship in 2012 as the result of a title unification match in NWA Houston. NWA Houston left the NWA in 2014 and changed its name to Lone Star Championship Wrestling (LSCW), the name it kept until going inactive in 2016, with the Lone Star Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship going inactive with it.
In March 2021, the Texas Heavyweight Championship was reactivated by Southwest Wrestling Entertainment, now called the SWE Texas Heavyweight Championship, where it was won by The Blood Hunter in a tournament. SWE went inactive that same year, and Hannibal purchased the championship.
As The Blood Hunter, Hannibal represented the championship in a way rarely seen, defending it not only in Texas but also outside of it. With SWE inactive and the championship called the WCR Texas Heavyweight Championship (due to Hannibal having a business relationship with the Oklahoma-based World Class Revolution at the time) he defended it at an October WCR event in Kansas, as well as at an October PCW Ultra event in California. The Blood Hunter even defended it in Canada at a Great North Wrestling (GNW) event. Hannibal and WCR parted ways after a December 2021 event, which was the last time the Texas Heavyweight Championship was defended to date.
With the Texas Heavyweight Championship now inactive, its future is unknown. But its current owner has a piece of history to do with as they choose, whether it is to sell it to a Texas-based promotion that wants to have the most legitimate Texas-based championship in history, to sell it to another collector, or to keep it as a part of their own personal collection. In any case, as far as Texas championships go, its history is unparalleled.