Every Major Heavyweight Division In Wrestling Right Now, Ranked
In most wrestling promotions, the top division is usually for the heavyweights, with the idea that fans are most interested in the biggest, strongest, toughest wrestlers duking it out in the squared circle for the World Championship. While a vocal number of fans sing the praises of the lighter and often faster junior heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions, the heavyweight championship is usually used to signify the best and biggest stars in the promotion.
These days, pro wrestling has a number of major heavyweight divisions with strong competition and some seriously exciting matches. None of these divisions are bad, but some are clearly doing better than others.
10Ring Of Honor – ROH World Championship
While in previous decades ROH’s top division would have been much higher on a list like this, the promotion has had a rough go of it over the last few years after losing talent to WWE and AEW, questionable booking decisions, bad PR, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic derailing all ROH shows.
The last half a year has been about ROH getting back on track, but it’s felt like the Pure Title division has been doing the heavy lifting while the World Title picture has continued to depend on the mainstays alongside La Facción Ingobernable.
9Impact Wrestling – Impact World Championship
Out of all the major Heavyweight divisions in wrestling, Impact Wrestling might have the weirdest, but also the most promising. Tessa Blanchard winning the World Title made headlines in the wrestling world, but ended up getting stripped of the title.
Now the belt is on Rich Swann — a wrestler who would have totally languished in the X Division in earlier years — has run with it as a fighting champion, racking up title defenses against pretty much everyone on the roster. The big “Forbidden Door” Champion vs. Champion feud with AEW’s Kenny Omega has brought more eyes on Impact, and the choice to have Swann represent Impact in the storyline has been an exciting one.
8All Japan Pro Wrestling – Triple Crown Championship
This may sound sacrilegious, but AJPW is a bit like Impact, at least in terms of the promotion not being as popular as it used to be compared to New Japan and other buzzworthy promotions. But AJPW is obviously more consistent, offering the hard-hitting epics fans tend to expect of the company.
Aging ace Suwama has been the Triple Crown Champion since the pandemic started, dethroning current ace Kento Miyahara and he’s proven himself a consistently worthy champion in his seventh reign. It’s nothing necessarily new, but he’s put on must-see matches with Zeus, Yuma Aoyagi, and Yoshi Tatsu (seriously).
7Pro Wrestling NOAH – GHC Heavyweight Championship
NOAH is another Japanese promotion that’s remained consistently great despite a lower profile in recent years thanks to strong GHC Heavy Champs like Kaito Kiyomiya and Go Shiozaki.
Shiozaki’s reign was solid as he took on all comers during his 405-day reign — including a near-hour-long classic with Takashi Sugiura at the end of 2020 — so it was a surprise to many when 58-year-old Keiji Mutoh (a.k.a. Great Muta) captured the belt in February of 2001. The title win caught the attention of the wrestling world, but it remains to be seen how Mutoh’s run will turn out.
6WWE – WWE Championship
Since capturing the WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36, Drew McIntyre proved to be one of the heroes of WWE’s pandemic era, taking charge of the show whenever he was on screen and putting on great matches against a variety of competitors including Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, and Bobby Lashley.
After a transitional title run for The Miz, Lashley ended up holding the WWE Championship by WrestleMania 37, putting on a strong title defense against McIntyre to open Night 1, and hopefully the rest of his reign will continue in that tradition.
5Dragon Gate Pro-Wrestling – Open The Dream Gate Championship
Recent years of Dragon Gate Pro-Wrestling have been rather tumultuous thanks to the departure of many of their big stars like CIMA and Shingo Takagi while the veterans of the promotion are approaching retirement. But the promotion’s been betting on young talent in the position of the Open the Dream Gate Champion like Ben-K, Eita, and now Shun Skywalker, so their main event title scene has been populated with lots of up-and-coming talent ready to take the crown along with some capable veterans.
4WWE – NXT Championship
The NXT Championship has a reputation for being one of the few men’s top titles in America where fans pretty much always expect a quality match, and more often than not get something worth watching. 2020 saw the title in a weird state of flux due to a truncated Keith Lee title run and Karrion Kross immediately dropping the belt after winning it due to injury, but it’s since stabilized.
Finn Balor had been a strong champion during his second reign, putting on acclaimed bouts with Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole, and Pete Dunne before dropping the belt to Kross. Despite his exciting presentation, Karrion Kross has yet to be proven as a champion, but he’ll certainly have a lot of opportunities to prove himself, as stiff competition from the previously mentioned wrestlers await him.
3New Japan Pro-Wrestling – IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
For most of the past decade, NJPW had won over the wrestling world thanks to its Heavyweight scene, as the IWGP Heavyweight Championship grew in prestige thanks to an epic run by Kazuchika Okada and the years-long narrative of Tetsuya Naito trying to beat him in the Tokyo Dome.
In the year since, NJPW has still delivered numerous quality main events, but fans have been critical of the booking of the Double Championship, and were even more critical of the decision to unify the Heavyweight and Intercontinental belts as the World Heavyweight Championship. It didn’t help that Kota Ibushi’s title run was cut short in favor of putting the belt on Will Ospreay — a controversial decision given the real-life allegations against him.
2WWE – Universal Championship
For years, WWE’s Universal Title scene has been among the worst of the current major titles in the company thanks to lots of questionable booking decisions and often poor match quality. All it takes, however, is the right champion to elevate a title, and WWE found that in a newly heel Roman Reigns.
Since Reigns took the title away during the neverending Bray Wyatt/Braun Strowman feud, the belt’s felt re-energized thanks to great feuds with Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan, Edge, and Reign’s own cousin, Jey Uso.
1All Elite Wrestling – AEW World Championship
AEW has been around for about two years now, and has thus far given fans one of the strongest Heavyweight title divisions in pro wrestling. Jon Moxley’s near-300 day run as champ offered a nice variety of challengers including Eddie Kingston, Darby Allin, and MJF, before finally dropping the belt to Kenny Omega.
Omega’s heel run with the belt has already proven strong, with great defenses against Rey Fenix and Moxley even if fans ignore the crossovers with other promotions.