At today’s Pro Wrestling NOAH event, Summer Navigation 2017 Vol. 2, GHC Heavyweight Champion Katsuhiko Nakajima had his 307 reign ended when GFW’s Eddie Edwards defeated up after 25 minutes to become the first gaijin to win NOAH’s top singles title.
Founded in 2000 by former All-Japan president (and puroresu legend) Mitsuharu Misawa, Pro Wrestling NOAH is arguably the number 2 promotion in Japan behind NJPW (although number 3 All-Japan is probably more well known). Since it’s formation, NOAH’s titles have been governed by the Global Honored Crown (GHC) system, hence why all its titles are called GHC (similar to how NJPW titles are considered IWGP titles). Over the past 17 years, Japanese legends like Jun Akiyama, Kenta Kobashi, Akira Taue, Noamichi Marufuji, Yugi Nagata, Minoru Suzuki and Misawa himself have carried the company’s top title, the GHC Heavyweight Championship. NXT’s Hideo Itami – back when he was known simply as KENTA – held the title for 343 days, losing it just before he made his jump to the WWE Universe.
But Eddie Edwards marks a first for Pro Wrestling NOAH, as the first gaijin – or foreigner – to capture the company’s top singles title. In doing so, he joins a small list of gaijin to win the top Japanese title in a Japanese promotion, along with Scott Norton, Bob Sapp, Brock Lesnar and AJ Styles in NJPW (capturing the IWGP Heavyweight title) and Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy, Stan Hansen, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, and Joe Doering in All-Japan (capturing the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight title). Vader won both the IWGP Heavyweight and the Triple Crown during the 1990s.
This marks Eddie Edwards third major singles championship, following previous runs as both ROH World Champion and GFW Impact World Heavyweight Champion.