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  July 5, 2000



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Ogawa surrenders NWA World title
By GREG OLIVER -- SLAM! Wrestling

Naoya Ogawa
The NWA World title is vacant after former champion Naoya Ogawa of Japan surrendered the title on July 2.

NWA President Howard Brody said in a press release that Ogawa forfeited the title in Tokyo because of a shoulder injury he sustained in a recent match against Shin'ya Hashimoto in New Japan Pro Wrestling, not because Ogawa was set to face Rickson Gracie in a shoot fight.

The released continued:

"Although Mr. Ogawa did confirm that fans have not been talking about any "dream match" with him against either Misawa or Kawada, and therefore wanted to concentrate on Gracie, he did say: "I have respect for the title but due to my injury, it wouldn't be fair to the NWA. I have to do the right thing." The "right thing" in the opinion of the NWA Board of Directors was doing exactly what Mr. Ogawa did; freeing up the title so that it may be defended on NWA cards here in North America on a regular basis.

In our opinion, the forfeiture by Mr. Ogawa was done tastefully and respectfully of the NWA and its members, and prevented a potentially embarrassing situation for him, should we have had to strip him of the title prior to his self-imposed removal. But, because Mr. Ogawa maintained a level of professionalism in the way he relinquished the belt, the door has now been left open for Mr. Ogawa to receive a future title match against whomever the new champion may be, once he is healthy."

Ogawa goes down as a two-time NWA World champion. He beat Dan 'The Beast' Severn in Yokohama, Japan on March 14, 1999 to initially win the belt. On September 25, 1999, he lost a three-way match and the title to Gary Steele of the U.K. at the NWA's 51st anniversary show in Charlotte, North Carolina. Brian Anthony was the third participant in the match. Ogawa regained the title from Steele a week later on October 2, 1999 in Thomaston, Connecticut.

The NWA Board of Directors has ordered a one night tournament to crown a new champion. Further details have yet to be announced.

Coverage of the NWA 50th anniversary
Coverage of the NWA 51st anniversary




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