The strange cases of seven missing titles

WWE World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship

When Japanese wrestling legend Antonio Inoki joined the WWE in 1978, the WWE Hall of Famer was presented with the World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship. Inoki was known to battle opponents of all combat sports and even faced the great Muhammad Ali in 1976. This newly created title was contested only in matchups that resembled modern-day Mixed Martial Arts bouts and gave Inoki the opportunity to display his versatile skills. (WATCH)

Although the Martial Arts Title was given to Inoki at Madison Square Garden, it was mostly defended in Japan in conjunction with New Japan Pro Wrestling. After WWE’s affiliation with NJPW ended in 1985, the title never returned to America. Eleven years after the title’s inception, Inoki lost the championship for the first time in a Tokyo bout against Shota Chochishvili, a judo master from the nation of Georgia. Chochishvili had won a gold medal for the Soviet Union in the 1972 Olympic Games, but despite his pedigree, he lost the title back to Inoki in Osaka only one month later. The Martial Arts Championship was never seen or defended again, and Inoki was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010. Conspicuously missing from Inoki’s induction was the lost Martial Arts Title. Did he misplace it somewhere in Osaka?