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Wrestling, one of the world’s oldest sports, showcases incredible skill, strength, and technique.

Numerous prestigious wrestling championships cater to various levels, age groups, and global regions.

Here is an overview of the most important wrestling tournaments.

Most Important Wrestling Tournaments:

  1. The Olympics
  2. World Wrestling Championships
  3. NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
  4. Pan American Wrestling Championships
  5. NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships
  6. Asian Wrestling Championships
  7. European Wrestling Championships
  8. NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships
  9. World Junior Wrestling Championships
  10. Canada Cup
  11. African Wrestling Championships
  12. UWW Under-23 World Championships
  13. Cadet World Championships
  14. World Beach Wrestling Championships
  15. World Military Wrestling Championship
  16. Oceania Wrestling Championship
  17. New York Athletic Club International

#1 The Olympics

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 1896 (Modern era)
  • πŸ”„ Held: Every 4 years
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National teams from around the world

Wrestling at the Olympics, governed by United World Wrestling (UWW), showcases the world’s premier wrestlers. Since the modern era began, wrestling has been a staple in the Games.

Historical moments, like Rulon Gardner’s miraculous victory in 2000, have made waves in the wrestling community. The USA, Russia, and Iran have consistently dominated international wrestling competitions.

#2 World Wrestling Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 1951
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National teams from around the world

The World Wrestling Championships, also governed by UWW, is the most prestigious annual wrestling competition. The championships feature all three wrestling styles: Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Women’s Freestyle.

The most successful nations include the United States, Russia, and Iran. Various legends, such as Aleksandr Karelin and John Smith, have left their mark in this championship’s history.

#3 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: United States
  • πŸ“… Established: 1928
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • Teams: College wrestling teams from the United States

The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships is the premier college wrestling event in the United States. Elite college athletes from around the country compete for individual and team championships.

Historically, Oklahoma State, Iowa, and Penn State have been dominant forces in the tournament. The competition has produced many future Olympic and World Champions.

#4 Pan American Wrestling Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies across the Americas
  • πŸ“… Established: 1979
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National teams from the Americas

The Pan American Wrestling Championships, also governed by UWW, is a premier continental championship featuring countries from North, Central, and South America.

The event includes Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Women’s Freestyle wrestling. The United States, Cuba, and Canada continually rank among the top nations in this competition, consistently producing top talent and future world champions.

#5 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: United States
  • πŸ“… Established: 1963
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: College wrestling teams from the United States

The NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships is a prestigious college wrestling competition featuring schools from the DII level.

The tournament is known for its intensity and high level of competition, with many athletes going on to have successful careers in coaching or international competition. Historically, teams like Pittsburg State, Central Oklahoma, and Minnesota State have enjoyed considerable success.

#6 Asian Wrestling Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies across Asia
  • πŸ“… Established: 1979
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National teams from Asia

The Asian Wrestling Championships, governed by the Asian Associated Wrestling Committee, showcases the best wrestling talent from the continent. The event includes Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Women’s Freestyle wrestling.

Wrestling powerhouses like Iran, Japan, and Kazakhstan have enjoyed great success in this competition, with many athletes going on to claim World and Olympic titles.

#7 European Wrestling Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies across Europe
  • πŸ“… Established: 1898
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National teams from Europe

The European Wrestling Championships, conducted under the European Council of UWW, is a continental wrestling competition showcasing Europe’s elite wrestlers in Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Women’s Freestyle styles.

Russia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan have historically been dominant forces in this competition, with many European wrestlers going on to become World and Olympic champions.

#8 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: United States
  • πŸ“… Established: 1974
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: College wrestling teams from the United States

The NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships is a distinguished event for college wrestlers in the DIII level. The tournament celebrates the achievements of student-athletes who balance academics and sports.

Historical champions include Augsburg, Wartburg, and Ithaca College. The competition has also produced remarkable coaches and contributors to the wrestling community.

#9 World Junior Wrestling Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 1975
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National teams from around the world

The World Junior Wrestling Championships, governed by UWW, showcases the talent of young wrestlers aged 17 to 20.

The event includes Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Women’s Freestyle wrestling. Russia, Iran, and the United States often dominate the competition, with many participants going on to achieve success on the senior level, including World and Olympic titles.

#10 Canada Cup

  • πŸ“ Location: Canada
  • πŸ“… Established: 2002
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National and club teams from around the world

The Canada Cup, hosted by Wrestling Canada, is an international wrestling competition that brings together the best wrestlers in the world. It serves as both a fierce competition and a valuable preparatory event for elite athletes.

Competitors from North America, Europe, and Asia often participate, lending a diverse range of talent and wrestling styles.

#11 African Wrestling Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies across Africa
  • πŸ“… Established: 1970
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National teams from Africa

The African Wrestling Championships, governed by the African Associated Wrestling Committee, brings together top wrestlers from across the African continent.

The event includes Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Women’s Freestyle wrestling. Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria are historically dominant forces, with the competition acting as a springboard for many wrestlers to reach the World and Olympic levels.

#12 UWW Under-23 World Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 2017
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National teams from around the world

The UWW Under-23 World Championships is a relatively new wrestling event that provides a stage for young wrestlers aged 18 to 23. The tournament includes Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Women’s Freestyle wrestling.

Due to its recent establishment, the competition has seen different countries excel, further underlining the depth of talent in the international wrestling community.

#13 Cadet World Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 1975
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National teams from around the world

The Cadet World Championships, governed by UWW, showcases the best young wrestlers aged 15 to 17. The event comprises Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Women’s Freestyle disciplines.

The competition is an essential stepping stone for young talents, with many wrestlers going on to achieve success at the senior level. Russia, Iran, and the United States are often dominant forces at this championship.

#14 World Beach Wrestling Championships

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 2006
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National teams from around the world

The World Beach Wrestling Championships, organized by UWW, introduces a unique twist to traditional wrestling, with matches held on sand.

This fast-paced, dynamic competition caters to both men and women, with individual titles up for grabs. Countries like Turkey, Romania, and Brazil have been successful in this championship, which continues to grow in popularity and global reach.

#15 World Military Wrestling Championship

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies globally
  • πŸ“… Established: 1995
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National military teams from around the world

The World Military Wrestling Championship, organized by the Conseil International Du Sport Militaire (CISM), is a unique competition that pits military personnel from various countries against each other.

The championship showcases Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Women’s Freestyle wrestling. The event helps promote friendship, solidarity, and peace among military athletes, with countries like Russia, Iran, and Turkey experiencing significant success.

#16 Oceania Wrestling Championship

  • πŸ“ Location: Varies across Oceania
  • πŸ“… Established: 1980
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: National teams from Oceania

The Oceania Wrestling Championship, conducted under the Oceania Wrestling Council, brings together the best wrestlers from countries in the Oceania region. The event includes Greco-Roman, Freestyle, and Women’s Freestyle wrestling.

The competition allows countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji to showcase their talent and gain valuable international experience in preparation for World and Olympic competitions.

#17 New York Athletic Club International

  • πŸ“ Location: New York City, United States
  • πŸ“… Established: 1954
  • πŸ”„ Held: Annually
  • πŸ‘₯ Teams: International and American wrestlers

The New York Athletic Club International, also known as the Bill Farrell Memorial, is an elite wrestling competition held in New York City. The event attracts top-level wrestlers from around the world, including Olympians and World champions.

It provides an opportunity for American wrestlers to compete against international opponents on home soil, honing their skills and tactics for future global events.

Wrestling

FAQ

What is the most important wrestling tournament?

The Olympics is regarded as the most important wrestling tournament, showcasing the best wrestlers from around the world.

What is the oldest wrestling tournament?

The European Wrestling Championships, established in 1898, is the oldest wrestling tournament still in operation.

What is the hardest wrestling tournament to win?

Both the Olympics and World Wrestling Championships are considered the hardest wrestling tournaments to win due to the elite level of global competition.

I'm a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. I run stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton, took part in the German Mini Golf Championships, started learning 'real' Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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