With this issue Solie's welcomes a new contributor, Matt Benaka, who gives us a multi-part series on the lineage of the major wrestling promotions.
by Matt Benaka
Part 1: The World Heavyweight Title
It is no secret that the two most widely recognized World Titles are those of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and The World Wrestling Federation (WWF). My series will attempt to analyze the two titles and evaluate who has a truer claim to The World Heavyweight Title. In order to reach this end, I will evaluate the title's lineages, the former champions, the conduct and performance of former champions, an evaluation of both titles over the last year, and my conclusion.
The first in the series will be lineage of the titles. First, there is WCW. The WCW World Heavyweight Title came into existence on 01/11/91 in East Rutherford, NJ. Ric Flair defeated Sting to win The National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight Title. With the NWA no longer operating as an organization, Flair was recognized as the first WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
While six years is a brief amount of time to have existed, WCW does have deep roots. As was stated, WCW emerged from the NWA. There are several important dates to remember in NWA history. The first NWA World Heavyweight Champion was crowned during October of 1948. His name was Orville Brown, and he was the reigning Kansas City based Midwest Wrestling Association (MWA) World Heavyweight Champion. When the MWA merged with the newly formed NWA, Brown was recognized as the first NWA World Heavyweight Champion. 11/01/49 was the day that Brown's career was ended. He was in an automobile accident and was forced to forfeit his title to The National Wrestling Association (NWA) World Heavyweight Champion, Lou Thesz. The two were slated to face off on 11/25/49 in a unification match in St. Louis, MO. However, Thesz was awarded the NWA World Heavyweight Title on 11/27/49. This forced the National Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title to become abandoned.
Let's not forget about the MWA. This was The Kansas City based version of The MWA World Title. The first MWA World Champion was crowned on 01/19/40 when Bobby Brunns defeated Orville Brown in Kansas City, KS. Unlike the NWA, the MWA had no parent organization. Its history began in 1940 and continued until the two titles were merged in 1948.
So far, WCW can trace their roots as far as 1940 and The MWA. Can we go further? You bet. Let's look at The National Wrestling Association. The first NWA World Champion was Dick Shikat. He won the title on 08/23/29 after defeating Jim Londos in Philadelphia, PA. This title would continue until 11/27/49 when Lou Thesz unified the NWA World Title with the National Wrestling Alliance World Title.
Now WCW can trace themselves back to 1929. Trust me, it goes much deeper than that. Those are the titles that it is easiest to link WCW to. Now, if one were to connect all the different World Titles and the different unifications, it would be possible to trace the WCW history back to 01/19/1880. On that day, William Muldoon defeated Thiebaud Bauer in New York, NY for The first American Greco-Roman Title. Muldoon would go on to retire as champion on 12/31/1891. Ernest Roeber defeated Apollo to win the vacant title sometime during 1892.
On 03/14/1887, Evan Strangler Lewis defeated Joe Acton in Chicago, IL to win the Catch-As-Catch-Can Title. Joe Acton had been the first Catch-As-Catch-Can Champion by defeating Tom Cannon on 12/09/1881 in London, England.
In New Orleans, LA on 03/02/1893, Evan Strangler Lewis and Ernest Roeber would make wrestling history. The American Greco-Roman Champion and The Catch-As-Catch-Can Champion faced off in a best of five falls unification match in which both the greco-roman and catch-as-catch-can styles were used. Lewis came out on top and unified the two titles into the American Heavyweight Title.
On 04/03/1908, the reigning American Heavyweight Champion, Frank Gotch, defeated The World Heavyweight Champion, George Hackenschmidt, in Chicago, IL to unify The American Title with the World Heavyweight Title.
The World Heavyweight Title was last held by Steve Crusher Casey on 02/11/38. Casey was also The Massachusetts based American Wrestling Association (AWA) World Heavyweight Champion. Thus, the World and AWA World Titles merged together and the AWA version remained. This would not always be so. On 07/27/50, The AWA Title was unified with National Wrestling Alliance Title. Lou Thesz defeated Gorgeous George in Chicago, IL , and the AWA version was scrapped. Then, of course, the NWA would merge into The WCW. So, we are able to trace the WCW World Heavyweight Title as far back as January 19, 1880.
You are probably thinking that the WWF could never match that. You may be surprised. The WWF has been around longer than WCW. They broke away from the NWA in 1963. While WCW merged from the NWA, WWF left on bad terms. Buddy Rogers had lost The NWA World Title to Lou Thesz on 01/24/63. Several promoters contested that Rogers' loss had been in a one fall match, and the title could only change hands in a two out of three falls match. So, the disgruntled promoters broke >from the NWA, formed The World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) and crowned Buddy Rogers as their first champion. In breaking from the NWA, the WWWF, later named the WWF, has the same history as the WCW. The only difference is that WCW can claim all the NWA Champions, while the WWF can only claim the champions up until Rogers.
That brings me to the next issue, former champions of each federation. Let's look at the scorecard after issue one. The question is who has a longer lineage. The answer is that they have the same lineage. This issue is a tie. I hope you enjoyed this brief breakdown of the title's histories. See you next time.........
Note: This series was inspired by an article written by Norman H. Kietzer from the October 1971 issue of Wrestling Monthly. To read his article, go to this location.
Most of the dates were provided by Royal Duncan and Gary Will's Wrestling Title Histories *If you have any questions, comments, or corrections feel free to mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ric Flair VS. Sting: July 7, 1990
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
July 7, 1990 is a day that will become the most significant day in the life of Steve Borden aka Sting. It was the day that he would capture his first world title: The NWA World Heavyweight Title. This date would also be one of the worst days in the career of Ric Flair as he lost this title to Sting. First, a little background.
The on and off relationship with Sting and Flair began in January of 1988 when Sting was campaining for a title shot against Flair. Flair, thinking that he would have an easy challenger, accepted the challenge when Sting attacked JJ Dillon. The two met in February of 1988 on World Wide Wrestling. The encounter was brutal, to say the least, and it left people wondering if Sting could really defeat Flair. It also left people wondering could Flair withstand a man who had power AND technical skills.
Over the next two years, Sting and Flair would battle over the belt, unite to battle The Great Muta and Terry Funk, and become partners in The Four Horsemen. In February of 1990 (almost two years after their first televised encounter), Flair and the Horsemen booted Sting out of the group and injured his left knee. This would put Sting on the shelf for almost six months. Then, in June of that year, Sting made a surprise appearance during a Clash Of Champions event in Charleston, SC. Sting and Flair had an impromptu match as the card was going off the air. The Steiners and Paul Orndorff kept the Horsemen at bay while Sting and Flair battled.
This led to the July 7 encounter at The Great American Bash in Baltimore, MD. Sting, dressed in red, white, and blue, was ready for the task. Flair did everything he could in this match up. He had to because Ole Anderson was handcuffed to El Gigante. The NWA also stationed Paul Orndorff, Junkyard Dog and The Steiners around the ring to keep the remaining members of the Horsemen out of the match. I also think there was an added stipulation that if Flair still found a way to get himself DQ'ed, he would lose the title to Sting. So Flair was a man with no way out at all.
The only way he was going to keep the title was to defeat Sting.
To his credit, Flair actually had his chances do defeat Sting in this matchup but Sting would not be denied. The best chance Flair had was when Sting tried to knee Flair in the corner but missed. Flair, thinking that Sting had re-injured his left knee, went for the figure-four. But as he did so, Sting reached up and rolled him up for the pin and the title!!! The Stinger had got his revenge by taking the belt from Flair!!! After this match, Flair would go on to defeat Sting six months later to regain the championship. This would be the only time that Sting would defeat Flair in a championship match. Still, this was a great day for the man called Sting.
If you have any questions, comments, criticisms, or just want to talk pro wrestling, please e-mail me at email@example.com.
Coming Soon: Run, Blade Runner, Run: The Story Of Sting
Irvin Griffin Jr. is a regular contributor to Solie's as well as the Ringside Insider and other publications.
Due to popular demand I have instituted a Fantasy Forum as an addendum to the Readers' Forum. This is a place where you can fight imaginary battles or invent imaginary wrestlers, managers and even promotions should the idea appeal to you. Check out the disclaimer copy at the bottom of this page for the link to the Fantasy Forum and also to the other three discussion forums available her at Solie's.
That;s all for now. I will be back on Monday Night with the regular Monday Night Wars Edition of the newsletter. Until then...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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