The World Titles: An Historic Perspective
Here is the continuation of Matt Benaka's historical perspective on the lineage of the two major promotions' World Titles. The next four chapters concentrate on the personalities who held these Championships, beginning with WCW. In this installment we pick up the story as Vader has just assumed the crown for the third time.
Part III: WCW - The Personalities 1994 - present
by Matt Benaka
Who better to beat the big man than "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair? Flair had returned to WCW and worked his way to a World Title match with Vader at Starrcade. Flair vowed that if he did not win The WCW World Title, he would retire from wrestling. It was December 27, 1993 when Flair became the third man to have captured this title on two occasions. His reign lasted 3 months and 28 days.
Oddly enough, Flair would be the next champion as well. A match with Ricky Steamboat on April 23, 1994 ended in a double pin situation. Flair would vacate the title and face Steamboat in a rematch for the vacant title. Thus, on April 24, 1994, Flair became the second man in WCW history to have held the World Heavyweight Title on three occasions by defeating Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. During this reign, he took on "Sensuous" Sherri as his manager. He also unified The WCW World Heavyweight Title with The WCW International World Heavyweight Title.
WCW had bought FlairÕs old World Heavyweight Title Belt from him and turned it back into The NWA World Heavyweight Title. Then, WCW withdrew from The NWA and claimed the NWA World Heavyweight Title was now The WCW International World Heavyweight Title. Sting would be the eventual International World Champion. He would drop his belt to Flair in a unification match on June 23, 1994 at The Clash of The Champions. The International Title was abandoned in favor of the WCW World Heavyweight Title, and The WCW World Heavyweight Belt was replaced by The International World Belt (FlairÕs old belt). This reign lasted 2 months and 24 days.
On July 17, 1994 the "dream match of the 80Õs" occurred. It was on this day that Hulk Hogan would meet and defeat Ric Flair for The WCW World Heavyweight Title. With Jimmy Hart as his manager, he would hold the title for 1 year 3 months and 14 days.
On October 29, 1995 The Giant would win the World Title. The contract had been written up so that the title could change hands on a disqualification. So, Jimmy Hart got Hogan disqualified and The Giant won the title. The Giant was stripped of the title on November 06, 1995 due to the nature of his victory. Jimmy Hart and Kevin Sullivan managed The Giant during his 9 day reign as champion.
The WCW Executive Committee had decided that a new World Heavyweight Champion would be crowned in a sixty man, three ring battle royal. "The Macho Man" Randy Savage would win the battle royal by eliminating The One Man Gang on November 26, 1995. SavageÕs reign lasted 1 month and 22 days.
On December 27, 1995 Ric Flair would win The World Heavyweight Title for an unprecedented fourth occasion. Flair had defeated Sting and Luger in a triangle match earlier in the evening to determine who would get the subsequent title shot at Savage. FlairÕs fourth reign would last a mere 27 days.
Savage would become the fourth man in WCW history to win The World Title in two occasions on January 22, 1996. He was managed by Miss Elizabeth during this 21 day reign.
On February 11, 1996 Ric Flair became a five time World Heavyweight Champion by defeating Savage in a steel cage. Miss Elizabeth left Savage for Flair. So, The Nature Boy was led by Elizabeth and Woman for 2 months and 11 days as Champion.
The Giant became the fifth two time champion on April 22, 1996. With Jimmy Hart still as his manager, The Giant had a reign that could only be compared to that of Big Van Vader. He dominated the likes of Flair, Luger, and Sting. His second reign lasted 3 months and 19 days.
Hulk Hogan would become the sixth two time champion on August 10, 1996. He was handed the title on a silver platter by Scott Hall and Kevin Nash who helped in distracting the champion and the referee as Hogan cheated his way to The World Heavyweight Title. He would be managed by Elizabeth, Ted Dibiase, and Eric Bischoff during his reign. The NWO would lose itÕs top prize though. Hogan would have his second reign ended by Lex Luger. During his second reign, he defended his title only 3 or 4 times, spray painted NWO across The World Title Belt, and seriously devalued the title.
Lex Luger became the seventh man to wear The WCW World Heavyweight Title twice on August 04, 1997. He hoisted Hogan into The Human Torture Rack and made him submit. During his time as champ, he removed the spray paint from The Title Belt and regained some credibility for this title. His second reign would go down as the shortest ever of a WCW World Heavyweight Champion as he lost the title after a mere 6 days.
Hulk Hogan would become the fourth man in federation history to wear the title on three occasions. On August 09, 1997 he used outside interference to dethrone Luger and regain his title. As it stands, Hogan is the reigning World Champion of WCW.
Next week Matt will start describing the WWF Champions, beginning with the "Original Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers. The WWWF Heavyweight Title was created for Rogers after he lost the NWA Championship in a disputed decision.
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
The Black Scorpion
Sting had just won the NWA World Heavyweight Title and the world, it seemed, was rejoicing!! The Horsemen, however, were not among those that were happy. Ric Flair and Sid Vicious emerged as the two top contenders to Sting's belt during the latter part of the summer and were determinded to bring the gold back to the Horsemen.
However, a new challenger showed up in September of 1990. A man who claimed to be from Sting's past and knew him in California. He called himself "The Black Scorpion." Rumors ran amok about the identity of this man. Some suggested that it was another Horsemen plot, others said that it was Lex Luger (Luger did use a similar scheme that will be seen in pt. 9), and others even suggested that it was The Ultimate Warrior (which was the most unlikely scenerio because UW was WWF Champion at that time and Vince would never allow any of his wrestlers to be in WCW while still wrestling in the WWF).
In any event, Sting agreed to face BS at a Clash Of The Champions event in Savanah, GA. Sting dominated BS and was about to remove the mask when another man wearing a similar outfit showed up on entrance ramp. This startled Sting, who couldn't believe his eyes (the man he wrestled was Al Perez by the way). Sting was also attacked by Sid later on that night during an interview and this led to a title match at Halloween Havoc '90 in Chicago, Ill. Sid pretty much had his way with Sting but Sting came back as always. The match then went outside the ring and when it returned into the ring, it looked like Sid had pinned Sting to win the NWA title. But, seconds after the three count, Sting came back to the ring?!!! Well, Barry Windham had tried to impersonate Sting to allow Sid to get a cheap victory (this wouldn't be the last time that someone would impersonate the Stinger). The match was ordered to continue and Sting pinned Sid to retain the title. The business with The Black Scorpion, however, was far from done.
Next: Scorpion Unmasked
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis.
By Garland Chan
The votes are in and the winner is-best angle. Best angle beat out best commentator by a 6-5 vote. Very close this week! But don't fret. For those of you who wanted to see best commentary, I'll do it in the futureÉpromise. For anyone who doesn't know, an angle is a figure formed by two lines diverging from a common point. ;) Oh, you want the definition of a wrestling angle? Ok. A wrestling angle is a story line intended to draw heat for wrestlers to make for more dramatic matches. What are the best angles of today?
I don't care what anybody says. This angle isn't getting stale, it's getting started. From the very inception of the NWO when Hogan joined Hall and Nash, they kept things interesting by adding more and more personalities. Look at Marc Bagwell. Muscle-bound jobber before, glorified member of the NWO after. Hulk Hogan. No skills and declining before. Still no skill, but newfound life as THE most hated heel after. The NWO is a factory for turning boring wrestlers into interesting wrestlers. And that parody on Arn Anderson's retirement was not only classic, it is the very thing they do best. They have the ability to draw so much heat because they poke fun of their opponentsÉand get away with it. You just want to pop them one and they're just waiting for someone to do it.
2. Canada/US feud
Vince McMahon has found his cash cow in this angle. Vince can sell all sort of merchandise because of the popularity of his wrestlers in a particular area. What better way to make all the wrestlers happy by having them cheered depending on whether they are in Canada or the United States? They can job in certain arenas and win in others. Bret Hart leads the parade of Canadians on a quest to dominate wrestling and hold every major title while the Patriot takes the flag awaiting others to join him. So far Vader seems waiting in the wings and I look forward to seeing who else will as well.
I know that people are saying that they are getting tired of waiting for Sting, but with the talent roster WCW has, they can get away with it. After his cleaning house in Wrestle War '96, Sting has barely said a word and barely showed any emotional faces. And with the impending Sting vs. Hogan at Starrcade, do you think you can predict the buy rates for that PPV? (hint: think high)
4. WWF vs. ECW
Think this angle is over yet? Think again. When the WWF recently had a RIW in PA, I was surprised by no run ins by the ECW. The angle was dead they say. But with Ross' comments on a later RIW stating that Lawler had a match with Tommy Dreamer indicate otherwise. This angle is not a rip off of the nWo angle as it really is another promotion wanting to gain respect. While everyone says that no one is willing to job to the other, I disagree. I don't think that one promotion would come of as inferior if wrestlers from both organizations job. This could just be the angle to pull both organizations from their respective ruts.
5. Steve Austin's "injury"
Boy, am I going to get a lot of heat if I'm wrong. But this has all the feel of a work. Case in point: Who was the last person in the WWF to get a "career threatening" injury? Shawn Michaels. Who was Shawn's opponent when he got injured? Owen Hart. Who was Steve Austin's opponent when he got injured? Owen Hart. What was the move that the WWF singled out on over and over on video when Shawn got injured? The insurguri (sp?). What was the move that the WWF singled out on over and over when Steve got injured? The tombstone piledriver. And what better way to draw pops for Austin than to have him make that miracle comeback.
I received am e-mail, which described what he thought a good interview was. I liked it so much that I'm going to reprint part of it here:
"What do I consider important for interviews? Can the person interviewed make me care about what he's gonna say if I know the gist of it already? The announcer sets up the topic and lets the interviewee have at it. We know they're gonna pitch the next PPV. We know they're gonna refer to the interviewer when they begin and go into a monologue. And we know they may say they came to their federation because it was the best (plug, plug). But the good ones can make us watch these commercials rapt as if they're telling us how to make rain."
Question of the week: Now that Arn Anderson is retired, who do you think best represents the blue-collar wrestler? Why? (Please e-mail with your thoughts-if I like it, I may print it!)
VOTE!!! What would you like me to write about next week? Best Lightweight or Best Heavyweight
Agree? Disagree? Suggestions for future articles? Go ahead make my day.
Until next time, this is Garland riding shotgun...
"That's Arn Anderson and Tully Blachard!!!" Lord Alfred Hayes exclaiming over the Brainbusters
when they first appeared in the WWF
Lord Alfred Hayes exclaiming over the Brainbusters
There have been many things said on the Internet about the relative abilities of the various promoters to "build Stars". I find these arguments pointless in the extreme...but I will add my two cents to this debate on an occasion like the retirement of the incomparable Arn Anderson.
When Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard first appeared in the WWF they were already stars. That's why they were introduced so enthusiastically, that is why they captured the WWF Tag Titles almost immediately, and in the end, that is why their tour of the WWF failed miserably. They came into the WWF with such a reputation for brutality that they weren't able to live up to their own bad press in that "whitebread", cartoonish atmosphere.
Ric Flair came to the WWF as the "Real World's Champion" - nobody had to tell the WWF fans who he was. That's because, in those days people were not either WWF or WCW fans...they were wrestling fans. Period.
They knew who Flair was, they knew who Blanchard and Anderson were, they knew who Lex Luger was because they watched and enjoyed both promotions. They also knew who Rick Rude was, who Roddy Piper was, who Paul Orndorff, Randy Savage, Greg Valentine and Ricky Steamboat were. Who the Road Warriors were. Who Dusty Rhodes was. All of these wrestlers were huge stars before they entered the WWF. Most wrestling fans are still that way, but most wrestling fans don't spend much time on the Internet.
As a person who grew up in the wrestling business, I was amazed at how much accurate information was available on the Internet when I found my first wrestling website (D'infernos back in February of 1996). I was also appalled at some of the bogus information and unfounded prejudices I encountered. It's one of the reasons I decided to create Solie's in the first place.
The idea I have heard spread around since then, that only Vince McMahon is able to create wrestling stars is a crock, pure and simple.
There have been other tributes to AAA (even on these pages) but I wanted to add a personal note that the Enforcer has been a very important part of all wrestling fans' conscienceness for the last ten years or so. It can only be a very sad day for the sport when such a figure leaves the stage. We at Solie's want to wish Arn Anderson all the best in whatever future endeavors he may pursue. I hope to see him remain active in the field, but whatever he decides to do with the rest of his still young life, I just want to thank Arn Anderson for giving all of us wrestling fans some of the great thrills of the last decade.
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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