by Matt Benaka
Part VI: Rating the WWWF/WWF Champions
Buddy Rogers is a one time former WWWF World Heavyweight Champion. He was the first man to wear the title, but only for a short time. To my knowledge, The Nature Boy never took his title overseas, and fails as a World champion. He defended against the likes of Bruno Sammartino and Fred Blassie. He would face men in any weight class and earned the designation of Heavyweight champion. Rogers was a superb technical wrestler, but looked for rules to break as well. During his four month stint as champion, he passed as a Champion. In the end, he could be viewed as a sound Heavyweight Champion, but never made himself a World champion.
Ivan Koloff is a one time former WWWF World Heavyweight Champion. He spent less than a month as champion, and was unable to establish himself as a World competitor. However, he would face anyone from Sammartino to Morales. He didn't care if it was a technique wrestler or a power wrestler. He was a Heavyweight champion. Lastly, is the area of Champion. He was able to defeat Bruno Sammartino cleanly, but was known for his knack at breaking the rules. In short, Koloff was a sound Heavyweight champion, weak as far as a Champion status, and doesn't score as a World champion.
Hulk Hogan is a five time former WWF World Heavyweight Champion. He defeated The Iron Sheik, Randy Savage, Sgt. Slaughter, The Undertaker, and Yokozuna to win his championships. He defended his title in Japan and North America, and may have had a tour of Europe. Thus, he is a World champion. He faced everyone from Savage, Paul Orndorff, The Iron Sheik, Ric Flair, The Ultimate Warrior, Roddy Piper, and The Great Muta to Andre The Giant, Big John Studd, Sid Justice, The Undertaker, Yokozuna, and King Kong Bundy. He was indeed a Heavyweight champion. That brings us to Champion. His first two reigns were his greatest. He faced everyone put before him and cleanly defeated them in the middle of the ring. His last three reigns were less admirable. He defended infrequently, and took too much time off to make b-rate films like "Mr. Nanny" and "Suburban Commando". Between the time that he beat Yokozuna, and the time that he lost to Yokozuna, he only wrestled in Japan. During a press conference, he claimed that the WWF Title was inferior to the IWGP Title. This defamation of the title that made his career counter-balances all his wins during his first two reigns. Hogan fails as Champion. He passes as a World Heavyweight, but failed as a Champion.
Yokozuna is a two time former WWF World Heavyweight Champion. He defeated Bret Hart and Hulk Hogan for his titles. He took his title on a tour of Japan to establish himself as a World champion. He faced Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger, The Undertaker and Tatanka. He proved that he would face any competitor no matter their size or style to establish himself as a Heavyweight champion. He cheated the title away from both Hogan and Hart to start his tainted time as champion. While in the squared circle, he lost via count-out to Luger, utilized the services of about a dozen WWF wrestlers to beat The Undertaker in a coffin match, and had a general bad attitude. He always behaved as though he was better than the title and fails as a Champion. He was a true World Heavyweight, but never was a Champion.
The Undertaker is a two time former WWF World Heavyweight Champion. He defeated Hulk Hogan and Sycho Sid for his reigns. The Undertaker did take his title to Africa and may have had a tour of Japan as well. This makes him worthy of the title World. He faced Sid, Hogan, Vader, Bret Hart, and Steve Austin during his time at the top. This varied assortment of superstars earns him the title of Heavyweight champion. Lastly, was he a Champion? He cheated to beat Hogan. He had outside interference to beat Sid. However, he was cheated out of the title by Hart, and cleanly beat Steve Austin and Vader. It is contestable as to his deservedness of being a Champion. Personally, I don't feel he was ever a Champion. He is nothing more than a gimmick and always will be. I feel he is not a Champion. So, he was a World Heavyweight, but, in my opinion, not a Champion.
Stan Stasiak is a one time former WWWF World Heavyweight Champion. He defeated Pedro Morales for the title. He was champion for a brief ten days. This short time frame allowed for only one title defense, and it was in the United States. Thus, he wasn't allowed to establish himself as a World champion. He faced the small Pedro Morales to win the title and lost it to a power wrestler named Bruno Sammartino. In facing the varied styles of those competitors, he established himself as a Heavyweight Champion. Lastly, he was a Champion. He could have laid low and stretched out his title reign. Instead, he won and lost the belt within a two week period and was still able to work a defense in as well. While it was one of the shortest reigns, he was a true Heavyweight Champion that was never allowed to be a World champion.
Antonnio Inoki is a one time former WWF World Heavyweight Champion. He won the title in Japan but never defended it outside of Tokyo. He only defended the title against Backlund in rematches. Lastly, he vacated the title due to a controversial rematch with Backlund. This action illustrated the man's class and deservedness of being named a Champion. So, he was a Champion, but not a World Heavyweight champion.
Billy Graham is a one time former WWWF World Heavyweight Champion. He gained his title from Bruno Sammartino and lost it to Bob Backlund. To my knowledge, he never took his title overseas, and thus didn't earn the title of World champion. He faced everyone from Bruno Sammartino to Bob Backlund to Harley Race to earn the title of Heavyweight. As far as being a Champion, he used the ropes to defeat Sammartino and lost to the technically superior Backlund. While he passes as a Heavyweight, he fails as a World Champion.
Sycho Sid is a two time former WWF World Heavyweight Champion. He won his titles from Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. To my knowledge, he never carried the title overseas, and thus isn't a World champion. He faced everyone from Michaels and Hart to The Undertaker. He was a Heavyweight champion. He is shaky as a Champion. He used a video camera to beat Michaels, and only beat Bret after Steve Austin hit him over the head with a chair. Even his title losses to Michaels and The Undertaker were marred with outside interference and foreign objects. He failed as a Champion. In closing, he was a Heavyweight champ, but failed as a World Champion.
Sgt. Slaughter is a one time former champion. To my knowledge, he never carried the title overseas, and fails as a World champion. He faced the likes of Jim Duggan, The Ultimate Warrior, and Hulk Hogan during his reign. He was a Heavyweight champion. Lastly, he was not a Champion. He cheated his way into the title, never defended it with honor, and lost it even as he broke every rule he could. He was a Heavyweight champion, but failed as World Champion.
The Iron Sheik is a one time former WWF World Heavyweight Champion. He won the title from Bob Backlund when Backlund's manager, Arnold Skoaland, threw the towel in for Backlund. He wasn't a World champion. He only held the title for 29 days, and wasn't able to establish a global reign. He was willing to face anyone from Backlund to Hogan and established himself as a Heavyweight champion. As far as being a Champion, he didn't gain a pin or submission to win his title and never carried himself as though he were proud of the title. In short, he was a Heavyweight champion, but lacked the World and Champion characteristics.
Andre The Giant is a one time former WWF World Heavyweight Champion. He defeated Hogan for the title, and immediately vacated it by awarding it to Ted Dibiase. He was only champion for a few moments and fails in all categories. He was not a true World Heavyweight Champion.
Matt Benaka's Wrestling Title Histories are a permanent part of the Solie's web site.
Last night I was in a state of shock. All day I was looking forward to hearing what Marlena would have to say about her 30 days with Brian Pillman. I knew nothing good could come from it, but I never thought what happened would happen.
When I heard JR say that this was a sickening interview, I looked for the worst. I couldn't believe they would do this. What the interview gave was ,IMO, the best thing that could have come out of it. It made Goldust a "bad guy" again. He was much better as a heel than he was a face, so hopefully now he'll go back to his old ways.
In a sense, Dustin said screw it. He was sick of living his life for other people and it was now time to live it for himself. He said that while Terri was off with Pillman, doing God knows what, he found himself a new woman(my guesses are either Chyna or Sherri Martel.) I couldn't believe this. This last statement pissed me off, because it's now a way for the WWF to lose more fans. I know many people who have stopped watching the WWF because of their many non PC storylines, especially Pillman's XXX FILES.
This interview will really help Dustin's career, but IMO it will kill Terri's. Maybe that's what she wanted, to get out of the spotlight and be with Dakota more. This will make her not needed in the WWF, so she will be able to be with Dakota.
The interview would have been better if Terri actually had tears while she was "crying." I hope they don't go too far with this and just give Dustin a new attitude rather than keeping Terri in it and making her look bad. I can't wait to see where the WWF goes with this angle.
Runnelsd is a regular contributor to the Solie's Readers' Forum. His web page is Runnels D's Wrest ling Page
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
Part 15 : The Luger/Hogan Controversy
By the Fall of 1995, rumors abounded about Sting possibly warring with then-WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan. The rumors increased when former foe Lex Luger returned to WCW from an uneventful stint in the WWF.
Apparently, these two (Luger/Sting) had made up between the time period of 1992-1995 (as we know in real life, Sting and Luger own a gym in Atlanta so these two aren't really enemies. I'm just telling this according to the storyline). Luger, during the first ever WCW Monday Nitro show, challenged Hogan to a WCW Title match. Hogan accepted the challenge and the match was signed for next Monday Nitro show.
Now, from what films I have seen of this encounter, Luger had Hogan defeated in the "Human Torture Rack" backbreaker. The referee, inexplicatably, tapped Luger on the shoulder as if he had won. Luger, thinking Hogan had submitted, released Hogan from the manuvear (I hate to sound like a crybaby, but I think it was another Hogan setup). Hogan, of course, mounted an incredible (yawn!!) comeback and had Luger down for a possible pin after his legdrop!!! Kevin Sullivan and his Dungeon of Doom jumped Hogan and caused Luger to be DQ'ed!!! Sting and Randy Savage came in to help Hogan and the three cleared the ring!!! Hogan, however, was suspicious as to why Sullivan and Co. did not jump Luger. Savage agreed with Hogan but Sting sided with Luger.
Sting managed to reason with Hogan and Savage that Luger could be a great help to them at FallBrawl '95 for the WarGames since Vader went AWOL (actually he was fired from WCW for an off camera fight he had with Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff in which Vader got his clock cleaned). They agreed to let Luger join but was very wary of him (Savage and Hogan was at any rate).
At FallBrawl '95, the Hogan team was victorious. This was probably the most physically imposing team since the Nikita Koloff/Road Warriors/Dusty Rhodes to ever compete in WarGames. On this same card, "The Battle Of The Horsemen" took place as Arn Anderson scored a controversial win over Ric Flair. Sting didn't realize it but it was to begin another chapter in the long Flair/Sting saga.
Flair, in the weeks following FallBrawl, was attacked repeatedly by Anderson and Brian Pillman. Realizing that he needed allies, Flair turned to Sting for help. Sting, at first, wanted no part of Flair (which was understandable). Finally, Sting relented but offered Flair a stern warning: "Ric Flair!!! If you swerve me even in the slightest way!!! I am going to leave you for dead!!! DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!!!!"
The two had a tag team match on Monday Nitro in which Sting (at the begining) didn't show up. Flair had to fight of Pillman and Anderson alone for about 10 minutes!!! Then, convinced of Flair's truthfulness, Sting came out and cleaned house!!! The two then signed for another tag match at WCW Halloween Havoc '95 against Anderson and Pillman. In this encounter, Sting came alone against the Horsemen duo. Reports earlier in the night had said that Flair had been attacked by Anderson and Pillman (shades of the recent incident at this year's FallBrawl). Flair, pretending to be injured, came out to "help" Sting. When Flair was tagged in, the trap was sprung!!! Sting was crumpled heap in the ring but fumming with rage!!!
Two weeks after the incident, Sting and Flair wrestled on Monday Nitro. Sting, for the most part, kept his promise to leave Flair for dead if he swerved him!!! Sting, after winning the match by submission with the "Scorpion Deathlock", refused to release the hold!!! Several wrestlers came out to pull Sting off of Flair but to no avail!!! Finally, Lex Luger (who had recently turned heel) came out and somehow talked Sting into releasing Flair!!! Sting turned Flair loose and walked back to the dressing room with Luger!!! This started rumors that Sting was an associate of the Dungeon Of Doom with Lex Luger (For the record, Luger was never officially a member of the group but did team with them to fight Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan)!!!
Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan (who began wearing black during this period) outright accused Sting of being a traitor and questioning his loyalty!!
Hogan was so convinced that he challenged Sting to match on Monday Nitro. This was Sting's response:
"You know, at first, I didn't know what to think of it!!! But now, I am looking forward to it!!!"
Sting, as I had mentioned in the last chapter, had made several subtle but to the point comments about Hogan!!! The match was to be a night that many want to see again.
Next: November 20, 1995 (yes, that is the name of the next chapter)
Coming Soon: Diary Of A "HitMan"
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis.
Issued by Titan Sports on AOL
Wednesday, November 5
In response to questions raised on the Internet, the World Wrestling Federation can confirm that Bret Hart has exercised an option within his existing contract that allows him to explore other opportunities.
Bret will continue to wrestle with the World Wrestling Federation until he makes a decision on his career, including defending the World Wrestling Federation Championship Title at Survivor Series on Sunday, November 9.
As the statement above makes clear, Bret Hart is likely to be leaving the WWF after Survivor Series and is also said to have signed a contract to begin appearing on WCW programs in January.
This is probably the biggest story in wrestling since Hulk Hogan made the switch in 1994. It signals a new era in my opinion, and I'm not sure if I approve.
I sort of understand why Bret would make the move at this time. He is a warrior...and deep down inside he really believes that stuff about being "the best there is...etc." Viewed in the context of there being an already existing dialogue on this subject between Hart and McMahon over the last several weeks it looks like the entire DegenerationX scenerio was spun out to send Hart on his way in the most humiliating fashion possible while redeeming him as a face in the eyes of the fans. I look for Hart to lose on Sunday and be sent packing. Michaels and crew will look triumphant and "bad" - Hart will be seen as "good" in comparison.
Next week Vinnie will be running skits featuring some old codger dressed up in pink and black...
And what will the WWF do? Push Shawn Michaels for all their worth I suppose. That means the Boy Toy and his former Tag Team partner will be getting it on (if Austin ever gets his health back...). It means more Undertaker/HBK matches - maybe another Title reign for UT (the WWF is real short on faces). In fact, with Bret Hart out of the way, a number of current WWF stars might get the nod...
My concern is that they step up to the plate for the WWF. Despite the perceived biases of many of my editorials, I am not in favor of seeing the WWF destroyed or put into an inferior position. I think the current high level of competition between the two top promotions has been good for the sport and great for the fans...I don't want to see it end anytime soon.
So I hope that Shawn Michaels has it in him to carry the WWF on his shoulders...but I suspect not. He's riding high right now on a wave of disgust over his sophomoric antics, but that kind of heat depends on shock value - how much shock value is there the 10th time you moon the camera?
That's it for this issue. I will be back with the Survivor Series Report on Sunday. Until then...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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