Little do many mainstream fans realize, but WCW’s terrible misuse of their titles was a huge part of the promotion’s eventual demise.
A championship is the absolute pinnacle of the industry; titles need to be booked and regarded with the absolute most respect by those in charge. In today’s WWE climate the company is well aware of this notion, protecting their title holders. The only example of a transitional Champion we’ve seen was with Sheamus, when he cashed in his Money In The Bank contract on Roman Reigns. Asides from that odd situation, the WWE values its Champions. Look at the New Day for example, who are set to hold the Championships for an entire calendar year.
In the same regard, WCW failed miserably particularly during the Vince Russo era. Championships seemingly became a joke, with new titleholders every week. The changes just solidified how out of touch WCW was; seeing them go out of business was a blessing considering how bad things were.
In this article we will refresh your memories on just how bad their title picture really was at one point, reliving some of the most mind blowing Champions in WCW history. Sit back, relax and enjoy this lackluster list of awful champions!
15. WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship
This mention goes to entire Championships, as opposed to its holders. Bad WCW ideas actually started way back in the early 90s, and this was just the beginning of the various examples we’d get accustomed to throughout the latter of the 90s. Established in February of 1991, the company decided to put a trio Championship which was revived from its NWA days with Jim Crockett at the helm.
The title turned out to be a major flop, and the Fabulous Freebirds were the most popular of the four title holders. The Championship only lasted a couple of months and was retired in November of the same year in 91.
Bischoff would actually consider reviving the title in 92’, setting up a match between a Steve Austin lead team against a Dustin Rhodes captained squad. Eventually the idea was put to bed and that match was thankfully changed into a regular six man Tag featuring Austin, Bobby Eaton and Arn Anderson, up against Dustin Rhodes, Barry Windham and Nikita Koloff.
14. 3 Count: Hardcore Champions
From late 1999 to the death of WCW in 2001, it seemed blatantly obvious that the company was running out of ideas to stay afloat with the WWE. The series of bad decisions began in November of 1999, when the company decided to add a Hardcore Title. Once again, the idea was totally unoriginal and something fans had already seen before so the interest for such a Championship instantly diminished.
To make matters even worse, the title holders were generally lower-card wrestlers. In the bizarre case we are discussing, the stable 3 count won the Championship, sharing it amongst the trio after defeating Brian Knobs. WCW allowed the apparent reign of three Champions and implemented the “Freebird Rule”, which saw all three wrestlers have the right to defend the Championship. They held the title for less than three weeks before dropping it to Knobs once again at Uncensored, in 2000.
13. Eric Bischoff: Hardcore Champion
This is the last mention we will be making of the Hardcore Championship, cause if not, we’ll be here for a while, as the title is littered with bad from top to bottom. However, there is nobody worse than Eric Bischoff himself winning the title in a bout on Nitro. To make things even more disturbing, Bischoff defeated one of the greatest Hardcore legends ever in Terry Funk. Eric got the pin on Nitro and it was all a slap in the face to not only Funk, but to the legitimacy of the entire division and company for that matter.
Following his win, Eric gave the title to The Mamalukes, which featured Big Vito and Johnny The Bull. Once again the company enforced a ‘Freebird Rule’ which allowed both wrestlers to defend the title. Why did WCW like having multiple Champions? The odd twist came to an end when Big Vito beat The Bull becoming a solo Champion.
12. Alex Wright & Disco Inferno: WCW Tag Team Champions
It wasn’t that they didn’t deserve it or weren’t worthy, it was just the timing and the way it all played out that made the entire situation so wrong and laughable to say the least. The two were quite popular during the mid 90s as lower-card wrestlers, though the company had no interest in really pushing them despite their popularity.
Instead, the company waited till November of 2000 to give them a Tag Title run which lasted a mere four days, if you can believe it. Their victory took place on German soil, the home country of Alex Wright. They would lose the Championships days later on Nitro to the Perfect Event, with Inferno being out with an injury. To make matters even worse, the Perfect Event would lose a week later to The Insiders, featuring Nash and DDP.
11. Misfits In Action: Tag Team Champions
Absurd to think that WCW actually thought this group could have been the next DX. I think someone needed to give the company the memo that pulling off something that huge required talent and not just green and black DX-like colors.
The entire concept was horrifying and quite frankly childish. It was all just a terrible rip off of DX with a military twist to it. To make matters worse, the company decided to put the Tag Titles on members Lieutenant Loco and Corporal Cajun, only to see them lose the Championships the same night. The team defeated O’Haire and Jindrak who were quite the duo, then dropped the titles on Thunder in Sydney, Australia, only to win them back before the night was over. Good heavens…
10. Gen. Rection: United States Championship
Sticking with The Misfits, the fun didn’t stop there for the lackluster team that also managed to claim a United States Championship. Bill DeMott winning it was fine, but not the persona he played as the team leader known as Gen. Rection. From his name to poor acting skills his title run seriously hurt the credibility of a Championship that was held by so many greats, including Goldberg, Steve Austin, Ric Flair, Sting, DDP and Scott Hall.
The way he won the strap was even worse defeating the great Lance Storm and legendary Jim Duggan, in a handicap match on the highly coveted WCW PPV Halloween Havoc. Seriously, who was writing this stuff?
In typical WCW manner he held the belt over two weeks before dropping it back to Storm. He’d win the title two more times becoming a three-time US Championship title holder and one of the worst in history of the prestigious Championship.
9. David Flair: United States Championship
David Flair was a clear example that a generational wrestler isn’t always a sure bet. Unlike his father, who is regarded as the greatest of all time, David was closer to the opposite of that. He was terrible in the ring and really showed us nothing during his mainstream pro wrestling run. The only thing that kept him afloat with WCW was his last name.
Things got really bad when daddy handed him the US Championship on an episode of Nitro live from Atlanta. After Ric stripped Steiner of the title when he was the “President”, Flair handed the belt over to his son. The horrendous title reign actually lasted a month (which was quite long for any champion at that point). He would finally relinquish the strap losing to Chris Benoit on an episode of Nitro. Yes, it wasn’t even PPV quality.
8. Daffney: Cruiserweight Champion
One of the greatest parts of World Championship Wrestling looking back was how great the Cruiserweight Division was. The class had everything from terrific high flyers to some of the greatest technicians we ever laid eyes on. Everything about it was so fresh and unique which was a rarity for WCW.
As the years went by, not only was the company floundering but so was the division. The greater stars from the class, like Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko, left the company for finer pastures to the WWE which left the division in complete shambles. Things went from acceptable to nothing but comedic with some laughable Champions like Daffney who won the title from Crowbar during an episode of Nitro. She kept the title for two weeks before dropping it in a Triple Threat match on Thunder.
7. Terry Funk: United States Champion
We discussed his horrendous Hardcore Title reign in a previous entry and sadly, his United States Title win was on par. First off, he won the Championship at a house show. Secondly, the WCW didn’t even acknowledge the win, though the WWE has put it in the record books. The victory took place in Texas in September of 2000, during the non-televised event.
In another reckless and bizarre twist, Funk would drop the title in another non-televised bout the next night losing the title back to Storm. What the point of all this was, we really do not know (nor did anyone really care at that point).
6. Oklahoma: Cruiserweight Champion
Let’s take a walk down memory lane for a second and take a look at former Champions; Rey Mysterio, Chavo Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Juventud Guerrera, Eddie Guerrero, Ultimo Dragon and Oklahoma. Now, what seems off about that list of wrestlers? If you guessed Oklahoma, we applaud you.
The gimmick was flat out disgusting in an attempt to poke fun at Jim Ross. The company went as far as giving the persona a Cruiserweight Championship run which was the shortest in history of the title, lasting two days. Pretty far off from the mark that Shane Helms set at 385 days combined, which featured multiple reigns.
The ripoff JR gimmick defeated Madusa, who was the first female title holder of the Championship. He proceeded to vacate the title because he apparently exceeded the weight limit. How this all made television is beyond so many of us.
5. The Renegade: Television Champion
WCW was notorious for ripping off WWE ideas and repackaging them into something terrible. The Renegade was exactly that. The WCW tried to create its own version of the Ultimate Warrior but failed miserably as the crowd just didn’t care. The company put Jimmy Hart by his side and gave him a pretty big push which ultimately lead to a lackluster TV Title run defeating the great Arn Anderson at The Great American Bash. He actually held the belt for three months before finally dropping it to young up and coming star DDP, at Fall Brawl in 1995.
Following the loss it was clear that WCW had no further plans for the wrestler. He spent some time away from TV only to come back as an enhancement talent putting several wrestlers over. He lost his final match to Wrath on Nitro and was released shortly after in 1998.
4. Jim Duggan: Television Champion
In November of 1999, Scott Hall finally laid the Championship to rest after he threw the belt in the trash following his victory over Rick Steiner at the WCW Mayhem event, which took place in Toronto, Canada. Following the match, Hall threw the belt out and it would not be seen for the next couple of months till Jim Duggan came around.
At that point, the legend was being used as a janitor. Now, that’s one way to use a legend, put him as a janitor. While on duty he ended up finding the trashed TV Championship and decided to claim the title as his own.
During the WCW reboot done by Bischoff and Russo, the two men decided to retire the Championship once and for all during an episode of WCW Nitro which took place in April of 2000.
3. David Arquette: WCW World Heavyweight Champion
His name is all over lists and records, but not for good reason. David Arquette is regarded as one of the worst title holders in the history of pro wrestling. What made everything that much worse was the fact that he won the company’s most prestigious Championships held by some of the greatest of all time.
The attempt was obvious in its intent. The company wanted mainstream exposure, though what they got instead was laughter and disgust by fans that were paying the bills for the company. Arquette claimed the Championship on Thunder, pinning Eric Bischoff in a Tag Team match. He dropped the belt back to Jarrett a week later at Slamboree though the damage was already done at that point. The risk did not pay off and the company went out of business soon after.
2. Vince Russo: WCW World Heavyweight Champion
You’d figure things would settle down after Arquette won the Championship, but oh no, WCW had yet another terrible idea that was perhaps even worse just five months later.
Having Arquette win was awful, don’t get us wrong, but at least it had a chance at mainstream appeal, while this title run however had no appeal whatsoever and was just another recycled idea that Vince Russo implemented which failed miserably.
He tried to pull a Vince by winning the title in a cage match against Booker T. The only problem was that Russo was in no shape legitimate enough to pull off something of that magnitude. The idea was so unthought-of and eventually Russo decided to vacate the title because he apparently didn’t want it.
1. Judy Bagwell: WCW Tag Team Champion
Look, we can all appreciate a good laugh in the world of pro wrestling, but when it’s at the expense of a Championship, that’s just pushing it way too far.
At that point, it looked like WCW was purposely trying to fail for how bad things were getting. Things went from bad to mind blowing when Rick Steiner selected Judy Bagwell (the mother of Buff) as his tag partner for not just any match, but a Tag Team Championship match.
Obviously, in typical WCW fashion the unlikely duo won the titles and scared the entire division with such a decision. They vacated the titles shortly after because of a legit Rick Steiner injury, but at that point the damage was already done.
The decision is still regarded as one of the worst and most disgraceful in all of pro wrestling history. Looking back, WCW’s major problems pertained to lackluster title holders. Had this changed and been booked properly, maybe the company might still be around today. Looking back at this list however, we’re pretty happy it isn’t around anymore.