Warrior Reign

Scott,


Why exactly did The Ultimate Warrior's run as champion tank? The guy was immensely over, and the title win at WrestleMania VI was seen as a passing of the torch from Hogan. Putting the title on the Warrior was seen as the best thing to do at the time. Around this time, NBC also saw the ratings for Saturday Night's Main Event decline. So everyone applauds Warrior winning the title, but then go "Meh"? Was it a lack of any threats to the title? Hogan was feuding with Earthquake, who was probably the biggest threat at the time. I don't recall Earthquake ever truly threatening the Warrior's reign.

What happened there?

Lots of stuff.
1)  No viable challengers.  Warrior wins the belt and then immediately gets put into a feud with midcarders like Dino Bravo and then the repackaged Rick Rude, who we had just seen unsuccessfully face Warrior at Summerslam.  
2)  People still liked Hogan and wanted him on top.  It would be one thing if Hulk lost and then went away for a long while, but he basically stuck around the whole time and was clearly the bigger star.  Warrior just couldn't compete with it.  
3)  Warrior wasn't connecting with the fans.  This is one that often gets overshadowed, but it's important to note that his crazy promos were fine for an IC level guy, but when they put him on top he pretty much failed to make anyone get invested in his matches on a human level.  Hulk was a blowhard but at least he would interact with Mean Gene as a real human being and do talk shows and stuff.  Warrior was strictly all gimmick, all the time, and once people had seen that act and seen the logical conclusion of the storyline, there was nowhere left for the character to go.  That being said, they finally figured it out with the Macho Man storyline in 91 where he started showing real emotions, but by then it was too little, too late.  

4)  Merchandise.  Remember all the great and memorable Warrior shirts and merch you could buy?  Yeah, me neither.  

One of them would have been bad, but taken all together the poor bastard never had a chance.  

Windham claims Flair cost him WCW title reign in 91?

Hey Scott,  In a shoot interview Barry Windham claims he was scheduled to beat Flair for the title when Flair left over his contract issues. He states he was going to get a "run" with it but when Flair left they went with Luger instead.    I find those comments a bit far fetched because the entire summer build up was for Lex vs Flair in a cage at GAB 91 with Luger finally beating Ric for the title. Plus Windham was teaming with Arn Anderson and still technically a Horsemen at time.   Was there any truth to that all? Also could Barry have carried the belt during this period with any success?

​Barry is correct, believe it or not.  Well, I mean, correct in the sense that he was scheduled to beat Flair for the title at a house show and then drop it to Luger at the earliest possible opportunity, but then Flair left with the title before anything could be set up to change the belt.  Here's the relevant thing from the WON at the time:

Ric Flair was fired by WCW Monday, effective immediately, after both sides failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension which would be from June 1, 1992 through May 31, 1994. The official word was faxed Monday afternoon by Jim Herd to Flair's attorney, Dennis Guthrie, in Charlotte, that Flair's contract is being terminated effective August 1, 1991. Flair was scheduled to drop the WCW title to Barry Windham on 7/1 in Macon, GA in a revised plan decided upon within the past week that had been the subject of many behind-the-scenes problems. WCW officials weren't expecting Flair to show up to Macon (he was originally scheduled to be on vacation until Wednesday's show at the Meadowlands but was given the word last week to be in Macon). The revised plan was for Windham to defend the title against Lex Luger in Baltimore, with Windham's title victory airing on TBS either this coming Saturday night or the day before the Baltimore show. It was announced in Macon, which airs on television on Saturday, basically the truth, that Flair has been stripped of the title due to contractual problems and that the top two contenders, Windham and Luger, would wrestle for the held up title on 7/14 at the PPV show from Baltimore in a cage match. This marks the first time in the 43-year history of the NWA/WCW that the world heavyweight title didn't change hands in the ring.

I guess it can be reported here that the original plan was for Flair to drop the title to Luger in Baltimore. ​

Hogan’s First Title Reign

Scott, 

After the success of the first three Wrestlemanias with Hulk Hogan on top, do you think it was time to take the belt off Hulk in the run-up to WM4?  I know it gave us a (for the time) shocking moment with Andre's title win and subsequent "sale" of the belt to Dibiase as well as the ascent of Randy Savage to the top of the company.  However, the poster for WM4 still had Hulk/Andre on it and the product never shifted from Hogan even when Savage went to the top.  Nor should it have.  So my question is: was it worth taking the belt off Hogan in 1987 or should they have just let Hogan carry the belt in perpetuity, ala Bruno and Backlund before him?  
It didn't hurt anything to and it gave them an interesting enough angle to do something different at WM4.  But would a 5-6 year Hogan reign have been worth doing instead?  You could still get to Hogan vs. Savage at WM5 easily enough.  The MegaPowers still team up (WWF and IC champs) against Dibiase & Andre.  Savage gets jealous and wants his shot at the title.  Heel turn and you're in the same wheelhouse.  Plus, when Warrior beats him at WM6, it's even bigger because he's dethroning Hulk after a 5-6 year reign.  These were not the days of hot-shotting a title switch for a PPV boost.  Champs reigning for years on end was the norm and Hulkamania was not showing any signs of slowing down back then.  Hogan remained the focal point either way, so do you think, objectively, there was a need for Hogan to lose the belt in '87?  (I do recognize that we all have Randy Savage biases and might answer "yes" just for the sake of Randy being champ in '88).    
What are your thoughts?

Well they kind of HAD to get the title off Hogan so he could film No Holds Barred.  Certainly they could have kept running with him on top for another couple of years.  

Abeyance’s title reign, by the numbers!

As of this writing, Abeyance has been WWE champion for 37 days (and will remain champion until at least day 41).
Previous Abeyance reigns:

  • 51 days in 1988 (vacated after Andre sold the title to Dibiase. Abeyance was later defeated by Macho Man Randy Savage)
  • 46 days between late 1991 and early 1992, when Jack Tunney stripped Hogan of the belt and Ric Flair eliminated Abeyance at the 1992 Royal Rumble to win it.
  • 3 days in 1997, after defeating Shawn Michaels' smile
  • 49 days in 1998, eventually losing the title to The Rock.
  • 5 days in 1999, Abeyance defeated the Chairman of the Board, only to be buried by Triple H at the PPV less than a week later. Typical.
  • 5 days in 2007, Abeyance defeated John Cena and put him on the shelf for four months. But once again, Triple H struck and Abeyance was buried for the 2nd time in a row.
  • 6 days, in 2009 after defeating Batista and injuring him much like he did John Cena. 2009 was the year Abeyance showed how vicious he could be in the ring. Later dropped the belt to Randy Orton.

Thus far in this title reign alone, Abeyance has been a more successful WWE champion than the following:

  • Buddy Rogers (22 days)
  • Ivan Koloff (21 days)
  • Stan Stasiak (9 days)
  • The Iron Sheik (28 days)
  • Andre The Giant (1 day)
  • The Undertaker (6 days) – 1st reign
  • Hulk Hogan (1 day) – 4th reign
  • Ric Flair (41 days…Abeyance will tie on Sunday) – 2nd reign
  • Yokozuna (1 day) – 1st reign
  • Bob Backlund (3 days) – 2nd reign
  • Shawn Michales (25 days) – 2nd reign
  • Abeyance (3 days) – this was Abeyance's 3rd time holding the WWE championship. Abeyance was defeated by Bret Hart
  • Bret Hart (1 day) – 4th reign
  • Sycho Sid (34 days) – 2nd reign
  • Kane (1 day)
  • Mankind (26 days) – 1st reign
  • The Rock (2)
  • Mankind (20 days) – 2nd reign
  • The Rock (41 days – Abeyance will tie on Sunday) – 3rd reign
  • The Undertaker (36 days) – 3rd reign
  • Mankind (1 day) – 3rd reign
  • Triple H (22 days) – 1st reign
  • Vince McMahon (6 days)
  • The Rock (21 days) – 4th reign
  • Triple H (35 days) – 4th reign
  • The Rock (35 days) – 6th reign
  • Kurt Angle (15 days) – 2nd reign
  • Triple H (35 days) – 5th reign
  • Hulk Hogan (28 days) – 6th reign
  • The Rock (35 days) – 7th reign
  • The Big Show (28 days) – 2nd reign
  • Edge (21 days) – 1st reign
  • RVD (22 days)
  • Randy Orton (1 day) – 1st reign
  • Triple H (1 day) – 6th reign
  • Edge (21 days) – 3rd reign
  • Edge (21 days) – 4th reign
  • Batista (2 days) – 1st reign
  • John Cena (21 days) – 4th reign
  • Randy Orton (21 days) – 5th reign
  • John Cena (1 day) – 6th reign
  • Batista (35 days) – 2nd reign
  • CM Punk (28 days) – 1st reign
  • Alberto Del Rio (35 days) – 1st reign
  • John Cena (14 days) – 10th reign
  • Daniel Bryan (1 day) – 1st reign
  • Randy Orton (28 days) – 7th reign
  • Daniel Bryan (1 day) – 2nd reign

OTHER FUN FACTS

  • Abeyance has held the WWE Championship an incredible 8 times. Only The Rock, John Cena, and Triple H have had more title reigns.
  • As of this Sunday, Abeyance will have held the title for a combined 206 days, making him 22nd on the all-time list of combined days.

Without a doubt, Abeyance is a Hall of Fame-worthy performer and will likely continue to win WWE championships long into the future.

Bryan title reign


Scott,


As the Corporation angle fizzles before our eyes, I have to ask: would Cena's passing the torch to Bryan have been better spent without the instant cash-in by Orton?  I think the idea was good in principle, but given the underwhelming execution of the HHH/Orton/Corporate angle that followed, maybe the Orton cash-in could have been delayed (to similar effect?).  Bryan's win over Cena was a big moment and kicked off Bryan's legitimacy as a true main eventer.  I almost think they should have just run him through some challengers (Mark Henry?  Ryback?  A heel Kane?  Even Lesnar?) after his title win just to see if he could draw in the aftermath of Cena's injury.  At some point along the way, Orton can cash in on Bryan after a hard-fought victory.  The justification can be the same (HHH got tired of Bryan as champ and thinks he doesn't belong on top, he endorses Orton as the new face of WWE, etc.) and the rest of the arc can play out too.

At the time, the SummerSlam cash-in had impact because it was raining on Bryan's party and denying the fans their celebration, but in retrospect, should they have just run with a Bryan title reign for a while?  

I would have been fine with a solid run for Bryan, or fine with Orton getting the belt and then holding it until HIAC, but the "fool me once shame on you" booking with Bryan and the ABEYANCE OF DOOM is just killing it for me.  It's not like he's getting buried or anything, but the past three months have just been SUCH a waste of time for everyone involved when they could have gotten to where they wanted to go and been done with it.  

Question for the Blog – SCSA Title Reign

Hi Scott,


Quick question for the blog:

Recently, Kevin Sullivan posted an entry on his blog rewriting the history of the WWE Championship (http://kevinsullivanbooks.com/2012/11/26/rewriting-history-wwe-championship/). He has Steve Austin winning the title against Shawn Michaels at WM 14 on 3/29/98 and not losing the title until 2/25/01 against the Rock at No Way Out. My question is, would a near 3 year title reign have worked during the Attitude Era & Monday Night Wars? It seems to me that given the number of PPV's as well as the need to win the ratings war, a title reign of that length would be impossible. Your thoughts?

Thanks for your time!

CPZ

Not to mention that Austin was injured several times and the poor guy needed time off so as not to kill himself in the ring.  3 years of Austin as champion would have been immensely boring and there probably would have been a backlash against him from the fans.  Austin worked as the top guy precisely because he WAS beatable and didn't always come out of the big match on top.  He was a regular guy.  

Warrior Title Reign

Scott,


When Warrior won the WWF Title from Hogan at Wrestlemania 6, he never really got the chance to carry the company on his own.  Instead of shooting movies, Hogan stuck around for the feud with Earthquake, which was given a main-event build, and Hulkamania never really stopped running wild.  Do you think Warrior could have been The Guy if Hogan had stepped out of the way?  Say, if Earthquake is built up as the unstoppable monster for Warrior to beat at SummerSlam 1990 while Hogan takes time away from the product?  If the show tanks, without the almighty Hulk, they can always audible back to a Hogan-Warrior rematch or go the Slaughter route (which we got), but it seems Warrior should have had a chance to carry things alone as champ.  If not, then why bother with the clean Hogan job to begin with?

Because they thought he was The Guy, but much like Sting, once he got there they discovered that he was not.  I was as big of a fan of the guy as anyone, but with Warrior the money was in the chase, and once he got there his story had been told.  Even 16 year old me, who was as big a supporter of the guy as anyone, could tell that something was missing, especially in feuds like the Rude one where it wasn't a particularly captivating program.  I think that if they had a better feud for him earlier, like the Macho Man program BEFORE he lost the belt, they could have made people care.  But beating up generic heels like Dino Bravo every night and trying to use him to rebuild Rick Rude just wasn't going to make him into a giant money-making machine.  Say what you will about Hogan, but he had charisma by the buckets and really came across as a champion.  Warrior just never did.

Title reign DVDs

What specific title run would you want WWE to make a DVD about? Not necessarily a documentary, but a collection of matches, promos, and other segments. 
It could be any title, from any era.
Only one rule: No combining reigns to make a bigger set (i.e., no putting Christian's two WHC reigns together to make one DVD set – although why anyone would want to relive that mess is beyond me). One reign = one DVD set. But you can make as many DVDs as you want. I mean, it's all hypothetical, isn't it? 


Interesting question.  I'd have to say Randy Savage's first WWF title run in 1988, because you can document the entire Hogan-Savage storyline that way.  Maybe Honky's IC title run?  

Greatest Reign Ever?

Hi Scott, Let me start with the usual and say I’m a long time reader, first time emailer, so many thanks for the entertaining rants and reviews down the years. I was thinking about this the other day and thought your take would be interesting and all those on the blog might enjoy discussing who actually had the greatest single title reign in wrestling history? By this I mean a recognised World Heavyweight title reign anywhere in the world rated in terms of money made, future influence, match quality, storytelling, character development and other tangibles. But it must be a single title reign, so for example, while Austin’s run with the WWF Championship in 1998 was brilliant, it was split between two reigns so can’t count collectively but each of the two reigns could be considered on their own merits. Now apologies if I seem ignorant but my wrestling knowledge is really North American and late 80’s onwards, so if it was just about money made I’m sure Hogan’s 84-88 reign is the one, and I’m sure in terms of match quality, Ric Flair probably had a crazy good reign in the 80’s and finally in terms of drama and storytelling, Savage’s year with the title Wrestlemania IV to V is up there. But if you take everything into account, who had the greatest single title reign? I’ve been going back and forth between Savage’s Wrestlemania to Wrestlemania reign and Austin’s run from Wrestlemania 17 to Unforgiven 2001. Keep up the good work!

Yeah, the conversation pretty much begins and ends with Bruno Sammartino.  Eight years as WWF champion from 1963-71, and he pretty much invented the power wrestler template from which everyone else followed.  Drew money hand over fist as well.  Came back in the 70s and got another three years as champion just because Vince Sr. needed another couple of million dollars in his vault to dive into like Uncle Scrooge.  Runner-up:  Hulk Hogan’s first reign.  If you’re expanding to other, non-World titles, then I’d also nominate Honky Tonk Man.