Ricky Morton vs Ric Flair

Scott,

In 86, Ricky Morton challenged Ric Flair for the NWA title and had a great cage match with him during The Bash 86 tour. This was following the epic beat down the horsemen gave Morton including wiping his face on the locker room floor.

Could Morton of pulled off a short reign and drop it back to Flair quickly? The Rock N Rolls were pretty over at that point and Morton could go in the ring.

Or was he too small even by NWA standards to pull of a short run with the title?

​Too small, too regional, too limited of a worker as a single, no credibility in that kind of position or role. He was fine as a challenger of the week, but there’s no way they would have been able to get that one past the NWA voters without getting laughed out of the office. ​

Greatest Successful Title Defenses

We always make a big deal out of title changes but it this was a real sport, I think a great title defense would be valued more than it is. There'd be title defense compilations on youtube along with all the title change compilations….or maybe not. 

So what would be some of the greatest successful title defenses? Hogan defeating Andre at WM3 seems like the clear winner but here's some other matches I'd nominate…

-Austin over Dude at Over The Edge '98 (Talk about the deck stacked against you)
-Shawn over Diesel at In Your House '96 (If this was all real, that's a tough first title defense)
-Miz over Cena at WM27?? (Foil for The Rock or not…a win's a win right?)

​I'd add Flair over Luger in 88, both at the Bash and Starrcade, because in both cases it was considered a foregone conclusion that Lex would win and become the star of the future, and yet Flair managed to win both matches fair and square.  ​

Kevin Owens – How to get the NXT Title off of him?


With Kevin Owens being advertised for almost every Raw leading up to Summerslam and more than likely being a part of the main roster going forward how would you book him dropping the belt?


Personally I'd love Kevin to hype up getting a "WWE" contract and he fulfilled what he wanted to do by destroying one of his best friends, taking the title, and forcing "the powers that be" to give him his shot.  I'm sure we'll get a non finish between Cena/Owens at the Elimination chamber, but say that he takes the US title from Cena at the next show or Summerslam.  Owens wins and then tosses the NXT title as "he doesn't need it anymore".  

Prior to actually winning the US title Owens would keep stressing on the NXT shows that he doesn't need NXT and he's getting his shot in WWE.  He came here to do what he needed to do.  Keep have him destroying guys.  Hell,  take out Corey Graves or Regal again and force Regal to strip Owens of the title.  

This would avoid Owens physically dropping the title, as well as saving certain feuds for the main roster instead of blowing through them in NXT (Balor/Joe).  

Would this be effective in building up Owens as a heel who "would suplex his own mother to further himself in this industry" as well as "fights only on his terms" or would this bury the NXT title and possibly take away from a lot of the good NXT has been doing over the last 12 months?

If you disagree with me, how would you do it?

For me, the deal is that his character is a loudmouth bully who hurts people, so they should probably just have him get his just desserts and lose the damn thing.  Finn Balor beating him outright would be totally believeable, or more ideally Samoa Joe if he's sticking around, and you can do a lumberjack match where Zayn, Balor, RAGIN' ALEX RILEY, Regal, and maybe even Cena all get their revenge on him by preventing him from running away and letting Joe choke him out.  

A full troll idea for the IC title

OK since the IC title is already a joke, here's an idea to A. roll with the idea, and B. maybe come up with a way to make it relevant (but more so to make me laugh)

– Have the elimination chamber be for the IC title
– HHH offers Barrett a spot since he's a 5 time IC champ or whatever, and he looks at him and says "um…well, you know im doing this whole king thing right now…I'm all set man, but thanks"
– Have the next 8-10 people turn down a spot for various reasons ("I have a hair appointment", "Im allergic to steel", etc.)
– The chamber can end up being 6 guys from NXT (or like 2 other guys who need a jump start) that don't know any better
The end result is you'll end up with an awesome match, and it will be funny because the whole plot before/during/after the match can be how the title is bad luck.
I think the best option for a winner would be Bo Dallas, and then he can be the modern day Honky Tonk Man who just lucks out wins.  He can eventually be destroyed by the son of the Ultimate Warrior and the title can return to being prestigious.Thoughts? Improvements? I'm writing this in the dark so I'm sorry if it doesn't make any sense. – Rob
​I don't know about the idea of having guys turn it down, but there's something to be said for doing a bunch of qualifiers on RAW and having all the geeks win in huge upsets for fun. Given that this is a by definitions a free show and you're not hurting anything by screwing around with it, why not have some fun with it? The show is already found money as far as the gate, so do a main event of Neville v. Dallas v. Slater v. three other geeks and give people something different for once. Or have 5 guys win stunning upsets and then, say, Sheamus squashes Zack Ryder to qualify and everyone is like "Oh man, Sheamus is gonna kill all these guys!" and then have him locked in there as the last guy in to really build up the drama. ​
​There's just a lot of different directions you can go and do wacky stuff with it. What we'll get is Barrett v. Sheamus v. Ziggler v. Neville v. Harper v. R-Truth with all the same guys at the same level forever​.

Scrap the Intercontinental Title

Hi Scott,

With Daniel Bryan seemingly about to go on the injured list again, do you think the WWE should just decommission the I-C Title? The belt has had zero prestige since 1999 or so, and the second half of last year saw The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper and Wade Barrett ping-ponging the title back and forth.

In contrast the U.S Title has been very strongly represented by Rusev and now John Cena, raising it to that semi-main event prestige once held by the I-C title. Maybe do a unification match or have Triple-H and Stephanie declare the title retired due to Bryans status (or have Repo Man repossess the title and never be seen from again 🙂

Your thoughts?

​They already tried getting rid of it in 2002.  It didn't stick then and wouldn't stick now.  It'll probably just get bounced back to Wade Barrett and become the same loser title it's been for years again.​

1987 IC Title situation

I’m not one to get too carried away with fantasy booking, but two key situations/rumors from 1987 had me thinking…

 

  1. Ricky Steamboat was being punished for asking for time off, and had his reign cut short. Or maybe because him and Savage upstaged Hogan at Mania, but the first seems to be fueled the most.

 

  1. Honkytonk Man won the title in a last-minute changing of the mind, instead of Butch Reed.
     

 

If #1 is true, then what were the long-term plans for the belt? Feuding with Savage through the summer? Does Savage still get the rocket push into the #1(B) babyface role with Hogan about to start taking time off every year? If #2 happened the other way with Reed winning, where does that leave Honkytonk Man? Does he become a flavor-of-the-month villain for Hogan before being knocked back down the card, or does he just ride the midcard train facing other non-title threats like Roberts and Ken Patera? Then what of Butch Reed? Was he that hot of an act to put the title on? In storylines he helped end the career of Superstar Billy Graham later in the year, but other than that, he seemed to have an uneventful run.

​I think that pretty clearly Steamboat was only intended as a transitional champ for SOMEONE, be it Reed or whoever.  Even without his time off he wasn't the kind of guy that Vince was gonna push any harder.  Reed at least had the look and enough cred at that point where he could conceivably win it.  Plus Vince apparently thought that the bleached blond hair on the black guy was hilarious.  ​

Meaningless 2nd Title


Hey Scott,


When do you feel the 2ndary titles became worthless?

My own feeling is that both titles has been meaningless since Cena was US champion the first couple times. For myself, at least, I kept a pretty hold on who was IC and US champ at any given time. After that point, it all became a blur. I know it's a subjective point but considering all titles are really just smoke and mirrors (since it's a fake sport and all), it's always amazed me that they're even able to create any legitimacy over an imaginary title, let alone an title that basically says, "in this imaginary world, you're still only second best."

Thoughts?

​Vince Russo.  Ironic since everyone praises his treatment of the midcard during the Attitude era, but treating the titles like props and playthings killed them.  As a lifelong superfan I was able to, at the time, recite all the IC champions from Pat Patterson onwards, but once you hit 1999​ I'm done.  The whole Godfather/Jarrett/D-Lo/Edge/Goldust era is a confusing blur for me and many others.  

WWE World Title BOD question

So, let’s play a little true or false. These guys have won their last WWE World Title:


Brock

True.  I think everyone knows and acknowledges that the experiment was a failure as far as having a part-time champion goes.  

Daniel Bryan 

False.  Something will happen and they'll need a transitional guy and that's Bryan.  

Dolph Ziggler 
Well he's never won it in the first place, and I think he'll get it someday.  False.  

HHH 

If he was gonna, the Bryan storyline would have been the time.  So true.  

John Cena 

Are you kidding me?  

Randy Orton

See John Cena.  They'll be trading the belt when the world is reduced to post-apocalyptic rubble and Paul Heyman is managing the cockroaches.  

Why did Orton lose the title so soon in 2004?

Hi Scott,

Michael Xavier here. I've been off-blog because of the current product and am watching PPVs during the Reign of Terror that I missed because that was the last time I wasn't interested in the product. Plus, it was just referenced in the Max Landis short movie (by the way, congrats on the mention!)

Anyway, Orton beat Benoit for the RAW belt at SummerSlam 2004. It went on last, Orton won clean, and Benoit even did the "handshake of respect" to completely put him over. It was essentially portrayed as a career-making performance. The next night he got kicked out of Evolution and then lost the belt at the next PPV to Hunter. He was basically Hunter's bitch in rematches and Batista was later pushed into the RAW championship spot instead. Orton didn't get another run with a top title until he won the WWE title in October 2007, more than 3 years later.

What was the point of putting Orton over so strongly at SummerSlam only to have him lose the belt so suddenly? I'd get it if ratings and house shows tanked, but he was already being set up to lose it to Hunter the very next night, and then was essentially out of serious consideration of being champion for 3 years.

Anyway, any knowledge on this?

​The explanation I've always heard is that Hunter felt like they needed a heel champion for whatever the voting PPV was that year (Taboo Tuesday or Cyber Sunday, I forget) because fans wouldn't want to vote between three heels and the choices were stronger on the babyface side anyway.  Plus Orton was really a spectacular flop as champion, like really badly, so it worked out OK anyway.  ​

First title win at wrestlemania.

Hey Scott,
There have been several wrestlers whose first world title win has been at wrestlemania but it hasn't happen in awhile.
Savage at 4; warrior at 6; Yokozuna at 9; michaels at 12; Austin at 14; Benoit at 20; cena and Batista at 21; and Rey at 22.
If reigns wins, this will be the first time in 9 years a persons first world title was at wrestlemania.
One cannot even say it is because of the two title system because all of the recent wm title changes like Bryan and cena and Sheamus already a world title for 2-3 reigns already.

Thoughts?

​It just goes to show how incredibly stale all the characters over the past few years have been, with everyone already multiple time World champions by the time they get to Wrestlemania.  That's one thing that worries me a lot about moving the belt from invisible champion to Reigns — you can bet they're going to start going back to the follow-the-bouncing-ball title changes when business drops and they need a ratings crutch.  ​
Also, Meltzer had an awesomely bittersweet piece in the new Observer talking about the fate of Daniel Bryan this year, and it's just tremendous as you can really tell how sad he was personally when the promotion gave up on Bryan and then the fanbase also gave up on him the night after Fastlane.  HHH may have talked about how the book is never finished or whatever nonsense on Austin's podcast, but in Bryan's case the book is really closed now on his time as a main event guy, and it's gonna go down as such a huge waste, all for Vince's failed Reigns experiment.  

The Royal Rumble home to the best title matches?


Scott,

The Royal Rumble the most prestigious battle royal ever devised but what about the title matches that take place on the show, there have been some true classics.

Angle vs Benoit from 2003 and Cena vs Umaga from 2007 instantly spring to mind as being the best but do you have any other favourite title matches which took place at the Rumble?

Thanks.

​I'm pretty fond of the Randy Orton v. Jeff Harvey match where they got me to buy into the "Elevation of Jeffrey Nero" storyline and then were like "Psych! We're gonna keep pushing Orton instead for a while".  Even if the usual RKO Outta Nowhere finish was a letdown, it was still a good match.  I think there was also a hell of a World title match between Undertaker and Rey Mysterio on that show, featuring Taker ragdolling Rey all over the ring in what was actually a fresh matchup for once.  
Also, HHH v. Scott Steiner.  Duh.  ​

Randy Savage’s WWF Title Run


Scott,

How was business going when the Macho Man was the WWF Heavyweight Champion for a year? Was he as over as Hogan? 

​No one was as over as Hogan, but Savage was a totally legitimate champion who drew just fine.  In fact after the heel turn he caught fire and probably should have remained champion, but that's a tough argument to make.  Really, he got to be World champion for a year during the peak of Hulkamania, I don't think he was complaining too much.  ​

Mountie’s Title Win


Hey Scott,

With the blog becoming an all Mountie love-in lately, I got to thinking – I've never seen footage of the match where the Mountie beat Bret for the IC title (when Bret had the flu, right?) Does such footage exist and if not why not? I know it was a house show, but so was Macho Man's win…it just seems strange. Was it like an LOD deal where Bret agreed to drop the title on the condition that the footage would never air? 

The footage aired all over the syndicated shows and in fact was part of the video package at the Rumble!   

Title chain: lesnar-> cena-> Rollins-> reigns

Hi Scott –
Longtime reader, bla bla. There seems to be a groundswell lately – and rightly so – to just get the belt off lesnar at the rumble and have cena put RR over at mania.  That's fine, but doesn't this make even more sense: cena beats Brock in a war, Rollins finally cashes and either with Brock's help, or because cena is so worn down, takes it from cena. Now you have a ready-made feud from the shield breakup (why would cena have an issue with RR in storyline terms?), and we get the face going over the cowardly heel and taking revenge for the "sellout" at mania. Too logical?

​I just feel like Reigns winning the belt from Rollins doesn't do anything for him.  Lesnar is at least a top level star, as is Cena, and either one of those can kickstart the push.  Changing the title three times in a two month span is counterproductive as well.  
Really, the best thing would have been not putting the belt on Lesnar in the first place and letting Rollins cash in on Cena at Summerslam so that he could have been champion during this whole terrible dead zone from Sep-Jan.  ​Lesnar could have destroyed Cena but decked the ref to get DQ'd, Rollins pins the corpse of Cena to win the title, faces chase him from now until Rumble when Cena gets his title back.  

IC Title jobber


In the Smackdown main event, Harper the current IC Champ took the pin on a 6-man team with Show and Kane.  Are we all being played?   Is there some inside joke with the bookers about jobbing out the IC Champ?  Kane is worthless and Show has zero big money left to draw, so either could've easily taken a meaningless 6-man pin, or even a schmozz ending to set up a ppv.  Instead we get Ryback (feuding with Kane) pin Harper (feuding with Ziggler) thus helping no one.   On a side note, how embarrassed do you think main roster guys were after R-Evolution???

​Well every time they do one of these shows before a WWE PPV, the main roster comes out with an awesome show to try and one-up the developmental guys, so hopefully they're REALLY fucking embarrassed.  
And as for the IC title, I'm pretty sure he's dropping it back to Mr. Ziggles on Sunday anyway if that makes you feel any better.  If you're waiting for them to suddenly stop with the secondary champion humiliation fetish, I don't know what to tell you.  ​

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. ​

The monumental IYH “It’s Cold!” IC title switch

Hi Scott I'll just quickly get the "cuz you're simply the best/better than all the rest/ better than anyone/anyone i ever met" stuff out of the way…

What was the ORIGINAL plan for the monumental IYH Winnipeg Shawn-Dean-Douglas-Razor switch? Was Shawn going to drop it to Dean? If so, how would they have gotten the title to Goldust?

So many questions…

But what a great show. Billy's haircut and all.
​Shawn was always dropping that title to Dean Douglas, yes.  They had a battle royale on RAW the next week (which I just covered) and Owen won it, but you could just as easily have seen Razor win it and get the title shot instead, which is how I think they would have done the transition if not for stuff happening.  The forfeit just sped up the process by doing the Shawn-Dean-Razor sequence on the night of the show to keep fans happy and put a babyface over.  
Now, [Vince mode] NOTWITHSTANDING THAT [/Vince mode] , what are the chances of Shawn actually doing that job in the ring if he was healthy?  I dunno.  But certainly the plan and belief was that Shawn was dropping the title that night.  

Title holders as jobbers

Hey Scott,

Random but sort of lucid thought I had this morning. It seems whomever holds the IC or US Title (and to a lesser extent the Tag Titles) ends up jobbing a shitload on tv. Here's a theory as to why…

Since basically the entire roster is filled with midcard geeks trading wins with each other, no one is terribly over. Additionally, the powers that be have asserted many times that the belts are but mere props. Therefore, when you need to have someone BUILD MOMENTUM to the next PPV or whatever, getting a win against Jack Swagger or Mark Henry or whoever doesn't do anything for them.

But in the eyes of the fans, the belts still mean something, so getting a win over the person that holds them still has meaning. We all know this on an intrinsic level (even the creative team), even though the mid-tier titles almost never get spotlight feuds.

The titleholders serve as prop vehicles for use when the story calls for it. I don't think any of us would disagree when we say they're leaving money on the table with this approach, but using the belts this way at least does have it's own goody logic to it. Thoughts?

​Yup.  The mentality is not "Who can we build up?" but "Who can we beat safely?" and they think that the titles somehow make the titleholder bulletproof and thus they can job them a million times on TV and have them stay over.  The problem is that the titles really don't mean anything to the fans any longer, especially the US title, because it's a self-fulfilling prophecy where they don't want to put the belt on someone they have plans for because it's such a geek title anyway.  I understand their "logic" in what they do, but it's just the wrong way to do things.  ​

Counting Flair’s World Title Reigns.


Hey dude, quick question. I remember many moons ago you posted on the
blog a list of all possible Ric Flair title reigns, where you got up
to the mid to late 20's depending on how lenient you were. I wanted to
check it out again but couldn't find it. Any chance you have it
somewhere in your databanks? Thanks!

Hoo boy, let's see if I can pull this out from memory again:

Documented/televised:  
1.  Dusty Rhodes in 81
2.  Harley Race in 83
3.  Kerry Von Erich in 84
4.  Dusty Rhodes in 86
5.  Ron Garvin in 87
6.  Ricky Steamboat in 89
7.  Sting in 91
8.  Fujinami in 91
9.  Royal Rumble 92
10.  Randy Savage in 92
11.  Barry Windham in 93
12.  Vader in 93
13.  Savage in 95
14.  Savage in 96
15.  Hogan in 99
16.  Jeff Jarrett in 2000
As well, there was a pair of switches with Race in New Zealand, a switch with the youngster Carlos Colon in Puerto Rico that created the WWC Universal title, a switch with Jack Venano  in the Dominican Republic, a switch with the Midnight Rider that was overturned, a switch with Victor Jovica in Trinidad, and as well you could possibly count the 91 victory over Sting as a double title victory (winning both WCW and NWA titles).  The final total can go as high as 24 I believe.  

ECW Title, April 2000

Hi Scott, random question for you.

April 2000, Mike Awesome defects to WCW while holding the ECW title. Heyman makes legal threats, WCW compromises by agreeing for Awesome to drop the title at the next ECW show. Heyman puts the belt on Taz. What was THAT decision all about?

I know by this stage there was a lot of 'arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic' going on in both Atlanta and Philly so nothing would have changed long-term, and it's also common knowledge ECW was being bankrolled by Titan by then, but why did Heyman stick the belt on someone under contract to the WWF? If he had any interest in keeping afloat, literally anyone else would have made more sense. Dreamer? RVD? Sandman? Credible? What's the story?


​A lot of desperation and bad decisions, I guess.  I still don't fully understand Heyman's reasoning behind it, but then it's not like he was known for solid decision-making when it came to his World title in the first place.  ​

Test the 2ndary Title to Make Reigns


Hey Scott,


I was flipping through the 1st Warrior DVD and I had an idea: Is there anything completely stupid about just giving Reigns either the US or IC belt and having him run with the thing, beating people left and right until WM, THEN having him straight up challenge Lesnar and having them do a Title vs. Title Match?

​Yeah, because the US title is considered such a midcard geek title now that it would actually bring him down several notches to even want it.  If they start him down that road, there's no point in even putting him in the main event.  Those titles destroy everything they touch.  ​

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Title that totally isn’t a “belt”

Scott,

Thumbs up or thumbs down on the design of the WWE title? I know it's basically the previous title with the new logo slapped on it, but after a couple of days of seeing photos of it, I'm loving it. The logo is sharp and the belt just looks like something you'd want to have, which is what a title should be. I kind of wish it had a nameplate, but the personalized side plates are kind of a cool touch. Your thoughts?

​I'm a fan.  I never liked nameplates in the first place so that's no big loss.  It's blingy without being gaudy like the spinner belt was, and it's distinctly WWE, unlike generic belts like TNA or ROH where you can't tell from a distance what title it is.  You look at the WWE title and this, clearly, is someone who is the champion of the entire WWE.  For me it's a winner.  ​