Craig Wilson, Brian Damage & Jamie Lithgow.
For the majority of mainstream wrestling fans the WWE is the pinnacle of the wrestling world and by association the WWE title is the top belt. Greats from the business such as Bruno Sammartino, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan and John Cena have all carried that belt at one point or another. It has largely always been the focal point for the best known wrestling promotion in the world. That’s not to say that every man that’s worn that belt has deserved to, though.
Last week we covered the Top Five WWE Champions in our weekly list and it seems only natural that this week we focus on some of the poorer title runs and those superstars that carried the strap that shouldn’t have. This week Craig, Brian and Jamie list their Top Five Worst WWE/F Champions.
5 Hogan’s 93 run
Maybe this is slightly cheating but “cheated” is certainly how fans in 1993 felt when Hogan barely appeared to defend his title and dropped it at the first available opportunity before departing the company. And that’s without even looking at the way that the belt was won at Wrestlemania IX. Throughout the 80s and into the early 90s Hogan was the backbone of the WWE and was the face of the company. By 1993, though, he didn’t get anything like the same reaction from fans and he seemed to care even less during his 93 run with the WWE.
4 Rey Mysterio
Only holding the belt for a matter of hours makes Rey an obvious candidate for this list. Bear in mind also that it was 2011 that he held the strap, as he began to wane as a performer and the evidence is mounting. During his run with WCW and early in his WWE career Rey was a hugely exciting performer but injuries have steadily taken their toll and reduced him to a shadow of his former self. The Rumble win and World Heavyweight Title run was a nice tribute to Eddie Guerrero but he didn’t need, or deserve, a run with the WWE title. In the end he got one and it last a matter of hours…
I can’t think of many wrestlers who carved out such a lengthy career with such a small repertoire of moves as Kevin ‘Diesel’ Nash did. Naturally, with his look and the fact he was a big man he was a cert to get a shot with the title belt but a poor draw during some of the WWE’s leaner periods doesn’t give many people the opportunity to look back fondly on his time at the top.
Sid was another guy I just didn’t get. Sure, he was also big but had no charisma, couldn’t cut a promo and was devoid of much talent in the ring. The reason he features higher in the list than Diesel is because of the fact that during Sid’s run with the belt there were various superstars more deserving of a title run, the same cannot be said for 95 when Diesel carried the belt.
1 Vince McMahon
I’m not even sure this one needs justified… Sure, it was 1999 and the significance of title belts had diminished and storylines barely existed but it still makes me cringe to think that, despite everything he has done for wrestling, that Vince can say he has won the WWE title and the Royal Rumble.
5 “The Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff
Yes Ivan is on my list simply because 21 days is a hiccup in any era. Besides, despite being a WWWF champion, his biggest fame in my view came in the NWA territories with Nikita and Krusher Kruschev.
Many people probably won’t think of Sheamus as a “bad champion” but in reality, he really was. Twice he held the strap and can anybody name one memorable title defense? He held the belt 2 times for roughly six months combined…not great at all.
3 “The Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers
He may have been the inaugural WWWF champion, doesn’t mean he was remotely the best. In my view, one of the worst because, being the first champion in a company’s history should give you clout and unimaginable honors…it didn’t. He was handed the belt and never actually beat another opponent. The WWWF claimed he won the title in Brazil….that was never the case. Also, due to health reasons, only held the belt for less than a month and was squashed in just 48 seconds by Bruno Sammartino to lose it.
2 Vince McMahon
Need I say more?
1 Rob Van Dam
He was extremely popular and his title win over John Cena was exciting and explosive in the much smaller venue of the Manhattan Center. He had the keys to the WWE city and he blew it by failing a drug test. What could have been or what might have been is irrelevant. He F’d up…
Alberto Del Rio, Sgt. Slaughter, Bob Backlund and Sheamus
I feel a little bad for including Kane, but his one and only run with the WWE Title was completely pointless. The Big Red Machine won the title from Stone Cold Steve Austin in the main event of the infamous King of The Ring 1998 event, only to drop it back to the rattlesnake the following evening on Raw. What was the point? Had he dropped the belt to someone else then fair enough, I fully understand the role of a transitional champion – not that I agree with a 24 hour turnaround right enough. All I can think of is that WWE booked themselves into a corner with the first blood rules at KOTR. Bear in mind that the 1998 version of Kane frequently wore long sleeves, so how could a masked man with no exposed skin lose a first blood rules match? Turns out he couldn’t.
4 Vince McMahon
For similar reasons to Kane, only Vince had no business holding the title in the first place. Vince won the title from Triple H (who had only recently captured his first WWE Title) on the September 16th 1999 episode of Smackdown. The match was of course laced with outside interference, most notably from Stone Cold. The following Raw Vince vacated the title. All sounds fair enough, assuming the title was slowly making its way to someone else? Nope, Triple H regained the title in a six pack challenge at Unforgiven on September 26th. Other than allowing Austin to get one over Triple H, what was the point of this whole endeavour?
3 The Miz
I’ve never known a WWE Champion that was booked to look as weak as The Miz. Chris Jericho wasn’t allowed to look particularly strong in his first run with the belt (owing to Triple H politicking to remain the top heel) and Alberto Del Rio wasn’t convincing either, but I can’t recall anyone as weak as The Miz. The cowardly heel that cheats and gets lucky works in the mid-card (to an extent), but a main event heel is different. They will also cheat and rely on luck, but are booked strongly enough to suggest to fans that they could get the job done following the rules, should they wish to. The Miz never received this booking, he was always just a mid-carder who successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase.
2 Sycho Sid
He was awful, plain and simple. I can’t think of a single memorable Sid moment, that doesn’t include him fucking something up. I feel like he only ever held the title because nobody else could. He won his first championship so that Shawn Michaels could regain it in a rematch in Michaels’ home town of San Antonio at the 1997 Royal Rumble. His second reign was purely to transition the belt to The Undertaker. His only saving grace is that both his reigns were relatively short, unlike my number one…
Can you name a memorable Diesel title defence? Actually, can you name a memorable Diesel match? One could argue that his best match was actually when he dropped the title at the 1995 Survivor Series. However, any positives in that match can probably be attributed to Bret Hart’s performance and possibly the first broken table spot to occur on WWE TV. From almost every aspect 1995 was one of WWE’s worst years, and who was champion for almost the entire year? That’s right, Diesel. Nobody else on this list was meant to be the face of the company along with being champion, but Diesel was, and he completely bombed.
You can read all our previous Top Five features here.