John Carbery and Brian Damage
To be the man, you have to beat the man is the adage of Ric Flair. But on some occasions the title the man, or woman, you have been trying to beat is carrying a title you don’t really want… In this Top Five, we look at some of the worst titles in wrestling history.
5. Ring of Honor Unified Championship
On the 12th of August ROH Champion Bryan Danielson defeated ROH Pure Champion Nigel McGuiness in a brutal unification match that ended the Pure championship, its distinctive rule set and match style. I’m putting this belt on the worst list just because I hated the fact that the Pure belt was usurped and forgotten about. The ROH Pure championship was such a brilliant idea and provided great contrast to the Championship title scene. It seemed like the unification of the Pure title and the World title was indicative of a greater creative change within ROH and I personally abandoned the company around that time as a result. I still miss the Pure Championship and would probably check out ROH again were it to return but both of those are unlikely to happen.
4. TNA Legends Championship
I guess this was just for old wrestlers? I remember Booker T introduced it and after a while it morphed into the global championship and who knows what else over time. It was always hot garbage and devalued anybody unlucky enough to wear the diamond encrusted crap.
3. WWE Diva’s Championship 2008 – 2016
An ugly piece of garbage. Its butterfly design really tells you everything about it, the champion and everybody competing for it were never taken seriously by the company. It was a putrid, pink nightmare and I couldn’t have been happier to see the back of it at Wrestlemania this year. The Womens Championship(s) are a big step up and have given the females on both brands something to actually wrestle for.
2. WWE World Heavyweight Championship 2002-2005
This period of time has many names, the Reign of Terror seems to be the most accepted one though for the period when the World Heavyweight Championship was HHH’s plaything. While others held it briefly it would always find its way back to son in law so he could cosplay as NWA Worlds Champion and bury everybody in sight. Jeff Jarrett was doing the same thing over in TNA at the time. It was a dreary time for mainstream wrestling and led me to the open arms of the indies which I suppose is a good thing over all.
1. WWF Light Heavyweight Championship 1998-2001
This one has quite a history. Sanctioned by the WWF in 1981 and exclusivley defended first in Mexico’s UWF and then NJPW until 1997 when the Federatoin brought the belt home and crowned their own champ. It started off well enough with Taka Michinoku becoming the first champion and having a solid lower card run. Less than a year after he won it though comedy jobber Gillberg won the title and kept it for 453 days. The belt was treated like a joke, just like its champion. Essa Rios took the title from Gillberg on an episode of Heat in 2000 and despite the likes of Dean Malenko, Jeff Hardy, X Pac and Jerry Lynn following him as champ no Light Heavyweight champion was ever taken seriously by the company, it often seemed like a demotion from the mid card Intercontinental Championship scene. They really had a chance to do something special but the company’s ignorance when it comes to smaller performers ruined all of that potential.
5. WWF European Championship
What exactly was the purpose of this title? It started out interesting with a tournament held all over Europe and the first champion being the British Bulldog Davy Boy Smith. From there however, the title quickly became diluted with mostly non European wrestlers holding that championship being defended mostly in the states and Canada and rarely in Europe. The title was made so meaningless, it became a demotion title with Shawn Michaels even calling the belt, “a stupid piece of tin.”
4. WCW Cruiserweight Tag team titles
By this point in time, WCW’s cruiserweight division had become severely watered down. These belts might have made more sense a few years prior when the company had all those luchadors and greats like Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Blitzkrieg and others. It was one too many titles that the almost barren cruiserweight division didn’t need.
3. WCW Hardcore Championship
I guess this was WCW’s answer to the success of the WWF’s hardcore 24/7 title and the past success of ECW. The title was defended in a real junkyard that cause several wrestlers to get really injured. At first, it wasn’t even a real belt, but an ugly trophy. It soon transformed into a belt form and it’s greatest champion was Norman Smiley. I loved Norman Smiley, but the title was a joke from day one and quickly lost meaning. The last champion was Meng who would jump ship to the WWF and the a new champion was never crowned.
2. The WWF World Martial Arts Championship
The title was created by Vince McMahon Sr and simply awarded to New Japan’s Antonio Inoki without a tournament or even a mock tournament (as the Intercontinental title) The concept of it was interesting as the belt would be defended in shoot style matches. (Think if the Brawl for All winner won a championship) The title seemed like it was created for the simple reason to keep Inoki happy in the WWF’s partnership with New Japan back in the 1970’s.
1. NWA Western States Heritage Title
I never fully grasped what purpose this belt signified. Was it simply to be defended in the western part of the United States? Was it meant to be held by only wrestlers from Texas, Oklahoma, California etc? If that was the case, why was the belt defended in Long Island, New York and won by a Chicagoan Larry Zbyszko? I guess the mid west counted? The title didn’t seem to have purpose or meaning or direction and was quickly scrapped.
You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.