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Greatest champions


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I was originally planning a series of these threads, but thought instead I'd do an all-in-one type deal here given the recent explosion of "Best Worker" threads for fear of burn out and overkill.


I'm picking out only the 10 most prestigious titles historically here:


NWA World Champion (take WCW champ after 1991)

WWF World Champion

Intercontinential Champion

US Champion

NWA/ WCW World Tag Champs

WWF World Tag Champs

NWA/ WCW World TV Champion

AJPW Triple Crown (take NWA International title before 1989)

IWGP Heavyweight Championship

AWA World Title


I don't think the answers to most of these are entirely clear cut.


For the purposes of this thread, after the brand split nonsense take Big Gold as continuing the NWA / WCW lineage. I'd be surprised if there are any real contenders from that time frame though.


I'm going to start by picking out just two here:


US champ: I think there are some very strong contenders here. Rude's reign in 92 stands out as does Austin's run with it. But I think the man who gave this title most credibility in his runs with it and made it seem like a big deal is actually Lex Luger. He's my pick for best ever US champ.


IC champ: again a good number of options, Honky Tonk Man, Greg Valentine, Randy Savage, Tito Santana, Shawn Michaels, Bret .... the list goes on and on. But the guy who epitomised for me what the IC title was all about was Mr. Perfect. I know that run is not popular here, but for me Mr. Perfect was everything that the IC champion should be -- athletic, technical, smaller than the heavyweight champ but not lightweight. I always liked Benoit or Jericho with it for the same reason.

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NWA World Champion: Thesz. Established the credibility of the title at a time when it was crucially important to do so.

WWF World Champion: Hulk Hogan. Obvious.

Intercontinential Champion: Randy Savage. Drawing money, having great matches all over the place.

US Champion: Tully Blanchard. Gut feel.

NWA/ WCW World Tag Champs: Steiner Brothers. Midnight Express and Rock n Rolls were better teams but I can't quite remember what matches are part of their title reigns.

WWF World Tag Champs: Adonis/Murdoch. Every match I've seen is great.

NWA/ WCW World TV Champion: Lord Steven Regal

AJPW Triple Crown (take NWA International title before 1989): Misawa

IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Keiji Mutoh

AWA World Title: Verne Gagne. Taking a guess. Probably tremendous in the 1960s but we have no footage.

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Thinking about the IC title kinda makes me sad, considering all the great wrestlers, matches and feuds associated with it in the 80s and 90s, and the fact it (like most WWF/WCW titles) was more or less rendered meaningless around 1999 or so. A pretty big chunk of my favorite childhood wrestling memories revolve around the old IC title scene. There are many other factors, but hot-shot booking of title changes to the point where they meant absolutely nothing was one of the main reasons for the decline of my wrestling fandom at the end of the 90s. I'm sure this is a sentiment echoed by many around here.


But enough wistfulness. As far as Murdoch/Adonis go, I feel they are a really unique team in WWF history, almost an NWA type combo, especially with Murdoch being involved. They are especially unique when looking at the 70s/early-mid 80s heel WWF tag champs, which were often freak show/monster types, like the Executioners, Samoans and Moondogs, or Japanese/foreign menace teams, often featuring the ubiquitous Fuji. I wonder if it was perhaps because of George Scott's (an NWA guy) booking that a team like Murdoch/Adonis "slipped though the cracks" so to speak. Just a guess.

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I personally liked Mutoh's 95 run the most with the IWGP belt.

It's a nice run. Tenzan, Hirata and Kosh matches are very entertaining. The Hawk match is a bit painful. I'm not a fan of the Takada matches.


The problem with Mutoh is that the 8/92 - 9/93 run largely blows. His later runs... my recollection is that everything in it had a snowflake or more too much sprinkled on it.


With Hash, there are some dogs like the match with Flair (about 99.99% because Flair was a shitty opponent). Across the three runs there were a slew of entertaining matches, some really quite good. Hash basically felt like The Man from some point in 1994 (probably when he clocked the Old Farts in a row) until 8/98 with the brief 8/95 - 1/96 where Mutoh had a cup of coffee feeling like the man. Mutoh had a nice run, but it pretty much got swallowed up in Hash's 4.5 years of looking like the top guy in the promotion... while also putting on good matches.



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NWA World Champion (take WCW champ after 1991) : Ric Flair (Jerry's laundry list is a pretty good case)

WWF World Champion : Bob Backlund (way too many excellent matches against a wide variety of opponents over 6 year)

Intercontinential Champion : Tito Santana (Savage / Valentine, two of the strongest IC programs ever)

US Champion : Lex Luger (his 1989 run made him he Man and US champ he did look like the N°1 contender)

NWA/ WCW World Tag Champs : Rock'n Roll Express (obvious)

WWF World Tag Champs : Hart Foundation (by default)

NWA/ WCW World TV Champion : Steven Regal (consistency over the 90's)

AJPW Triple Crown (take NWA International title before 1989) : Mitsuharu Misawa (obvious)

IWGP Heavyweight Championship : Shinya Hashimoto (like John said)

AWA World Title : Nick Bockwinckle (I guess)


Add to that :


WWWA World champion : Aja Kong (the monster of the interpromotionnal era)

WWWA Tag Team champion : Crush Gals (as much as I'd love to put LCO there... way too many more important teams before the 80's)

JWP World champion : Dynamite Kansai (see Aja)

All-Asia Tag Team champions : Doug Furnas & Dan Kroffat (obvious)

IWGP Junior Heavy champion : Jushin Liger (who else ?)

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  • 1 month later...

NWA World Champion: Ric Flair

WWF World Champion: Hulk Hogan

Intercontinential Champion: Tito Santana

US Champion: Blackjack Mulligan

NWA/ WCW World Tag Champs: The Rock'n'Roll Express

NWA/ WCW World TV Champion: Lord Steven Regal

AJPW Triple Crown: Mitsuharu Misawa

IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Keiji Mutoh/The Great Muta



WWF World Tag Champs: Unsure, the WWF/E's tag team division has always been filled with regular periods of decline even amongst some of the best tag team wrestlers of all time

AWA World Title: Don't really know enough about the promotion, but Bockwinkel seems like a strong candidate.

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