Top 10 Worst Pro Wrestling Title Changes
Throughout pro wrestling history, there have been moments which made us laugh and cry, as well as moments which have left us on the edge of our seats in anticipation of what will happen next.
Then there are those moments which make us shake our heads, turn both palms up to the sky and you and all of your buddies systematically state "HUH?", followed by a "REALLY?"
This list was carefully assembled to bring back memories which you can't seem to remove from your head, and just remember that not only legends never die, but crappy booking will continue to happen until the end of the times (thank you, Santino) as well.
Rules of Engagement
A) Forfeited Titles Don't Count: There actually must be some sort of a decision involved. (Do we really want Shawn Michaels on this list twice? Didn't think so.)
B) This list only includes World Heavyweight Titles. To include the Hardcore title would be absurd (that 15-minute Wrestlemania match would take up a slot in itself), and to include titles such as the European Title and Television titles would take up entirely too much of my free time
C) Money In The Bank Title wins are exempt from criticism
D) All recommendations will be taken into consideration as an article update, so bring them on!
E) All complaints about the article will be placed in my personal filing cabinet.
10. Diesel Defeats Bob Backlund..in 8 Seconds..at a House Show
After Bret Hart and Bob Backlund went through hell at the Survivor Series (in what was one of the more emotional matches you'll ever see), the WWE absolutely killed an aging Bob Backlund in order to put over Diesel.
It was one thing to have Daniel Bryan lose in 18 seconds on the biggest stage of them all at WrestleMania (in what can now be considered a pure stroke of genius), but to have Diesel win at a house show was absurd.
It was booking like this which contributed to the downslide of the WWE after WrestleMania X.
9. The Giant 'Wins' the Title in His First Televised Match
WCW tried to loop together 17 different storylines into a four-minute span and successfully created a giant cluster in which:
A) Jimmy Hart turned his back on Hulk Hogan
B) Lex Luger "joined" the Dungeon of Doom
C) The Giant won the title by DQ
D) A title controversy was created which led to the buildup for the first ever World War 3 match (I personally thought La Parka had a great shot at winning the belt over the likes of Sting, Savage and Luger.)
To give the belt to the Giant in his first match was a curious play call, and as a result, he was quickly buried to irrelevancy thanks to Hulk Hogan (and luckily avoided the likes of Vader and Earthquake as big men who never quite recovered from a Hogan burial).
The Big Show/Giant was entirely too talented to fall to the hands of crappy booking and has put together what will eventually be a Hall-of-Fame career (no thanks to his run with WCW).
8. Yokozuna Loses to Hulk Hogan Moments After Winning First World Title
Hogan just couldn't let someone else take the spotlight. At WrestleMania IV, he managed to get involved in Randy Savage's celebration, and at WrestleMania IX, he had to have the title when all was said and done.
I would of been all about the title changing a second time in a night just for the shock value, but to give the belt to Hogan at WrestleMania was plain boring and unoriginal. Think about it: Hulk Hogan was involved in the first nine WrestleMania main events...you think they can give someone else a chance?
What should have happened at WrestleMania IX was Hogan passing the torch to Bret Hart; but there is plenty of debate as to whether Hogan was willing to do so or not. Thankfully, the WWE got it right, and Bret Hart took down the mighty Yokozuna at WrestleMania X.
It was ironic that Hogan lost the belt back to Yokozuna in an equally ridiculous fashion at the King of the Ring 1993, followed by his exodus to WCW.
7. Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan: First Blood Match or Not?
The match was originally billed as a First Blood-Steel Cage match; however, there were so many issues surrounding this matchup that I don't know where to start. Seven minutes into the match, Ric Flair was cut up on his forehead. How about Ric Flair winning by pinning Hogan...did I miss the page in the WCW rulebook where new rules may be added into matches at the referee's discretion?
I'd have to say Ric Flair probably bled in 90 percent of his matches throughout history, and Ric Flair (who happened to be the GM as well) made it a point that the match will not be stopped for "incidental blood." Apparently we learn something new everyday, as I wasn't aware that a person could bleed "by accident," as well as "on purpose."
This was actually a decent card, and I thought WCW wasn't too bad for the most part in 1999. WCW should have made this a standard steel cage match as opposed to getting crazy with the First Blood Match rule (which didn't really apply anyway).
Side note: I was originally going to put Stone Cold vs. Kane's First Blood Match in this spot (due to Kane essentially not being able to bleed), but the match wasn't too bad as a whole, so it managed to avoid the list.
6. The Rock Makes Mankind Quit?
This was the most brutal match within The Rock-Mankind rivalry, but why did it have to end the way it did? It's moments like this where the WWE tries to make their wrestlers look too intelligent at bending the rules (John Cena beating Batista with a roll of duct tape comes to mind as well); this match should of been a standard Street Fight, where pin-falls could occur anywhere in the building.
The WWE felt it was necessary to have these two trade the belt between one another five times between the Survivor Series and WrestleMania and almost reached the point of overkill. Luckily, they didn't have these two face off at WrestleMania and allowed Stone Cold to face the Rock on the grandest stage of them all.
Sure, this match set up the Half Time Heat match between the two (why the WWE hasn't done something similar of late is curious to me), but this match ending left a sour taste in my mouth in the middle of what was a truly gruesome rivalry.
5. David Arquette Is the Best in the World!
Glad to hear this was the creation from the brilliant mind of Tony Schiavone (because he didn't do enough damage giving the Mankind title win away). I love how Russo tries to back up the booking by saying Arquette's picture was in USA Today the next day.
Congratulations; people were talking about it. Do you really think this led to more PPV buys for that Triple Cage Match they had a few weeks later?
This title change really makes me throw up in my mouth (as I backed WCW harder then most), and while on that note, I'll get the last WCW "moment" from this list out of the way.
4. Finger-Poke of Doom
Once you saw the title of the article, you had to have seen this coming, right?
This was truly a dark day in WCW when this happened. If a wrestler ever asks Vince McMahon for creative control of his likeness, Vince should play this clip and say "ABSOLUTELY NOT."
This was a rough month for WCW, as Goldberg's streak came to an end, followed by this "incident." A Hogan vs. Nash World Title Match would of been brutal enough to watch, but with this moment, they managed to put together a worse performance then anyone imagined.
3. Double J and Russo Show Hogan the Door
OK, I lied about the last slide being the last WCW moment. Somehow, I managed to forget about this gem, where WCW's creative finally got tired of Hogan bullying around the bookers and always getting his way.
Shouldn't Hogan have seen this coming, seeing as how it was a mid-card match? I'm curious to know at what point of the day/night Russo and Jarrett came up with this idea, but it was clearly the biggest F-U moment in the history of the company.
Clearly, Hogan deserved better then this, as he heavily contributed to putting WCW back on the map upon his arrival. However, he also played a huge role in its demise similarly to how he contributed to the down slide of WWE by refusing to put wrestlers over who deserved it.
2. Andre the Giant Beats Hulk Hogan with a Double-Armed Suplex?
Where to start with this one boggles the mind:
A) They really couldn't come up with a better finish than this?
B) Why did they feel the need to throw that weak double-armed suplex in as the "finisher?"
C) Why couldn't Hogan just "kick out" at the last second instead of after the count of one?
D) Was this another product of Hogan refusing to let another wrestler take the spotlight?
E) Hogan showed up quite often on this list, huh?
Clearly, it would have been difficult to put the title on Andre at this point and time. He was still a draw just based upon his name and what he had done in his career; but to try to continue to utilize him as a main event talent is almost insulting to the fans' intelligence. His losing battle versus Giganticism was really sad to watch, as he was not only the epitome of respect in the locker room, but it was incredible to watch how mobile he was in the early 80's (similar to when The Big Show first was around).
It would have been interesting if they would have let The Million Dollar Man have a run with the belt from "buying" the title from Andre, though...
1. Vince Screwed Bret
There was so much going on behind the scenes and behind certain wrestlers' backs that you need a score card to sort this mess out. Vince got to a point where he could no longer pay Bret the ridiculous contract he signed (and with the influx of talent which the WWE produced in the next three years, Bret would have continued to slide down the totem pole), and Bret was on his way to WCW.
There are so many "what-if" questions that I could spend a week writing this article. The DVD surrounding the incident which came out recently is tremendous, and I highly recommend viewing it if you've been hiding in a cave for the past year and somehow missed it.
It really was a shame that the Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels feud came to an end like this, especially after how it essentially started at WrestleMania XII.
All in all, this whole situation could of been handled better, more professionally and with more integrity by all involved and is an incident which will never go away.