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WRESTLING COLUMNS

History of the WCW World Title Part 1: Early Beginnings
July 28, 2006 by Cruz Barnard


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The WCW World Heavyweight Title has a very prestigious background despite only existing for ten years. It had its ups and downs but is still considered one of the only four titles to maintain "World" Status. The others of course are the WWE, AWA, and NWA World titles. Here is a little history lesson for you all.

The WCW World Title was created when the NWA and WCW split ways and the then current NWA World Champion Ric Flair was awarded the WCW crown in January of 1991. While still being recognized as NWA champion he lost the title to Tatsumi Fujinami on March 21st, 1991 but he kept the WCW World title due to an illegal backdrop off the top rope by Fujinami. He also successfully defended his WCW World Title and reclaimed the NWA World title on May 19th, 1991. Things were looking good for Flair and WCW. In June of 1991, however, Flair and WCW President Jim Herd had a contract dispute and Flair left WCW.

Lex Luger then faced Barry Windham in a steel cage for WCW World Championship on July 19th, 1991. Luger defeated Windham, but the WCW World Championship had grown stale due to Flairs departure. Luger successfully defended his title against Ron Simmons at Halloween Havoc in October in a controversial racial storyline. In November, At Clash Of The Champions, things started looking up for Luger and the WCW Championship as he defeated Rick Steiner to retain his title. Luger lost momentum however as he did not wrestle again until February 29th, 1992 at SuperBrawl II against Sting. Sting defeated Luger for the WCW Heavyweight Title and brought hope back to WCW.

Sting's first title defense was against Big Van Vader in April of 1992. Sting won, but in the course of the match Vader cracked Stings ribs; this sparked off a rivalry. On July 12th, 1992 at The Great American Bash, Sting faced against Vader again but a different result occurred. Sting miscalculated a Stinger Splash and received a power bomb from Big Van Vader, losing the title.

On August 8th, 1992, Jake Roberts injured Sting and a raffle was held to determine a new #1 Contender. Ron Simmons won the raffle and later on that night he defeated Big Van Vader for the WCW World Title.

Ron Simmons would go on to hold the title for four months. During his reign though, many fans considered him a stiff wrestler that wasn't a good champion (this is not at all my opinion). He defended the title time and time again against Vader but he finally lost the belt to him on December 30th, 1992.

Big Van Vader and Sting continued their rivalry during Vader's second title reign. Vader defended his title against Sting in a Strap match at SuperBrawl III on February 21st, 1993. However, Vader dropped the title to Sting on March 11th, 1993.

Stings second title reign lasted less than a week as he continued his feud with Vader. On March 17th, 1993 in Dublin, London sting dropped the title for the shortest reign in WCW World Title history up to that point.

Big Van Vader's third reign turned out to be his best as he defeated the likes of The British Bulldog, Sting, and Dustin Runnels in consecutive weeks. Vader later ran into the toughest man he had ever faced up to that point: Cactus Jack. Vader and Foley fought at Halloween Havoc in a Texas death match for the WCW World Heavyweight Title. Vader defeated Cactus Jack in a tough victory, which saw Cactus Jack losing his right ear. Vader's amazing reign came to an end in December at Starrcade when he faced Ric Flair in a Title Vs. Career Match.

Ric Flair feuded with Hulk Hogan in the upcoming months and he finally lost the title on June of 1994 in a Title Vs. Retirement match at Starrcade.

Hulk Hogan was lured out of retirement to face Flair in his debut match for WCW at Starrcade 1994. Hogan won the WCW Heavyweight Title and defended it against the likes of Ric Flair, Big Van Vader and even feuded with the Dungeon of Doom. Hulk Hogan held the title for more then eighteen months, which was by far the longest reign to date.

The Giant won the title in his in-ring debut at Halloween Havoc when he beat Hulk Hogan Via DQ. Hulk Hogan had unknowingly signed a contract that said the title could change hands on a DQ. The Giant was stripped of the title a week later though because of the controversial win.

On November 26th, 1995 at Wrestle War III, a three ring 60-man battle royal took place to determine a new WCW World champion. Randy Savage won the WCW World Title but his reign was short lived as he lost it to Ric Flair a month later.

Ric Flair's third reign as World Champion only lasted a month as he lost the title back to Randy Savage in a feud that would go on for the next two years.

As I neglected to mention earlier this is part 1 of what I hope to be a four part series! Next time on part two: The nWo Era.

by Cruz Barnard ..


Matt Kennedy wrote:
Nice article, just one thing to say say Mick Foley didn't lose part of his ear in Texas at haloween Havoc it was on tour in Germany
Stephen Y wrote:
This was a good article, but the title reigns weren't very detailed, which made this article very short.

I would just like to say that Dublin is in the Republic of Ireland, not London. London is in England. Just while I am speaking about this, why is William Regal labelled as British,not English, whereas Finlay is labelled as Irish, which is also a part of Britain. Did you see the advertisement for the Great American Bash matches. Lashley had an American flag, Finlay had a Republic of Ireland flag (green, white, orange) instead of Northern Ireland's (white background, red cross, emblem in middle) and Regal had a Great Britain flag. Finlay didn't even have a correct flag.
Trevor McRae wrote:
Great artilce, it sure did bring back some great memories! Just one thing to point out though....I'm pretty sure ECW also achieved World title status, did it not"
Steve Hall wrote:
I really enjoyed the article however, the Vader vs Cactus Jack match at Halloween Havoc was a non sanctioned, non title match.
Steve Fuller wrote:
This is a great article i agree with steve hall but, i'd like to see the rest of this series
Brian J. Adkins wrote: Mr. Barnard has some mistakes here,so i thought i would help.

Hogan was lured out of retirement and did defeat Flair but it was on July 17,1994 at WCW`s BASH AT THE BEACH ppv from Orlando,Florida.

The Title vs. Retirement match was also a steel cage match with Mr. T as special referee. Flair lost (only to return about 6 months later) and it was on October 23rd,1994 at WCW`s HALLOWEEN HAVOC ppv in Detroit,Michigan.

Hogan`s then-manager "Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart was actually the one in the storyline to put in the title loss that Hogan could lost the titlet by d.q. so he could betray Hogan and manage The Giant.

Hogan`s reign was long but only about 14-15 months not 18,plus it should be noted that he would routinely not defend the title months at a time.
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