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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The WW(W)F/E Title Push
December 29, 2004 by Matty G (Sydney)


Firstly, let me say thanks to Jay (14) who corrected me about title matches on Raw and Smackdown. I should have said title matches where the title changes because that hardly ever happens. Anyway thanks Jay !

At this time of the year, we start to think about who may get the big push in 2005. We all carry on about our favourites being buried, or those getting a push are undeserving. What if we could get into Vince's brain for a few minutes " How does the man think "

Well, one way of measuring who is getting a decent push is who gets a shot at the title. Who is there pushing right at the top " Of course the nature of the business has changed since 1963, and house shows now are used to help wrestlers work out their match properly before it goes on television. Politics has been around long before Triple H, and some champions chose to work against a very select group of wrestlers. Also the level of competition at any given time determines how evenly spread out the title matches may be. So with all these factors taken into consideration, who has been in the most World Title matches in WWE history " (As a clarification, World Title matches are for the WWF Title up to the time Jericho unified the belts. WCW Title matches between Vince's takeover and the unification don't count. Matches for both belts after the brand extension do count. I'm counting all house shows, tv tapings and PPV's.)

20. GORILLA MONSOON | 91 matches between 1963 and 1978 and never won the title.

19. SGT SLAUGHTER | 93 matches between 1977 and 1991. As plain old Bob Slaughter he only got one shot. As the Gulf War got going, his gimmick was gold for the WWF.

18. BROCK LESNAR | 106 matches between 2002 and 2004. Amazing rise to the top of the heap. Will he add to this in 2005 and beyond "

17. KURT ANGLE | 108 matches between 2000 and 2004. This is the first year he hasn't won the belt. Sure to add to this tally.

16. THE ROCK | 113 matches between 1998 and 2002. You'd think it would be more hey " But he had to battle for the top spot against Mick Foley (63), Stone Cold, Triple H, Kurt etc.

15. DIESEL (KEVIN NASH) | 119 matches between 1994 and 2003. 73 of those were in one year - 1995.

14. ULTIMATE WARRIOR | 120 matches between 1989 and 1992. A relatively brief run includes 79 matches in 1990.

13. YOKOZUNA | 134 matches between 1993 and 1996. Like the Warrior, condensed his matches into a few short years.

12. SHAWN MICHAELS | 146 matches between 1992 and 2004. Considering he was out for four years with injury, this is a very credible total. Managed to add nine to his total in 2004.

11. PEDRO MORALES | 150 matches between 1971 and 1977. Champion in the early 1970s beat the best there was at the time.

10. STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN | 150 matches between 1996 and 2002. Hard to believe it's been two years since either Austin or The Rock had a title shot. Like Michaels, injury played it's part here.

9. SUPERSTAR BILLY GRAHAM | 159 matches between 1975 and 1983. Even after losing the belt, Graham had sporadic title shots in the early 1980s before Hulkamania.

8. RIC FLAIR | 162 matches between 1979 and 2004. Twenty five years between title shots is impressive enough. What's more incredible is that 114 of these matches were in a single year - 1992.

7. THE UNDERTAKER | 233 matches between 1991 and 2004. Every year since 1991, The Undertaker has had at least one title shot.

6. TRIPLE H | 245 matches between 1995 and 2004. Just brought up his 10th consecutive year of being in the main event at least once. Will probably edge 300 before 2005 is out.

5. RANDY SAVAGE | 306 matches between 1985 and 1994. The funny thing about Savage was that when he wasn't wearing the belt, he was hardly ever really in the title picture.

4. BRET HART | 362 matches between 1992 and 1997. How it took until 1992 just to get a title shot is baffling. Just imagine how many more it could have been !

3. BOB BACKLUND | 535 matches between 1977 and 1994. Disappeared after Hulkamania only to come back and briefly hold the title in 1994.

2. HULK HOGAN | 657 matches between 1980 and 2002. A handful in the early 80s. Hundreds during Hulkamania. A handful since the comeback in 2002. One of only two men to wrestle in over 100 title matches a year in four consecutive years.

1. BRUNO SAMMARTINO | 1034 matches between 1963 and 1978. Holds the record for most title matches in a year - 157 ! Held the belt forever in the 1960s and returned for another run in the 1970s. Had a shot at the title in every one of those 16 years.

Okay, so the top 19 all held the belt at some stage. After Monsoon, the rest of the top five who never won the belt are (77) Waldo Von Erich; (74) Paul Orndorff and Owen Hart; and (67) George 'The Animal' Steele. So there's hope left for everyone !

So if we take out those above who are still active, who is getting the push " Here's the figures - but anything can happen in the WWE !

Chris Benoit 81; Kane 77; Big Show 72; Jericho 56; Eddie Guerrero 51; JBL 46; Edge 21; Booker T 21; Rob Van Dam 20; John Cena 18; Randy Orton 15.

by Matty G (Sydney)..


HulkHogan2@aol.com wrote:
Wow! Extremly interesting article. I would have figured Hogan had the top spot due to all the title matches he had in the 80's but Sammartino did hold the belt forever so it makes sense. This article had to have taken hours and hours of research. Im surprised that there werent any wcw or nwa guys atop the list aside from Ric Flair. Thanks for the article a great read.
Matthew Geddes wrote:
Thanks for your comments Hulkster. Much appreciated. The reason no other WCW/NWA stars made the list is that back in the 60s and 70s wrestlers tended to move around a lot and didn't stay in one federation for years on end the way they do now - any top 20 that doesn't include Andre The Giant has built in flaws. And yeah it took a fair while to research, but I thought it was worth it. Anyone who wants complete results can email me. Thanks again Hulk.
wrote:

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