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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Grand Slam Champions
February 3, 2006 by Steven P.


When someone thinks of the term "Grand Slam", usually, they'll think of tennis or the homerun in baseball worth four runs. However, when wrestling fans think of the term "Grand Slam", something else may come to mind. Think back to the year 2002, the forgotten year of modern wrestling, in my opinion. In a matter of two weeks or so, two WWE Championships were dissolved or merged with the Intercontinental Championship. These two titles were the Hardcore Championship and the European Championship. In these two matches, Rob Van Dam defeated Tommy Dreamer (Hardcore Champion) and Jeff Hardy (European Champion) in a Ladder Match. Rarely, do we hear or see what was of the European Championship, except when Jim Ross would proclaim that Shawn Michaels was the first man to hold all four major titles. So, now, this is the history of the five men who were the WWE's Grand Slam Champions.

Shawn Michaels was the original diamond in the rough for the WWF/E. Entering the company as a member of the tag team combination, The Rockers, Michaels was split from then partner, Marty Jannetty. After the split, Michaels adopted the nickname, HBK or the Heart Break Kid. On an episode of Saturday Night's Main Event, Shawn Michaels got his first WWF Championship defeating the Intercontinental Champion, The British Bulldog. Michaels had success as Intercontinental Champion in his three runs as champion. During one of his runs as IC Champion, Michaels won the WWF Tag Team Championship with his partner, Diesel, a.k.a. Kevin Nash. The WWF was molding Michaels as a main eventer and received a WWF Championship match at WrestleMania 12 with the 60 Minute Iron Man rules applied. He battled Bret Hart in one of the best wrestling matches, ever. They went to overtime and about two minutes in, Michaels connected with two superkicks back to back for the win and the WWF Championship.

Michaels continued his good guy persona for a while, until 1997. He formed a faction with Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna, known worldwide as Degeneration X, a group of brash, arrogant, cocky and good wrestlers who did what they wanted when they wanted. At an event televised in England titled "One Night Only", the show hyped a match featuring Shawn Michaels against the European Champion, The British Bulldog.

Throughout the show, Jim Ross was reminding us that if Shawn Michaels could win the belt from the British Bulldog, he would become the first and only Grand Slam Winner in WWF history. Michaels did just that and defeated The Bulldog to be the first man ever to hold the WWF Championship, the Intercontinental Championship, the WWF Tag Team Championship and the European Championship. A feat so great, it would be over three years before we saw another Grand Slam Champion.

Triple H is known today for being a ten time World Champion. However, Triple H's first title was the now defunct European Championship. Michaels successfully defended the European title in the initial Hell In A Cell match against The Undertaker. Afterwards, Michaels dropped the belt to Triple H. This gave Triple H the run as champion that propelled him a step up. Triple H won the Intercontinental Championship from The Rock in 1998 at Summerslam 1998 in a Ladder Match. This is considered Triple H's first IC title reign. His previous persona of a snobby blue blood, Hunter Hearst Helmsley won the strap in 1996 against Marc Mero. Triple H now had two single titles under his belt. The next title Triple H won was the biggest belt of them all, the WWF Championship against Mankind the night after Summerslam 1999. Triple H then went on to win more WWF Championship belts defeating guys like The Big Show, The Rock, and even winning a Six Pac Challenge with Steve Austin, his nemesis as the referee at Unforgiven '99. Then, the wrestling world changed the night after WrestleMania 17. Triple H created an alliance with Steve Austin as the two along with Vince and Stephanie McMahon ran all over the WWF.

Austin was the WWF Champion, Triple H was the Intercontinental Champion and then the two defeated The Undertaker and Kane to become the WWF Tag Team Champions. Although Triple H had a Tag title run that lasted a little less for a month, Triple H had all four belts needed to be a Grand Slam Champion, the second one ever.

Chris Jericho entered the WWF in 1999 coming from WCW. There he was a multiple time WCW Cruiserweight Champion. When he came to the WWF, he was immediately thrown into a microphone feud with The Rock. Jericho's first title reign in the WWF happened when he forced Chyna to tap to the Walls of Jericho, making him the Intercontinental Champion. A few weeks later, Chyna and Jericho accidentally pinned each other in an IC Title match. Stephanie McMahon made them, Co-Champions. This way, when Jericho defended the strap, Chyna was forced to help him. When Chyna defended the belt, Jericho had to help her. Jericho defeated Chyna and Hardcore Holly at the Royal Rumble to become the undisputed (here's a little foreshadowing) Intercontinental Champion. Jericho lost the IC belt to Kurt Angle but beat Chris Benoit in a Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania 16 to take Angle's European Championship. The next night, Chyna helped Eddie Guerrero defeat Jericho for the European Championship. Jericho later had two more IC title runs in 2000 to 2001 and went on to team with Chris Benoit, and the two defeated Triple H and Steve Austin for the WWF Tag Team Championship in a match that many will remember for when Triple H severely tore his quadriceps. Jericho also won the Hardcore Championship for about two minutes before dropping it to Rhyno after one Gore on the stage. Jericho became one of the WWF faces for the war against WCW and ECW.

Jericho and The Rock, two WWF superstars even traded the WCW Championship during this time. After the invasion had ended, an Undisputed WWF Championship tournament was made. Four men, three matches in one night for one title. Steve Austin defeated Kurt Angle to retain the WWF Championship and Chris Jericho defeated The Rock for the World Championship. Right after Jericho beat The Rock, Steve Austin came to the ring. Thanks to Booker T, Jericho pinned Steve Austin and became the first ever Undisputed Champion and the third ever Grand Slam Champion.

Kurt Angle is the most decorated athlete in professional wrestling history. Kurt Angle debuted at Survivor Series '99 defeating Shawn Stasiak. Angle continued an undefeated streak, which was driving Triple H crazy, seeing that Stephanie had some interest in Angle's wrestling abilities. In January of 2000, Angle defeated Val Venis to become the European Champion. In February, he defeated Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship. Angle held both the European and Intercontinental Championships at the same time. Some gave him the title Eurocontinental or Transcontinental Champion.

At WrestleMania 16 or 2000, Angle competed in a Two out of Three Falls match defending both the European and Intercontinental Championship belts. Chris Jericho won the first fall over Chris Benoit, making him the European Champion and then Benoit defeated Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship. Angle lost both of his titles at one event without being pinned or submitting. Later that year in June, Kurt Angle won the King Of the Ring tournament, defeating Chris Jericho, Crash Holly and Rikishi in one night. Finally, in October of 2000, with some help from Rikishi, Kurt Angle defeated The Rock to become the WWF Champion. Highlights of his initial run were his victories over The Undertaker, Triple H and his victory in the only Six Man Hell In A Cell match. Somewhere in 2000, Angle had also won the Hardcore Championship for about two minutes. The Rock defeated Angle at No Way Out in February of 2001 for the WWF Championship. Later that year, Angle had become one of the WWF's leaders in the war against ECW and WCW. In the first WCW Championship match on SmackDown, Angle defeated Booker T to win the title, thus evening the sides. Austin, a defected WWF superstar to ECW/WCW was the WWF Champion. Kurt Angle, a WWF superstar, was the WCW Champion. It was short lived as Booker won it back on the next RAW. Angle started a memorable feud with Austin that saw Angle win the WWF Championship at Unforgiven, the first pay per view after the September 11 attacks on America. It was a very emotional moment for wrestling worldwide. Angle lost the title back to Austin a few weeks later on RAW. A month or so later, Angle defeated Rhyno for the WCW United States Championship. Then, in a shocking moment, Angle defected to ECW/WCW to join Austin. Edge defeated Angle for the US Title and then in another shocking moment, Angle defected back to the WWF in the Survivor Series Winner Take All match, nailing Austin with the title belt knocking him into a Rock Bottom by the Rock followed by the three.

Just under a year later, SmackDown GM, Stepahnie McMahon made a tag team tournament for the new SmackDown Tag Team Championship. The dysfunctional team of Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle defeated Los Guerreros in the finals at No Mercy to win the belts. This made Kurt Angle the fourth ever Grand Slam Champion. The last ever Grand Slam Champion was "Latino Heat" Eddie Guerrero. Eddie Guerrero made his name in ECW, with five-star matches with Dean Malenko among others. Eric Bischoff stole him and Benoit, Malenko and Jericho form ECW for his own use. Paul Heyman looked at Eddie Guerrero as a future World Champion and Eric Bischoff looked at him as a mid-card Cruiserweight. In January 2000, Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero requested their leave from WCW and they got it. A week later, they shocked the wrestling world, appearing on RAW and taking out The New Age Outlaws, The Mean Street Posse and Triple H. A week later they joined Triple H and eventually separated. Eddie won his first WWE title, defeating Chris Jericho the night after WrestleMania 16 for the European Championship and forming a relationship with Chyna. Later that year, Chyna and Eddie Guerrero wrestled Trish Stratus and Val Venis in an Intergender Tag Team match for the Intercontinental Championship. Chyna pinned Stratus to become the Intercontinental Champion. Two weeks later, Guerrero pinned his "Mamacita" with a rollup to win the Intercontinental Championship. We have to fast forward two years to see Eddie Guerrero win the Intercontinental Championship from Rob Van Dam and losing it back to Van Dam. Guerrero went to SmackDown with Chris Benoit and entered the SmackDown Tag Team Tournament for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.

However, Eddie entered with his nephew, Chavo and the team made it to the finals before losing to Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. At the '02 Survivor Series. Los Guerrero pulled off the victory over Angle & Benoit and Edge & Mysterio to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. Eddie & Chavo were two time WWE Tag Team Champions before Chavo was seriously injured. Tajiri filled in for Chavo and the two spilt up after Tajiri fell on top of Eddie's lowrider by accident. Guerrero became the United States Champion after beating Chris Benoit in the tournament finals with help from Rhyno. The WWE apparently wanted Eddie to be a heel, but the crowd just kept cheering louder and louder for Eddie. He became a face again and again won the Tag Team Titles with Chavo. This made Eddie a double Champion (one wrestler holds two different belts at one time). However, in a matter of weeks, Eddie lost the US Title and the Tag Team Titles. This set of losses began a family war between Chavo and Chavo Sr. vs. Eddie. Eddie beat Chavo bloody at the 2004 Royal Rumble and then won a mini Royal Rumble match on an episode of SmackDown. This set up a main event WWE Championship match at No Way Out between Eddie Guerrero and Champion, Brock Lesnar. After a DDT on the belt and a frog splash, Eddie picked up the victory and became the WWE Champions and the last Grand Slam Champion, ever.

How many people will remember this accomplishment" Not too many probably. There are some people that can still be Grand Slam Champions, like Jeff Hardy, William Regal and Rob Van Dam. All those three have to do is win the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship. It's not too likely that that will happen. But why do I think the Grand Slam Championship is so important" There are five reasons, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero. They were and still are the best of the best. Enough said.

by Steven P. ..


MajinGotenksSSJ3 wrote:
I like the article and those five were five of the best.4 of them are among my all time favorites and all were exceptional performers. Even HHH has grown alot in my eyes. But, I don't agree with how you said Kurt Angle is the most decorated wrestler in professional wrestling history. Surely, his gold medal is an achievement like none other. But, I believe that others such as Bret Hart, Lou Thesz, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan did more with their professional careers then did Angle.I'd have to say Bret is the most decorated wrestler in history. For one, none of the other Grand Slam winners were ever involved in a tag team that was nearly was great as the Hart Foundation was. They were indeed one of the finest tag teams to ever grace the ring, while the others got their tag titles in the manner of throw together teams.The best team any of them were ever involved in was Shawn with The Rockers and they didn't win the titles lol. Two, Bret has 2 WCW World Titles, 2 WCW tag championships, and 4 U.S. Championships. Lastly, if you add the total time of the reigns of all the men involved Bret's reigns lasted WAYYY longer then all the others.The time of his 5 WWF title reigns greatly eclipses even that of HHH's 11 reigns. Also, he would still be in the WWE and be adding to his vast legacy if that numbnut Goldberg knew how to properly throw a kick. Here's a last thought to ponder,the only reason Bret Hart isn't on the Grand Slam list is because the European title did not exist. In fact, I believe the sole reason for the title's creation was a way for Vince to spite Bret using Shawn (sound familiar").
Rob Conway (not THAT Rob Conway) wrote:
This article was very interesting and well written, but ultimately pointless. I say this because being a grand slam winner means nothing, the reason I say this is that everybody knows, who is a real wrestling fan (that does not mean that you just started watching during the attitude era) that there is only three real titles that are worth winning in the WWE, the Tag Team Title, I-C Title and WWE Title. The European Title was just a joke, and has been passed from one Heat bound wrestler to another; it is just one step away from becoming the hardcore title.

Everything started off well enough for the European Title, their was a tournament and if a remember correctly, there was an excellent final between Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith. Davey won the Title, and was a great champion; he held the title for seven months and made it very respectable, but this all changed in at One Night Only PPV. This was a U.K. only pay per view, were Davey was supposed to retain the title against Shawn Michaels in the Main event. As rumour has it, Shawn refused to job to Davey, and Vince changed the ending. At that point Davey had never lost a match in the U.K. and he had also dedicated the match to the ill sister, who was at the arena. what can only be described as on of the worst ending to a PPV ever Shawn complete humiliated Davey in front of his home crowd, by winning a title that meant nothing to him.

That was not the end of it, as he went on to loose the title to Triple H in a finger poke of doom match which completely devalued the title. So the European Title is a very weak connection in the grand slam, to be truth all the title except the WWE Title, have been devalued during the attitude era, with continues changes. I remember the time when winning the I-C title and the tag titles meant something, now they mean almost nothing and usually don't even make PPV.

Many great champion have won the European title and it has been a stepping stone to great careers, but it really means very little, being a triple crown winner before 1995 is a great achievement, but being a grand slam winner in the attitude ere in not worth the cheap metal the belts are made out of.
Steve H. wrote:
Good piece, lots of info in one nice article. Personally, I was not a fan of Michaels as Euro Champion, it would have been nice if He'd done the job to Davey Boy on his home turf. I don't feel it was done to elevate the title, as it never seemed to be treated quite as seriously as it might have been and was certainly not as good to have as the IC Belt. On the subject of guys who have been Grand Slam Champions, I'd include Benoit. I see the US Title as kind of like the Euro Belt. Sure, RAW has the IC Title, SmackDown has the US Title. Both of them are supposedly a stepping stone away from the Respective World Title, but the IC Title has a lot more history and prestige to it. (I don't count WCW's past history towards the current version - its a title in its own right) ==== This considered - Benoit has held The World Title, IC, US and both brands of Tag Championship. Also - it could be argued that the Hardcore title would've been needed by Michaels to complete his Grand Slam. Nice piece - just one error - didn't the falls at WM 2000 happene the other way around" IC first then European. Sorry, thats a real small spot I'm just picking at, just questioning my own memory.
Ian Wilz wrote:
While I enjoyed your read the question of Grand Slam champions is in great debate. The term "Grand Slam Champion" was coined for HBK when he had won the WWE, IC, Euro and World Tag. The men who have come after him to hold the title are debatable. This comes in part to the brand split era of WWE.

When I think of Grand Slam Champions I do NOT consider the World Title or the WWE (SD) Tag Title reigns because those titles were NOT around when the term was coined. If you consider these titles than arguably you would have to consider a US Title reign in exchange for an IC Title reign because they are comparable to each other as they are both secondary titles on their respective brands. Unfortunately for me I just don't see it that way.

In my opinion the only TRUE Grand Slam Champions are ones that held the WWE, IC, Euro, and World Tag Titles...which unfortunately leaves out the late Eddie Guerrero from that list as he held the WWE Tag and NOT the World Tag Titles. This is nothing against Eddie as he was one of my favorites but he did not hold the World Tag Titles that were the ones that were around when the term was originally coined.

As for guys who could conceivably still become Grand Slam Champions here is a list of guys who only need one of the 3 titles that are still active in WWE today along with which title they need to hold.

WWE Title: Val Venis, William Regal, RVD, Christian, Jeff Hardy, Test, Jeff Jarrett

IC Title: JBL

So by what I consider to be the TRUE Grand Slam Championship Titles there have been only 4: HBK, HHH, Angle, and Y2J
chris eaton wrote:
hi im chris i see that shawn michaels was the first grand slam champion but that hasnt done much for him has it same with the rest and in my opinion you have forgot A.J Styles from tna he is a grand slam champion over there on the better promotion also the indy champions as well and R.V.D is an ECW grand slam champion i also agree with robs point that the european basicly meant something till it was lost by the British Bulldog but then again if the title was treated right shawn michales could have been a great champion i think the should bring back the European title but use it respectabley not like a cheap peace of shit and im not only sayin that because im from britain but ive been watching wrestling for 13 years but ive seen the first ten of all the majour wwe ppvs like wrestlemania and royal rummble and summerslam and sourvour serise so im not a cheap wrestling fan but other wise good colum and gd ponit of veiw
DamnDaMonstaMan wrote:
I personally feel that you could argue either way, That to be true Grand slam champion you have to win the original titles, the WWE championship, IC, european and world tag team titles. But as the US championship and wwe tag titles are equal to their respective counterparts in terms of standing, you could easily say that they count.

And to Ian Wilz, if you don't consider the late Eddie Guerrero to be a true grand slam champion, then neither is Kurt Angle, as he also won the WWE smackdown down tag team championship with Chris Benoit

So either there are 5 grand slam champions, or there is only 3.
Ian Wilz wrote:
DamnDaMonstaMan - Thank you for pointing that slight error out..I was looking at the wrong list so yes in fact by my standards there were only 3 real Grand Slam Champions.

As for Chris Eatons argument of AJ Styles being a Grand Slam Champion in a better promotion I will not argue that TNA puts on a better quality o fmatches but there are only 3 titles so that would make him a Triple Crown Champion as 4 titles are needed to be considered a grand slam champion.

Steve H. - Why would HBK have needed the Hardcore title to be considered a Grand Slam Champion""" Grand Slam in baseball means a 4 run HR so in Wrestling is refers to 4 titles (WWE, IC, Euro, and World Tag). The Hardcore Title would not have been needed.
STEVECUDD wrote:
What about Edge" He was a Euro champ IC champ and on more than one occasion a Tag champ and recently for whatever reason a WWE champ. But what I think started this whole Grand Slam term was Vince's idea of a slap in the face to the likes of Brett and Hogan. They could never win all the titles to be a Grandslam Winner and will forever go down that way.
Shane Cossey wrote:
First and foremost, great article steven, but now onto the point.. in reguards to Ian Wilz's post, while i respect your opinion as i do anyone elses , you do need to get facts straight my friend...if Eddy Guerrero isnt a legitimate Grand Slam Champion becuase he only held the smackdown brand tag team championship then neither is Kurt Angle .........both men held every major Singles title required to be a Grand Slam champion, yet both men were tag champions only on smackdown, IMO there isnt a diffrence between the 2 tag championships except the belts used to symbolize that title , and one isnt more credible than the other , theyre on equal basis as are the 2 world titles. So in conclusion if youre going to cancel Eddy Guerrero out on that account youd better do the same to Kurt Angle
Sean Spears wrote: Steve-Edge never held the Euro belt.

Steven P. (original author) wrote:
Hey, STEVECUDD, you've got your facts wrong, my friend. Edge was never a European Champion. You may be thinking about Christian. Thanks for writing anyway.
Spanky B wrote:
Wait a minute... wasn't Chris Benoit a grand slam champ as well" I know that he has held the tag and IC championships on numerous occasions and he won the world title at Wrestlemania XX, but wasn't he also a European champion at one point as well. I could swear that I remember that Angle took the European title from Benoit before.
Colton Little wrote:
Isn't Jeff Jarrett a grand slam champion. He is a numerous time world champ and has held the Euro, Intercontinental champion, and tag champ at least twice. He should at least be considered.
Steven Richards (not THAT one) wrote:
Can't Christian be considered a grand slam champion now that he has won the world title at TNA. He has had the IC and tag titles and the European at least once in the WWE, but since he didn't win the world title at WWE he isn't a grand slam champ""" That's not right, because due to what a previous writer said, neither title is more credible than the other, so the TNA world title should be considered just as great as the WWE world title. Christian should be mentioned on this list along with the other greats. (R.I.P. Eddie Guerrero)
Rama Yudhistira wrote:
Alright. Many people think that neither the WWE Tag Team Championship nor the World Heavyweight Championship count to be a Grand Slam Champion. But I think it should be. As for Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero being Grand Slam Champions, WWE speaks for themselves.

Go to http://auction.wwe.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/ProductDisplay"prrfnbr=64226926&prmenbr=37460399&aunbr=64573636

It says on the description about the T-shirt: "While most fans of this former Grand Slam Champion have probably long-since picked up their own copy of his new black shirt"

So if WWE accepts Kurt Angle to be one of their Grand Slam Champions, then why won't Eddie Guerrero count" He was just like Kurt Angle, winning the WWE Tag Team Championship instead of the World Tag Team Championship.

So we have five Grand Slam Champions, and glad that they are. They are the best of the best when it comes to being succesful, and they all deserve to be the Grand Slam Champion, except for maybe Shawn Michaels because of he plays backstage politics against Davey Boy Smith at UK. But I guess that makes it up because he is no longer a main-eventer like he used to, and has not won any title for the last three years. Triple H" Well he damn deserves it becaue he's so passionate about the business. He elevates talents like Randy Orton and Batista. As for Chris Jericho, he's larger than life.

As for the last two, I've read their autobiographies. I would say they're amazing, especially Eddie. I miss you, man.
Wayne Butler wrote:
I think I am mentioning this merely because I am the first one to catch it. As of June 11, 2006, Rob Van Dam can now officially be considered a grand slam champion.

On March 17, 2002 He captured his first of 6 Intercontinental Title wins defeating William Regal.

On July 22, 2002 RVD was recognized as European Champion after defeating Jeff Hardy in a Unification Match.

On March 31, 2003 RVD teamed up with Kane to defeat Sean Morely and Lance Storm to win his first of 3 Tag Team Titles.

Finally, on June 11, 2006 Rob Van Dam was recognized as the WWE champion after he defeated John Cena at One Night Stand.

Congratulations Rob Van Dam!!
michael cundiff wrote:
First of chris beniot is recognised as a grand slam champion (world,i-c & us,world tag & wwe tag, euro champion) and as far as jeff jarrett goes he has never won the wwe championship or anytop tier championship in wwe, now e has won the nwa world title but that has nothing to do with WWE or its affiliates. and by the way TNA is a place where wwe mid-card wrestlers can become world champions ex(Double J, Jeff hardy, rhyno, k-kwik, christian ) i mean really tna has turned the NWA championship into another European Championship IT SUCKS
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