Connect with us

Opinion

Top 5: Underdog WWE Champions

Published

on

The result of Super Bowl LII seemed set in stone to most observers, myself included. The Philadelphia Eagles would give the New England Patriots a good game, but at the end of the night the dynasty would prevail once again. LOL Patriots Win, right? Didn’t happen. Doug Pederson coached with cojones the size of grapefruits, Nick Foles made for a better wide receiver than Tom Brady did, and the Eagles shocked the world to win their first Super Bowl.

Underdogs have been a part of sports as long as one can remember. Pro wrestling has certainly seen its share. Here are the Top 5 Underdog Wrestling Champions.

Honorable Mentions: Bret Hart & Shawn Michaels

Here’s the thing: Neither of these men were expected to be WWF Champion heading into the 1990s. The Championship had been dominated by large muscular men that were big in charisma & low on technical ability. Hart & Michaels were solid hands. They were part of successful tag teams & even made a dent in the Intercontinental title scene. The IC title was supposed to be their ceiling.

Circumstances changed & the times called for men that weren’t walking steroid advertisements to lead the company. Bret & Shawn were perfect for that. As a young fan that had watched them develop, I wasn’t shocked when Bret defeated Ric Flair, or when Shawn topped Bret in the Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII. They had proven themselves to me & many others as exceptional wrestlers, and the people standing in their way weren’t exactly unbeatable giants themselves. They were only underdogs to people that weren’t paying attention.

5. Rey Mysterio

WWE Rey Mysterio Underdog

Speaking of smaller men, Rey took the wrestling world by storm in the mid-1990s. His brand of high-flying was something that had never been seen before. He immediately became one of WCW’s most popular performers, and attained the same status in WWE upon his arrival in 2002. Even though the size barrier had been broken by 2006 & wrestlers were trending smaller on average, Rey was still considered way too small. His billed height at 5’6 was very, very generous.

Rey’s time came at WrestleMania 22, where he beat Randy Orton & Kurt Angle in a triple threat match. Unfortunately for Rey, the title reign wasn’t as well-received as it should have been. Many thought that he was only World Champion as a way of WWE paying tribute to his best friend. WWE did Rey no favors during his title reign, as he got beat like a drum by every big stiff employed by the company. It was intended to build up his underdog status, but had the effect of portraying him as undeserving.

In an ironic twist of fate, Rey was at his least popular when he was on top of the mountain. Some underdogs are better off in that role.

4. Jeff Hardy

WWE Jeff Hardy Underdog

Jeff was always tremendously popular with WWE fans. His biggest obstacle in reaching the top of the company was himself. Drug issues threatened to derail his career on multiple occasions, and even after he reached the mountaintop of the WWE Championship he struggled to conquer his demons. That story, added in with the fact that like Hart & Michaels he was smaller & less conventionally charismatic than your typical WWE Champion, made it extra sweet for his fans when he finally won the Championship in December 2008.

In the eyes of many that never thought they’d see it happen, WWE Armageddon was a fitting title for a show featuring a Jeff Hardy world title victory.

Honorable Mention: Chris Benoit

Had the tragic events of June 2007 not taken place, there’s no doubt in my mind that Benoit would be somewhere around this position on the list. He’d wrestled all over the world for nearly fifteen years and was considered one of the best in the ring. Nobody, not even his biggest fans, believed that WWE would ever put him on top. Even after he won the 2004 Royal Rumble & got placed in the Raw title picture, most figured that Shawn Michaels or Triple H would win at WrestleMania XX, even if Benoit made the most sense from a storyline perspective. At the time, it was a wonderful story of an underdog clawing his way to the top of WWE & winning a major championship.

3. Eddie Guerrero

WWE Eddie Guerrero Underdog

At the same time Benoit was working his way to the top of Raw, his longtime friend took the world by surprise on SmackDown. Like Jeff Hardy, Eddie had waged a battle with his demons for most of his career. Like Rey Mysterio, Eddie was small even by the standards set by Hart & Michaels. Unlike any of these men, Eddie had the task of winning the WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar. Brock was & is the exact opposite of an underdog. On paper, Eddie didn’t stand a chance.

The match at No Way Out 2004 told the story of an underdog that never said die against an unstoppable force who was annoyed that his opponent wouldn’t just die. As far as a one-night story of an underdog reaching the top of the mountain goes, I don’t think there’s been a better one. Eddie’s untimely demise less than two years later makes the story live on even more than it would have otherwise.

2. Mick Foley

WWE Mankind Underdog

Foley was a man of many personalities. Whether he was Cactus Jack, Dude Love or Mankind, at the end of the day wrestling fans could relate with him. Mick didn’t have the look of a typical WWF Champion. He took some of the worst beatings in the history of the business. He cut some of the best promos. As talented as he was, championships didn’t seem like they would come his way.

His victory over The Rock on a taped episode of Raw that aired on January 4, 1999 was such a monumental & crowd-pleasing moment that people wanted to see it even though WWF.com & WCW spoiled the result of the match before it aired. It was fitting that Mankind, the most downtrodden of Foley’s personas, won the Championship. He had opened his heart to Mr. McMahon only to be rejected in favor of the younger, more charismatic & more cosmetically pleasing Corporate Champion. Fans could relate to Mankind’s story & saw him as an ultimate underdog that would fight through any type of punishment.

Some still didn’t get it. Even WCW tried to downplay it as somebody that worked for them before & couldn’t get it done. Fans knew all that meant was that WCW didn’t know what they had. One of the greatest underdogs of all time.

Honorable Mention: Steve Austin

It’s hard to believe it now, but at the time of his first WWF Championship victory, the Rattlesnake was considered an underdog. He’d been fired by WCW, it was obvious that Vince McMahon didn’t want him to be WWF Champion, and he talked about how it took him eight f’n years to get to the top of the business. In retrospect, the bit about eight f’n years was pretty ridiculous. It takes most top guys at least that long to attain their position. Once Austin reached the mountaintop, the only thing that could knock him off was injury.

The New England Patriots were underdogs at the beginning too.

1. Daniel Bryan

WWE Daniel Bryan Underdog

Underdog champions have a way of popping up at WrestleManias every ten years. Bret Hart avenged his defeat to Yokozuna at WrestleMania X. Benoit & Guerrero stood tall at the end of WrestleMania XX. WrestleMania XXX saw the crowning of possibly the least expected champion of all, Daniel Bryan.

Bryan’s rise through the business was chronicled on the Internet. Ring of Honor, the company that he was associated with more than any other during the 2000s, was a niche product targeted towards Internet fans. Bryan seemed like the opposite of what WWE wanted in a wrestler when he arrived there, and he continued in that path during his time with the company. His charisma became more pronounced & he attained more of a connection with the audience. He won the World Championship on SmackDown, but was still marketed by WWE as a man that looked like a goat.

His loss of that championship in eighteen seconds to Sheamus at WrestleMania XXIX riled the fanbase. They were appalled by WWE’s lack of respect for Bryan to job him out like that. Pro-Bryan chants dominated the rest of WrestleMania weekend. He went into SummerSlam against WWE Champion John Cena because Cena asked the fans who he should wrestle & Bryan was their answer. His loss of that championship to Randy Orton minutes after defeating Cena riled the fans up even more. Pro-Bryan chants dominated WWE programming for months afterward. News that Bryan was destined for a lower-midcard WrestleMania match combined with his lack of presence in the Royal Rumble Match made the chants even louder. By the time WrestleMania rolled around, it was obvious that there was only one way the event could end.

People still debate whether or not WWE intended the Daniel Bryan push to happen the way it did. That’s the number one sign that it worked. Bryan was such a loveable underdog & had such a connection with the fans that we all felt like we were part of it. Whether we were or not is irrelevant.


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


Advertisement
Comments

Opinion

Brock Lesnar Creates the Kind of Chaos WWE Does Not Need

Published

on

Here we go again. The main event scene on Monday Night Raw has once again become even more disturbing with the addition of Brock Lesnar.

The former Universal Heavyweight Champion entered the main event at Hell in a Cell, taking down both the current champion Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman in a  sad but predictable ending to a decent pay-per-view.

WWE cannot seem to get out of its own way in deciding what to do with the red brand’s title. Or, maybe it’s Lesnar who is holding the marionette strings of a company that has not moved on from the Beast Incarnate to forge a new identity of main event stars. The Hell in a Cell match between Reigns and Strowman was muddled with the arrival of Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as it was.

Adding Lesnar to the chaos and disorder creates more problems than solutions for the creative team, Reigns and the title he wears around his waist.

The thought was once Reigns beat Lesnar to claim the belt, it would be the end of the line for the WWE and UFC star, who has made no secret he wants to dominate the octagon once again. It also opened the door for Reigns to finally assume his role as Vince McMahon’s master plan of having the current Shield Member and four-time champion to step over Lesnar, John Cena and anyone else in his path as the company’s new face.

I’m sure WWE’s fans have finally succumbed to the notion Reigns isn’t going anywhere. To steal a phrase from Ric Flair, “Whether you like it or don’t like it, learn to love it…”

You get the idea.

So now, WWE has a three-headed monster fighting over the same belt it did only months ago with no end in sight. The notion of McIntyre stepping forward as the next opponent for Reigns looks to be squashed. Lesnar’s contract, demands and lack of airtime while wearing the Universal Title finally pissed the fanbase off. Does putting the strap back around his waist make sense?

Now that Strowman has become an ally of Ziggler and McIntyre, how does this all play out? Does anyone care? Is the best thing to come out of the Hell in a Cell match is the return of Paul Heyman? It’s still a tangled web WWE weaves with no ending point. It’s status quo for poor booking.

It appears to be the norm, not the exception. We all just learn to deal with it, mainly because change does not seem to be a good thing in this promotion.


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


Continue Reading

Opinion

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships?

Published

on

I don’t want this title to be misleading. I’m not trying to break news or spread a rumor. This is just something I’ve noticed over the past several months.

As we all know, WWE’s first all-female pay-per-view, Evolution, is set to take place in October.  In addition to the finals of the Mae Young Classic, an NXT Women’s Championship match is supposed to take place. Alexa Bliss vs. Trish Stratus has also been announced.

We know a lot of talent is supposed to be present but we haven’t heard much in terms of scheduled matches. This is one of the reasons I think we could see the debut of women’s tag team titles.

Over the summer, WWE has been pairing up a lot of the women on their roster. Take Sasha Banks and Bayley for example. Many of us thought that was leading to a blood feud that was going to culminate at SummerSlam or Hell in a Cell.  But nothing happened. They made up and have been working tag matches together ever since. We’ve also seen the return of The Bella Twins who have been appearing on both Raw and SmackDown.

Teams like The IIconics and The Riott Squad were already present but let’s look at the rest of the roster. When Paige left Absolution, Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose continued to make appearances as a team. Ronda Rousey and Natalya have been in each other’s corner all summer. Alexa Bliss used to only be accompanied by Mickie James but now Alicia Fox has joined their stable. As previously stated, Alexa is supposed to wrestle with Trish so Mickie and Alicia can still partner together.

The same is occurring over on SmackDown Live. Naomi was feuding with both Peyton Royce and Billie Kay but Asuka has very recently joined forces with her. They even had a tag match against The IIconics on Tuesday.

On Raw the only women left without a team are Nia Jax, Ember Moon, and Dana Brooke. Carmella, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte are the only lone women on SmackDown Live. Zelina Vega and Lana are attached to their male associates so I don’t expect them to be paired with another female talent in the near future. Carmella’s partnership with R-Truth isn’t as permanent and Tamina is still on the shelf with an injury. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a mini Welcoming Committee reunion upon Tamina’s return.

Again, this is all just personal speculation. I turn a blind eye to dirt sheets and leaked event cards so you may know more than I do on this subject. This is just something I’ve picked up on from watching the product. It may be my imagination but there were too many signs for me to ignore.


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


Continue Reading

Opinion

Dear Smarks, The Saudi Arabia Show Has Nothing to Do With Evolution!

Published

on

It’s that time of year again. WWE is getting ready to go to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a Network Special, and once again, the wrestling PC Police are up in arms about it. The rallying cry this time is about how AWFUL it is that WWE is doing a show in Saudi Arabia, where the Women’s Division isn’t allowed to compete, just days after the first all women’s PPV. Obviously, this is a blatant attempt by WWE to undermine the Women’s Evolution by doing this and that WWE should be ashamed to take ‘blood money’ from Saudi Arabia.

There’s so much wrong with this argument, I’m not sure where to start. First of all, the scheduling of the Crown Jewel for November 2 would’ve happened if WWE had put No Mercy on instead of Evolution. The scheduling for both events was done long before either was formally announced.  Secondly, as I have stated before, WWE goes to the Middle East as part of their bi-annual overseas tour every year and have done so for decades, and every time, except for the match in Abu Dabai, the women have never gone on that leg of the tour because they weren’t allowed to compete. This wasn’t a secret, but no one cared until after the deal with Saudi Arabia was announced and Banks and Bliss had their history making match in Abu Dhabi.

Here’s a question: How is doing TWO shows a year in Saudi Arabia undermining the Women’s Division? Seriously. Do you HONESTLY, truly and honestly, think WWE is going to spend three years building the Women’s Division, putting on two all-Women’s tournaments, doing the first Women’s Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, and WrestleMania Battle Royal, while secretly plotting to undermine it by doing two glorified house shows in a country where women are banned from participating in sports?

As for the ‘blood money’, oh where do I start? What brand of shoes do you have on? What brand of clothing are you wearing? Or your phone? Chances are pretty good that your clothes, shoes, and/or your phone, was made in an overseas factory by workers who get pay a very small amount and often work long hours in terrible conditions. Yet, companies stock these products and not a word is said about the business deals being ‘blood money’.

Before anyone starts about Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations, let me point out that Australia, site of the Super Show-Down and China, which will be getting it’s own Network Special, BOTH  have their own recent histories of human rights violations. Australia has been HEAVILY criticized for its treatment of migrants and refugees, many of whom are from predominately Muslim countries, as well as the continued mistreatment of Aboriginal peoples. China’s list of human rights violations is a pretty lengthy one, but they have also recent come under fire for its persecution of a Muslim minority, and yet, no one has complained about WWE doing shows there. No one has made nearly the same amount of noise about ‘blood money’. So why is Saudi Arabia unacceptable while Australia and China are acceptable?

The bottom line is that WWE is a business, not the United States Government, or the United Nations. The deal with Saudi Arabia is a business deal that gives fans in the Middle East a chance to see a WWE show without having to stay up to the crack of dawn.

If the idea of WWE doing TWO shows a year without the women present bothers you that much, don’t watch it and focus that energy on supporting women’s wrestling and women’s causes where you live. Cheer when the women’s matches are on instead of going to the bathroom or changing the channel, watch the Mae Young Classic (it’s great, I promise), plan to watch Evolution, buy merchandise to support the female superstars. The Women’s Evolution is bigger than two house shows in Saudi Arabia, don’t diminish it by making that the end all-be all.


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


Continue Reading

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Subscribe To The Chairshot's Newsletter!

Connect on Facebook

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending Today