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Retro Review: WWE Championship From 1984-1988

Matt Davis dives deep into the WWE (WWF) Championship from 1984-1988. You’ll be shocked at the number of times this title was defended!

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Hulk Hogan WWF WWE Championship

Matt Davis dives deep into the WWE (WWF) Championship from 1984-1988. You’ll be shocked at the number of times this title was defended!

Welcome to the first ever Weekly Championship Review on The Chairshot! Have you ever had a discussion with a friend or in a group online about who is the greatest champion of all time? What is your defense of your claim? Wins? Quality of matches? Lenth of reign? Selling out houses? In this weekly article, I will be looking back one year at a time and evaluating one specific championship, with a yearly grade ranking and overall grade ranking and as we progress through the years, I will reveal who I believe is the best champion of all time.

To start us off, I am going to discuss the most recognizable championship in the history of wrestling, the WWE World Championship. These articles will not discuss the “Big Gold” World Championship, Universal Championship, or any other recognized heavyweight championship in WWE, those will be discussed in other articles. Also, I will be beginning in 1984 due to that being the recognized beginning of the modern company as we recognize it today. This is the only article that will cover multiple years. During this reign, I will count matches aired on weekly television, PPV, and released on VHS and later DVD tapes.

Hulk Hogan (January 23rd, 1984 – February 5th, 1988)
Record: 83-9
Clean Losses: 0
Successful Defenses: 54

Recommended Matches to Watch

  • Hulk Hogan d. The Iron Shiek, January 23rd, 1984 “Hulkamania”
  • Hulk Hogan & Andre the Giant d. Big John Studd & WWF Tag Team Champions Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch, July 21st, 1984, “Georgia Championship Wrestling”
  • Hulk Hogan d. Greg Valentine, August 19th, 1984, “All American Wrestling”
  • Hulk Hogan d. Big John Studd, January 1st, 1985, “Prime Time Wrestling”
  • Hulk Hogan d. Roddy Piper, February 18th, 1985, “The War To Settle The Score”
  • Hulk Hogan & Mr. T d. Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff, March 31st, 1985, “WRESTLEMANIA”
  • Big John Studd d. Hulk Hogan by countout, April 16th, 1985, “Prime Time Wrestling”
  • Hulk Hogan d. Big John Studd, May 28th, 1985, “Prime Time Wrestling”
  • Hulk Hogan vs The Iron Shiek (Double Countout), June 25th, 1985, “Prime Time Wrestling”
  • Hulk Hogan d. Nikolai Volkoff, October 5th, 1985, “SNME #2”
  • Hulk Hogan d. Terry Funk, Janury 4th, 1986, “SNME #4”
  • Hulk Hogan d. King Kong Bundy, April 7th, 1986 “WRESTLEMANIA II”
  • Randy Savage d. Hulk Hogan, May 24th, 1986, “WWE Network: Old School”
  • Hulk Hogan d. Pauk Orndorff, August 28th, 1986, “The Big Event”
  • Hulk Hogan d. Paul Orndorff, October 4th, 1986, “SNME #7”
  • Hulk Hogan & Roddy Piper d. Harley Race & Paul Orndorff, November 24th, 1986 “Best of WWF Vol. 11”
  • Hulk Hogan d. Paul Orndroff, January 3rd, 1987, “SNME #9”
  • Hulk Hogan d. Andre the Giant, March 29th, 1987, “WRESTLEMANIA III”
  • Hulk Hogan d. Harley Race, June 6th, 1987, “Even More Unusual Matches”
  • Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, & Billy Jack Haynes d. Paul Orndroff, Hercules, & Adrian Adonis, [Elimination Six Man Tag], April 20th, 1987, “Prime Time Wrestling”
  • Randy Savage d. The Honky Tonk Man, October 3rd, 1987, “SNME #12”
  • King Kong Bundy d. Hulk Hogan, November 28th, 1987, “SNME #13”
  • Hulk Hogan d. Ted DiBiase, December 11th, 1987, “Hulk Hogan: Real American”
  • Hulk Hogan d. King Kong Bundy, January 2nd, 1988, “SNME #14”
  • Andre the Giant d. Hulk Hogan, February 5th, 1988, “The Main Event”

Thoughts: I went in to this project expecting a couple matches here and there by the Hulkster, including SNME’s, and Wrestlemania’s, but, what I ended up discovering blew me away! Right out of the gate, we have laid witness to arguably the greatest WWE World Championship reign ever. It lasted just over four years and contained over 90 matches that were aired on television, PPV, or later released on home media or the WWE Network.

When discussing this reign, certain things must be mentioned, such as the creation of Wrestlemania and the Rock & Wrestling Connection of the 1980s, and how it pertained to the spectacle that became the WWF at the time. Hulk Hogan found himself instantly the face of a national company as it’s heavyweight champion. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Hulk Hogan is the first name anyone thinks of when you think of wrestling, and there is a reason for that. He personified wrestling with his larger than life iconic character, his poses, his unreal charisma and electric colorful catchphrases and demeanor. “Whatcha gonna do”, “Let me tell you something Mean Gene”, “Hulkamania running wild”, and “Say your prayers, take your vitamins, and you will never go wrong” all defined a generation of fans young and old alike, still to this day we feel the goosebumps of those words. Even his theme music became iconic. “Real American” raised a level of patriotism unseen before or since in wrestling. Hulk Hogan was larger than wrestling, he was iconic, he was an American hero!

But the character and image aside, looking at this reign, it’s truly incredible what Hogan did during this reign, he won ten times as much as he lost, and when he did lose he never looked weak or less than credible, never losing cleanly in four years. Additionally, I was absolutely shocked at the number of successful defenses! 54 out of 92 matches were successful championship defenses, or 13 per year! As we progress through this project, we will see champions with higher defenses per month and per year, but we will never see another with 54 defenses on televised media. With 25 “Recommended Matches” that’s over 6 per year in an era where wrestling wasn’t on television eight hours a week. Look at the selection of opponents during this reign, Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant, Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff, Harley Race, Randy Savage, and the list of Hall of Famers goes on. As the road seemed to be paved in gold for all the men who made this generation so memorable, nothing they did seemed to feel wrong. I’m going to give this reign a solid “A” rating for the historical importance, length, and depth of matches available to enjoy. It’s going to be tough to beat!

Grade (A+ through F ): “A”

Overall WWE Champion Ranking:

1) Hulk Hogan (January 23rd, 1984 – February 5th, 1988), “A”


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Opinion

Steve Cook’s Fave Five: March 2021

Cook gives us his quick snapshot of early storylines that might be the important things through the month of March!

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It’s March! You know what that means.

It’s time for me to channel my inner Booker T and list my Fave Five in the world of wrestling! This list could very well change tomorrow, or whenever this ends up getting posted, but I only type it out once each calendar month. Consider it a snapshot in time.

5. Cameron Grimes

People have been telling me about Grimes for years, going back to his stint with Impact Wrestling. I never really saw it. Decent enough competitor, sure, but he always seemed like Just A Guy to me. Now that he hit it rich on the stock market, he’s the most entertaining part of NXT.

Get rid of Finn Balor & Adam Cole and put the strap on Grimes! TO THE MOON!

4. Shane Taylor

One of my criticisms of ROH television over the past several months has been a lack of defined characters. As fun as Pure Wrestling is, everybody involved in the tournament & the division tend to sound the same. Then, with a lot of the main guys, it’s tough to tell whether they’re good guys, bad guys, or shades of grey. There’s a place for shades of grey, but it’s tough to be interested in a TV show where you don’t know who to root for.

Shane Taylor’s presentation suffered from this for me for awhile. I wasn’t too familiar with his work pre-pandemic, so I’ve been getting to know him along with the rest of the ROH talent. From what I can gather, he was working one of those deals where the promotion didn’t really want to promote him, which can either make one very popular or largely ignored. The promotion tended to treat him like a heel. Either way, Shane looked pretty darn good in his matches, working a physical style that appeals to fans like me. Apparently it appeals to other people as well, since Taylor was the #1 choice of the fans to get a shot at Rush. Taylor was screwed this time around, but now has a story to sink his teeth into. Nothing wrong with that.

3. Tully Blanchard

2021 is quickly becoming the year of the olds. WWE has seen Goldberg & Edge emerge as top championship contenders. Keiji Muto won the GHC Heavyweight Championship. Tommy Dreamer celebrated his birthday by challenging for the Impact Championship. Sting will be taking part in a street fight this weekend.

Age is only a number, and Tully’s number is a little higher than these other men. He also spent more time out of the ring. Nearly fourteen years since he had any kind of match, but he went into Wednesday night with all guns blazing. J.J. Dillion was in the corner. Tully was wearing his classic robe & the silver US Heavyweight Championship, while FTR donned the classic NWA World Tag Team Championships. All the old school feels were being had before the match, and after the match as well, when Arn Anderson looked on from the entrance and flashed that familiar hand signal.

Tully had plenty of talent around him to make the match work, but he hit his spots well. Marko Stunt’s good to have around so he can take a slingshot suplex. JJ got to give his shoe to somebody to use. It ended up being a fitting tribute on the night of Jim Crockett Jr.’s passing, and maybe a sign that Tully’s got a little more left in the tank. (Multi-man would probably be for the best though, I’m not as confident that he can hang with Kenny.)

2. Bobby Lashley

As expected, The Miz joined the likes of Ivan Koloff, Stan Stasiak, the Iron Sheik and other men whose world championship reigns merely existed to get the title from one person to the other without having them face off. In the case of Bobby Lashley, it’s because they didn’t want him to beat Drew McIntyre for the title, so their eventual match will be a first-time (in this particular WWE run) meeting. It makese sense, and Miz played his part well, as you’d expect.

Now is Lashley’s time, and one can wonder why it took so long. The guy looks like what’d you’d expect a WWE Champion to look like. Huge. Powerful. Dominant. He fits the prototype of what Vince McMahon would have seen as an appropriate champion back in the day. Is there anything there that Vince wouldn’t like?

Bob seems to be on a collision course with Drew at WrestleMania, and that should be a pretty solid piece of business.

1. Rey Fenix

I don’t know who the “best in the world” is, but Rey Fenix is the most exciting wrestler currently gracing televisions & other viewing devices. All he does is go out there and deliver every time he’s out there, if you see him listed on a card you know it’s going to be a good match.

AEW seemed a bit slow to capitalize on Fenix’s abilities, but since 2021 began we’ve seen the masked man getting bigger matches. His win-loss record hasn’t been the best, as he’s come up short against Kenny Omega & Lance Archer and eaten the pin in some multi-man matches. He’s still making people take notice, and I’d be surprised if Fenix doesn’t jump up to the next level sometime this year.

My favorite wrestler to watch right now, which is how one tops a list like this one.


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Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: WWE NXT (3/3/21)

Bodeen breaks out his Top 5 moments of NXT this week. Did he miss anything that made your list?

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After Adam Cole put the nail in the coffin in the Undisputed Era last week, many eyes were on NXT this week to see what the reaction from Roderick Strong would be as well as the Tag title matches after the Dusty Rhodes Classic. With all these factors it’s no surprise that NXT put on another amazing night of action that was entertaining from start to finish. So without further ado, it’s time to look at the top 5 moments from NXT this week.

5. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler beat Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez

It feels like so long ago we saw Shayna Baszler on NXT. Just a few years ago Baszler was dominating the NXT women’s division as she beats the likes of Kari Sane, Mia Yim, Bianca Belair and Io Shirai. After she lost the title to Rhea Ripley and moved to RAW, over time she lost credibility and she was slowly removed from the title picture. That’s why it was so great to see the submission magician back to her former self on NXT as she and Nia Jax beat Dakota Kai and Requel Gonzalas in a great match that ended in controversial circumstances

This was another great match for the team of Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez, with Raquel Gonzalez once again being the MVP of this match as she took a hot tag from Dakota Kai to dominate Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. The match would end under controversial circumstances after Adam Pearce called for a referee to ring the bell after Kai was trapped in a submission despite the fact Gonzales was legal.

This finish made Kai and Gonzales look strong in defeat as they did not lose cleanly. It also sets up a storyline in the future, especially after NXT General Manager, William Regal stated he had an announcement to make that would change the NXT landscape.

4. The Way go to therapy 

The Christmas with the Gargano’s vignettes were one of my favorite moments from NXT in 2020. The jokes catered to everyone and ranged from inside jokes to die-hard wrestling fans to silly, cheesy jokes that you would see in a Monty Python or Adam Sandler movie. While the Way going to therapy wasn’t near the level of Christmas with the Gargano’s it was still a fun segment that continued to highlight how good Johnny Gargano is at being a goofy heel.

Gargano’s reactions were priceless to watch as he could not believe that Austin Theory enjoyed his time with Dexter Lumis. Indi Hartwell’s innuendoes were also hilarious to watch, as this series of segments did a great job in giving all members of The Way enough lines so that no member felt pointless being there.

With Dexter Lumis most likely the next in line for Johnny Gargano’s North American Championship, it will be interesting to see the involvement of Austin Theory in what is sure to be a highly entertaining feud to watch.

3. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch beat Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher  

While it was originally meant to be Dusty Rhodes Classic winners, MSK facing Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch we instead got the makeshift team of Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher facing the NXT Tag Team champions in a brutal, hard-hitting match that was intense from start to finish, with Lorcan and Burch getting the win after Imperium distracted Thatcher and Ciampa.

This match did a good job at bringing together Thatcher and Ciampa as they smiled at each other, sharing their joy for inflicting pain on their opponents. Despite sharing a moment with each other, the relationship between the two men would be tense as Ciampa seemed annoyed at Thatcher’s history with Imperium costing them the match.

2. Roderick Strong faces off against Finn Balor  

After Adam Cole put the nail in the coffin of the Undisputed Era by superkicking Roderick Strong last week, Strong would open the show this week and would waste no time in calling Adam Cole out to the ring. Despite Strong calling Cole out, Finn Balor would come out, with Roderick blaming Balor for Cole’s actions. Balor would reply by saying that Roderick does not have the killer instinct that Balor has causing Roderick to attack the NXT Champion, leading to a match between the two men later in the night.

This was my favorite match of the night as Roderick Strong, pushed the NXT Champion to his limit, with Balor once again doing an amazing job of selling, as he sold the back which, Strong attacked throughout the match. The match would end after Balor hit the Coup De Grace and 1916 on Strong to win, with Adam Cole coming out to stare off at Balor ahead of their title match next week.

With Finn Balor and Adam Cole ready to face each other in a TakeOver worthy match, it will be interesting to see who will win, in what is sure to be an amazing match.

1. LA Knight makes his intentions known 

While his name change has led to disagreement between fans LA Knight’s short time in NXT has been entertaining to watch. His promo skills and style remind me of a 1980s movie star as he is always the center of attention when he is on the mic. This week would be no different as LA Knight cut his first in-ring promo on NXT TV as he called out the entire roster as well as sewing the seeds for a feud with Bronson Reed.

LA Knight’s promo this week was absolute gold, as he blended cockiness, arrogance, pride and emotion brilliantly, stating that he is not in NXT to do flips and dives, but rather win regardless of style. LA Knight would make his big move against Bronson Reed, as he cost Bronson Reed a match against Cameron Grimes.

Bronson Reed is a great first feud for LA Knight, as it can perfectly show off LA Knight’s style well against a bigger man like Bronson Reed.

These were my top 5 moments from NXT this week. What were your top 5 moments and who do you think will win the NXT Championship Title match next week? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 


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