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)
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”