Matt digs into the WWF Championship from 1989 in his latest Retro Review! Take a look back at this historic year and this historic championship.
Welcome to the third edition of the Weekly Championship Review on The Chairshot! This will be a biweekly article here on The Chairshot because we have a lot to discuss! In starting, my question for you is; 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? In this weekly article, I will be looking back one year at a time and evaluating one specific championship in each article, 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 Heavyweight 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. During these reviews, I will count matches aired on weekly television, PPV, and matches also released on VHS and later on home media.
Hulk Hogan (April 2nd, 1989 – April 1st, 1990)
Clean Losses: 1
Successful Defenses: 11
Recommended Matches to Watch
- Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage, April 2nd, 1989, “WRESTLEMANIA V”
- Hulk Hogan d. The Big Bossman, May 27th, 1989, “Saturday Night Main Event”
- Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage, August 9th, 1989, “Hulkamania 4”
- Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage, October 10th, 1989, “Hulkamania Forever”
- Hulk Hogan, Ax, Smash, & Jake Roberts d. Ted DiBiase, Warlord, Barbarian, & Zeus, November 23rd, 1989, “Survivor Series”
- Lanny Poffo d. Hulk Hogan [Count out], November 25th, 1989, “Saturday Night Main Event”
- Hulk Hogan & The Ultimate Warrior d. Mr. Perfect & Lanny Poffo, January 9th, 1990, “Saturday Night Main Event”
- Mr. Perfect d. Hulk Hoga [DQ], January 15th, 1990 “The Life & Times of Mr. Perfect”
- Hulk Hogan wins the Royal Rumble, January 21st, 1990, “Royal Rumble”
- Hulk Hogan d. Randy Savage, February 23rd, 1990, “Saturday Night Main Event”
- The Ultimate Warrior d. Hulk Hogan, April 1st, 1990, “WRESTLEMANIA VI”
Thoughts: A 364 day reign as WWF Champion, which was perhaps the end of the glory years for Hogan, the WWF, and the pinnacle of professional wrestling as a whole with some lackluster reigns coming up before it all came crashing down and it hurt inside. It would also be the longest WWF Championship reign between 1989 and 2006 in total number of days. Remarkably, that total would be broken not once but twice, again in 2012. Not much going on with this reign. Hogan seemed to be challenged from every direction here, with feuds with Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase, Mr. Perfect, and the Ultimate Warrior taking up a years worth of feuds. I included Lanny Poffo beating Hogan by Count out as a Recommended Match simply because it was a huge moment for The Genius. Notably, this reign featured Hulk Hogan’s first clean pinfall defeat in company history when he fell to the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI. Couldn’t sell it long though, he kicked out at 3.01%. Comparing this to his first run shows that Hogan stopped working as much, dropping from 13 championship defenses per year then, compared to 11 in this year here. The company wanted to protect him and politicking started to show it’s ugly face more than ever. As stated, this reign was one of the longest from 1984-2019, but it never felt like it got into the next gear, so I need to weigh that into my grade.
Grade (A+ through F ): “C”
Overall WWE Champion Ranking:
1) Hulk Hogan (January 23rd, 1984 – February 5th, 1988), “A”
2) “Macho Man” Randy Savage (March 27th, 1988 – April 2nd, 1989) “C+”
3) Hulk Hogan (April 2nd, 1989 – April 1st, 1990) “C”