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Matt’s Retro Review: WWF Championship 1991

Matt Davis brings you the next installment of his Retro Championship Review, as Sgt Slaughter, Hulk Hogan, and The Undertaker rule the WWF Championship in 1991!

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WWE WWF Championship The Undertaker

Matt Davis brings you the next installment of his Retro Championship Review, as Sgt Slaughter, Hulk Hogan, and The Undertaker rule the WWF Championship in 1991!

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Retro 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? Length 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.

Sgt. Slaughter
January 19th, 1991 – March 24th, 1991

  • Record: 3-3
  • Clean Losses: 1
  • Successful Defenses: 2

Recommended Matches to Watch

  • Hulk Hogan d. Sgt. Slaughter, March 24th, 1991, WrestleMania VII

Thoughts: In a preview of reigns to come, this reign was the first but no where near the last to happen between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. In only two months, Slaughter never had a chance to grow with the championship, with his most memorable moments coming when he burned an American flag as an Iraqi sympathizer during an episode of Superstars during the Desert Storm war. The All-American Hulk Hogan took offense to this and stood up for the stars and stripes and challenged Sgt. Slaughter for the championship. Multiple stories were going on around this time, with Vince McMahon reportedly wanting to have WrestleMania in the Los Angeles Coliseum, but poor ticket sales resulted in the event being moved to smaller Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. A kayfabe story which has since become a fable about Sgt. Slaughter being so hated, they moved the arena because he was receiving death threats for burning the flag. This actually makes this title reign rather interesting to me. Even though Randy Savage turned heel while champion and walked into WrestleMania V as champion, to this point we had never had a heel win the championship from 1984-1991. The rumor about snipers became so prevalent that it made you hate Sgt. Slaughter even more and needed Hogan to win the championship. Piper, King Kong Bundy, Andre, Savage, nor Warrior were as universally hated as Sgt. Slaughter during his reign. Wanting to see someone get their comeuppance is what makes wrestling truly a spectacle sport, like gladiator fights thousands of years ago. I could have mentioned that how only with 60 days and 6 matches as champion this reign was bad, but, it achieved exactly what it was supposed to as is very memorable.

Grade (A+ through F ): C+

Hulk Hogan
March 24th, 1991 – November 27th, 1991

  • Record: 10-3
  • Clean Losses: 0
  • Successful Defenses: 4

Recommended Matches to Watch:

  • Hulk Hogan d. Sgt. Slaughter, March 24th, 1991, WrestleMania VII
  • Hawk & Animal d. Hulk Hogan & Genichiro Tenryu, March 30th, 1991, The Life & Death of the Road Warriors
  • Hulk Hogan d. Sgt. Slaughter, [Desert Storm match], June 3rd, 1991, WWF Champion Hulk Hogan’s Greatest Matches
  • Hulk Hogan & Ultimate Warrior d. Sgt. Slaughter, Gen Adnan, Col. Mustafa, August 26th, 1991, SummerSlam
  • Hulk Hogan d. Ric Flair, November 12th, 1991, WWE Unreleased
  • Undertaker d. Hulk Hogan, November 27th, 1991, Survivor Series

Thoughts: This reign was emphasized as the reign of the All-American spirit of Hulk Hogan, defeating the turncoat at WrestleMania, and feuding with Slaughter and his allies throughout the summer, culminating in a handicap match at SummerSlam. That SummerSlam match was actually better than people remember, considering the physical limitations everyone in the match possessed. Suffice to say, not everyone remembers how intriguing that match is, considering the history between Iron Sheik (Col. Mustafa) and Hogan from several years before. But the WWF was about to enter a new era by the end of 1991. Arguably, the end of the Classic WWF era came to a close when Hulk Hogan fell to the Undertaker at Survivor Series 1991, and the Decade of Destruction began. Granted, it was yet another non-clean championship with Ric Flair assisting Undertaker in getting the win. That’s three dirty championship changes in only seven total changes, almost half. I wavered between C- and D+, but chose the latter. It was a shallow reign, akin to Warrior’s the year prior.

Grade (A+ through F ): D+

The Undertaker
November 27th, 1991 – December 3rd, 1991

  • Record: 1-1
  • Clean Losses: 0
  • Successful Defenses: 0

Recommended Matches to Watch

  • Undertaker d. Hulk Hogan, November 27th, 1991, Survivor Series
  • Hulk Hogan d. Undertaker, December 3rd, 1991, This Tuesday in Texas

Thoughts: Although this reign could compare to Andre the Giant’s as nothing more than a gimmick, it was a legitimate championship reign which saw Undertaker hold the championship and stand tall after he tombstoned Hulk Hogan to hell at Survivor Series. A rematch was made for the first ever Tuesday night PPV after Thanksgiving’s Survivor Series, and Hogan would win the championship back with nefarious means, slowing showing the world that Hulkamania did indeed have a dark side.

Grade (A+ through F ): F

Hulk Hogan
December 3rd, 1991 – December 4th, 1991

  • Record: 1-0
    Clean Losses: 0
  • Successful Defenses: 0

Recommended Matches to Watch

  • Hulk Hogan d. Undertaker, December 3rd, 1991, “This Tuesday in Texas”

Thoughts: A second nothing championship reign, this one lasted one day before WWF President Jack Tunney stripped Hogan of the championship due to the controversial finishes of the last two matches with the Undertaker. The championship would be held up until 1992, and be given to the winner of the 1992 Royal Rumble.

Grade (A+ through F ): F

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. Sgt. Slaughter (January 19th, 1991 – March 24th, 1991) – C
  4. Hulk Hogan (April 2nd, 1989 – April 1st, 1990) – C
  5. Hulk Hogan (March 24th — November 27th, 1991) – D+
  6. The Ultimate Warrior (April 1st, 1990- January 19th, 1991) – D
  7. Undertaker (November 27th, 1991- December 3rd, 1991) – F
  8. Hulk Hogan (December 3rd, 1991 – December 4th, 1991) – F


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NXT Minus 6: I Agree With Ciampa

From Ciampa & Thatcher to Kushida, from Joe to… Imperium? This week’s NXT Minus 6 has it all. So read it. And enjoy!

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WWE NXT KUSHIDA Kyle O'Reilly

From Ciampa & Thatcher to Kushida, from Joe to… Imperium? This week’s NXT Minus 6 has it all. So read it. And enjoy!

Leave it to Old Man Ciampa to say what we’re all thinking.

WWE NXT: Samoa Joe Returns as William Regal's Enforcer | WrestlingWorld
6. I’m really hoping Samoa Joe is eventually cleared for an in-ring return. If he isn’t, then teasing matches with everybody from Pete Dunne to Johnny Gargano is cruel and unusual punishment. Don’t get me wrong. His start as William Regal’s enforcer was great, but that’s not why he came back. It’s not Joe Will Threaten You And Make You Leave The Room. Joe…Will…Kill…You.  

WWE NXT on Twitter: ""We are hereby officially challenging for the #WWENXT #TagTeamTitles. We are IMPERIUM, and to us the mat is 𝙨𝙖𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙙." - @Marcel_B_WWE & @FabianAichner Hear that, @SuperKingofBros & #TimothyThatcher?…

5. Is anybody else upset that Imperium is stuck in tag team no man’s land? They are such a non-factor right now it feels like they are on the edge of a breakup. That would make me sad. I’m a big fan of Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel. I think they would do fine as individuals, but as a team they still have a lot to accomplish. 

MSK Win Vacant WWE NXT Tag Team Championships | Cultaholic

4. Dear MSK, I’ve booked your July. You say tag team wrestling is the best division in NXT and the best tag team division anywhere, and you are going to prove it. Each week in July, you put the belts on the line against a different team. But wait…There’s more. After you defeat everybody, those four teams get to compete in a fatal 4-way, winner gets a rematch at Takeover.   

Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher vs. Grizzled Young Veterans – Tornado Tag Match: WWE NXT, June 15, 2021 | WWE

3. After Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher put the boots (more on that in a minute) to Grizzled Young Veterans, Ciampa looked at the camera and growled “This was my Takeover.” I agree. That match was my Takeover, too. It was better than anything In Your House. Just a crazy, brutal match that I’m giving 4.7 stars. But it doesn’t stop here. There’s only one way to end this feud…the first ever tag team match in the Fight Pit.

Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher, Grizzled Young Veterans trade barbs: WWE NXT, May 25, 2021 - YouTube

2. Now about those boots. One of my biggest wrestling peeves is when a tag team doesn’t have a proper name. It’s clear that Thatcher & Ciampa are not a passing fad. They deserve a name. None of this half assed Thatcher-Ciampa Connection. I’ve always wanted to name a team The Boots, as in “We are going to put the boots to you boys.” Honorable mention goes to Pit Boss. If you have something better, drop it in the comment section. 

WWE NXT: Kushida Wins Cruiserweight Championship | WrestlingWorld

1. This week’s That’s Why I Love Wrestling goes to…KUSHIDA! Specifically, KUSHIDA’s floatover. I’m a big fan of any wrestler who can elevate a basic move into something special. KUSHIDA’s floatover is a helicopter propeller. He looks like he could spin on his opponent’s back until the end of the show. Mastery of the little things turns good to great. That is exactly why KUSHIDA is one of the greats. 


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WWE Hell In A Cell: The End Of Main Event Bob?

Could WWE Hell In The Cell signify the end of Bobby Lashley’s main event run? Read on to see if the odds are in Bob’s favor.

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Bobby Lashley

Could WWE Hell In The Cell signify the end of Bobby Lashley’s main event run?

WWE Hell In A Cell takes place this Sunday on NBC Universal’s Peacock, the former WWE Network (in the US), and on pay-per-view and other outlets all over the globe.

One of the highlighted matches features Bobby Lashley defending his WWE Championship against Drew McIntyre inside the demonic Hell In A Cell structure, keeping Drew within the WWE Championship picture for eighteen straight months now, a fact that isn’t lost on most fans or even Drew himself.

But the looming question in my mind doesn’t deal with Drew, but the reigning titleholder himself, Bobby Lashley.

Bobby Lashley’s ascension to the top of the WWE comes at what is obviously the tail end of a 20-year wrestling career that has seen this phenomenal athlete compete for WWE itself, Impact Wrestling, AAA, even MMA sprints including Bellator, and ultimately WWE once again. His most recent run included feuds with Sami Zayn, Rusev and Lana, and a stint being managed by the now retired Lio Rush that are most remembered for all the wrong reasons. Before WrestleMania 37, where Lashley basically beat Drew McIntyre clean, he was essentially quashed by Finn Balor’s Demon at WrestleMania 35 and lost to the since released Aleister Black at WrestleMania 36 (held in the WWE Performance Center, not the home of the Capitol Wrestling Center).

But at the start of the global pandemic, MVP entered the picture and created The Hurt Business, a vehicle that—at the time—helped the careers of Lashley, Shelton Benjamin, and Cedric Alexander. The Hurt Business was on top of the proverbial world, holding mid-card championships and being involved in high profile storylines. But it wasn’t until the end of the Elimination Chamber build where The Miz “made a deal with the devil” to set Drew McIntyre up for his Money In The Bank cash-in. Months and years of hard work finally paid off—Bobby Lashley was WWE Champion.

After taking the Fastlane pay-per-view off, Lashley was headed to the WrestleMania 37 showdown with the main who carried the WWE back at the start of the pandemic. Drew McIntyre won the title from Brock Lesnar in front of no one at WrestleMania 36, leading many to believe that Drew could emerge victorious in Tampa Bay as a “make good” for his push not culminating in front of a WrestleMania stadium crowd. Many, including myself, were pleasantly surprised when Bobby Lashley left WrestleMania 37 as champion, doing so in relatively clean fashion.

Hell In A Cell is now the blow-off point for McIntyre and Lashley, with the rule that if Bobby Lashley loses, Drew McIntyre cannot challenge Lashley for the WWE Championship again. That begs a bigger question: Is this the end of the road for Bobby Lashley as a top guy in WWE?

According to the odds from SportsBettingDime, Bobby Lashley (-250) is expected to retain his championship in his match against Drew McIntyre. And I personally hope they’re right!

I said it on this week’s Babyface/Heel Podcast, I fully expect the loser of this match to end up on Smackdown after the next WWE Draft and be used as an opponent for Roman Reigns. Drew McIntyre is the most logical choice based on the hero/villain alignment, and him feeling like he has “unfinished business” with Roman after the 2020 Survivor Series.

Personally, I’d be betting on the side of the odds, with Lashley retaining. WWE has two full time brands, and Lashley fits at the top of the card. Despite his age (44) I think Bobby has another 2-3 good years left, and he is peaking as a character in a character driven environment. Raw is the perfect environment for Bobby Lashley to build babyface challengers and still walk out champion. Much like Roman Reigns, the best scenario is for Bobby to walk into WrestleMania 38 the same way he walked into WrestleMania 37—as WWE Champion.


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