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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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