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The 7 - Pro Wrestling - TOUGH QUESTION: Who had the greatest World Title reign ever? Register and log in to post!
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T.i.O a B.m.F
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#1 Posted on 6.12.03 0401.43
Reposted on: 6.12.10 0403.14
Im not talking about which wrestler you think was the best to win the world title. No, Im talking about which wrestler had the greatest feuds, matches, and storylines while holding that title.

I think this is a really tough question and cant think of an answer just yet. I'll post one when I think it out, but who do you think...

(edited by T.i.O a B.m.F on 6.12.03 0202)
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#2 Posted on 6.12.03 0622.29
Reposted on: 6.12.10 0622.31
If we're sticking with kayfabe, this actually is a tough question.

I'm leaning towards Bret Hart at the moment...
Dexley's Midnight Jogger
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#3 Posted on 6.12.03 0719.41
Reposted on: 6.12.10 0719.45
Are you looking for one particular reign? Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan held the belts several times over many years. Hogan's firt reign from 1984 to 1988 (I may be off on those dates) was way more significant than his last WWF title run.

While it may not be considered a world title, Raven's run as ECW champion was pretty good. Solid matches where you believed at any night he could have been dethroned.

If you are looking strictly at WCW/WWE, I'd say Steve Austin's first title run as well.
The Atomic Tomato
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#4 Posted on 6.12.03 0732.06
Reposted on: 6.12.10 0732.32
If we're talking about impact on the wrestling world, I'd have to go with Hulk Hogan's first World Title run (01/23/84 to 02/05/88).

Hogan's first title run put the WWF on the map on a nationwide scale and gave them their first superhero. During that run, Hogan had classic feuds with Paul Orndorff, Roddy Piper, King Kong Bundy, Andre and many others. They would even build up his matches on SNME with midcard heels like Nikolai Volkoff and make them interesting.

There have been a lot of great championship reigns both before and since, but I don't think any of them top the rise of Hulk Hogan.
OlFuzzyBastard
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#5 Posted on 6.12.03 1032.55
Reposted on: 6.12.10 1033.43
    Originally posted by Dexley's Midnight Jogger
    Are you looking for one particular reign? Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan held the belts several times over many years. Hogan's firt reign from 1984 to 1988 (I may be off on those dates) was way more significant than his last WWF title run.

    While it may not be considered a world title, Raven's run as ECW champion was pretty good. Solid matches where you believed at any night he could have been dethroned.

    If you are looking strictly at WCW/WWE, I'd say Steve Austin's first title run as well.


Yeah, but if you're being really technical, Austin's first title reign was only about three months because he lost it to Kane for a day.

Unless you want to go really old school and bust out some Sammartino up in here, I've gotta second Hulk Hogan's first world title reign as well. Over four years long, with classic feuds throughout against Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff, King King Bundy, Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase. Plus, it ushered in the 80s Wrestling Boom, which is the reason most of us on here who didn't come in the 90s Boom are even watching the sport today.
fuelinjected
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#6 Posted on 6.12.03 1313.02
Reposted on: 6.12.10 1314.12
Lou Thesz would have the most impressive reign ever but not a lot of it exists on tape for people to see.

Raven's first ECW World Title run in 1996 was spectacular because ECW was still firing on all cylinders then. Raven had his great feuds with Dreamer and Sandman going during that reign that lasted almost a year.

For WWF, probably Bret Hart's second reign as WWF Champion was my favorite because he feuded with Owen for most of it.

Overall, there's never been a better World Champion then Ric Flair, IMO. You can't pinpoint one reign because there were so many. But no one says World Champion like Ric Flair. Even when he didn't have the belt, you'd look at him and go there's the real World Heavyweight Champion and everyone else is just holding the belt for him. He looked and acted like a World Champion should. He needed the belt to afford the lifestyle and prove that he's the best in the ring. I don't think anyone has ever conveyed that better then Flair. Lou Thesz and Nick Bockwinkel came close as far as being no-nonsense wrestlers who carried themselves as truly being better then everyone else.
Nag
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#7 Posted on 6.12.03 1419.04
Reposted on: 6.12.10 1419.20
If look at night in-night out quality matches, I think HBK's first run has to be considered. It really held the WWF together during it's most trying times.

Shane Douglas's second run (4-94/4-95)as ECW champ is also one of my favorites. That year was just filled tremendous angles and moments that got that title over, even though ECW was still stuck on a Grave Yard slot on a low power station.
KOTR
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#8 Posted on 6.12.03 1539.43
Reposted on: 6.12.10 1539.54
Bob Backlund 1994. Brilliant.
JST
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#9 Posted on 6.12.03 1736.10
Reposted on: 6.12.10 1736.53
Flair. Nuff said.
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#10 Posted on 6.12.03 1845.43
Reposted on: 6.12.10 1846.01
My favourite? Bret, in 1994. I hated Bret and wanted desperately for him to get beat, and even though it was a good six or seven months before he went down, there was a tease every week. I was 1000% pulling for Owen to win the belt from him, but he never quite could. I thought Diesel was a lock at KOTR, but he didn't get it done. Even guys like Jarrett and 1-2-3 looked like they had him on various Raw's, but Bret still escaped. The Owen/Backlund/Helen angle at Survivor Series that year is one of my all time favourites, not only because of the great Owen swerve, but also it was very satisfying to see who I thought was a very bland goody-goody champion finally get knocked off.

Most impactful? Hogan's first WWF title run. As has been said, it transformed the business the first time and set the stage for Austin's first run (OK, two runs if you consider Kane's day as champion) all those years later.
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#11 Posted on 6.12.03 2024.56
Reposted on: 6.12.10 2024.56
Most of my favorite wrestling memories come from the Austin/McMahon feud which basically reached a fever-pitch after Austin won the WWF Title at WrestleMania XIV. That was followed by McMahon recruiting Dude Love to face Austin at Unforgiven & Over the Edge (which both ruled). Austin finally lost the title at King of the Ring in the First Blood Match after the Undertaker chaired him, allowing Kane to win the title...for a day, as Kane proved to have honor and gave Austin a rematch (which he won) the following night on RAW. The Undertaker claimed the chairshot was an accident, so he & Austin teamed and won the Tag Titles from Kane & Mankind at Fully Loaded, then Austin beat Undertaker at SummerSlam. At Breakdown in September, Kane & Undertaker just turned heel and basically ensinuated that the entire year's stuff was their idea (the chairshot, et al) and double-pinned Austin to take the title and force a Kane/Taker match at the next PPV, Judgment Day. Austin was the referee, and he beat up both guys and declared himself the winner...which got him fired by McMahon. That led to the classic Austin Hunts McMahon angle on RAW, where Austin (aligned with Shane McMahon) got his job back and entered the Deadly Game tournament at Survivor Series for the title. Predictably, Shane turned on Austin in the tourney and the McMahons helped The Rock win the WWF Title. That led to the Rock/Mankind feud (where Mankind got the title with help from Stone Cold & DX), until FINALLY Stone Cold regained the title at WrestleMania XV.

Now, THAT was epic writing.
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#12 Posted on 6.12.03 2129.43
Reposted on: 6.12.10 2129.49
Epic writing? Meaningless one day title reigns and constant swerves don't equal epic writing. They equal a ton of character inconsistencies and the start of the notion that title changes and stipulations don't mean anything. Austin's win at XV was very well built; I'd agree that the second half of that year was pretty well done. A lot of the stuff through the summer was pretty illogical, though (Kane and Taker's constant flip-flops, for example).
Freeway
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#13 Posted on 7.12.03 1554.36
Reposted on: 7.12.10 1556.11
The second half was epic writing (Breakdown to Mania XV). The first half was them just booking on the fly and hoping for the best. Once they figured out that Kane & Taker should be EVIL and in cahoots, things actually came together.
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#14 Posted on 7.12.03 1757.56
Reposted on: 7.12.10 1758.25
Pardon me for being a biased Canadian, but I liked Jericho as world champ; I just don't like how he lost the the title. He was two world champs at once! Yah!
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#15 Posted on 7.12.03 1825.03
Reposted on: 7.12.10 1825.40
ya i'm gonna go with Bret Hart and maybe Yokuzona.
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#16 Posted on 7.12.03 1836.06
Reposted on: 7.12.10 1836.09
To go with greatest impact, Hogan's first WWF Title run had the greatest impact. Sometimes you have to give him some credit.
As for greatest title reign, it has to be an NWA Champ, as they would defend it in different territories every night. With that (and since I'm to young to really remember the 70's and prior), I'd probably have to go with Flair's first title run, as he would face Harley Race in Central States, Piper/Steamboat etc. in Mid Atlantic, Dusty and Windham in Florida, the Von Erich boys in World Class, plus go into Georgia, Mid-South and Memphis to defend the belt. And, he held the belt from September '81 thru June '83, an impressive length compared to other first time NWA Title holders. His second title run was too short, his third was as the territory system was dying (although it probably was his second best reign, with the Title vs. Title match against AWA Champ Rick Martel occurring during the May '84-July '86 run), and everything after that was basically Crockett controlled territory, WCW, or the WWF.
Dave Gagnon
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#17 Posted on 7.12.03 2320.07
Reposted on: 7.12.10 2320.30
That's a no brainer: Hogan's first run as WWF world champion.
JoshMann
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#18 Posted on 8.12.03 0730.53
Reposted on: 8.12.10 0731.51
I'm going to stray from the pack and say Flair's first reign from 81-83. Because yeah, Hogan's first had the biggest buisness impact, but from a kayfabe standpoint, this was when the NWA territories were still in full bloom (Japan, Texas, Portland, KC, Georgia, Fla, Tulsa, Charlotte, etc) and most of Flair's work involved going from territory to territory and facing different guys each time around the horn, which is far different than if you're in a fed and you're facing either the same guy for 3 months at a time or the 4-5 guys in the main event pool at any given time.

I mean in the grand scheme, that was the last period there was a major WORLD champion as opposed to a fed champion.

(edited by Blanket Jackson on 8.12.03 0831)
The Squire
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#19 Posted on 8.12.03 0940.39
Reposted on: 8.12.10 0941.44
Well... from a historical standpoint Sammartino was huge and was a huge draw from the company. Hogan, as much as I hate him, defined the company and wrestling in the 80's. I think Austin's longest actual reign was when he turned heel with the alliance, so I don't think he applies here.

From a workrate standpoint, I'd have to go with Bret in 1994... or take shit from everyone and say TRIPLE H in 2000. The guy may be a shadow of his old self, but like it or not, he was the MAN in 2000 and I think we were all in agreement then. The battles with Foley, Rock, TAKA, Rikishi(!), Benoit, whoever... he did not have bad matches that year. He looked great and made his opponents look better. AND he was a nonstop heat machine. That's a champ. I love Bret and all, but Triple H had a hell of a run that year.
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#20 Posted on 8.12.03 1108.06
Reposted on: 8.12.10 1108.33
I too will have to go with Hogan. His first run with the title changed wrestling---made it mainstream...

Most recent, I would have to go with Austin's first run with it...that too defined wrestling today as we know it.

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