SLAM! WRESTLING: Guest Columnist

SLAM! Sports
SLAM! Wrestling

December 1, 1999

Chumps instead of champs

By DEREK JOHNSON -- For SLAM! Wrestling

 A strange phenomenon has struck all three wrestling federations. Perhaps the planets of the solar system have lined up to cause this bizarre happening to unfold. Or could it be a strange spell has been cast over wrestling today. Eh, maybe it's just that the bookers have their heads stuck up bums to far to realize it. This incredible feat is simply: In all three big promotions, there isn't one good champion.

WAIT WAIT! Don't kill me.........yet. At least let me explain how I have come to this conclusion. Then when I'm done you can say I'm an idiot. Sound like a good plan? Good. I will first start with the WWF and the reasons they have chumps instead of champs.

World Wrestling Federation

WWF World Heavyweight Champion- The Big Show
-There was not one person, on the internet or watching at home, that didn't stare in amazement as Paul Wight won the world title in a match he was never supposed to compete in. After being part of a very controversal and mid-card feud, he is all of a sudden boosted to the world championship faster than Goldberg was. Did he deserve it? No. Did he pay his dues in the WWF? Well he was in the process until this happened. Are his matches or wrestling skills all that impressive? His non-existant mic work? I rest my case. There are rumours that he won't keep the championship for very long. I think that this is good. Let him actually reach main event status before making him World Champ. Sheesh.

Intercontinental Champion- Chyna
-Its sad that to keep Chyna over with the fans, bookers must ruin the credibility of other deserving superstars by having them job to her. Chyna, while semi-entertaining, should not be a champion. Now, I'm not the biggest Chris Jericho or Jeff Jarrett fan, but did these two really deserve to get beaten by Chyna? For all you women out there, its not because she's a girl that she's getting so much flak. Its the fact that she has very limited wrestling skills and it looks ridiculously unbelievable when someone with that kind of arsenal can beat grapplers like Jericho or Jarrett.

Tag Team Champions- NAO
-Yeah yeah yeah, so these guys were the hottest thing goign around a year ago, right? Well I'm sorry, but I cannot see them as credible due to a simple fact: the tag team titles have changed 16 times in this year alone. That is a lot of two-to-three week title reigns out there, and a few of them belong to the Outlaws. Credibility anyone? I understand that they're heels, but if they can't win a SINGLE match without the help of X-Pac, then something is fishy.

Hardcore Champion- Big Boss Man
-Big Boss Man will go simultaniously down in history as the greatest and undeserving Hardcore champion in the WWF. Why is this? Because he's not hardcore. Which leads one to think, how can someone who's not hardcore have won the belt on four seperate occasions? He has yet to provide a memorable hardcore match and has turned the once prestigious hardcore belt into another singles wrestling title.

European Champion- British Bulldog
-The Big Show problem in reverse. Bulldog was in a main event sort of status a few weeks back then BAM!, he beats D'Lo Brown and falls to mid-card status. With absolutely no mic skills (he doesn't talk anymore, and when he did, no one could understand him), and his once a month title defenses, fans have trouble remembering just who exactly the Euro Champ is right now...

World Championship Wrestling

WCW World Heavyweight Champion- Bret 'The Hitman' Hart -Now look everyone, I am a huge Bret Hart mark. I may not be the biggest, but he is my favorite wrestler, and I stuck by him throughout all of his rough days. He did deserve to win the championship, but look at the facts: He never cleanly beat Jeff Jarrett last week, Dustin Rhodes helped him; He never cleanly beat Meng, Outsiders helped him. He hasn't proven he can beat these lower main event guys, how does WCW expect people to expect anything but a Goldberg to win at Starrcade?

U.S. Champion- Scott Hall
-Blah, don't make me laugh. Hall is a perfect example of how good wrestling has taken a back seat to mic skills and popularity. For heaven's sakes, he doesn't even TRY when he fights in a match. He doesn't even attempt to break a sweat! I don't care how many titles you give this guy, I won't cheer or boo for him till he shows some effort to please the fans in the ring.

Tag Team Champions- Creative Control
-All I gotta say is "Eh?" about CC. They aren't that bad, but they aren't that good either. They haven't done anything spectacular to deserve the push that they're getting. It really does show the current state of the tag team divisions. How many times have you read an internet news reporter being mildly amused with a tag team and saying "Give them the tag belts already!" Is that what the tag team championship is? A prize to be given to a tag team whenever they get over (Or in some cases, not)?

TV Champion- Scott Hall
-Blah, don't get me started with this guy again...

Hardcore Champion- Norman Smiley
-I won't deny it, I think Norman Smilely is very entertaining, and his gimmick is great. But to start off a championship belt's history by giving it to a non hardcore wrestler is absurd. That and its hard to be a credible champion when your division consists of three wrestlers.....

Extreme Championship Wrestling

ECW World Heavyweight Champion- Mike Awesome
Now look here, I've been watching ECW on and off for about five months, and let me tell you: I have never even SEEN Mike Awesome on their show. What the? When you catch the show 3/5 of the times throughout a five month period, you'd think you'd see the Champion at least once. Now I understand he was in Japan (or something to that effect), but now that he's champion, he's gotta start making himself known! Another reason he doesn't pull any weight is because he came out of nowhere, beat a WWF-bound Taz, and Masato Tanaka, who certainly deserved it more than Awesome did.

TV Champion- Rob Van Dam
-Heh heh, your probably thinking "He's screwed now, how is he going to discredit RVD? He's one of the best wrestlers in the world, and has held the title for 19 months!" Simply put, I can't, and I won't try to. Instead I will ask a question: Why is Mike Awesome the World Champion and not RVD? He has moved past the TV title and needs to get with the main eventers. By making this title reign so long, I just feel that when (if?) RVD is beaten no one will believe it. This guy has beaten everybody. There's no one left to take the title. RVD has in effect put the made the TV title void. There is simply no one left in low card, mid card, or main event status that can legitimitly hold the TV title. Honestly people, long title reigns are nice, but 19 months? Come on, I'm just getting sick of it.

Tag Team Champions- Raven and Tommy Dreamer
-You know what would be cool? If Raven didn't have a torn rotator cuff. Or if Tommy Dreamer didn't have herniated discs in his back. Wouldn't that be cool, to see an actual wrestling match with high spots and bumps and drama? Unfortunately, with injuries plaguing both members, one has to ask, why are they the champions? Neither need title belts to get over. And they shouldn't have the championships if they are in such bad shape.

Alrighty? I'm not as stupid as I look. While you may disagree with some of my reasons, you cannot deny that I make valid points for every champion. Hopefully, some credible wrestlers will step up to the plate, and bring prestige back to the titles, and meaning back to the word 'Champions'.
Derek Johnson lives in Herndon, Virginia and can be reached by e-mail at

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