View Full Version : LoP Championship series

Prime Time
05-10-2018, 04:31 AM

It is at this time that I’d like to bring the third meeting of the Lords of Pain Championship Committee to order. We are here to discuss and decide the lineage of the lineal wrestling world heavyweight title, as represented in the Lords of Pain World Heavyweight Championship. In attendance are Mizfan, Mazza, Uncle Joe and Steve. As always, in the chair and taking minutes is myself, your genial host Prime Time. Gentlemen, feel free to help yourself to scotch and cigars, and once you are settled we’ll get underway.

If you’ll recall last time we worked through the period in the late 1970s through into 1981. We had some tough decisions to make, especially regarding the situation with Bob Backlund and Antonio Inoki, before ultimately deciding that Inoki did not meet a suitable calibre of contender to remain the champion. Where we finished in 1981, we were recognising Dusty Rhodes as the LoP World Heavyweight Champion.

Rhodes held the title from June until September 17th, when he lost the title to Ric Flair in Kansas City, Missouri. Flair would hold the title for almost a year without serious incident, but we need to assess a series of matches that took place in Puerto Rico in August and September of 1982. There is at least one match that we need to assess, and depending on the result of that discussion, potentially more. On August 29th, Flair defended his title against Jack Veneno, and the result of the match is disputed. Veneno certainly left the arena with the belt, people celebrated, and he was presented as champion for the remainder of the tour in Puerto Rico. In his book, To Be The Man, Flair claims that the crowd were mistaken, and that the result was actually a time-limit draw – Veneno kept the belt solely for safety reasons. If he is right, then the champion’s advantage would mean Ric Flair was still the champion. If he is not, Veneno would take the gold. Gentlemen, what are your thoughts on this difficult situation?


Wooooo! Fun and games definitely going on.

The situation is definitely unclear... but not so unclear that there isn't a correct answer. I think the NWA actually had it right in just basically ignoring that this stuff ever happened.

Unc's Dominican right? Is Veneno Unc's Unc? Can we call him Uncle Jack? I'm gonna call him Uncle Jack and assume he likes really obscure pornography.

Given the situation and the danger that Flair and others may have potentially been in had they handed the belt over to him that night instead of just going with the flow, I don't see any other safe and/or responsible option for them to have gone with.

I motion Jack Veneno retains the title for 3 reasons: A: Flair’s a bitch, B: his cowardice allowed foe the confusion, C: the guy’s name translates to jack venom and that’s fucking bad ass.

Flair was still officially champion at the end of the first match which ended with the sleeper spot and the time limit draw, even though Veneno took physical possession of the belt.

As for what to do here, I think there's only one thing we can do in such a mess and that is go out for some drugs and murder a hooker in honour of Uncle Jack. Once we get back however we need to hold up that title. Too many shenanigans to try and keep on top of. Vacant gets another run while a 13 year old Michael Cole overuses the word "abeyance".

The belt was never supposed to change hands. Circumstances dictated a judgment call... but the rules are the rules and they clearly state that Champion's Advantage takes precedent.

He’s either been beaten in front of a crowd, or he hasn’t. Champion’s advantage only comes into it that far – it doesn’t have any bearing on which version is right. And the truth is, when push comes to shove the only real evidence we have for keeping the belt on Flair is his own word, in his book. And I’ve read that book. And to be honest, I don’t trust him. It’s basically an exercise in self-justification that they’ve slapped a cover on. It’s a straight call between voting for Veneno and holding the title up for me, and in the absence of any clarity I think the only thing we can do is to vacate the title and move on from there.

Ric Flair 2 Jack Veneno 1 Vacate 2
Uncle Joe casts the deciding vote to vacate the title

With Joe casting the vote to hold up the title, we’re now in the position of once again having to look for an appropriate match, in the proper time frame, to crown a new world champion. At this point we are still only recognising three belts as being potentially ‘world title’ worthy (though this will change with time), so it’s once again a straight choice between three matches. This time, they are Ric Flair vs Mike Graham for the NWA title, 19/9/82 in Orlando, FL; Otto Wantz vs Nick Bockwinkel, 16/9/82 in Oakland, CA for the AWA title; and Bob Backlund vs. Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka (special referee S.D. Jones), 18/9/82 in Philadelphia, PA for the WWF Championship. I’ll now open this to the floor for comments.

Sadly none of these exact matches seem to be available online, but I’m pretty familiar with everybody involved so let’s see what we’ve got.

Well you know what they say right? The heart Wanz what the heart Wanz. My heart however doesn't Wanz Otto. So I can go to familiar home territory or throw Naitch into the mix.

Though it kinda seems I'm putting more stock in quality of opposition than some, I do so again here. Mike Graham was a quality worker but far from a consistent main event talent outside of the Florida territory that his father booked. I would LOVE to put the LOP strap on Ric Flair, but Mike Graham is far from elite competition for the Nature Boy.

Ric Flair is, of course, a wonderful choice for a champion on any given day in the 80s. His opponent, however, is pretty damned weak in this instance. I don’t think Mike Graham is as bad as he’s made out to be by some, but he neither the reputation nor the skill to be a particularly credible opponent with a world championship on the line. So I think the NWA is gonna have to pay for their shenanigans with Veneno and sit this one out.

Well as much as I love Snuka’s "youthful happy go lucky island savage" gimmick, I was never too enthralled in most of his matches, and the ones i did like were good at best. Nor is he the type to the pull out great performances out of otherwise shit situations or matches so pass.

I am going to go with Flair vs Graham here. Gonna be far too much Backlund and Hogan over the next few years otherwise.

I think I’ve got to go with the consensus that Mike Graham winning the match and becoming world champion is a potential outcome that basically rules out the NWA title. Besides, at this point in time there’s a very decent chance of us having the same problem just a few months down the line if we go with Flair again.

The WWF match is a very interesting one. Backlund is another very strong choice for champion, and there can be no doubt based on reputation Jimmy Snuka is a high profile opponent. My big issue with this one is… Jimmy Snuka totally sucks. He may have pioneered jumping off tall things, but every time I see the guy in the ring I leave feeling letdown, even if I go as far back as the 70s. There’s no doubt he had a certain charisma that made him memorable and a big draw at one point and time, but even putting aside the fact that he would murder his girlfriend a year later, I’m very low on Snuka in terms of actual performance.

I don’t hate Jimmy Snuka at all; certainly not in this period where I could definitely see him as a contender.

Otto Wanz is a recognizable name. I'm betting that you, the reader of this, has heard it... but knows dick about the dude. Same here. He was a pretty big star in the European territories and made one notable trip to the US. It was during this time that he feuded with the fucking brilliant Nick Bockwinkel in the AWA. He's a worthy contender, I'd say, but only stuck around in the US, the inarguable highest profile and hottest country for pro wrestling in the world in that and pretty much all other eras, for a cup of coffee. Otto gets a maybe.

The AWA match has the opposite problem. While covering the AWA years of Heenan’s career I was pleased to find that Otto Wanz is actually fairly entertaining in the ring, but I feel the circumstances of his short lived title win, which is when this match took place, have earned him a poor reputation. The story goes that Wanz, who promoted wrestling all over Europe, came to America and contributed financially to the AWA in exchange for a title reign, essentially “buying” the title for a short time. When I researched the situation I saw enough to think this story is probably true, but at the same time it’s not as if Wanz was an unknown to AWA fans and his title reign was not appreciated in its time. I have watched the actual title change, and the crowd reaction is enormous when he wins the belt. Granted, that is surely due in part to Bock and Heenan being so incredibly over as a heel act, but Wanz earned his share of success in the company too.

Wanz is one of the biggest names in European wrestling, both as a performer and a promoter, and has to be taken seriously as one of the names in the match. In fact, I think I’m going to vote for those guys. While I’m not going to hold the fact we’ve already taken the belt off Backlund once against him, I’m just not sure we’re ready, in 1982, for the title to change hands in a match that has a wrestler performing the role of special guest referee. We’ll break that precedent at a more natural juncture, I think. It doesn’t feel right here.

Jimmy Snuka was a star in 1982, and not just in the WWF. He had travelled around various NWA territories for almost 15 years prior to making his debut in New York and had stacked up a shitload of gold along the way. His debut in the WWF as a heel alongside legendary (and heat magnet) manager "Captain" Lou Albano made one hell of an impact and would eventually lead to him becoming one of the absolute hottest babyfaces in the industry a short time later. I want to go with Flair because, well, I love Ric Flair. I also want to go with Bockwinkel because, well, I love Nick Bockwinkel. Bob Backlund frankly bores the shit out of me and always has. When it's all said and done, based upon my own personal criteria, the guy facing the highest calibre of competition at the time was easily Backlund. Snuka was a fucking megastar in the era and had a rocket strapped to his ass at the time. I vote we go with Backlund, boring as he may be.

Still on my fuck Ric Flair wave and that sentiment has carried me throughout much of my career, so why stop now? Pass hard on the sharpeé puppy of wrestling, per Big Poppa Pump. So naturally means I’m going with Bockwinkel because that bastard was just too good.

My head tells me the WWF is probably the most legitimate way to go at this point, but my heart pulls me towards AWA, and since I expect the title will go back to New York regardless, I’m going to go ahead and throw my vote towards Wanz and Bock. Probably my last chance to vote for the AWA in good conscience, so that’s the way I’m going.

Wanz vs Bockwinkel wins 3-1-1
As a result we recognise Otto Wanz as LoP Champion as of 16th September, 1982.

So that’s a pretty clear and decisive vote to follow the AWA Championship. That means that Otto Wanz is the LoP Champion until he loses the title to Nick Bockwinkel in October. Bock, in his first reign as champion, holds the title without major incident until almost the very end of 1982, when he goes to Memphis for a match with Jerry “The King” Lawler. This match is mired in controversy. Bock has the match won and is covering Lawler but the ref is down. Bockwinkel goes over to help the referee, Lawler hits him from behind and gets the cover, with the referee missing Bockwinkel's feet on the ropes. Lawler wins the match, but the AWA returned the title to Bockwinkel pending a rematch. Given the clarity of the footage available of the incident I'm not sure vacating the title needs to be an option here, though we'll consider it if people want to vote that way. But it's essentially a choice between agreeing with the AWA, and continuing to recognise Bockwinkel as champion, or going with the pinfall and recognising Lawler which will send us on a path through Memphis in 1983.


So it’s a simple question, gentlemen - Lawler or Bockwinkel?

I'm still over here scratching my head over how we wound up recognizing the AWA Championship at this point. Oh well. At least Bockwinkel's in the mix, which is never a bad thing. Speaking of which, I think I'll stick with Nick here.

It's 2018 and we still don't VAR apparently. We certainly don't need it in 1983. Whatever next. Hand of God overturned? Bollocks to all that.

I’m totally up for overturning the hand of God. I say eliminate Argentina and have England, Belgium and West Germany (only the West, mind you) play in a three-team round robin for the ’86 World Cup.

Pah. The ref didn't see it but he called it. Lawler is the champ in my eyes.

This pains me soooo damn much to say this considering he’s a goddamn Trump supporter, but Lawler in my opinion is the best wrestler of all time. And as much as I love Bockwinkel and his girthy bulge, I gotta go vote for the King of Memphis.

After reviewing the footage, I can only agree with Mr Bockwinkel's aptly put comments after the match. The decision to award Lawler the victory was a complete miscarriage of justice, and should in no way recognize it. I wholeheartedly vote to continue to recognize Bockwinkel as champion!

Actually, I’m really torn because while I’m not exactly a beacon of morality and standards, Lawler by all accounts is a sexual deviant lacking any semblance of moral fortitude. Not sure if the rumors are true of his ephebophilia (sp?), so this is really giving me pause.

When I look at that and I look at the way I voted on the Inoki interference case, I think for the sake of consistency it’s only right that I vote for Bockwinkel to retain. I think the AWA made the correct call here. How on earth can you change the title not only when the man had his opponent pinned, but when the actual fall that was counted was also incredibly dubious? Bockwinkel to retain, and apologies to the city of Memphis, TN.

Actually all of our favorite wrestlers are absolute scumbags so fuck my vote is still for Lawler.

I see nothing there that would truly justify holding the belt up. I vote let it ride.

Jerry Lawler 2-3 Nick Bockwinkel
The board abides by the AWA decision to not recognise the title change.

That close decision, then, means that we’ll follow the AWA title line which stays fairly stable through the next couple of years which allows us to move without controversy into what many consider the contemporary era of wrestling. The next time we meet we’ll be picking things up when it is almost 1986. The board would like to put on record that we are aware of a phenomenon known as ‘Hulkamania’ which is sweeping the world: despite his popularity we do not recognise the claims of Mr Hogan that he is the world champion, but we certainly look forward to the time when he might compete for the LoP Championship. Thanks again to my partners in crime, and to everyone for reading. We all hope you’ll join us again next time. Until then, I’m going to finish by recapping the ground that we’ve covered today.

Dusty Rhodes - June 21, 1981 - September 17, 1981
Ric Flair - September 17, 1981 – August 29, 1982
Vacant – August 29, 1982 – September 16, 1982
Otto Wanz – September 16, 1982 – October 9, 1982
Nick Bockwinkel – October 9, 1982 – February 22, 1984
Jumbo Tsuruta - February 22, 1984 – May 13, 1984
Rick Martel – May 13, 1984 – December 29, 1985

Otto Wanz, first LoP World Heavyweight Champion from Europe since Dick Shikat in 1936

05-10-2018, 08:46 AM
I'm very glad you re-posted this, I hope you find or create somewhere to post the other columns in the series too. I don't know a whole lot about wrestling's history so these columns are a really cool time capsule and give me a thread to explore the deep dark history of wrestling past. I am starting to recognise a lot more names as we come into the 80s though.

05-10-2018, 09:49 AM
Actually starting to see a few names I'm familiar with creeping in!
Keep up the good work guys

05-10-2018, 02:32 PM
Yeah, really glad for the repost. I would have bet money we'd have never gone the AWA route, and I'm so glad we did. Bring on the next part, hopefully soon!!

05-13-2018, 02:20 PM
Big fan of this series and how it's presented...being a fly on the wall to these committee meetings.
Will follow this all the way through.

Benjamin Button
05-14-2018, 04:50 AM
Another fun read...there's been great lop champions from all around the world and BockWinkle just gives the title more legitimacy

Prime Time
05-14-2018, 05:16 AM

In 2016, Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon mocked the creation of the WWE’s Universal Title openly, publicly. The name itself took the brunt of the attack, and though it was obviously designed to refer to the bizarre concept of a WWE Universe, many were quick to jump on the theme of intergalactic champions, referring to ever larger units in a preposterous race towards peak pomposity; indeed, much like my own alliteration.

Bryan and McMahon’s poking fun at that one particular title obscured something, though, and that’s that wrestling companies generally have been incredibly poor stewards of world championships. They have proliferated through the years, snapping apart and multiplying from one original brand until even the most mundane of independent promotions will sometimes label their top champion a ‘world’ champion, even though they might never defend that title outside of one region. We have gone from having one champion to seeing a number of occasions when two have been recognised by one company.

Wrestling is not alone in this. Boxing, for so much of their history seen as wrestling’s more heteronormative cousin, has walked a similar path. No boxer has been recognised universally as the world heavyweight champion since Jack Dempsey, to the best of my knowledge. The proliferation of organising bodies has fractured the clarity of a single, universal recognition. Other groups existed first, but the WBA became a major player in the 1920s, the WBC emerged in the 1960s, and the IBF and WBO in the 1980s, and each of these four major players in the sport recognise a world heavyweight title. That is just the most major players in the game; there are also IBO, WBU, TBRB, and IBA World Heavyweight Champions that have less recognition globally but still advertise themselves as such.

But while recognition has spiralled out, boxing has always had a counterbalance: for years, The Ringmagazine acted as a body outside the politics of boxing, and became a flagbearer for the idea of a lineal championship. And as a result of that for many boxing fans, The Ring title meant just as much, even more sometimes, then the actual championships that came with belts and prize money. To be The Ring’s world champion was to be the world champion, no matter what anyone else said.

And if there’s one thing that wrestling could do with right now, it’s for some of the meaning to be put back into it; for something, someone, even just a piece of gold stuck to some leather, to feel special again. As a fan, so often it feels like there is not a lot that you can do to help that along.

Then something occurred to me. I’ve got a platform here on this website that has a history that stretches back to some of the earliest days of wrestling websites – a site that still has some sort of name value. There is no good reason why The Ring magazine got to recognise a world champion in the twentieth century that LoP can’t do the same in the twenty-first.

Of course, such a task is not something to undertake alone. If I made all the decisions unilaterally it’d just be the Prime Time world title, and even I am compelled to admit that is a lot less impressive. Fortunately, in the past I’ve worked with a team who are used to making tough decisions under intense pressure. As the chairman of the LoP Championship Committee, allow me to re-introduce the group who’ll be calling the shots with me.

Firstly, we have the man who holds the record for the most COTM wins here at LoP forums, not to mention a former main page writer, the 2011 forums columnist of the year, the winner of the PEN15 Mightier Invitational, and the winner of best individual column for 2017 and best column series for the past two years running, mizfan. Joining him is the two-time and reigning CSI winner, four-time COTM winner, Mazza. We are also joined by his partner in the 2012 tag team of the year, Uncle Joe, who also has five COTM awards of his own. Finally we are joined by another former main pager: the seven-time COTM winner, the winner of King of the Columnists II, part of the tag team of the year for 2010, column of the year winner for 2016, LoP Radio Host of the year 2017, CF writer of the year for 2017, and most important of all the spiritual leader of the LoP Forums, Steve.

My jaw is sore after all that, so if you’ll allow me a minute to blow my own trumpet – I’ll be rounding out the group, and my own credentials are five column of the month awards, the 2012 Columns Forum Columnist of the Year, and a four-year spell on the main page from 2004-2008. In short, the LoP Championship Committee have done everything that you can do on this site, have won everything, and represent every era of the site’s existence.

Anyway, enough self-congratulation; we have a job to do.

I know a percentage of people are interested in the mechanics of how these things work. That’s what I’m going to talk about here. If you’re not, skip ahead a few paragraphs and come back in when the good stuff really starts, with the headline below.

If you’re still reading, here is the plan. We’ll be charting a single line for a wrestling world championship from its earliest moments until the present day. We’re going to follow that line until there’s a reason for us to have a debate. Any member of the committee can propose a debate at any point in the lineage, which will go to a vote. If the title is held up we’re going to choose from a range of suitable matches to continue – based on certain pre-agreed criteria – at which point we’ll follow that line until there’s a reason not to. All votes will be final, and will determine how we carry on. If you’re still a bit confused by all this, read on and all should become clear.

It could be that the title moves half way around the world in a trice. Maybe we’ll find that the LoP title finds itself in the hands of someone who wasn’t recognised as a world champion. And maybe, just maybe, your favourites will actually never have been LoP world champion in their whole illustrious career. We won’t know until we get there.

LoP World Heavyweight Championship

All wrestling world championships seem really to begin in one point, with the Russian George Hackenschmidt. He gradually built up a base of recognition until on May 4th, 1905, he was recognised as the first Wrestling world champion. It was three years later when his rivalry with Frank Gotch in the United States reoriented the wrestling world from Europe, to the New World.

George Hackenschmidt of Tartu, Estonia (then Russia), first LoP World Heavyweight Champion

George Hackenschmidt – 4th May 1905 – 3rd April, 1908
Frank Gotch – 3 April, 1908 – 1 April, 1913

When Gotch retired without loss, there was no real world champion. In the absence of obvious contenders it is the unanimous decision of the LoP committee to recognise the winner of Charlie Cutler vs Joe Stetcher in Omaha as the World Champion, in line with what has become the traditional opinion.

Joe Stetcher – July 5th, 1915 – April 9th, 1917
Earl Caddock - April 9th, 1917 - January 30, 1920
Joe Stetcher (2) - January 30, 1920 - December 13, 1920
Ed “Strangler” Lewis - December 13, 1920- May 6, 1921
Stanislaus Zbyszko - May 6, 1921- March 3, 1922
Ed Lewis (2) - March 3, 1922 - January 8, 1925
Wayne Munn - January 8, 1925 - April 15, 1925

Joe Stetcher of Dodge Nebraska, first repeat winner of the LoP World Heavyweight title

Here, we are forced into another minor adjudication, since at this point there was a title defence in Philadelphia, which Munn lost. So although he was still recognised as champion in parts of the Northern US, we follow our own rules and carry on from the new champion.

I’ll also interject with a minor point here. In the block below you’ll find the name Gus Sonnenberg, who lost full recognition when the National Boxing Association accused him of failing to meet real contenders. But since he took on Ed Lewis (already a 3-time LoP World Champion at that juncture) a matter of weeks before they withdrew his status it’s our decision to consider this a spurious promoter’s trick and to carry on as before.

Stanislaus Zbyszko (2) - April 15, 1925 - May 30, 1925
Joe Stetcher (3) - May 30, 1925 - February 21, 1928
Ed “Strangler” Lewis (3) - February 21, 1928 - January 4, 1929
Gus Sonnenberg - January 4, 1929- December 10, 1930
Ed Don George - December 10, 1930 - April 13, 1931
Ed “Strangler” Lewis (4) - April 13, 1931

Ed "Strangler" Lewis of Nekoosa, Wisconsin - first 4-time LoP World Heavyweight Champion

It’s at this point that we hit our first real decision. We’ve done well to keep a reasonably clean line free of controversy for the first twenty-five years of wrestling, but at this point there is no option but to convene a full committee meeting. The match between Strangler Lewis and Henri Deglane in Montreal led to controversy and a split in the title and as the result is more ambiguous than in other cases, we need to get a proper verdict. I’m going to put this as a general question rather than a specific instance, so we can apply the same logic again in these early decades. The issue at hand: does the LoP World Heavyweight title ever change hands when a competitor is disqualified or counted out? The way I see it, you have three options. Yes, no, and only if the rules of the match specifically state that they do. Gentlemen, could I get your thoughts?

Absolutely not!

ok, well I pick only if the rules of the match specifically state that they do. I think it allows for more of a fluid debate.

I think the title changing hands on any victory makes things a lot more unpredictable, mental and ultimately fun.

I think I'd have to go with yes, but only if it is in keeping with the rules of the match. I suppose my reasoning is pretty straightforward, that being that it's, well, logical. Perhaps it’s my lifelong WWF/E fandom coming to the fore, but I think that the so-called "Champion's advantage" is a legit thing to have in the mix and that it should only be negated when clearly outlined as such in the rules of a given contest.

No respectable title in history has done so, so let's not be the first!

I think I agree with you, Mizzie. I’m all for being consistent with this and voting that it never happens.

Result: Yes 1 No 2 Yes (if stipulated) 2
Mazza casts the tiebreaking vote for Yes – if stipulated

That decision has a sizeable impact here and forces us to change line. Ed Lewis was disqualified for biting in that match and although some parts of the country continued to recognise Lewis the official decision was to award the belt to the Canadian, and with that vote we must do the same. So, in carrying on we move over to what was the first incarnation of an AWA title – though how much connection it has to the more famous, later version is debatable.

One thing is for sure – awarding the title to Deglane here locates the next generation of champions in Canada, the North East and Midwest.

Henri Deglane - May 4, 1931- February 9, 1933
Ed Don George (2) - February 9, 1933- July 30, 1935
Danno O’Mahoney - July 30, 1935 – March 2, 1936
Dick Shikat – March 2, 1936 – April 25th, 1936
Ali Baba – April 25th, 1936 - June 12, 1936
Dave Levin - June 12, 1936 - September 28, 1936
Dean Detton - September 28, 1936 - June 29, 1937
Bronko Nagurski - June 29, 1937 - November 18, 1938
Jim Londos - November 18, 1938 – January 28, 1946

There are a few historical notes to make in this block of champions. Dick Shikat beat O’Mahoney in New York in what is believed to have turned into a shootfight, which led to a split in recognition. Shikat won the match, though, which means we follow his line down the New York State Athletic Commission title, into a series of champions also recognised, funnily enough, by The Ring magazine back when wrestling and boxing were still closer together. These are reunified with the original lineage by Ali Baba, as wrestling’s world championship became universal again – for a while.

We ignore those breaks as they are mostly the result of promoters trying to create their own champions to boost their gates. The next controversial point arrives solely because there doesn’t seem to be any good reason for debating the claims of Jim Londos until his retirement, undefeated, in 1946.

The decision on how to carry on is straightforward, however; there is only one appropriate defence within a suitable timeframe, so from that point on we recognise the winner of a match between Buddy Rogers and Wild Bill Longson for the National Wrestling Association World Heavyweight title.

Wild Bill Longson – 28 January, 1946 - February 21, 1947
Whipper Billy Watson - February 21, 1947 - April 25, 1947
Lou Thesz - April 25, 1947 - November 21, 1947
Bill Longson (2) - November 21, 1947 - July 10, 1948
Lou Thesz (2) - July 10, 1948 - March 22, 1955
Leo Nomellini - March 22, 1955 - July 15, 1955
Lou Thesz (3) - July 15, 1955 - March 15, 1956
Whipper Billy Watson (2) - March 15, 1956 - November 9, 1956
Lou Thesz (4) - November 9, 1956 - June 14, 1957

There is a slight rupture in the timeline here, but not one that requires a full board meeting. Eduoard Carpentier beat Lou Thesz for the title and only lost a rematch via DQ. His reigns were removed from the NWA title lineage when he withdrew from the organisation but NWA politics in themselves do not constitute a reason for abandoning Carpentier, so we move away from the NWA path once again to the North.

Edouard Carpentier - June 14, 1957 - May 3, 1958
Killer Kowalski - May 3, 1958 - April 4, 1961
Bearcat Wright - April 4, 1961 - May 30, 1961
Jackie Fargo - May 30, 1961 - August 27, 1964
Ted Blassie - August 27, 1964 - October 1, 1964
Jackie Fargo (2) - October 1, 1964 – January 1, 1965

We’ve been relatively untroubled to this point, but once Fargo leaves the Boston area it seems as if he specialises more in tag team wrestling in the South, and there is no evidence of his competing in matches that are worthy of recognition as world title bouts. Therefore we have no choice but to declare the world title vacant as of January 1st, 1965.

The reason for the full committee meeting is that there is no single, clear choice for how to proceed. With the Longson and Rogers match it was a simple choice, but here there are a few contenders, each of which might claim to be the rightful world title match. Within the next thirty days there are three bouts, and in each case the winner might have some claim to consider himself the world champion; Mad Dog Vachon vs Jack Lanza, Bruno Sammartino vs Gorilla Monsoon, or Lou Thesz vs. Don Curtis.

I open this up to the committee: which of these matches will be the LoP World Championship match?

I mean, I know I am no spring chicken but damn! These are some ancient motherfuckers. I am slightly shocked that I don't have the choice of picking Dennis Norden vs Frank Muir.

Man Prime, I love wrestling but shit this is going to test my mettle for sure. Oh wait, where in the fuck are my manners?! Prime how do you do? Mizzle, what’s the shizzle? Maz, still out of jail I see huh. Steve… I still haven't forgiven you.

The first significant cracks in the NWA, and its title lineage, that showed up in 1963 signified to me a significant break from the previous norm. When Capitol Wrestling broke off to form the WWWF, I think it arguable that the title lineage should've followed Buddy Rogers as opposed to Lou Thesz. The sheer nature of the territories at the time, though, dictate that there is no easy answer to that whole quagmire.

I'd love to follow the AWA title, but I think that's a lost cause with the voting committee, so I'll put my vote in for the NWA Title, since the WWWF belt is still very region specific in that time, whereas the NWA belt seems like the closest thing to a true world championship. Hell, the WWWF even rejoins the NWA for a long period after first breaking away, since they really only had the New England loop to work with until the time of the Hogan expansion. The NWA title is one you're much more likely to see going all over the country and even the world, or at least to Japan and Puerto Rico and such.

Anywho where was I? Oh right. This new undertaking is going to push me to the limits of my fandom because...man a lot of early wrestling was boring as FUCK. A vast amount were excellent but man a lot of them lacked the panache and charisma of guys to come in the 80s And 90s.

So I’m going to start off with a rather comprehensive list of reasons what i think of each wrestler and will come to a conclusion and ultimately, a vote.

Bruno Sammartino = Overrated and hairy Guinea who held championships for a millennium because wrestling was full of other hairy white folk. He sucks. Lou Thesz = Nasty motherfucker who wasn't afraid to legit poke a guy in the eyes. Credited with the invention of a few moves, dude can go. Not elite but good. Gorilla Monsoon - Dead as a dog’s dick in Vietnam. He sucks. Mad dog Vachon = Reminds me of early Kevin Sullivan, light on the Satan worshipping of course. He’s decent. Don Curtis - Another taco meat ridden peckerwood. He sucks too. Jack Lanza -One half of the legendary Blackjacks and all around thug. Tight butthole.

Look, I am not really going to beat about the bush here. I am a WWE guy through and through. That's no secret. As such there is pretty much only one choice for me to make here. Sammartino vs Monsoon. I am well aware I could well regret this decision considering how long Bruno was champion but then again, I get the feeling this series will really pick up once we get out of the dark ages. Lanza vs Vachon piqued my interest slightly. I couldn't help but wonder if Mad Dog retired as champ, whether it would be vacated or whether it would be held up until HBK vs Diesel. Seriously, if that happens, I'd change my vote. As for Don Curtis, I can't lie, never even heard of the bloke. I don't think I'd heard of Thesz either until JR started getting wood at the sight of Stone Cold throwing himself at someone's chest and screaming his name.

The fact that it’s against Don Curtis, predominantly a tag wrestler that most of us have never or barely heard of today, has to count against going down that route. But I think we shouldn’t overlook the fact that Thesz was way past his best at this point. We’ve got a couple of studs in the other matches at the peak of their career – do we really want to recognise a 49 year old over them? Thesz was a great but I don’t think we can recognise him as the very, very best in the world once we get to the mid-1960s. A decade earlier and he’s in the game but right now, I don’t think I can vote for that match.

In the case of this holding up of the title at the beginning of 1965, I fear there are no easy answers to be had, either. In this case, I feel it necessary to take a look into the future a bit. While the AWA and NWA both certainly thrived within their areas, the largest market in the country was New York. That had been the case for a very long time, as evidenced by all the major shows run through Capitol at Madison Square Garden in years prior, before the WWWF split. This would only be magnified by the rousing success of Bruno's run atop the company.

So with that my vote goes to mad dog vachon vs jack lanza cause reasons or whatever.

I think both Mad Dog Vachon and Bruno Sammartino can both claim to be at their peak at this time, and represent their respective promotions well. But Bruno had been champion for a couple of years by this point, and had beaten plenty of people for that belt over the previous year – Jerry Graham, Giant Baba, Killer Kowalski, Fred Blassie, all fell to the man who’d beaten Buddy Rogers to win the title. And you can point to Vachon wins over Verne Gagne and Pat O’Connor, but there’s just so much more for Bruno. And we shouldn’t overlook the quality of the opponents in this match, either – Monsoon comes into it a lot hotter, while Lanza had lost two of his last three matches coming into the bout. All things considered it’s hard to look past the WWWF title match.

As it was the largest market, the most viewed market, the market that got the most press in the era and the market that would go on to boast the most competitive World Championship scene over the next few years with Sammartino firmly on top, I'd have to go with the Bruno vs Monsoon bout to be the deciding match. Especially since the NWA Championship, probably the most valid contender to claim the lineage aside from the WWWF Championship, would really kinda float a bit without any major historical significance until Harley Race came along a few years later. Of course, that's a pretty populist view. This is a rather populist industry, though, is it not?

Mad Dog vs Lanza 1 Bruno vs Monsoon 3 Thesz vs Curtis 1

The decision made, we move towards the North East and the McMahons. The WWWF title is pretty uncontroversial through the next decade and, with no need for additional meetings, that allows us to move into the more modern period in pretty short order.

Vacant – January 1, 1965 – January 22, 1965
Bruno Sammartino – January 22, 1965 - January 18, 1971
Ivan Koloff - January 18, 1971 - February 8, 1971
Pedro Morales - February 8, 1971 - December 1, 1973
Stan Stasiak - December 1, 1973 - December 10, 1973
Bruno Sammartino (2) - December 10, 1973 - April 30, 1977
Superstar Billy Graham - April 30, 1977 - February 20, 1978

On February 20th Billy Graham lost the championship to Bob Backlund, and it is at that point we’ll pick up next time.

We’ve managed to cover around seventy years in this one column, but our work is far from done. Something tells me that the increased chaos in wrestling in the intervening decades will mean that the committee have to get much more hands on to protect the integrity of the LoP title in future columns, through the Rock N’ Wrestling Era, the Monday Night Wars, and The Reality Era. So we ask you, the good readers of LoP, to come back and join us then.

Prime Time
05-14-2018, 05:18 AM
With Wrestlemania out of the way it’s time to get back to some serious business….


This is the second meeting of the Lords of Pain World Heavyweight Championship committee. In attendance are Mazza, Mizfan, Uncle Joe and Steve, and both chairing the meeting and responsible for keeping a record of all decisions taken is myself, the man they call Prime Time. For those wanting to examine the minutes from our previous meeting, you can find a record of it here:

We finished last time in 1978, and Superstar Billy Graham had just lost the LoP championship to Bob Backlund. As the LoP title is currently attached to the WWF title that means that we follow the line of that championship, and the first point at which we have to diverge comes when Antonio Inoki – whose reign is inexplicably unrecognised by the WWE – defeated their champion Bob Backlund. At this point we have no choice but to acknowledge that Antonio Inoki is the LoP champion. But just a few short days later there was a controversial rematch between the two, one that saw interference, and led to Inoki forfeiting the WWF title as a point of honour.

I suppose, gentlemen, the question we need to address here is whether or not a champion is allowed to forfeit our title without a clear physical cause. Or to put it another way, when Inoki handed back the WWF title, did he also hand back the LoP title and the true, lineal championship of the world?

While we voted in favor of allowing the title to change hands via DQ or count-out when the rules dictate it, I saw nothing about forfeiture. Though I suppose that's why we're having this conversation.

First things first, allow me to start things off by welcoming Mr. Inoki with a huge FUCK YOU. No one told you to go into business for yourself against Muhammad Ali you slit-eye dog eater: He should have knocked you the fuck out and defecate on your remains, pussy. Whew, that felt pretty good to get off le ole chest.

I think it is best if we pretend that didn’t happen while Joe calms down….

To resolve this controversy, I’ve gone to the trouble of digging this match up on njpwworld.com. I feel it’s only fair to do my due diligence, since we’re talking about the fate of the world title here!

And thanks to Mizfan tracking it down, I’ve also seen both the initial title change and the match that brings all of this to our attention.

The controversy in this case comes from Tiger Jeet Singh appearing late in the match and getting physical with Inoki at ringside.

By forfeiting the WWWF Championship, I feel it the logical conclusion that Inoki would also forfeit the LOP Championship. I mean, he wasn't beaten, but a standard has to be set. What if we were to run across an instance down the line where someone retires as Champion but doesn't actually retire? Do we just hold the Championship in limbo until they lose again at some point after returning? And for those who think that unlikely, I'll refer to a single, simple sentence.

"I've lost my smile."

I think we’ll have to refer to each of those on a case by case basis, and weigh up the pros and cons each time. The best way to approach this is probably just by thinking of the specifics of this situation.

The title getting held up in this circumstance is a big no-no to me. If it changes hands in controversial circumstances, then it is absolutely an option. Getting retained however just means it should stay retained and another rematch booked. Obviously, we can't do that, but I still vote that Inoki remains as champion.

However, it is very clear to me that the referee did not call for a disqualification at the time of the interaction. Backlund pinned Inoki shortly after, but not directly because of the interaction in my view. Inoki has no grounds to retain the title, my ruling is to uphold Inoki’s forfeiture for the LoP Championship.

The referee might not have called for the bell, but he’s not the only official there. And it’s pretty clear that other officials have reversed the decision and taken the belt off Backlund by the time the show ends. For me that reversal is all well and good, the only question surrounds the forfeiture. Besides, if we go off the initial fall, then we shouldn’t be talking about whether or not the title is vacated, but whether Backlund is the champion.

And with what I’d said, I guess you can figure out which way I’ll be leaning towards with my response, But then I’d be calling you a fool. While I certainly have an affinity for Backlund’s backwoods retard-savant incestuous bible thumper gimmick, Inoki is more than worthy name in stature to hold the WWF belt.

A forfeiture is a forfeiture, regardless the circumstances. We were a mere one title switch into this entire thing when Frank Gotch retired undefeated and forfeited the Championship. I see that as no different than Inoki's forfeiture.I'll put it this way. Yes, Inoki kept on competing after he forfeited the title. So, too, did Gotch, though, at least in some manner. After his retirement he went on the carnival circuit, offering $250 to any man that could defeat him. None ever did, so he eventually did actually retire, and die a short time later, undefeated. But should we have to go back and try to figure out when and where all those carny bouts happened just because Gotch had surrendered the Championship due to "retirement" and not due to actual loss? That would cause a somewhat significant wrinkle in our timeline, here.

I’m not sure that the idea of having a lineal world champion is consistent with someone giving it up as a ‘point of honour’. To me, letting Inoki give it up in this way when he was the victim of Singh’s attack is tantamount to rewarding Singh for interfering in an LoP championship match. I don’t like the precedent that sets at all.

A forfeiture is a forfeiture. Whether it's due to injury, professional dispute or retirement, you're surrendering your right to be called Champion from that point forward. Which, given the timeframe of this incident, could make for a very interesting lineage decision moving forward.

This is fine with me in terms of personal preference as well, as I find Inoki to be hit or miss at best with the risk of being terribly boring ever present, more so than others in his era.

Plus, if it’s not exactly stated in the title defense rules prior, I am not a fan of awarding someone a title based on countouts, disqualifications or other sissy forms of defeat (or victory, guess it all depends on the eye of the beholder).

This may go against where I was hoping to see the title go but doing what's right needs to be done first and foremost. I don't know what that means for the long term lineage of the LOP Championship but in the short term I think it has to go to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Fun fact: inoki converted to Islam and yet is still somehow a sanctimonious son of a bitch.

The decision is to recognise Inoki by three votes to two.

This actually puts us into a strange situation, one that is new to us all. Generally speaking this works on timelines of other championship belts that we recognise as worthy enough to thought of as ‘world level’. Not world championships – because as we know there is only one genuine world title, the LoP title, and that’s the whole reason why we’re here – but belts with enough significance that the holder could at least claim to be on the radar and in the conversation.

What we find here, however, is that our champion is not currently connected to any of the belts that we recognise; in fact, we won’t recognise a title in Japan until 1987. There was always a chance of this happening with our decisions, and I’ll wager it won’t be the last time that we find ourselves here. But it puts us into a more difficult position, because as a championship committee we need to ensure that the title is defended against appropriate opposition, and matches are held at the right frequency, to ensure that the standards of this most prestigious of championships are upheld.

A quick reminder that one of our bylaws states that to try and keep the lineage as unbroken as possible without compromising the integrity of the championship, the necessary period in which the title must be defended has been raised to every 50 days, rather than the more traditional 30. The Backlund rematch, which ends in a no contest, is for the WWF title and can be considered a defence so the clock begins from there. Within that time period, Inoki wrestles a lot of tag matches, and only three that can be thought of as potential title defences. Your choice then, gentlemen, is whether to:

Recognise Antonio Inoki vs Kim Klokeid as an LoP world title match; Recognise Inoki vs Hussein Arab;Recognise Inoki vs Rocky Johnson; Or to Strip Inoki after fifty days for failure to meet genuine contenders, on January 25th 1980. I’ll now open this to the group for debate.

Well, I couldn’t find, ahem, I mean I wasn’t able to attend any of the three matches in question, so I’ll have to turn to history to determine if they were valid contenders.

While it's cute to think of someone who would actually sit there and want to actually watch a match between Inoki and any of the combination of Johnson and/or the other scrubs, I think for the sake of those who want our sanity to remain intact, I say let's just say f*** it and having Inoki stripped.

I admit I have never heard of Kim Klokeid, and a little research shows this was a special “Martial Arts” match, so I have no intention of sanctifying the match as a defense.

I agree with you there; I don’t think there’s any real case to recognise that match at all.

Hussein Arab is a more likely contender, and the bout also took place in America so that gives out title a little more world traveling flair. Rocky Johnson is also a notable talent, and he’s challenged guys like Funk and Race for the NWA title in the past. All in all I don’t really care for Inoki, but I hate to vacate a title, so my vote is to recognize the Arab and Johnson matches as official defenses and proceed with Inoki as champion for the time being.

I have to say that my personal vote is in keeping with my previous one, that being to strip Inoki of the Championship. I'm really not super fond of establishing a culture of "squeezing through on technicalities" so early on, or frankly at all. Inoki already surrendered the Championship and then didn't even wrestle another singles match within the previously established time period for eligible defense.

I’m not sure I’d see it as a technicality if they are big enough matches. And the only match outside the traditional thirty days is the Johnson bout.

Still,at this point we find ourselves in exceptionally murky waters, waters that may wind up tainting future conflicts should we choose to adhere to these standards moving forward. I mean, we've already just opened Pandora's Box as it pertains to something like Shawn Michaels surrendering the Championship in 1997, should that incident fall under our jurisdiction when it arrives. I feel the best idea is to push the reset button.

It accomplishes a few things; First it gets the belt off Inoki considering by this point he was no longer Champions so it kind of keeps everything within a specific time line even though we are going back in history and f****** with the future. Second, we finally, finally get out of the Drudge a little bit, move forward out of the doldrums and into the early to mid-eighties, when stuff starts to pick up and is less f****** boring. Thirdly, whenever there is a chance to produce any bit of chaos I’m all for it and I think this is the most chaotic of the three options maybe I'm not sure I have to check the algorithms on that but for now I spoke to strip for that bastard of the title.

So I went into this thing wanting to carry it off with integrity. Then I realised how un-Mazza like that is. Time to be the wildcard; I say let’s go crazy and hold this thing up. You know what I want here right. Phantom 16 man tournament in Santiago.

My big concern is that Hussein Arab had a chance at Backlund for the title shortly before Backlund lost the title to Inoki. I find it hard to believe that in all of wrestling a more worthy contender, one who hadn’t been bested so recently, could not have been found. It all really comes down to Rocky Johnson; and his recent record in big matches was not that great either, being bested by Harley Race the previous year and then only wrestling a handful of matches before the Inoki bout. All in all, I’m unimpressed with the competiton that Mr. Inoki has received and think we are in need of a change.

Antonio Inoki is stripped of the LoP World title by a vote of 4-1.

With the title vacated, we need to look around and try to find a match that will guarantee us a worthy successor. All three of the titles that we are interested in are defended within a short order of the decision to strip Inoki, and so the choice is once again between three potential matches. I’m not going to drag this out – your options are Bob Backlund defending the WWF title against Bobby Duncum, Harley Race defending the NWA title against Manny Fernandez, or Nick Bockwinkel defending the AWA title against Dino Bravo. Gentlemen, your thoughts?

Wow, that really is a pretty uninspiring lot of matches, isn't it?

I’m just going to open up by saying I’m not sure I can vote for Bob Backlund at this point. He’d recently been beaten by a man that we’ve just stripped the title from, and against strong opposition in the other two matches I think I have to dismiss him from the equation.

Hmm, three interesting choices here. Backlund vs. Duncum actually appeals to me a lot, Bobby Duncum was a big standout of this period when I was watching his work in AAA, and I've always liked Backlund whenever I've seen him. Bockwinkel vs. Bravo is also appealing, more so because I think Bockwinkel is the most talented and total package of the three champions we have on offer here. I haven't seen Bravo pre-WWF but he hasn't struck me badly in that era, and most guys were capable of more than they put out during the WWF boom years.

The battle of the Bobs.

Seeing as how I think each of the three Champions listed are absolutely worthy based upon their own merits, my plan was to base my decision upon the quality of their respective opposition. That's kinda tough to do, though, when you take into consideration that all three of the contenders, despite being names of some level in their own rights, were basically little more than regional upper midcarders (at best) at the time of these matches.

Harley Race is a classic choice for champion, obviously. I admit I'm not too familiar with Manny Fernandez, but I was able to find clips of the match in question and it looked pretty good, with Manny losing by match stoppage when he got tangled up in the ropes in a really nasty way, like Mick Foley losing his ear levels of bad. I have a feeling people are going to go with WWF just because it's the WWF, so I'm going to throw my vote in for Bock to get the nod here. AWA has several really great years left at this point before they start to decline, so let's give them a shot to carry that lineage!

Well shit any chance I get to watch Nick Bockwinkel is a chance I’ll take 7 times out of 10. Wrinkly balls and all. Well I mean Harley racist sucks and any chance i get to denounce that dirty old bastard I’ll take not 7 out of 10, but 12 out of 10. Fucking cunt.

So I decided to do a bit more research and base my decision upon the overall quality of opposition that each guy faced around the same time. Backlund was embroiled in a blood feud with Ken Patera for the years surrounding the match in question, some of those matches occurring when Patera was the reigning Intercontinental Champion. Gotta say, it's not a bad look for one to be consistently defending the title against another champion while also fending off the efforts of guys like Bobby Duncum.

I think there’s a case to be made that Nick Bockwinkel is the stronger champion at this point in time. He’s almost five years into his reign, while Harley Race had lost the NWA title three times over the same period.

Bockwinkel was kinda coasting at this time, frankly, though he had (ironically enough) just faced off with WWWF Champion Bob Backlund about a year earlier in a match that ended in a double countout. He would go on to lose the title shortly after the match in question took place, which kicked off a bit of a title controversy unto itself in the ensuing months. I love Nick and would probably consider Dino Bravo the strongest of the three challengers at this point in their respective careers, but the AWA was on straight up cruise control at this time. Harley Race, though... goddamn. In the weeks before the listed match against Fernandez, Harley had defended his title against names like David and Kerry Von Erich, Roddy Piper, Rick Martel, Chavo Guerrero, Terry Funk, Ray Stevens and, on the day before the Manny match, Mexican legend Mil Mascaras. Oh, and occasionally Andre the Giant. In the days and weeks after this match (which is kinda cheating, but fuck it) he would go on to continue to defend against many of these same names but threw in guys like Dirty Dick Slater, Bruiser Brody, Dusty Rhodes and Ric fucking Flair for flavor.

If we're trying to keep the LOP Championship in the hands of those who face the highest quality of competition, this one is a hands down no-brainer. Harley Race WAS the real World Champion at this specific point in history. Bockwinkel and Backlund were great, no doubt, but Harley was operating on a whole other level at the time, facing off against some of the outright biggest names in the history of the business on a literal nightly basis.

The one thing I don’t want to do is just assume that because Bockwinkel has won for the past five years, that he’ll win the match in question. What happens if he has an off night? We could find ourselves recognising Dino Bravo as the heavyweight champion of the world, and he’s recently dropped two matches to Adrian Adonis, not to mention only managed a draw with Jesse Ventura. Manny Fernandez, meanwhile, has been carrying the Florida Heavyweight title with the grace of a champion and were he to be victorious I think he’d make an excellent LoP Champion. So while I think Bockwinkel has as strong a claim as Race, I think the better match is the NWA title match.

Oh and fuck that other match.

The Vote is 2-2-1
Mazza casts the tiebreaking vote for Harley Race vs. Manny Fernandez

With that, the NWA title is the chosen line and this allows us to move unbroken into the autumn of 1981, with Harley Race becoming the first three-time champion since Lou Thesz in that time and concluding with Dusty Rhodes holding the title until September of that year. We’ll resume next time with what happens to Dusty. There’s just time, before we conclude, to recap all the ground we’ve covered today.

Bob Backlund - February 20, 1978 - November 30, 1979
Antonio Inoki - November 30, 1979 – January 25, 1980
Vacant – January 25, 1980 – February 9th, 1980
Harley Race – February 9, 1980 - September 4, 1980
Giant Baba - September 4, 1980 - September 9, 1980
Harley Race (2) - September 9, 1980 - April 27, 1981
Tommy Rich - April 27, 1981 - May 1, 1981
Harley Race (3) - May 1, 1981 - June 21, 1981
Dusty Rhodes - June 21, 1981 - September 17, 1981

Shohei “Giant” Baba, 50th LoP World Heavyweight Champion

And that’s it from us – join us again next time!

05-14-2018, 12:21 PM
Really glad you reposted these earlier columns. Hopefully people will take the opportunity to follow along from the start!

05-14-2018, 06:28 PM
Absolute fan of the series here. Looking forward to getting to the people I know but still found it really interesting to find out a little about these people who I only really know as names on a list.

Prime Time
06-13-2018, 08:21 AM

Welcome to the fourth meeting of the LoP Championship committee. I’m joined by an illustrious group of LoP notables – Mazza, Uncle Joe, Steve, and the now 11-time COTM winner Mizfan – in our ongoing attempt to establish a lineal, real world championship that will defy a lot of the nonsense that takes place in the world of professional wrestling. It’s a tough job that requires some serious thought, and we’ve already had to make some tough decisions. That’s why we have the good scotch and fine cigars in the committee room. As always, chairing the committee and taking the notes is me, Prime Time.

The minutes of previous meetings are available elsewhere on this forum, but for those who want to dive straight in we left things with the LoP Championship on the man who was also the AWA champion at the very end of 1985, Rick Martel. He’d hold the title until the year was very nearly out but at the death would lose the title to Stan Hansen, who’d be champion until the following June. At this point, however, we need the help of the committee members because there’s a situation that needs addressing. Hansen turns up in Japan with the AWA title, defending against high profile members of the All Japan Pro Wrestling group. Under normal circumstances, no problem – we’d follow Hansen. The trouble is, it’s suggested that he actually no-showed a scheduled AWA title defence against Nick Bockwinkel, which could be grounds to strip him of the LoP title. Gentlemen, I’d be interested in your take on this.

Ah, the infamous, "You want your belt? I'll send it to you... run over with muddy truck tracks all over it," incident.

A no-show is a big no-no for me. Can't be doing that. What is wrong with you? Do your job, mate. Can't be messing around with someone's belt. I vote for a hold up here. I mean the choice of where to go next is always the most fun anyway. Plus now Martel has been champ, I think the title has peaked.

If nobody can beat Hansen, then I say he has every right to take that lineage over to Japan with him. Verne's chicanery has affected our title for the last time!

Do we have a precedent for no-shows? I mean, Stan even admits himself that he flat out refused to work that night due to his loyalties lying in Japan with Giant Baba and All Japan. Verne wanted him to lose, Baba already had a month's worth of challengers set up for him when he came to Japan in July... so Stan refused to work the match and took his ass and the belt to Japan. Then, as alluded to before, he answered threats of legal action by literally running over and destroying the title belt and shipping it back to Gagne with muddy tire prints still all over it. That's some Texas shit right there.

Well I do love a good no show as a "fuck you" to the man. AND Hansen is a tough SOB but i would have to vote to strip him.

Anywho, it's a tough call. I say we strip him of the title. I mean, the dude had a title match booked and refused to work. That's a forfeit in my eyes, whether he was ever pinned or not. Of course, others have disagreed with similar sentiments previously. Which is why I'm still anticipating what's going to potentially happen in about a decade when a certain smile gets lost.

I think that’ll all become clearer when we get there – if, that is, it’s even relevant when the time comes. We might be in a different part of the world and bypass it entirely. But I agree, I’d usually vote to keep the belt on someone where possible but I think as there’s a no-show in play there’s a real argument to take the belt off Stan Hansen here.

Hansen 1-4 Vacate

Stan Hansen, 60th LoP Champion

With a clear vote to vacate the title, as always the search is on to find a match that represents the best world championship match as soon as we can. A scan of the contests in that timeframe throws up these three bouts. I suspect there might be a clear winner here, but we’ll see how the voting goes.

NWA: Ric Flair vs Dusty Rhodes – Cage match - Greensboro, 26/7/86
AWA: Nick Bockwinkel vs Jerry Lawler – Memphis, 21/7/86
WWF: Hulk Hogan vs Adrian Adonis – Philadelphia 26/7/86

I should preface this by saying that I have an admission to make, one that is likely pretty easily predictable. I can't wait to get the LOP Championship on the WWF Champion during this era. We're closing in fast on the end of Hogan's first run, as well as the dawn of Randy Savage's stint with the strap. I will be an extremely sad human if we somehow make it through this entire thing without some acknowledgment of the WWF's outright dominance during this era. I mean, even in the time frame we're dealing with now, Hulk Hogan is a household name and the biggest mainstream star the pro wrestling business has arguably ever seen, with only maybe Gorgeous George from the halcyon glory days of the early television era even coming close to holding a candle.

Well, this is certainly the toughest decision so far. I was able to see all these matches (at least, I think I got the right Bockwinkel/Lawler match), and there’s not a bad one in the bunch. To be completely honest, I think Bock/Lawler may be the best in terms of actual match quality, but I think the AWA has fallen too far to really be in consideration anymore.

Having said all that stuff about the WWF and my Hulkamania and such, I have established a method through which I choose the lineage to proceed down in these situation. That method, of course, is to choose the match which presents the greatest and most worthy opponent. Adrian Adonis was a pretty significant star in his day, but his day was not, well, this day. Lawler was, at the time, a fucking god in the Memphis area, but largely unknown outside of his territory apart from those who remembered his tiff with Andy Kaufman. That was a pretty big deal, but honestly, most folks couldn't pick Jerry Lawler out of a lineup in that day and age. The obvious choice is Flair vs Rhodes in the cage. I mean, it's Ric fucking Flair and Dusty fucking Rhodes. In a cage. In Greensboro. Does an NWA Championship match of this era get any bigger than that? My sense of duty and logic wins out over the unabashed fandom of my youth, as well as the fear that we may find ourselves completely skipping over arguably the greatest WWF Championship feud in history. I've gotta vote for the NWA here.

So, it comes down to the WWF against the NWA, and that’s where things get tough. Hogan is undoubtedly the biggest thing in the world in ’86, and is at this point not yet so formulaic as to be tiresome, as he will be in later years. Adonis is not the strongest possible opponent for him, but he’s no pushover either. If we want to follow the biggest thing in wrestling, it should be Hogan. But, as fate would have it, in the NWA we are looking at one of the most iconic feuds of the 80s, and one of the principle title defenses in that feud no less. Dusty/Flair is just so, so good, and as a match it smokes the Hogan/Adonis bout to boot. This isn’t an easy choice, but I think I have to go with the bigger defense and the better match. It’s inevitable we’ll return to the WWF at some point but right now I think the NWA has justified a return to their lineage by presenting such an incredibly strong option with Dusty/Flair. The NWA gets my vote this time around.

Gotta go the NWA route here for me. I mean you will have a nice load of title changes and controversy coming up I'd have to assume. While we are in the 80s we need to stay well away from Hogan. And I just can't get behind anyone with Winkle in their name.

I don’t think we’ve ever had the title defended in a cage before, but this feels like the time to set that precedent. It’s hard to disagree with what I’m hearing from around the table at this point.

Give me the mighty bulge vs the toe sucking creep. Not sure if it’ll even make a difference at this stage but fuck it when have i ever made any sense? Don’t answer that.

Rhodes vs Flair 4-1 Bockwinkel vs Lawler

Another clear result here which means we have to go, as expected, with the most famous of the three matches, Flair and Dusty in the cage from Greensboro. A quick technical point with regard to the chronology: though Flair enters that match as the NWA Champion, he does not enter as LoP champion nor with any champion’s advantage, and so the belt is only awarded at the conclusion of the match, which means that the title is vacant from Hansen being stripped until Rhodes picks up the fall.

As a result of that we can move without much controversy for a while. The NWA title is actually far more predictable in the late 1980s than it was in the early and middle part of that decade, and there is no reason to bring in the committee at any point until the rest of the decade. The title passes, straightforwardly, from Rhodes, to Flair, to Garvin, Steamboat, and inevitably often back to Flair until we pitch up in the 1990s.

I knew this would happen, dammit. I knew it. We have successfully somehow managed to have a World Championship that doesn't include the HANDS DOWN most popular and successful promotion or wrestler of the entire 1980s. I know I voted for Flair, too, and that with the decision as blatant as it was that there was really no alternative... but man. I guess I'm probably the only one who gives a shit or whatever, but that really sucks and in some ways kinda kicks the shit out of the credibility of the title.

Really? I see the title as the ultimate bestowal of credibility and would argue it kicks the credibility out of Mr Hogan’s claims that he was ever the world champion in the period. We might have to come on to that in a moment, actually, as through 1990 and 1991 Flair trades the belt back and forth with Sting and Tatsumi Fujinami before winning it back to become the 70th LoP World Champion. And then he leaves WCW, before winding up in the WWF claiming to be the ‘real world champion’. So far as I can tell, he didn’t miss any shows. And maybe, given we are recognizing him as the champion until he leaves WCW, we should validate his claim and continue to see him as champion in the WWF. It’s certainly a grey area – what does everyone make of it? Does Flair lose the belt when he leaves WCW?

As much of a pansy flair is, he was brilliant his in his first WWF stint. I don’t think there’s any harm in keeping him champ, especially considering the alternatives. I think anyway.

Come on now, slam dunk this one. Ric Flair is still the real world champion. Bobby Heenan told me so. And The Brain wouldn't lie. While I like the idea of stripping him and having WWF's title situation at that time be followed through, I can't trust my shady colleagues to vote the same way so Flair retains the big gold belt.

I think that Flair should continue to be recognized as World Champion. That said, it's not like he's going to be defending that strap anytime soon. So I guess I'm saying that I think we should go ahead and follow the Nature Boy to the WWF... only to strip him of the title soon.

Well, this one turned out to be quite a pickle, didn’t it? Flair bailing with the title in hand will do that to you, I guess. I’m not a fan of the politics that saw Flair leave WCW without dropping the title and I think he gets too much of a pass for it, but generally I do think whoever has the belt should be the champion if nobody beats them.

Without any clear evidence of his failing to make a date, and with obvious clear intention to continue as a mainline singles wrestler (thus negating the precedent set with Jackie Fargo in the 1960s) I can’t see a good reason to challenge Flair’s claims here.

The board votes unanimously to continue to recognize Ric Flair as LoP’s world heavyweight champion.

We found ourselves in an interesting position as a result of this. Allowing Flair to take the belt to the WWF required some special dispensation in terms of the timing of defences. This was initially challenged, though that challenge was ultimately withdrawn before the vote could be completed. I guess it wouldn’t be pro-wrestling without a little behind-the-scenes intrigue. It’s worth noting that at this point we did come within a vote of recognizing the only valid alternative in the timeframe, which is to take the title back to WCW with the winner of a match between Lex Luger and Barry Windham.

However, with the challenge withdrawn Flair’s status as the champion was undisputed, and his arrival in WWF changes our job slightly. As you know, where the title isn’t married to a company title and defended in concert with that belt, we need to pick the defences. So if you’ll consult the packet in front of you, you’ll find Mr Flair’s contracted dates for the first time frame which takes us from his WWF debut until the end of October 1991. We need three votes from five for a match to be considered a LoP world heavyweight title defence.

They are all for the strap.

Way to engage, Maz. Anyone else?

I would say anything but the Jim Powers match would easily qualify for the first new title defense. Hogan and Piper are obviously valid challengers, and I’d gladly accept a Von Erich or Tito in a pinch as well.

Of the matches listed, any number of them could be considered worth title matches. I think I'd discount Jim Powers off the bat (sorry Jim) but certainly Roddy Piper is a worthy challenger. So my vote goes to the September 30 match against Piper, as we might as well recognize the earliest one of the bunch.

I can see Joe’s eyes glazing over in the corner on this one, and we’ve got enough votes to declare at least one defence in the period valid already. But I’m going to throw in a couple of my own to give them the third vote necessary to be recognized as a title match. We’ll have our first title defence in Spain by recognizing Flair’s match with Kerry Von Erich, and then I’m also voting to call his bout with Hogan in LA, and Piper at Madison Square Garden, as title defences; All of which means that Flair defends his title four times within the mandatory period, and three times in October 1991. He’s still the champion, though, and with no firm link to the WWF title we need to do the same thing for the next 50 days, starting in November.

First things first, they're all title matches. I love the idea of a fighting champ so we should do it that way.

Ah, I get more what you were going for now. Fair enough.

I took the liberty of looking up a match we had to choose from, which is Flair vs Roddy Piper in St. Girardeau, MO. That match went down on December 8th and Flair won by pinfall. That's a pretty impressive feat in and of itself, as Piper was notoriously stingy with allowing himself to be defeated via pinfall in general. Even more impressive? Flair had actually wrestled Hulk Hogan earlier that same day in St. Louis. How many guys do you think can say they wrestled Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper in the same day? I'd wager it's very, very few.

As much as I loathe Flair, I have to admit his greatness pre early 90s was about as good as a wrestler could get. And Hogan was really good when he was still mobile, but being monster face that he was, most matches were predisposed of the same old shit. Give me piper flair because while. Piper was a big crossover star, his head wasn’t so far up his ass as to remain on a predictable trajectory. I’ve heard of stories where flair and piper would switch face heel roles depending on the city. So give me all of them.

Anywho, I say we roll with that December 8th bout against Piper, as the title defense. I mean, Hot Rod is obviously a worthy contender.

Naturally, anything with Hogan or Piper would easily qualify. You could probably tack on a few more interesting defenses in there, but it seems like a moot point. Flair is flush with valid defenses all through this period, so let's go ahead and give him the credit he deserves!

Ok, so at this point we’re recognizing every single Flair and Piper match in this run as a title defence. Given the amount of matches involved in that I’m not going to add anymore as I think that’s plenty. There’s one final period to take a look at that will take us into 1992. Gentlemen, can we find one more match between the end of December and mid-January and drag Flair as champion into the Royal Rumble? I can already see Maz gesturing that his ‘all stand’ is going to be the vote again.

Yeah, every single one.

As far as this list of matches, I’ll go with Bret vs flair since I remember it pretty cool, and it breaks up the monotony a bit. Though no huge fan of Bret I am.

Happy to give Bret a first title match myself at this point and that’ll sew up another 50 days in which Flair keeps the belt. Just to finish off today – Flair heads into the Royal Rumble as World Champion, and leaves as champion. There’s no real impact on our timeline here. But the WWF title was on the line, so I have to ask the question – was the LoP title on the line? Do we defend our own belt in a Royal Rumble or Battle Royal, if there is a title at stake? Or to put it another way, if Flair hadn’t have been successful here, would we have stopped recognizing him? I think this is a point we need to address going forward.

I once paid for tickets to see a donkey fuck a Colombian woman while Mr T cooked a ribeye steak in the background, so no. I have no problems at all with gimmicky shit. In my opinion that actually makes it all the more interesting. Let him defend it against Kamala in a mud wrestling match or Dusty Rhodes in a bra and panties match.

As much I love the 92 rumble and everything surrounding it, you can't have it defended there under regular circumstances as far as I am concerned. It would mean we'd have to do it every year if our champ was in the match and that would be an iffy road to go down. Almost as iffy as going down Unc's road.

I think I agree with you. I don’t mind if our title is vacant considering it, but I don’t think we should ever have someone defend it against that many people simultaneously. I think it’s asking for trouble.

I would say yes but only if the stipulation attached to the match clearly states that the title is on the line. If the Champion is in a random battle royal of Royal Rumble and winds up not winning, like Randy Savage in the 1989 Royal Rumble, it doesn't matter in terms of the Championship. However, in the rare situation where the title is on the line in such a format, like Roman Reigns in the 2016 Rumble, the title should be eligible to change hands. As per usual with stipulations and gimmick matches in general, I vote in favor of honoring whatever the stipulation put forth is within said match.

Flair defending his title in a Royal Rumble and winning would have been awesome, rules be damned. Damned I say.

I think the question is best addressed if it's case-by-case. For just an average battle royal, I would tend to say no. However, for a stacked Royal Rumble? I would be inclined to vote yet. Overall I say let's wait and see if it actually comes up, I imagine it won't be very common if at all but it might just depend on the circumstances. If it does come up for the '92 Rumble, I emphatically vote yes, it's a match deserving of having the title on the line.

I think we need a more definitive answer here, as we’re talking about how to approach it as a default. There’s always room to challenge it if we think there is an exception but we need an idea of what our first response is.

I'll concede to trust the judgment of the company and go by their actual ruling.

Vote is 3-2 in favour of recognizing Battle Royal's as valid defences of the LoP title

The practical upshot of that vote is that if we are following a title and the promotion puts it on the line in a battle royal situation, we will assume that the match is a title defence. It doesn’t take away the right of the board members to challenge individual cases if they think there’s a good reason but we’ll be proceeding on the grounds that they are in, rather than out, unless challenged.

With that in mind we’ve probably got enough done for one meeting, gents. I’m just to conclude things by recapping all of Mr Flair’s defences of the LoP title on his arrival in the WWF….

Ric Flair’s title defences, Sep 1991-Jan 1992

Vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Wheeling, WV, 30/9/91 - WIN
Vs Kerry Von Erich, Barcelona, Spain, 5/10/91 - WIN
Vs Hulk Hogan, Los Angeles, CA, 26/10/91 - LOSS (DQ)
Vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Madison Square Garden, 28/10/91 - WIN
vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Youngstown, OH, 08/11/91 - WIN
vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Boston, MA, 10/11/91 - WIN
vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Utica, NY 11/11/91 - LOSS (DQ)
vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 28/11/91 - WIN (DQ)
vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Lexington, KY, 29/11/91 - WIN
vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Fort Worth, TX, 01/12/91 - WIN
vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, WWF This Tuesday In Texas - San Antonio, TX, 03/12/91 - WIN
vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Pensacola, FL, 05/12/91 - WIN
vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Houston, TX, 06/12/91 - WIN
vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Omaha, NE, 07/12/91 - WIN
vs ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Cape Girardeau, MO, 08/12/91 - WIN
vs Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, Sarasota, FL, 09/01/92 - LOSS (DQ)

Ric Flair, first five and six time LoP Champion, and 70th LoP Champion

And here’s a quick recap of the ground we covered in this one…

Rick Martel – May 13, 1984 – December 29, 1985
60th Stan Hansen – December 29, 1985 – June 27, 1986
Vacant –June 27, 1986 – July 26, 1986
Dusty Rhodes (2) – July 26, 1986 – August 9th, 1986
Ric Flair (2) – August 9th, 1986 - September 25, 1987
Ron Garvin - September 25, 1987 - November 26, 1987
Ric Flair (3) - November 26, 1987 - February 20, 1989
Rick Steamboat - February 20, 1989 - May 7, 1989
Ric Flair (4) – May 7, 1989 - July 7, 1990
Sting - July 7, 1990 - January 11, 1991
Ric Flair (5) - January 11, 1991 - March 21, 1991
Tatsumi Fujinami - March 21, 1991 - May 19, 1991
70th Ric Flair (6) - May 19, 1991 - April 5, 1992

After the Royal Rumble, the title is relinked back to the WWF Championship. Flair’s reign as the 70th LoP World Champion would therefore last, uninterrupted, for ten months and seventeen days before he was defeated by the ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, who becomes LoP Champion for the first time at Wrestlemania VIII. And it’s at that point we’ll resume things in our next meeting.

06-13-2018, 02:10 PM
I definitely see Steve's point in that by bypassing WWF during one of the most popular periods, we've arguably gone off the rails a little here. However, with the methodology we've decided on, I still feel like we made the right choice down the line. It's a different question altogether if you want to start switching the "real world's title" moniker mid-reign, by popularity, but we're going for something lineal here so I'm satisfied with what we've got. That said, we did manage to switch to WWF shortly before they run off a cliff popularity-wise, so perhaps I'll regret my words yet!

Very fun stuff though, Pete, thanks as always for putting these great pieces together!

Prime Time
06-13-2018, 02:58 PM
We may not have our fingers on the pulse of popularity, but we have our integrity!

06-14-2018, 12:49 AM
I agree with what mizfan had to say, there. This Championship is definitely linear and said lineage is definitely justified. It just feels weird that we skipped over perhaps the most influential and notable World Championship reign of the last 40 years. Does that invalidate what we've done to this point? Not at all. It does, however, invite skepticism. That was pretty much unavoidable, though. There are those out there who will argue that Flair, Dusty and those who held NWA gold were the "real" Champion over any and everyone that the WWF trotted out there, regardless of popularity.

I guess it just would've been nice if we'd had a scenario in which Hogan's monumental first run could've been included. We didn't, though, and we followed the rules and regulations put forth by the committee from the start, so the lineage is legit. Just disputable, which any lineage we'd have wound up following would be, regardless.

06-14-2018, 02:58 AM
I really love these columns, they are an instant click for me.

It would be interesting to go back and see where you could have switched it earlier to the WWF lineage that would have perhaps sent you down the Hogan line. Not having matches like Hogan v Andre or Hogan v Savage feels kind of strange considering just how important they have become to the history of pro wrestling. However what we are seeing here though is potentially an example of just how much WWE revisionist history has effected what is commonly thought about pro wrestling in that era: as much as they would like us to think he was, Hogan may not have been the be all end all of pro wrestling in the 80s.

06-14-2018, 12:44 PM
It would be really interesting, when this is done, to do an alternate version where we try to track which title was the most important/highest quality through the years. That'd be a more difficult thing to do but it could produce an interesting lineage that isn't dependent on whether or not Hogan was having a low key week at the same time Flair and the NWA decide to fuck the title around randomly. Or maybe it would be disappointingly straightforward, not sure.

06-14-2018, 04:41 PM
I'll be impressed if you manage to skip Austin as well as Hogan!

Curious to see whether TNA ends up getting a run with the LOP title in a few columns time...

06-15-2018, 03:32 AM
We may not have our fingers on the pulse of popularity, but we have our integrity!

Not me!

Prime Time
06-17-2018, 03:11 PM
OK, so I do see the point that has been made about the title. I'm basically in character in the column because I'm doing it from a very kayfabe perspective, and to be honest if the title is what I say it is in the column I don't see why he'd accept that Hogan not holding it would hurt it: rather, it'd hurt Hogan. But y'know, even if it looks a bit weird, I do think it's very hard to argue against having it on a guy like Ric Flair over Hogan. There's all kinds of ways of looking at wrestling that can justify that, and very few that aren't business related that cut the other way.

Steve: You're definitely right, anything we would have done could have been debated: just as someone said it was a shame that we cut the Funks and Briscos out by taking the WWWF in the 1970s, we get the other side of the coin here -and if it'd been reversed, I'm sure someone would have made the case for Bruno and, as you say, for Flair and Dusty. One of those things.

Sam: Y'know, if we had a rule that there was no champion's advantage in the event of a draw, we could have had the belt off Martel in the summer of 1985 and if Hogan's match had won the following vote, we'd have probably followed Hulk until the title chicanery of 1988. That's about the best we could do, though, and I'm not sure I like the idea of ditching the champion's advantage.

Mizfan: You're right, that would be an interesting series. I can imagine you'd need a rotating panel, though, to cycle in the historians for the early stages and then bringing in a more varied and modern panel to cover the latter years, because I think doing it that way could require more specialist knowledge of different periods, territories, and even regions. But it'd be a fascinating thing to undertake.

Billington: I'd be stunned if we managed that, to be honest. I don't see us missing the WWF from 1998-2001 inclusive. I wouldn't rule out TNA nicking in at some point, but I wouldn't expect it to dominate or get an even split of the belt with the 'E, or any of the other promotions we'd be looking at.

Maz: that's one of the most endearing things about you!

Thanks for reading everyone.

Benjamin Button
06-17-2018, 05:30 PM
Fuck' incredible Prime and team. The analytical aspect of this lends credibility to the handsome title in the header. This really was the story of Flair escaping the board over and over and over. The fact that you went with Flair/Dusty in hindsight to me just adds credibility to the title. I'm fond with WWF 80's but from a technical standpoint the level of world title competition doesn't hold up. It's interesting that Flair is currently a 6 time LOP champion. If you think about it 2 of the many paths were: Flair's record of title wins and Hogan's long title reign. Most of Flair's wins could have been missed by Hogan lengthy reign.

Good times.

Prime Time
06-19-2018, 09:28 AM
BenButton, it's an interesting thought y'know. It's a given, I think, that Flair is already going to struggle to hit 16 time world champion - he's already lost a couple of reigns by this point. But if we'd gone on to the WWF for Hogan, I'm not sure he'd have lost that many - he kept the belt quite a lot between 86-89, especially that year long reign spanning all of 1988. So if we'd stuck with Hogan until the thing with Andre/DiBiase, Flair would still have racked up enough reigns to make him the record holder.... BUT what if we hadn't jumped back to the NWA in 1988? It's unlikely I think looking at the options, but for argument's sake... we'd have then got Savage, a second Hogan reign, Warrior and all that stuff, but then Flair would have been pulled down to just the one title reign between the early 80s and 1992. Bizarre thought, isn't it?

I'm starting to play a little game in my head, wondering what number Flair will finally finish on, and how close the guys like Cena and Hunter will get to him when the time comes.....

Anyway, thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it.

Prime Time
07-05-2018, 11:45 AM

It’s time we called the fifth meeting of the Lords of Pain World Heavyweight Championship committee to order. We’ve a lot of ground to cover today so I’m going to waste little time and come to the point quickly. Joining me in the committee room are, as always, Mizfan, Mazza, Steve and Uncle Joe.

Gentlemen, last time we finished with Ric Flair as the champion, just about to defend his title at Wrestlemania VIII against the Macho Man Randy Savage. As we now know, Savage was successful and became the LoP Champion for the first time. He’d lose the title back to Flair later in the year, as the Nature Boy breaks his own record to become the first 7-time LoP Champion, before Flair himself would lose to Bret Hart in Saskatoon as the Hitman claimed his first reign as champion. The Canadian takes the title into 1993 and to Wrestlemania, where there’s a whole situation to wade through. In his match with Yokozuna there’s outside interference from Yokozuna’s manager, Mr Fuji, which proves decisive. Then seconds later, Fuji challenges Hulk Hogan, who was at ringside assisting Hart, to a match, which then takes place right there and Hogan wins. The way I see it there’s all sorts of issues here – and still more than you might think if we want to get involved in the earlier match between Bret and Yokozuna. But enough from me: gentlemen; who is the real champion at the end of Wrestlemania?

I think we pretty much have to move beyond Bret getting the shaft. I mean, look at all the years that we had guys like Bockwinkel and Flair as Champion and all the wonky finishes they pulled off to retain the title. Winning the title in that fashion is somewhat different, I suppose, but not really. I say we acknowledge the title switch to Yokozuna out of hand and move along.

Yes, I agree with you there. As much as I’m an advocate for the Hitman and think that he got the rough end of the stick with the refereeing at Wrestlemania, there’s a limit to how interventionist we can be before the whole thing becomes unmanageable. Where there’s an obvious issue in a title lineage, such as in the case of the Inoki and Backlund match, I think we have the licence to intervene, but otherwise – as in the case of Hart here – I think we have to accept it. That means there being no objection I think we have to move straight on to the second matter, of the so-called ‘bout’ between Yokozuna and Hulk Hogan.

A different but vaguely similar issue comes up with Hogan's subsequent Championship victory. Should we allow Fuji making a challenge and picking the opponent to stand? I say yes, we should. This was an era in which there were obviously authority figures around and all that, but it was incredibly common for feuds and matches to just develop organically. Similar to the whole "no wonky heel finishes" thing brought up with Fuji blinding Bret, if we were to pore over every Championship match held over the last almost 90 years, we would almost surely find instances of spontaneous Championship bouts occurring. Given the murky details on some of the earlier bouts (or even some all the way up into the 1980s), we may have actually already recognized a Championship switch that was as a result of a similarly booked match.

As much of a scumbag I may be, even I see no reason to acknowledge that bullshit ass Hogan win at the end of the Bret-Yoko match.

As usual, I vote along the lines of continuity in our decisions. Given that we've almost surely recognized a spontaneous Championship switch previously, I see no reason not to recognize this one. Therefore, I vote that Hulk Hogan is LOP World Heavyweight Champion.

Scanning the records, I don’t believe we have recognized a switch like that, though it’s impossible to be sure. In the absence of proof I’m going to be voting with both my gut and my head. My gut tells me that this kind of switch wouldn’t happen in the era before the 1990s, when things were based more on selling tickets and actually promoting title matches rather than causing shock factors. That might be wrong, but it’s my gut instinct. And on top of that, my head tells me that there’s a difference between implicitly recognizing something like this, and explicitly being confronted with it and Okaying it. I say we set the precedent here, and that any match booked in remotely similar circumstances be scrubbed from consideration, for the good of the image of the title.

I mean we all hate this and I don't blame you for giving us the chance to delete it from history, however, it's got to stay. The booking makes my brain hurt but no reason in my mind Fuji can't lay down the challenge, and no reason the multi-time world champion isn't a legitimate contender.

I vote to keep the belt on titty-boy but not opposed to holding it up either. Just as long as that cunt Hogan doesn’t wind up with it.

The shenanigans remain. Hogan is champ.

I’ve been pretty consistent about this (at least, I think I have). If somebody beats the champion one on one, regardless of the circumstances, I will take that as a lineal title change. The match was allowed to proceed so clearly it was authorized to do so, so for better or worse a skinny Hulk Hogan is going to walk around with the belt for a little while, though I suspect he may end up stripped anyway for not defending the damn thing. Pretty strange fate that Hogan’s first run with our belt may end up being one of his worst!

Decision is 3-2 to recognize Hogan as champion.

Hulk Hogan, 75th LoP Champion

I think we’ve potentially missed an opportunity here to protect the integrity of the title. It isn’t too vital here, thankfully, but it’s clear that wrestling promoters are starting to pull far more weird tricks and it’s having an impact on the way that their titles are being seen in the world. If we want to maintain the implicit credibility that the LoP world title has as the one, true, lineal championship in wrestling, then we need to be willing to mix in and prevent promoters from messing things up too much. But that’s for another time. For now, Hogan is the champion, though his failure to defend the title means that we’re leaving the WWF behind for now. The only two title matches that are valid to get us started again both take place on WCW house shows. We can choose to recognize the winner of either. So, do we go for…..

Point of order: In keeping with the call for us to be a bit more vigilant about intervening should something wonky arise... Stripping Hogan of the title here feels off to me. Not just because it's Hogan and I was a mark for him. I mean, not even I can argue the merit of 1993 Hulk Hogan being anywhere near the top of any heap. That having been said, it'd be one thing if Hogan were just completely inactive, like Brock is today (which I get the feeling is going to kick specific lineages squarely in the ass once we get to the modern era). He was active. He had a high profile singles match, against the IWGP Champion, no less, and had a bunch of tag bouts.

So I'd like to raise a motion to allow Hogan to keep the title through his defense against Yokozuna at King of the Ring. I don't necessarily expect it to go anywhere, but as I said, something just doesn't sit right about stripping him of the title. I mean, what do we do in the instance that a company just doesn't book a guy into title defenses? It's one thing to not compete of your own volition, but to just not be booked? That seems unfair.

See I’m a bit torn on this play right here. On one hand, I’d like to tell whoever suggests Muta v Hogan can go to hell and lovingly suck the prostate out of my rectum; fuck Muta, fuck Hogan, fuck ‘em both in the bloody ass.

Although the thought of added power has given a kick to my libido. As an American I clearly love to gain any bit of power i can and abuse the shit out of it like a hot step daughter. Man I’m really split on this.

I fully agree that it shouldn't have to be a title match in real life to be a LOP title match. I think the fun of a linear championship is that it can go to someone that hasn't won the an actual world title. Hogan vs Muta not only counts, but becomes a big moment in LOP title history.

Actually, as much as I’d like to dole out pain rectally like the euro forefathers of the world did, i think I’ll exercise the option to forego all that shit and keep up with the traditions we’ve set forth in this column, pleasure be damned!

I don't have any problem voting to recognize a match that's also tied to another belt. In my opinion, Hogan/Muta is a valid possibility for the new title. There may be more deserving title matches in the same period so if given a choice we'd have to consider all the options, but it at least deserves to be in the conversation, and I feel good about setting it as a precedent.

I presume that Steve will vote for his own amendment if I vote against it anyway, but I’m not sure that I’m going to do that. It’s an interesting precedent to set, and I don’t know how it’ll play out down the line. We’re outside of what I expected to happen here. But when I look at Hogan and Muta as a bout, I see no reason not to recognize it. And I guess the only fair thing to do is deal with the fallout as it arises. So the motion passes, without the need for the proposer to vote.

With that, Hogan is able to keep the title through to King of the Ring and so there’s no break in the title. There’s actually no reason for us to debate anything again until we reach the 1994 Survivor Series. The title match was between Bret Hart and the former champion Bob Backlund, in a submission match which had the added wrinkle that a second could throw in the towel for the person in the ring. Owen Hart acted as the second for Bob Backlund, and Davey Boy Smith for the champion, Bret Hart. In the course of the match, Davey Boy was knocked out, and the towel was thrown in by Bret’s mother, Helen Hart.

I suppose the point is… Davey Boy was the appointed second in the match, while Helen was not at ringside but was actually part of the crowd until she was brought through the barrier by Owen. So my question is – could anyone in the crowd throw the towel in for either participant, and do we recognise this as a submission?

We need to make a decision on this as a matter of some urgency, gentlemen; a quick look at Mr Backlund’s bookings suggest that in the coming days he’ll already be defending the title against the British Bulldog and Diesel, either of which he could conceivably lose. The destiny of the title is at stake here. I’d like your comments, please.

Do we not have the power to just remove that monstrosity of a match from history. Fuck me, that was bad. Like a big part of the reason I stopped watching during this era. Owen vs Bret should have been dead in the water by that point anyway. Hell Owen should have won the strap at SummerSlam. Can we backtrack and make that happen instead?

I think you know that we can’t.

Well that's shit! Ok then, in that case I deem the shenanigans unconstitutional. Backlund doesn't win, but Bret doesn't either. I want another title run for Vacant.

Perhaps that will be how it goes down. Let’s see if anyone else mentions vacating the title. My own vote is simply to rule it a no contest and carry on as before.

This is a very sticky situation we find ourselves in. I tend to veer towards recognizing the given stipulation in any title match, regardless how ridiculous. If the Champion agreed to said stipulation, it goes. In this case, though, other issues are obviously afoot. Truth be told, I've always had an issue with this match for the very reason we're discussing here today. It doesn't make any damn sense for the ref to have recognized Helen's towel throw, nor for the Federation to have recognized the title switch. It didn't make sense then and it doesn't make sense now.

It was a stipulation of the match that the appointed second could end the match via the towel throw, but at no point was it stipulated that any random party could quit for anybody they wanted to. For god's sake, what kind of ruling is that? WWF Championship Committee asleep at the wheel, for sure, and I don't think we should have any part of it. As much as I like Mr Backlund, I strongly vote not to recognize the submission or the title change.

Shit man, having Bret lose his title because his mom threw in the towel is like ...well losing your title cause your momma threw in the towel. Everyone knows by my affinity for Backlund but man, this is a shit way to go out. I vote to not recognize this sissy change of hands.

I honestly don't see how we could recognize this title switch given the established parameters of the match. The match probably should've been stopped by the ref given that Backlund had Bret locked in the chickenwing for over 9 minutes (which certainly succeeded in rendering me unconscious), but that defeats the entire purpose of the stipulation. Hell, if they were just going to allow anyone to throw in the towel, Owen may as well have just done it himself. I say we don't recognize the result of this match.

The vote is to overturn the result, over vacating the title by 4 votes to 1.

Bret actually goes missing for a little while after this defeat, but intriguingly he actually appeared as the WWF Champion in Japan in December, in what I can only imagine was an oversight on behalf of President Jack Tunney and the front office. That win over Bam Bam gives him enough time to make it into his return in 1995 without losing the title. If you will consult the folder in front of you gentlemen, you’ll find Mr. Hart’s bookings – as the title is again not connected to the WWF title we’ll need to find an adequate defence. There’s a number of matches against his brother in there and a real clear standout at the 1995 Royal Rumble.

As to the recognized Championship defense, I'm good with frankly any of those Owen matches making the cut. That said, the Rumble match is the most high profile and notable, so that's my primary vote.

Have we not done this dance before. ALL TITLE MATCHES BABY. Give Owen a million chances to rip that title from his horrible big bro.

I don’t think we can vote for Owen. Let’s be frank about this, in 1994 Bret beat his younger brother up and down the country and the WWF gave him chance after chance at a title match. He never got the job done in any of them. Right now, I don’t think there’s anything for it here except to recognize just the Diesel match. Bret couldn’t beat him at King of the Ring in 1994. It’s the match the fans want to see, it’s imperative that it takes place and the championship remains intact, and I say we make it the one match in this window.

Owen Hart will always be a valid challenger for the title in my book, so go ahead and take my vote for every single match he appears in. Not that it matters much but I guess Nash would be a valid contender as well, so Bret should be well stocked in terms of valid defenses.

Joe abstained from casting a vote this time around and so with the ambiguity in Steve’s wording, the only defence that gets logged is the Royal Rumble match against Diesel. Not that it makes any difference as Bret would survive all the matches this time around regardless. So as we’re still recognizing a WWF talent but not the WWF Champion, we’ll need to do the same again.

First though, a point about whether or not we need to start moving with the times. Currently, we can award the same importance to a match in some god-forsaken hole in front of three people and a dog as we can to a Wrestlemania bout at Madison Square Garden in front of the whole world. Wrestling is changing. RAW has been on the air for two years in prime time now, and WCW ran a remarkable seven pay-per-views last year! So I’m putting forward a motion that house shows and dark matches be relegated to secondary status and that televised bouts get priority from here on out.

I'd actually say we do it on a case by case basis. If a situation arises where someone won't meet the qualifications without including a house show defense, we can go that route. If TV matches get the job done, though, then we can just rock with those.

That’s literally how I envision this working. No one will ever lose the title so long as they have still worked a house show, but we’ll be looking for the defence in more high-profile matches first. I’ll take that as a vote for. Anyone else?

I think I’m cool on the dark matches being included as it adds a bit of spice but only if the title changes hands. If not prioritize the TV/PPV bouts.

Carry on as usual.

Regarding the question of what matches to prioritize, I do think it's valid to start looking more closely at TV and PPV matches in this period. If none are available I think we should continue to consider non-televised matches as needed because a match is a match, but what we see on TV is definitely the most important piece of the puzzle now that we've reached the mid-90s.

The motion passes 3-2.

With that decision in mind, that limits the number of matches you need to consider in Bret’s next ‘window’ to just two. Do either of his matches on RAW against Jerry Lawler or his brother stand out enough for you?

That No Holds Barred match against Owen on Raw looks really good.

They always call Bret a fighting champ, let him prove it. Both title matches.

Once again, Owen vs. Bret will never not be a perfect choice for a title defense! Let's book it!

I loved the Owen and Bret matches. They always brought out something extra in each other that no one else could, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. I mean sure you might wanna make sure you make each other look great, in theory but you also don’t wanna hurt the poor bastard. But give me the toe sucker vs the cripple, Lawler always got Bret to punch him a lil more snug.

I too vote for the Lawler match, which actually means both have the necessary three votes to be recognized as defences. Either way, Bret lost one via countout and won the other so he keeps the title through another spell. Turn the page, gents, and you’ll find another list of bookings. There is a Wrestlemania match with Backlund, two smaller matches with Mantaur and Jimmy Del Ray, and then two matches on the same night against Hakushi and Jerry Lawler. I don’t know how his pulling double duty at In Your House effects your thinking here?


I never thought we’d get a Mantaur title match. And we still might not, of course.

They all count baby. You know my MO. Fighting champ to fight.

I remember enjoying the Hakushi match a lot as a youngin'. Haven’t given that bout a peep in such a long while.

That’s my pick, as well as the Wrestlemania match. I do like Lawler as a contender, especially as he recently beat him via countout, but I don’t think it’s legitimate to ask Hart to defend the world title twice in one night. That makes a mockery of the title, and it’s a different situation to Mr Fuji actually issuing the challenge on behalf of Yokozuna. I vote Lawler gets his shot another time and the Hakushi match gets the nod.

I'd say Backlund, Lawler, and Hakushi are all perfectly good choices for title defenses, so should get through pretty easily!

I'd be good with either the Hakushi or Lawler matches getting the nod, or even both. That said, the obvious choice is the Survivor Series rematch at WrestleMania 11. I wonder, though, if the fact that Backlund actually never said, "I quit," but still lost will come into play.

The backyard retard gimmick Backlund made way for delusional Trumper supporter grandpa and man he was never more entertaining. Probably because this was the period where he real life delved into paranoia and general batshit craziness. You know what? I’ll vote for that match since Piper is special guest and all

Yeah, I'll give all of those three matches the nod. Especially given that it's Bret. My favorite thing about his IC Title run was that he basically put the strap on the line against every opponent, even job guys. There was no such thing as a "non-title match" for him in that era. I dig it.

Vote is to recognize the Backlund, Hakushi and Lawler matches.

There is some debate in the room about whether or not Bret’s defence at Wrestlemania should be regarded as a win, since in the I Quit match Backlund never said I Quit. There’s a contention about whether a referee stoppage should be a possibility in an I Quit match or not. With no clear answer we are going to simply call that a no-contest and allow Bret to retain through champion’s advantage, though it’s something we might revisit if it comes up again. So with that Bret carries the title though to In Your House, beats Hakushi, enters the ring against Jerry Lawler…. and promptly loses the title. The King cheated to win the strap but while we’ve overturned things before there’s no mechanism at work for us to reverse the decision automatically, so unless someone on the committee wants to challenge it Lawler will be the champion as of May 1995. Bret’s reign of one year, one month and 24 days comes to an end. And I think that’s as good a point as any to end this meeting. There’s a lot to take in there and we’ll come to it fresh next time. But before we go, a quick recap of the ground we’ve covered today.

Bret Hart LoP Title Defences Nov ’94 – May ‘95

vs Bam Bam Bigelow - WWF House Show @ Rainbow Hall in Nagoya, Japan
vs Diesel - WWF Royal Rumble 1995
vs Jerry Lawler - WWF Monday Night RAW #102
vs Owen Hart - WWF Monday Night RAW #104
vs Bob Backlund - WWF WrestleMania XI
vs Hakushi - WWF In Your House
vs Jerry Lawler - WWF In Your House

Bret Hart, 73rd and 77th LoP Champion

70th Ric Flair (6) - May 19, 1991 - April 5, 1992
Randy Savage – April 5, 1992 – September 1, 1992
Ric Flair (7) – September 1, 1992 – October 12, 1992
Bret Hart – October 12, 1992 – April 4, 1993
Yokozuna – April 4, 1993 – April 4, 1993
75th Hulk Hogan – April 4, 1993 – June 13, 1993
Yokozuna (2) - June 13, 1993 – March 20, 1994
Bret Hart (2) – March 20, 1994 – May 14, 1995

07-05-2018, 02:18 PM
Haha, that's a hell of a twist! I never expected we'd have Jerry Lawler as champion in 1995. This series has been such a fun ride, thank you again Pete for putting it all together!

07-05-2018, 03:47 PM
I think Unc just splooged like he's never splooged before!

07-05-2018, 04:36 PM
Great read and what a deserving champion.

07-05-2018, 04:48 PM
Hulk Hogan didn't wave himself to the ring. Bret Hart waved Hogan. Hence, Hulk didn't screw Bret. Bret screwed Bret.

Prime Time
07-06-2018, 08:14 AM
Mizfan - must admit, I had a small on my face when I saw it might happen, and it was like it just had to fall that way. Certainly does make for an interesting development. There's a part of me that thinks if they had gone this way and let Bret keep the title longer, Lawler stealing it could have made for a decent programme in the early Summer of 1995. Got to be better than the stuff they ran with Nash and Sid anyway. And I say that as someone who doesn't hate either guy, so I know you're going to feel that even more strongly!

Mazza - Not heard from Joe since this was posted, I'm thinking someone might need to check on him.

SirSam - Thanks mate, glad you liked it.

Shane - I think it's clear for everyone to see that at Wrestlemania IX, the only person that screwed Bret is Mr Fuji.

Thanks to everyone who has checked this out early.

07-06-2018, 08:43 AM
I think this marks the first whole column where I knew what you were talking about - my era, and nothing from other promotions I didn't have access to!

Benjamin Button
07-08-2018, 01:46 AM
Been waiting to get time for this, and alas I got it. All good collective decisions this time around, gentlemen. And the best thing is that atrocity of a Diesel Title reign got the recognition it deserved, none!

Prime Time
07-13-2018, 09:00 AM
Billington - yeah we're getting to the more contemporary end now, for sure. From this point on we should be all in the widely available era, unless we divert into Japan at some point. There is a chance we could revert to WCW before we got that back in 1996 but it doesn't look likely.

Button - Thanks man, glad you liked it and great that you're looking forward to them. I thought removing Diesel would be popular in some quarters and unpopular in others, and it seems I was half right! He could still get it depending on how 1995 goes, as his reign will still make him a likely candidate until November - and he's obviously in the frame both as a main event star and then when he jumps to WCW as the giant of the NWO.

Thanks for reading gents.

07-14-2018, 02:36 PM
I guess I'm in the minority, but I like Diesel. Is Nash the most polished wrestler guy in the land? Fuck no. But he did have charisma, a great look and undeniably had the fan support on his side in the era.

Still, I've no major qualms about him having been skipped, though it is funny that we once again skip over the longest title reign of the decade.

Prime Time
07-14-2018, 02:45 PM
To be fair I always liked him, though it's clear history has turned to put us in the minority.

It's intriguing that we not only skipped it to this point but have managed to make a longer one!

Prime Time
08-16-2018, 11:27 AM

We begin this sixth meeting of the LoP Championship committee in an unfamiliar position. To this point we’ve had to intervene a number of times to nominate our own title matches, in the event that we’re not following a champion recognised elsewhere. But this is the first time that we’ve seen a title switch between two people who aren’t recognised as a champion by anyone other than us, and the first time we’ve had to kick things off by finding a match. The first thing we as a board need to address, then, is whether or not Jerry “The King” Lawler, has a match that warrants consideration as an LoP title match. Joining me to tackle this task are Steven, Mazza, Mizfan, and Uncle Joe. Gentlemen, he had to cheat to win it, but Jerry Lawler is the champion.

MY FAVORITE PART OF THE ENTIRE GODDAMN SERIES. Honestly, between his overall greatness and bravery (dude called every Puerto Rican in MSG full of ‘em, "dirty nasty cousin fuckin spics) he should have gotten one reign. Well hey, we remedied that situation by the mighty grace of our lord and king Satan. Mr. Satan from Dragonball z, clearly. Wait what were we talking about? Oh yeah, LONG LIVE (or at least ‘til he drops the strap) THE KING, BIATCH.

The question is, can he hold on to it? On the table are a match against Aldo Montoya, and a potential rematch with the Hitman at the King of the Ring. I’d say it’s a fairly clear situation, personally.

Jerry fucking Lawler. I can honestly say that I had no clue that we'd ever find ourselves putting the strap on Jerry fucking Lawler.

That said, we pretty much have to go with the Bret match, don't we? I mean, sure, down the line our pal PJ Polaco may find himself in Championship contention in a fashion that's not just the coolest, not just the best but Justin Credible... but that's down the line. There's no way the Portuguese Man of War gets a title match nod over the Hitman.

I find it just incredible that there are only two potential title matches here. Both should count, even if it is a Portuguese Man of War.

You're correct Pete, this one seems pretty clear. Montoya may be a future ECW champion but that feels like a lifetime away. Bret, on the other hand, will ever be a contender, so he gets my vote for a recognized title match.

The vote is to recognise a defence against Bret Hart at King of the Ring

Jerry 'The King' Lawler, 77th LoP Champion

That’s enough for Bret to take the title back, as Lawler loses the title in his first defence of it. The truth is, that Bret isn’t the most active guy in the world on TV in the summer of 1995. Neither is anyone else in the WWF for that matter, but that doesn’t change things for us all that much. With that said, there’s a simple choice out there and it’s a yes or no to recognising a match on RAW against Hakushi in July.

Yessir, defence.

Hakushi's a great talent and very deserving of a title shot. I say we give it to him!

I hate sushi so clearly it’s no to Hakushi

And I’ll vote to put Bret over the top here, that’s enough to keep him going.

With that we move into another window and the champion is a little more active here, but unfortunately the problems in the roster at that period continue to hurt the potential matches. Bret take on the debuting Isaac Yankem at Summerslam, and he’s scheduled to wrestle some smaller matches against Rad Radford and Waylon Mercy on syndicated programming. I don’t know what people’s thinking is here?

Yuk! I am sticking to my ‘all defences’ policy, but yuk!

Well, that's a fine how-do-you-do. For the first time, I've got to say none of those feel like a world title match to me. I know some say put it on the line in every match, but I don't think I can go that far. No deal for me, no valid defense among that bunch.

I'm fine with recognizing the Yankem match. It is a PPV bout and he was presented as a legit threat at the time. We can't look back at the gimmick as a joke through the filter of retrospect.

Kane vs Bret basically. Well if memory serves correct, that feud was both stupid and boring, and the match sucked. So do I really want to recognize this match considering the elite lineage? I say yank'em. Wait what? You didn’t get the pun? I wasn’t voting for...I mean yanking them off stage like...fuck it, I mean no. Shit what a tough crowd.

I actually agree. The only one in contention is the Yankem match and I point-blank refuse to sanction a world title match against someone making their debut, even if they are a friend of Jerry Lawler. No dice.

No Televised match is approved

As a result of that decision, we next need to examine Bret’s house show bookings to see if we can find a gem that will allow him to defend the title. If not, the title will be vacated on the 12th of September, 1995. Over the period Bret will wrestle the young Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Sid, Hakushi in a cage, three matches with Jean-Pierre Lafitte, and a massive six against Isaac Yankem. Gents, let’s try and make some sense of all this.

Wow, what a murderer’s row. All of them sound terrible.

I'll take that as a no!

Well let me ask you this Pete , could the French have won the world cup without a bunch of Africans in the team? Therein lies my answer.

I admit I've got a soft spot as a promoter for Pierre, so I'll vote that his matches have the title on the line. I'll throw another vote towards Hakushi as well, and I guess I'll even include Sid.

Though Sid was something of a midcarder at the time, he had just been WWF Championship matches earlier in '85. To that end, I figure he's as valid a Championship contender as any. That being said, though, I'm still in favor of recognizing all of the matches in question as title defenses, as I mentioned with the whole "every match he had as IC Champ had the belt on the line" thing.

Hunter will have to wait for his first title shot, as I don't think he's done enough to be considered at this point in his career.

I think voting for Sid is a clear and easy choice and allows us to move on… to the next window of 50 days. Wow, 1995 is killing us, man. In the next fifty days we’re looking at two matches with Jean-Pierre Lafitte, one on PPV and one on RAW, and a cage match with Isaac Yankem on RAW. His house show run features no one but Yankem so I think it’ll either be one of the televised matches or nothing this time around. Who wants to speak up first?

I think one can say were suffering on a different level because we’ve gotta deal with Bret smugness and whininess during this time period so condolences to my other panel members, except for Steve because he refuses to give up that pineapple on pizza abomination. Holy Christ, man this list in horrendous, thanks Vince.

I vote in favor of recognizing the In Your House match against LaFitte as a Championship bout. Though no amount of attempted justification by 'Plan will ever make me see the storyline as anything but abject silliness, the match was solid and they an ongoing storyline and all that. Let's just say that LaFitte stole Bret's LOP Championship title instead of his special mommy jacket and roll with that.

I just can't give dentist Kane a title shot, but I'm a big enough fan of Pierre to say he deserves some shots at the big belt. I say give the man those shots!!

yeah, all those 3 matches should count.

Uh I dunno, gimme hart vs the French dude in Grand Rapids. Man my asshole burns from this.

The vote is to recognise both matches against Jean-Pierre Lafitte

To get to the Survivor Series there is a simple question of yes or no on a match with Sid. Seems straightforward enough, yes?

Although my dislike of Sid is well known, it's impossible to argue he's not a valid contender. I vote that we recognize the match without reservations.

I vote for Sid’s match because I think it might lead to a more chaotic result than letting HBK hold the title on a BS made up last second stipulation that made little sense at the time and makes even less sense now.

Yeah, I’ll back the Sid match too.

And as with a month or so earlier, I think it’s just as valid to consider Sid a title contender at this point. So with that, we can provisionally write it in the book – a unification match for the LoP and WWF titles at the 1995 Survivor Series.

And wouldn’t you know, Bret only goes and pulls off the upset. That means that we don’t have to find title defences anymore but we’re tied once again to a title, and can fast forward through to the following year. There’s no real reason to stop until we get to Wrestlemania XII, and the Ironman match with Shawn Michaels. The issue of overtime is slightly contentious here. I suspect I know the way this will go, but just for the record, we’ll put it to a vote. The only precedent for overtime is taken to be Roddy Piper’s statement that ‘there must be a winner’, with all other Ironman matches having the possibility of a draw. What does everyone want to do about this decision?

For the ironman I call for the title to be held up . I mean if you can't pin your opponent in an hour it means you're a big pussy. And also they deserve to get held up for sending me to sleep.

Hell no but it is what it is I’ll fight a losing battle here I reckon . I vote to hold the belt up. And if it comes down to the other 2 choices, I always believe in champion’s advantage.

Well, there’s two real issues there – what the result is and what the outcome is. Let’s deal with the result first of all.

I have no qualms about recognizing the overtime stipulation at Wrestlemania XII. As Pete has mentioned, Piper was clear that there must be a winner and both parties participated in the continuation of the match.

I personally vote that we recognize the title switch to Shawn Michaels. As was stated in the aftermath of the match, the Ironman bout was presented with the stipulation that "there must be a winner". While that's perhaps a little slippery with the verbiage, I think that adding the overtime period was valid and that the result of said overtime should be upheld.

I hate changing rules on the fly. Although I'd like to think if we were the booking committee, we’d explain the rules beforehand and would have judged for that. But if we did, Bret wouldn’t have released the sharpshooter.... errr.... yeah, ends a draw please

Y’know, I think I’ve always believed instinctively that the match was a draw, and that the finish was a bit of a hash job. I agree with the concept that you’ve got to beat the champion in the time. So I’ll cast the deciding vote for the draw.

The vote is 3-2 that the Wrestlemania XII main event was a draw

Now, with that out of the way, it raises the question of what we do next. There is some talk in the room that this should mean the belt is vacant, rather than the champion retaining as would normally happen in the event of a draw. I’m for going with the precedent. Mizfan and Steve, you are yet to commit yourselves on this one. What do you have to add?

I think our precedent is clear , how many draws did the likes of Ric Flair and his predecessors walk through unscathed? If we don't recognize the result of the Ironman, then Bret keeps his belt!

I would vote that champion's advantage keeps the strap on Bret , as is the case with all other draws unless specifically stipulated.

The vote is 3-2 that Bret’s champion’s advantage holds.

Now there are a couple of obvious contenders for Bret on his tours of Germany and Kuwait , so if I can just get a quick show of hands to recognise his matches that are booked against the British Bulldog… and I see hands from Mizfan and Mazza, thankyou – that’ll mean that Bret retains the title until he finishes those tours, at which he takes the summer off. So fifty days after the Davey Boy match in Kuwait, the title is vacant and for the first time for around a decade we have to compile a list of matches from our various titles in order to find the next LoP Title match. There are more titles on the books now than in the past, but this time we are limited to four in the right timespan – two in the US, and two in Japan. Shinya Hashimoto vs Ric Flair or Kenta Kobashi vs Akira Taue or Shawn Michaels vs Vader or The Giant vs Power Warrior.

Ewww not a particularly compelling choice here, but I will go full homer here and WWF.

Fuck anytime you can vote for Hashimoto you gotta do it. Sorry Kenta. Also wait, The Giant vs power warrior? Holy garbagio.

Those are all pretty strong matches... except for the WCW one. Woof.

I daresay we can dispense with the WCW match right off the bat , with all due respect to the future Big Show and the great Kensuke Sasaki. Too bad for WCW, a few months later they'd have a much stronger case.

All three other choices are very strong though, so this will be a tough one to decide in my mind. All six guys in the mix have claims to be considered all-time greats. Hashimoto is arguably the best New Japan heavyweight star of all time, even considering more recent contenders for that title. Flair is unquestionably an all-time legend of course, though '96 is getting quite late to rank him consistently for his in ring work. Kobashi is, in the minds of many, the best of the 4 pillars. Taue is generally considered the least of them but I know some who value him on the same level or beyond some of the others, so he can't be discounted, and the fact that AJPW is by far the most critically acclaimed of the period shouldn't be ignored. Michaels and Vader need no argument in their favor, their name alone carries awesome weight, and though their feud ended up flawed in the end you can't underestimate what a dream match it is on paper.

Ultimately I think I'll go with the safe choice, let's keep things in the WWF family for the time being. I do think it's hard to go wrong here though.

I’m going to throw my vote in for Kenta Kobashi and Akira Taue over the Triple Crown title. I think that at 47 years old, Ric Flair is probably past his prime as a championship contender. I made the same comment about Lou Thesz in a previous column and I’m going to apply that logic to Flair here. And I think for me Kenta seems to be the man in the right moment to relocate things to Japan.

At the end of the day, I've gotta cast my vote in favor of Shawn Michaels vs Vader. I freely admit that my fandom for both men comes into the equation here, but that's far from the only qualification. Michaels is arguably the biggest star in the sport at this time, as well as widely considered the greatest in-ring performer. While WCW has started pulling away a bit with a streak of ratings victories over RAW and the formation of the nWo, the bottom line is that I don't think that anyone would pick The Giant vs Power Warrior as the strongest, most worthy LOP Championship bout of this lineup. So yeah, I gotta go with HBK and the Mastodon.

The Vote is 3-1-1 in favour of recognising Shawn Michaels vs Vader as an LoP title match.

Shawn Michaels, 79th and 81st LoP Champion

Shawn Michaels would eventually win that match , which means that Shawn does become the champion, albeit a few months later than he was recognised as the champ by the WWF. The only real differences we have then are he gets a few less months as champ, and that at LoP we now consider Shawn’s record in world title matches against Bret to be a draw and a defeat, rather than square at 1-1. Anyway, he’d hold the title then through to November, when he would trade it back and forth with Sid between the Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble in his home town of San Antonio. But soon after, Shawn would forfeit the title on Thursday RAW Thursday, citing a knee injury. I think it makes sense, given the explicit nature of the injury, that we consider that a forfeit of the LoP title at the same time, and look to find another title match. We can have the match the WWF have set up to find a new champion or we can have our pick of a number of other matches. There’s a full run this time, as every title we’re currently recognising has a match in the timeframe.

IWGP: Shinya Hashimoto vs Kazuo Yamazaki –Fighting Spirit 1997
Triple Crown: Mitsuharu Misawa vs Dr Death Steve Williams – Excite Series 1997
WWF: Bret Hart vs Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Undertaker vs Vader – IYH: Final Four
WCW: Hollywood Hogan vs Roddy Piper – Superbrawl VII
ECW: Raven vs Louie Spicolli – House Show
NWA: Dan Severn vs Dory Funk, Jr. – New Jersey House Show

This may actually be the most difficult (on paper) decision yet.

I swear if the wwf, nwa or ecw matches win I’m going to pinch Mazza’s nipples so hard that he’s going to...shit what happens in this scenario? He just passes out no? Either way the clamps are coming out.

I think we can go ahead and dispose of ECW and NWA right off the bat here. Both titles have significance, but this is not the time and these are not the matches to recognize them. Hashimoto is always a good choice, but I don't think Yamazaki has the credentials to get the IWGP recognized here. So we're left with three viable choices... Hogan and Piper most likely has the most pure star power, but is also a little embarrassing when we're talking 1997 as opposed to 1987. The battles of Misawa and Dr Death are legendary, and rightly so. I feel tempted to give it to them, but the WWF is making a strong case to take the title back with an innovative, historic, and ultimately classic match. In the end I can't bring myself to vote against Final Four, it's a genuinely special match and all four guys involved are incredible legends. Vince has persuaded me.

HBK forfeits thru an injury (through no voodoo of mine, even if I had considered it) and the limp penis that is Shawn’s title reign ends before it really began, so hooray to timing. But on the flipside, there’s only 2 good matches on this card (hint it’s with the guys who eyes are on permanent squint mode) so having Misawa or Hashi as potential belt holder is mega intriguing. But even MORE INTERESTING is that if you pick Piper vs Hogan, this is the match i believe piper goes over so we could have a shot of Piper being lop big penis guy, world champion, time master whatever the fuck it is we're doing. And in a sick and twisted ordeal, this is probably the only time any of these 3 chaps will have a shot at winning this shit.

I am feeling a little crazy today. I feel like going with a couple of old blokes in WCW. Yep. Give me Hogan and Piper. I have no logic to how I came to this decision. Just how I feel today.

I’m tempted by Misawa and Dr Death , and I’m tempted by the four way. We’ve never had a ‘Four corners’ match for the LoP title and I’m generally against the idea, but this one match seems to be a valid exception to that rule. And y’know what, I think I’m going to hold on with the WWF at this stage.

Damnit let me flip this 3 sided coin. Ok so since it landed on Whoopi Goldberg, my vote goes to Misawa vs Dr Death.

Piper vs Hogan is a big match, to say the least. Not as big as their bout a few months earlier, but certainly worthy of serious consideration for the title lineage. Factor in the prestige that comes along with WCW being the preeminent promotion in the world at this point and, well, there's a really strong argument to be made for that Superbrawl match.

That said, the nWo was deeply involved in almost every single Hogan bout and it frankly devalues his reign in my eyes. The same can't be said for the WWF title and the situation we're presented with on that end. Four of the absolute top and inarguable best competitors in the world going at it for the honor of being named Champion? That sounds pretty damn appealing.

I'm going with the WWF match at Final Four. That match is just too stacked. And if I'm to break kayfabe a bit, you gotta know I'd ride with the lineage that gets our prestigious strap around the Deadman's waist much sooner rather than later. I mean, c'mon.

The vote is 3-1-1 in favour of recognising the In Your House match.

In practice that means that since Flair carried the world title across to the WWF from WCW, every time we’ve had the chance to take the title away from the WWF we have declined the opportunity to do so. We may not have recognised their exact champion but a WWF performer has been the world champion since 1991. The following night, beat up from In Your House and with interference from Steve Austin, Bret lost the belt to Sycho Sid, making him the only person to lose the title three times through outside interference. Sid would only hold the belt a short while himself, however, as he’d take on The Undertaker at Wrestlemania with The Deadman from Texas winning his first LoP Championship. And it’s at that point that we’ll continue next time.

Jerry Lawler LoP Title Defences
Vs Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, King of the Ring 1995

Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart Title Defences, June-October 1995
Vs Hakushi, RAW, 24/7/1995
Vs Sid, House Show, 30/8/1995
Vs Jean-Pierre LaFitte, In Your House 3
Vs Jean-Pierre LaFitte, RAW, 2/10/1995
Vs Sid, Superstars, 24/10/1995

Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart Title Defences, March-May 1996
Vs British Bulldog, Dusseldorf, 13/4/1996
Vs British Bulldog, Kuwait, 11/5/1996

Jerry Lawler – May 14, 1995 – June 25, 1995
Bret Hart (3) – June 25, 1995 – June 30, 1996
Vacant – June 30, 1996 – 7th July 1996
Shawn Michaels – 7th July 1996 – 17th November, 1996
Sycho Sid – 17th November 1996 – 19th January 1997
Shawn Michaels (2) – January 19th, 1997 – February 13th, 1997
Vacant – February 13th, 1997 – February 16th, 1997
Bret Hart (4) – February 16th, 1997 – February 17th, 1997
Sycho Sid (2) – February 17th, 1997 – March 23rd, 1997

08-16-2018, 01:01 PM
This was worth it purely for Steve's tortured Justin Credible joke up towards the beginning, and doubly so for Unc talking about the size of Piper's penis. Some surprising but fun votes mixed in here. It'd be cool to send the belt to Japan at some point but I wonder if we'll ever actually get the chance...

Benjamin Button
08-19-2018, 02:12 AM
One of your more entertaining entries. I will say I do think there may be some favoritism in the HBK/Bret situation and in general for the Hit man. But , ya know, politics finds it's way in every booking committee and I like the Hitman, myself, so I can't complain too much.

Still loving this series. Good job, Prime and team!

One thing I can add, too, it's a cool way to look at all the Title matches going on at each time period.

08-19-2018, 08:25 AM
I love this series, such a great tour through history and you guys are very engaging in how you trek through and go about your discussions.

Having said that I think it was a mistake to not follow through the Iron Man decision to go with overtime but to call it a draw. The overtime was entered into voluntarily and the result accepted by the champion and contender, weird political decisions like that in boxing were one of the reasons the Rings Championship (which you kinf od positioned this as) needed to be created in the first place. To me if you can accept a result that is not 100% clean and involves ref shenanigans or cheating from champ or contender then you should be able to accept the overtime that was placed at the end of the Iron Man match for a result.

Lastly I am really happy the belt has ended with The Undertaker just as he is at one of the peaks of his career. I wonder if it will end up back on him at another point down the line?

Prime Time
08-26-2018, 08:42 AM
Been away a while so it took me a bit of time to get around to this, sorry chaps.

Mizfan: I suspect the chance to take it to Japan might pick up a bit more as we get into 1999 and stuff in America starts getting more screwy, and the number of Japanese defences starts rising. The sheer number of opportunities involved will go up. And yes, I'd do this series again just for the Credible gag.

Benjamin Button: I'm not sure there is any Hart bias, y'know. I mean I fully admit that I am, I've never tried to hide that for a minute. I still think he's the best. But I'm not pulling any strings in favour of him, and everything still has to pass the other four guys so my own bias could quite easily be voted down. And I don't for a minute think any of the other four guys are particularly sweet on Bret. What I guess could factor in is that Maz and Steve are fairly open about being WWE guys first and foremost, but I don't think either is especially likely to favour the Hitman. If anything, I think there's more negativity towards Shawn amongst some of the others, and in Maz's case I think it's literally no more than not liking the ending. But yeah, even though I think I'm the only one, I'm pretty partial in that direction, and will own up to it. Glad you're liking the series anyway, buddy.

Sam: I never expected the Iron Man result to become contentious to be honest, but once it was I was always going to vote the way I did. I remember at the time thinking it was a bit of a joke, and it was pretty central in me becoming the kind of fan that I was. I went into that match as a huge fan of both Bret and Shawn, and as one who kinda wanted to see 'the boyhood dream come true'. I left that show as a huge fan of both, but definitely more of a Bret fan and one who thought that he'd been kinda robbed of the title. So yeah, that set the rest of my course through 1996 and 1997. But yeah, I don't think it counts the same way, because there's a world of difference between a blown call, and people changing the rules to the match once it's already started. And given the protests as Bret returned to the ring, I'm not sure you can say, beyond controversy, that the overtime was entered into voluntarily. So yeah, I think we made the right call - even though I didn't really expect us to! As for 'Taker, I'd be surprised if we didn't get back on to him at least once - he has seven spells and this is only his second, so there's lots of opportunities.

Alright, thanks for reading everyone. Hope y'all enjoyed it.

Prime Time
10-08-2018, 08:28 AM

Welcome back to the meetings of the Lords of Pain World Heavyweight Championship committee. We left you last time with The Undertaker defeating Sycho Sid at Wrestlemania 13 to win the title for the first time. Undertaker would hold the title though until the summer, defending against Mankind, Steve Austin and Faarooq, with his win at the King of the Ring over the latter leading to the break-up of the Nation of Domination. But Undertaker would lose the title at Summerslam when Shawn Michaels, the guest referee, would hit the champion with a chair by mistake, gifting the belt to his hated rival Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart. That puts us on a path to a match between Hart and Michaels which requires the intervention of our committee: not just myself, Prime Time, but Mazza, Mizfan, Steve, and Uncle Joe.

Our problem, gentlemen, is that it’s a matter of public record that Bret Hart didn’t give up at Survivor Series. And the WWF acknowledge as much on screen pretty soon after, which means that the fact that Shawn didn’t really beat Bret is implicitly woven into their narrative. The way I see it, there are two possible choices here: we can either hold up the title and take it away from this mess, or we can allow Bret to do what Flair did in 1991, and take the LOP title to WCW. Of course, if my concerns aren’t shared by the board, then we’ll recognise Michaels as the champion following Survivor Series, and carry on with the WWF line. I’ll now open this to the floor.

Ah Montreal. I'd forgotten about that shitstorm that was on horizon.

The Montreal Screwjob is an unprecedented mess in our title picture. Considering the shenanigans going on both onscreen and off, I don't see any possibility that we allow Shawn to take the title that way.

Look first things first, if we were booking we'd not take any of Bret's primadonna bullshit. He would do as he is told so we'd never have got to this situation. Even if he dug in, we'd have got Joe to send his uncles to pay Bret a visit. When Los Boricuas show up in their sailor uniforms, you know it's on. Do we actually have that power? Cos that would be awesome. But if we don't this is how I see it. Hitman's refusal to do business means he can't hold that title and should be banned from ever fighting for the LoP Championship again. And double ban for his holier than thou demeanour too.

For me it’s a fairly straightforward equation and Bret is still the world champion, so even though I don’t think it’s going to carry the day, that’ll be how I vote.

Looks like the strap is headed to WCW. I see no justification in recognizing the title switch in Montreal, even if I feel it completely justified in really real life. There's honestly not a whole lot else to say about the subject that hasn't been said, said and said again. Though Bret did screw Bret. Just for the record. And for 'Plan.

I stand by what Mick Foley says – even Vince doesn’t really believe that.

I vote to hold it up with the intent of giving HBK as few title reigns as possible. Fuck that guy.

Does Shawn win it though? Not for me. Too screwy. Bret didn't quit so therefore even if we counted the victory on the night, I'd be held up the next day. So if we can't have hairy back Miguel Perez as LoP Champion due to a 24/7 Hardcore title rule following a late night visit to Bret's hotel room, then strike up another title reign for Mr Vacant. And no, I don't mean Brock Lesnar.

The question of whether Bret was actually beaten is a more convoluted one. Considering I would not call Shawn's win legitimate, you could make the case that Bret should take the title. Yet he was declared the loser, however you look at it. I could see this either way but I think the right thing to do is to simply take the title out of the conversation, let's vacate the thing immediately and place it somewhere that won't be affected by this nonsense.

Vacate 3 Bret retains 2

So it is a close run thing but the decision is taken to intervene and end Bret’s fifth title run rather than see him carry the belt to WCW as champion. Perhaps Hart will take some consolation from the fact that we have chosen to recognise neither of his high-profile defeats to Shawn Michaels, seeing them as a draw and a no-contest instead. Anyway, those who have been following these columns so far will know that means we need to find a match to pick a new champion. There are only three valid bouts in an acceptable timeframe in this instance, so the choices are Shawn Michaels vs Brooklyn Brawler, on November 15th, The Giant vs Hollywood Hogan, on the November 24th Monday Nitro, or Bam Bam Bigelow vs Shane Douglas from ECW Ultimate Jeopardy on the 15th.

I’m almost tempted to vote HBK vs BK brawler because I mean, I used to make important life decisions by picking paper out of a sneaker. Fuck that big show vs Hogan match. So I guess that makes my pick of sting vs DDP obvious.

Uh…. Joe? That’s not one of the matches.

What? Goddamnit fine Pete. Gimme Bam Bam vs Shane Douglas.

Well, Shawn got us into this mess , and a match with the Brawler isn't going to get him over the hump, so we're left with two options. Hogan is fast reaching the end of his usefulness but he's still by FAR the biggest name on the list, and the Giant in '97 is a lot more compelling than the Giant in '95. Bigelow and Douglas are no slouches, but I think I have to give my vote to WCW here, even knowing there's a good chance it won't stay there long.

I'm sorry, just no way we can be having Brooklyn Brawler wrestling for the vacant world title. We gotta to head over to WCW and pop it on the winner of Hogan and The Giant.

I mean, we've got to go with Giant vs Hogan, right? I love me some HBK and all, but the Brawler isn't exactly top flight competition. And as much as I would absolutely love to go with Douglas vs Bigelow, especially during Shane's pretty stellar run during that period and with the great story that accompanied the match, ECW just isn't on the same level of WCW and WWF. While that maybe shouldn't matter, prestige does carry some weight when it comes to deciding where the LOP Championship is headed. At least for me.

Yeah, I think I have to concur with the majority here – though I don’t think Shane Douglas and Bam Bam are quite as far off the pace as the others, I’d have to give the nod to the WCW title match.

Giant vs Hogan wins 4-1 over Douglas vs Bigelow

It’s an interesting quirk that Giant beats Hogan by DQ here, so while Hogan saves his WCW title the Vacant LoP title goes to The Giant on that decision. But Giant only wrestles one match in the next 50 days, on TV or otherwise, so the question is, is that match against enough of a challenger for him to keep the title? It’s against Meng (Haku), on the first episode of Thunder, on the 8th of January 1998.

So we go from shit sandwich to diarrhoea smoothie. Thanks guys, so much *swings knife

Is the match against enough of a challenger? Really? I tell you what, I vote against it if you go up to Meng and ask him if he is enough of a challenger?

I hate these guys I swear I do *angrily shakes fist

I will always, ALWAYS vote in favor of Meng as a world championship level contender!

Meng sounds like a solid contender to me. Hell, he should've been a contender for the WCW strap. I have no issues whatsoever making him a contender for the LOP Championship.

Man fuck The Giant fuck Meng. Fuck you guys fuck Bill Gates. If I follow what you’re saying and we get an opportunity to uphold the title again i say fuck it baby let’s do this shit.

Just to answer Maz, no I’m not going to fucking ask Meng that. We’ll carry on.

The Meng match is recognised 4-1.

So The Giant progresses through that tricky patch and has a more full TV schedule through the next 50 days. If you open your packet you’ll find his list of potential defences…

Nitro: vs Hollywood Hogan, 19/1
Thunder: vs Scott Hall, 22/1
Worldwide: vs Vincent, 24/1
Souled Out: Kevin Nash, 24/1

I think there’s a decent chance he’ll come through this OK, but what do you gentlemen make of this run?

I am back to normal now and in full "everything counts" mode. Even Virgil. Really? Yeah really.

Shoot me in the cock man. Give me Scott Hall vs Big Show then.

I'll gladly take Hogan and Hall from that pack. I guess I could vote for Nash as well but you know what? That match is so putrid that I'm not gonna do it. Just Hogan and Hall for me!

As per usual, I vote in favor of recognizing all of the matches as title defenses, especially since we basically just recognized a "jobber" match (man, that hurts to say about Meng) as a defense to keep the belt on The Giant. Vincent isn't exactly top flight competition but those other three most certainly are. So yeah, I say we roll with all four as defenses.

The Hall and Hogan matches are already through, and I’ll throw a vote in for the Nash match too – that actually strikes me as the most obvious defence of the four, and not just because it’s on PPV.

Hogan, Hall and Nash bouts all recognised as valid defences

With that last minute intervention by me, and it might be one I come to regret, Kevin Nash wins the LoP World Heavyweight title for the first time at Souled Out. It’s a dirty win, with a combination of hot coffee to the face and a low blow, but no more dirty than the transition from ‘Taker to Bret that we already recognised.

Shoot me in the cock again.

First, let me just say that the fact that somehow we ended up giving Nash the world championship in WCW even earlier makes me think we are actually not a very good booking committee at all...

I know, I know, it’s going to be one that divides opinion. A lot of people were pleased we were able to cut his 1995 WWF title reign from our timeline, and now we’ve gone and undone that by recognising Nash in 1998. But it is what it is – this is where the line has led us. Anyway, in the next 50 days you can choose from a bout with Ray Traylor, Raven, or a rematch with The Giant from Uncensored.

Putting that aside, I'll take all three of those opponents as valid challengers for the world title. None are at their peak quite but all are notable names and will serve us just fine here, despite my overwhelming urge to try to vacate the title by any means necessary!

All of the above.

Give me the raven, never more.

Well, The Giant at Uncensored is an obvious title defense, isn't it? I'd vote in favor of acknowledging both the Traylor and Raven matches, too. As per usual, I like a fighting Champion.

I’d probably give the nod just to Raven and Giant, and they are both already through, so this one is in the book.

Defences against Raven and The Giant are recognised.

Nash continues his reign into the period after the Uncensored PPV. The singles bouts that we might choose to recognise will come from two on Nitro against Sting, one on Nitro against Luger, and one each on Thunder and Saturday Night against Rick Steiner, as he got drawn into the brothers’ feud along with the rest of the NWO.

I suppose of that lot, the only ones that could be any issue would potentially be Rick Steiner. They're not an issue with me, though. I say they're all defenses.

Rick Steiner in '98 is getting pretty beyond the pale, I can't sanction that in good conscience.

They all look fun to me!

Sting, easily. Actually, Gimme both Sting’s.

I suppose we have to accept Sting and Luger as valid challengers of the era, though I'm again tempted to discount their worth solely to end this hellish reign of Nash. Lose a match already!!

And again I find I can concur with the majority and say I’d recognise both the Sting bouts and the Luger one, so this isn’t a controversial case at all.

Decision is to recognise the two Sting and Luger matches on Nitro

The issue with the next period is that Nash largely reverts to being a tag wrestler during this time, and only wrestles singles matches on house shows. There are three matches with The Giant, and two with Diamond Dallas Page, that can potentially save his belt. We had decided to prioritise televised matches first and foremost, but they can save him if we decide they are worthy enough. So gentlemen, what is it to be?

I guess you guys know my vote by now. Even if I weren't into the "every match is a defense" thing, though, that's some pretty high quality opposition. Giant is the most recent former LOP Champion and DDP is, well, DDP. That sounds like a pretty solid run of title bouts to me.

Hold it up, fuck all that noise.

Ewwww house shows. Hold it up.

I really do sympathise with the idea of holding the belt up in this case, but they do look like decent bouts. And I’m not in favour of vacating on a whim. I’m willing to give him a chance to get through this time around.

I would really. Really. Like to vote no to all of this, because we're in the darkest timeline right now. But I want to be fair and consistent, and both Giant and DDP are worthy challengers, so I'll accept them both. Very begrudgingly.

Decision taken to recognise all the matches as title defences

Things get even tighter for Nash in the following 50 days – can he possibly survive, when he only has one singles match in the right timeframe? The only thing that might save him is that his match is against the 7 foot former champion, The Giant.

Nope. Hold it up.

Good lord, he keeps just barely surviving!! For the sake of consistency I'll again vote yes, but I'm getting awfully close to snapping and going into business for myself here.

I think he’s probably pushed his luck too far here. I say no.

I say si to Giant once again being a valid contender.

Kill me should be an option. But alas I say yes fuck it, why not?

Decision is 3-2 in favour of recognising The Giant match

With Joe switching sides there, the belt stays on Nash for another 50 day window. In that he does return to having at least one singles match on TV, against Curt Hennig. He also takes on The Giant on another house show, this time in Green Bay. He also takes part in a Battle Royal that we could potentially recognise as a LoP title match, following our vote to recognise the 1992 Royal Rumble. So what do people think?

Again I blame all of you deviants.

You know what? I say Nash is a fighting champion. He's come this far defending his title against all comers, so I'll say yes to all three, including the battle royal. Let's see him get through THAT unscathed! I'm realizing I may have become the corrupt GM out to screw the champion at this point, but since the champion is Nash I feel very justified in my corruption.

I'm absolutely good with both Hennig and Giant being worthwhile contenders. But I don't think I'd count the Battle Royal as a title bout, though. That seems a bit arbitrary for some reason.

Shit gimme the Battle Royale.

Hennig only , please.

Yeah, my instinct is that I don’t think we can recognise the Battle Royal in good conscience. So while I think there could be an upside in taking that match and going somewhere else after this poor summer, I think it’s got to just be the other two.

Decision is to recognise the Hennig and Giant matches.

It's another knife-edge vote, and Nash survives once again. For the next 50 days I’m going to bundle the matches together so we can see the whole picture at once. On TV, we can choose between a bout with Stevie Ray on Thunder, or Brian Adams on Nitro. And if those don’t do the trick, there’s also a house show match from Erie with his old tag partner, Scott Hall.

Ewwwww. But I vote Yes to the TVs.

Give me the one where he loses.

I’m going to interpret that as a no. Mizfan?

You know what? Stevie Ray and Brian Adams are garbage opponents and I'm not giving either one of them a shot. Scott Hall at one time would be a first rate challenger, but by this point in the timeline he's badly degenerated and I don't think he's worthy of it either. I've had all I can stand, I vote no valid defenses in this period.

Wow. Even with my whole "every match should be a defense" thing, those first two are kinda brutal. Not to besmirch the good names of Stevie Ray or Crush, mind you. But... yeah. That's rough. Scott Hall is easily a worthy contender, though, so I vote we keep on riding on diesel power with Big Sexy holding the strap through the end of the year.

No to the house show, even if it's by far the more interesting match. We are at the peak of wrestling on TV and PPV. No excuse for it not being televised.

D’you know what? I’m looking at Scott Hall’s record here. In his last five, he’s lost four and drawn one. He’s got a losing record for the year, and if you want to find the last time that he won back to back matches you have to go back to January. And it’s instructive to look at his opponents when he managed that. Jim Neidhart and the Disco Inferno – with all due respect to both men, Neidhart was a 43-year old who’d mostly been working as a tag wrestler and hadn’t held a major singles title since 1984, while Disco Inferno has spent most of the intervening period working in a lower weight class. So by my reckoning, at this point Scott Hall is living on past glory, and does not deserve the opportunity to be world champion at this point in 1998. I say there is no valid defence.

Vote is 3-1-1 to vacate the title

Ding dong, the Nash title run is dead! That's more than enough of that, I think.

So we’re forced to hold up the title for the second time in a twelve month period. Despite dominating the WWF title picture for most of the year to this point, Stone Cold Steve Austin is not featured in the valid WWF title match, so the options we’re given look a bit strange. There is a full slate of matches to choose from though, with each title defended in time. Here are your choices:

ECW: Shane Douglas vs Lance Storm, Event in Birmingham, AL, 17.10.98
WWF: Kane vs Undertaker, IYH25: Judgement Day, 18.10.98
WCW: Goldberg vs Meng, Saturday Night Dark Match, 20.10.98
NWA: Dan Severn vs Steven Regal, Event in Cherry Hill, 24.10.98
IWGP: Shinya Hashimoto vs Scott Norton, NJPW NWO Typhoon 30.10.98
Triple Crown: Kenta Kobashi vs Mitushara Misawa, 31.10.98

Oooh this is a whole lot of choice.

Now, as much as I enjoy some of the people involved in the ECW, NWA, and IWGP matches, I don't think any of them quite measure up at this time. Part of me would love to place the belt on Goldberg, considering how overwhelmingly hot he is at this time and the fact that I also enjoy Meng tremendously, but that doesn't feel quite right either.

Y’know, I’m inclined to throw the WWF title match out straight away since Vince McMahon has such a hand in bringing about this title match. I’m not sure you can really validate a WWF title match without Steve Austin in it at this point in time.

I feel like putting the cat amongst the pigeons today though. As a WWE homer, my natural instinct to have the Brothers of Destruction do battle goes on the back burner. Kobashi vs Misawa is the stuff of legends. I have no idea how that lays out the future of this title but let's have a five star match in our history. Now I've said that, I'm probably gonna find out it was some kind of screwy dud.

Hmmmmm. The Kobashi vs Misawa match is definitely one worth looking at. That said, I think I have to give the edge to Taker vs Kane due to the fact that it's occurring at a major event and on the higher profile stage.

I was close to going with hashi and Norton but I’m gonna go Misawa and Kob...who am I kidding? It’s gonna be Kane vs undertaker innit.

Anyone who says that's my Taker bias coming out ... may have a valid point of argument.

I think Goldberg has a case but a dark match just doesn’t have world title bout feel, and though I have a lot of time for both men in the NWA title match I’m not sure it really still feels like a world title at this point in time. The ECW title match looks like it could be a classic, but Lance Storm literally just got beaten by Rob Van Dam just a couple of nights ago – do we really want to go out to the world and say that the LoP World Champion can’t beat the ECW TV Champion?

We're left then with WWF and AJPW. Using a bit of meta-knowledge, we know that the Kane/Taker bout in question is a bit of a damp squib, yet WWF has blown up enormously again at this time and you can't deny the name value and the iconic nature of the participants. On the other hand, you've got two of the greatest wrestlers of all time in Kobashi and Misawa, in one of their most heavily hyped and acclaimed matches no less. I am a little hesitant because I think the King's Road style has spiraled out of control at this time into something far too dangerous and damaging long term, but you really can't avoid the monumental nature of the two men involved and the enormity of this match, of all things, being the one on our plate. I think ultimately I have to vote for the WWF here just due to how very much on top of the wrestling world they were at the time, but it's not an easy choice.

So we’ve got the two Japanese matches left for my money. Kenta Kobashi has been in post longer than Scott Norton, and while Misawa and Hashimoto both have scarce recent records, Misawa has won more of his matches, while Hashimoto recently dropped a big bout to Tenryu. I call that a 2-0 win and say we recognise the winner of the Triple Crown title match.

Misawa vs Kobashi 3 Undertaker vs Kane 2

The decision, then, is to recognise the winner of Misawa and Kobashi – and the bout is duly won by Mitsuharu Misawa who becomes our first Japanese champion since Tatsumi Fujinami in 1991 (we won’t count Yokozuna as Japanese here), and only the fifth Japanese champion overall. He also ends an unofficial ‘time of Giants’, since going back to February of 1997 every champion (except Bret Hart’s fifth reign) was near, at, or over seven feet tall. Bret's fifth reign also makes him the second-most recognised champion of all-time, after Ric Flair (7) and with one reign more than both Ed Lewis and Lou Thesz. Anyway, this one has been long enough so we’ll just finish quickly by recapping the ground covered today, and we’ll be back again soon – when we’ll likely bring the LoP World title into the 21st century.

Sycho Sid (2) – February 17th, 1997 – March 23rd, 1997
The Undertaker – March 23rd, 1997 – August 3rd, 1997
85th Bret Hart (5) – August 3rd, 1997 – November 9th, 1997
Vacant – November 9th, 1997 – November 24th, 1997
The Giant – November 24th 1997 – January 24th, 1998
Kevin Nash – January 24th, 1998 – October 11th, 1998
Vacant – October 11th, 1998 – October 31st, 1998

10-08-2018, 09:18 AM
Man I love this series. I think you made the right decision in vacating the title at Montreal, no wrestler has the right to act the way Brett did that day. It was probably also a good idea to go with WCW because from my memory it was still beating WWE in the ratings at that point so was arguable the bigger company. Although Kevin Nash, I think I was hoping there would be a vacation of the title ever time the vote came up.

Interesting to not have the title go back to the WWF at this point. I've never seen the match you guys picked but I'll put it on my list of matches to watch for sure after the praise here. Now it is in Japan I'm really interested in where things go. Will the belt even get back to the WWF during the Attitude era or will things keep conspiring to keep the belt away from them. Surely there will have to be an Austin run in this at some point.

10-08-2018, 01:41 PM
I was wishing Nash would go on a permanent vacation! God, don't know how we all survived that period.

Legitimately surprised Joe hates Meng, if he actually does.

Did not expect we would actually go to Japan but I'm not sad about it! Super fun stuff Pete, looking forward to more of this!

Don Franc
10-09-2018, 04:18 PM
Love this. Great idea and what a fantastic panel you have here. A bit surprised that Shawn did not become LOP Champion because at the end of the day he left Survivor Series with the belt. Nevertheless the circumstances were absolutely shady, so the vacancy makes.

I also like how the title can move between promotions. Looking forward to the next entry.

10-10-2018, 08:56 AM
I was all set to come down here and place a plague on all your houses for missing the chance to put the title on Misawa in favour of literally anybody else on that list, but then you did it and made me happy!

Of course, the downside is that you've put it on him right before the Real World Tag League, and I don't think he has another singles match until January (when he spoiler against spoiler), so presumably the title becomes vacant almost immediately when the next one of these goes up due to the 50 day rule. But so it goes.

Still loving these, guys.

Prime Time
10-14-2018, 11:54 AM
Sam - My votes are largely going along kayfabe lines and so the backstage stuff doesn't really factor in - Bret lost without losing, ergo I voted for him to still be the champion. For what it's worth, I still think that while there's blame enough to go around for everyone, he is the least to blame of the three principal protagonists in the Montreal debacle. Shawn caused it, Vince enabled Shawn. The worst you can really say about Bret is that after he a while he snapped and refused to be the bigger man. That doesn't absolve him, but it's the most understandable, I think. I think you can tell a lot of the guys in here were right there with you on Nash. I actually remember being into Kev at the time, but somehow everything conspired here to being worse than his actual run! You'd think Austin will get the belt, but at the same time he's such a key figure that where he's missing from the WWF match, as in the case at the end there, it's hard to see how something else won't be bigger. But we'll see how it shakes out.

Mizfan - I was a bit surprised about Joe/Meng myself. I hope we find out more about this in future! Japan is an interesting detour, let's see how long it lasts...

Don Franc - Yeah, I think if they'd never acknowledged the screwjob in their stories then I'd have voted for Shawn to keep the belt. As it is, they cover it almost immediately, and as I'm going with kayfabe once you clearly admit the promoter has fucked over a wrestler and had a crooked referee ring the bell I don't think you can allow it. He'd have also lost the belt by forfeit (probably) with his back injury in 1998, so there's a decent chance we'd have ended up in exactly the same place.

Oliver - Ha yeah, Misawa is one of a handful of names that's always going to have a chance of making it and beating out American names. You've hit something that we're already discussing there with the world tag league, so you'll just have to see how that one plays out next time!

Alright, thanks for reading everyone.

Prime Time
01-01-2019, 11:06 AM

Welcome, after something of a delay, to the eighth meeting of the Lords of Pain World Heavyweight Championship Committee. At this point I genuinely need to consult my notes to see where we got to. While I do that, why don’t you get reacquainted with my fellow board members, Steve, Mizfan, Uncle Joe and Mazza?

Ah, yes; I remember now. We finished up last time in the mists and mires of the autumn of 1998, and what was a fairly painful run of recognising Kevin Nash came to an end when we vacated the title through lack of activity, and moved the belt over to Japan by recognising the winner of a match between Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi. Misawa was the victor in that affair, and consequently became the LoP World Heavyweight champion; the first from Japan since Tatsumi Fujinami at the beginning of the decade.

The issue here is that we almost immediately run into problems. The Japanese schedule works on rather a different set of guidelines than the one we’ve been working with so far, and Misawa basically wrestles in a tag competition for much of the rest of the year. He doesn’t wrestle a singles match until January, when he defends the title against Toshiaki Kawada, because he takes part in the world tag league through the end of 1998. So we can either strip him after 50 days and stay consistent with what we’ve done in the US, or say that Japan operates differently and we need to be flexible, nominate the Kawada match as a title match, and let him carry on. Gentlemen, it’s rather earlier than I’d hoped for, but I’m going to need to get an almost immediate decision - do we hold on for Misawa?

Wow, that's a tough call actually. I'm surprised we made it over to Misawa in the first place to be honest. I'll have to think on that.

Man we gave Kevin Nash valuable time of our lives we can extend this courtesy to Misawa

I say strip him. It's nice to give some legends from that side a brief cameo but we are hitting the peak of pro-wrestling in America.

I don’t like holding the title up as a general rule, and I think that having put the belt on Misawa we can probably wait to see how this plays out. Plus, it’s not like he’s not wrestling: we put the title on him knowing full well that the World tag league was coming up. I don’t think we can complain that it becomes his priority in this case. I don’t consider it setting a precedent, necessarily, but am happy to go along with it as special dispensation and nominate the match with Toshiaki Kawada in January as a defence.

I say we strip him at 50 days. To make such a big allowance so deep into the Championship's history seems wrong somehow.

Alright, I've decided it's bloody Misawa and I don't like vacating the title. If Nash limped his way to a (seemingly endless) reign, then Misawa should get every chance. I vote for special dispensation in view of the Japanese tradition of sparser defenses.

Vote is to allow dispensation by 3 votes to 2.

Misawa, then, holds on by a single vote and is able to make it to his defence in January. At this point he drops the belt to Toshiaki Kawada, who is injured in the process of winning the belt and has to forfeit the Triple Crown title. With the precedent we’ve set, that means he simultaneously relinquishes the LoP world championship, and we need to have two votes within four months. Anyway, gentlemen, we need to find another championship defence. There are championship matches on WWF and ECW House Shows, on Monday Nitro between Hogan and Piper, and then an IWGP title defence at Fighting Spirit. Your thoughts?

Can you smell that? Smells like old socks and unprotected headshots. Time for the title to head back stateside to the company pushing hot new talent and not guys a decade past their prime.

Sayonara Misawa san. *makes eyes slanted* Ok, ok. Sorry, good lord.

I'm going to handily throw Hogan and Piper out of the mix right off. Big names or not, this is 1999 and we don't want our championship to be a joke, do we?

Normally I’d be inclined to stick up for a match that pits the US Champion against the World Champion as a valid defence, especially as both guys, being in their mid-40s, are not really any older than guys like Thesz when they held the title. But Piper won the US title in his first match in six months, so I’d say that doesn’t help his case. And let’s not forget that Hogan won the belt in the ‘fingerpoke of doom’ incident, and I’d humbly suggest fixing a match like that should disqualify you from consideration from the LoP title. So yeah, I won’t be voting that way, either.

The other options are more appealing but really, if you want to go with what's hot, it's got to be Mankind and the Rock. Time to head back to the WWF for some of the hottest wrestling of all time.

Interesting choices here. I’ll go Shane Douglas vs Taz.

Really tempted to go ECW here. Shane Douglas dominated that title from 1997 and made it mean probably as much as any strap in North America. Though ECW is clearly the number three promotion in terms of size, this is the one moment where I could see potentially saying the winner of this match is the world champion. The long-standing champion looking to regain the belt in the high-profile rematch sounds like an absolute no-brainer.

Except it isn’t the high-profile rematch. Taz has already bested him again. And this is just some random house show match. Which makes it a two-way contest between the WWF and IWGP contests. And in the end I think the Japanese match wins out, just.

While I love the ideas of both Rock/Mankind or especially Shane/Taz representing the LOP Championship, I think I have to go with Sasaki vs Muta. It not only features high caliber performers but also is being contested on a large and significant stage.

All of which means we have a tie. Joe, you’re the odd-one-out here and will have the casting vote. Do we make the WWF or IWGP title bouts our championship match?

We’ve had enough WWF shit for now so let’s go sasaki vs muta.

Vote is WWF 2 IWGP 2 ECW 1
Uncle Joe casts the Tiebreaking vote for the IWGP Title Match

So with that, The Great Muta gets a victory to become our 90th LoP Champion. But things aren’t getting any easier. His next title match and singles defence is five days outside the 50 day window, as he’s mostly booked as part of nWo Japan at this time. Simple choice really – recognise the match and keep the line intact, or be strict about the 50 days and hold up the belt?

As cool as Muta is, I’m all for chaos so I say let’s hold that bitch up.

In the words of the late great Nate Dogg - "Smoke Weed Everyday".

Going to have to ask for some clarification there, Maz. I mean it sounds like a good idea for life generally but I don't have a clue which side of the question you're coming down on.

I can't deny it. I've got 21 questions but they're not all about you. Anyway, it ain’t no fun if the homies can't get none. Errrr. Yeah. Hold up that belt.

It's becoming more and more clear that we didn't take Japan properly into account when we set a limit on our title defenses! As before, I vote for special dispensation.

We've adhered to the 50 day clause pretty well so far, I think, and I see no reason to abandon that now. Unfortunately, I guess that means holding up the belt yet again.

The Vote is 3-2 to hold up the title

By a narrow vote the title is off Muta. The irony of it is that as it's only five days after his next match is one of the three options. Austin's vulnerable neck and the Triple Crown/NWA schedules mean there are only three matches on the list this time around: DDP/Flair/Hogan/Sting at Spring Stampede, Taz vs Spike Dudley on 10/4, and Muta vs Don Frye at Strong Style Symphony on the same day.

Blimey. Errr, I am going for ECW just for the lulz. Fight me. I am so going to have to cast a tie-break later, aren't I?

It would appear as though options are somewhat limited. While I love the idea of ECW and especially Taz getting some love here, that wouldn't be in keeping with my history of voting. As such, I have to go with the most high profile match featuring the most worthy competitors, that being the Fatal 4 Way from Spring Stampede.

Fuck I can’t remember if this is the match spike Dudley wins because that would totally be my vote; Spike Dudley’s fucking awesome lol.

This might make things more awkward but I genuinely believe the best option here is to put the title back on to Muta, as awkward as we've made it for ourselves by taking it off him in the first place. But I just don't like any of the other options.

I'd rather die than put the title back in WCW, and I don't want to put the title back on a guy who was just stripped because then we'll never get out of this quagmire. Screw it, give me that ECW flavor finally, I always liked Spike Dudley anyway!

Shit actually give me the 4 way (heeeyyooo) so we can get ddp yoga some pub

I’ll give my casting vote to the four way, I suppose.

Vote is ECW 2 WCW 2 IWGP 1
Prime Time casts the Tiebreaking vote for the WCW Title Match

We’ve ended up with the title back in WCW on a tiebreaker. But this is 1999 and we’re probably going to have to be careful to protect the legacy of our title, given the shenanigans of the era. Case in point. We can’t go a month before having to address something. On the April 26th Nitro, Diamond Dallas Page is given 45 minutes notice to defend the WCW title. He loses to Sting. Kevin Nash challenges three guys to a fatal four way for the same belt, on the same night. Sting is on the verge of losing to Goldberg when Randy Savage interferes. As it’s a no-DQ match, this is allowed to go, and Page reclaims the title.

I mean, there’s a lot of fucking stuff to work through here. We’re not obliged to recognise a match for the LoP title if the champion is forced into a match without adequate time to prepare. So we could void the whole thing and just carry on with Page. Or, we could recognise the first title change giving the belt to Sting, but say it’s unfair to expect him to defend the title on the same night he wins it. Or we could keep the whole sorry affair intact, and let Page lose and regain the title on the same night. Or, we can use this as an opportunity to get out of WCW.

Holy shit.

What a clusterfuck. This is exactly the sort of thing that I was fearing as we approached this era.

Well, for some god forsaken reason we've put the title back in WCW in 1999, so the legacy of our title is already pretty well shot. Just reading that absolute mess you described for April 26th is more than enough for me to vote out of hand to vacate the title, we cannot trust our championship to a promotion that is pulling this kind of crap. Vacate it now! Save our belt!

Right, I am not sure I can get behind the whole "having adequate time to prepare" deal. It's pro-wrestling. Matches are made in a heartbeat. That's a good thing rather than a bad thing. I mean the whole heap of crap that came after it remains a heap of crap but that's what happens when you send the belt down south.

Ha, I thought this would be a rare area to revisit some of our old disagreements! I personally hold that anything that doesn't get proper build is a heap of crap and hate those kinda swerve matches, but there we go. I take it your vote is to leave it all intact?

Yeah for now. My voting integrity will remain and I shall get the title back to the E for "MY TIME... MY TIME... MY TIME..." sooner or later.

I guess I’ve just tipped my hand there a minute ago. I think this is patently unfair to the champion and I don’t see any reason to recognise any of this shit. Dallas comes in with the belt and leaves with it, and everything in between is nonsense that deserves to be ignored, in my book.

Ummm shit. On one hand we can let sting win the belt seeing as how that match was GREAT; one of the company’s last great matches amid all of the fuckery. But ...man wcw was embroiled in a lot of fuckery. Like too much, and id love to get sting a run here even if it is short lived. Goddaaaaaaamnit pete. I'm all for recognizing sting amid all the chaos that is going to ensue.

While the rules adhering guy in me says we should stick with the lineage, no matter how full of shenanigans it may be, the purist is screaming to just say, "Fuck it," and get the hell out of WCW. I'm going with the purist. I vote we vacate the title due to mismanagement of the Champion and find ourselves a new kingpin.

Forfeit 3 DDP 1 Sting 1
Title is Vacated

A fairly clear verdict for stepping out of WCW while we can, with no agreement about which way to stay in the company even if we did hang around. So once again, and for the fourth time since Montreal, the title is vacant, and so we need to find another title match. There’s almost a full slate to choose from here, with only the NWA title excluded because it’s not defended in a timely enough fashion. The WWF belt is on a house show again, as is the ECW title, but we have big, televised affairs for the other three. What do you think?

ECW: Taz vs Spike Dudley, House Show, May 1st
Triple Crown: Vader vs Mitsuharu Misawa, Giant Baba Memorial Show, May 2nd
WCW: Diamond Dallas Page vs Ric Flair, Nitro, May 3rd
IWGP: Keiji Mutoh vs Genichiro Tenryu – Strong Energy 1999, May 3rd
WWF: Big Boss Man vs Steve Austin, House Show, May 7th

Shit it's been so long since we've done one of these that the girl I had my eyes on is now old enough to drink. Well in any case lemme get that mutoh vs tenryu joint.

It may be a house show however we have a chance to put the strap on the hottest act in history during the hottest boom period. Put that bad boy on Stone Cold.

Let's see... I'm gonna have to rule out ECW right away, despite liking both TAz and Spike. Same goes for DDP and Flair, I just can't send the title back to WCW. The other three actually present a really tough choice. I think Bossman is probably a little too down the totem pole by '99 to be a valid contender, so let's go ahead and write that one off as well. So we're going back to Japan! I could easily take either one, but I think I've got to go with my man Vader and his bout with Misawa. Very interested to see how the committee goes!

We've actually got a strong batch of matches to choose from, here. That's nice after the last few times. In saying that, though, one match really stands out to me in terms of both the quality of the contenders and the magnitude of the event. I've gotta go with Vader vs Misawa.

I can see the value of going with the WWF championship match, but I can’t countenance calling the Boss Man the Champion, and we can’t trust McMahon. We’ve set ourselves off on this path through Kevin Nash and various vacant stretches purely because McMahon fixed one of his matches, and in the time we’ve been away from the WWF he has been trying to prevent Steve Austin from holding the belt. I don’t think we can allow our title to head to the WWF unless the situation is completely fool-proof. I think it’s a straight choice between the two Japanese promotions and I’m going to vote for Misawa and Vader, although it’s a close run thing.

IWGP 1 Triple Crown 3 WWF 1
Vote is to recognise the winner of the Triple Crown title match

We nominate the Triple Crown title match and Misawa becomes a two-time champion. He’s able to hold onto the belt for a couple of months without incident. He then goes for a few months without a defence of the Triple Crown title. But if we use our precedent for Hulk Hogan we don’t have to avoid forfeiting the title, as Misawa wrestles both Vader and Yoshiro Takayama on the same day. Recognising either of the matches as a defence would mean we can carry on as we are; if not, we’ll need to hold the belt up again, for what would be the sixth time in less than two years. So, which way shall we go?

Yes to both, especially Vader. Always yes for Vader!

Both defences.

I mean I'm personally OK with keeping the belt on Missy til his defenses but what would be the most fair? Also our belt is prestigious and not meant for the faint of heart or asslicking jabronis so if anyone fails to boot up then they get shit out. So while I vote to keep the belt going as is, I won't be mad if others choose to strip him like Demi Moore. Wow that was an old reference.

I say that we recognize one or both of those matches as LOP Championship defenses, regardless of whether the Triple Crown was on the line. I say we go with both bouts.

I’m inclined to agree with the consensus that these both need to be title matches, if Misawa survives the first one. And we’ll leave this here for now, and when we rejoin we’ll see how Misawa gets on in his defences.

Both bouts are recognised unanimously as LoP title matches

At the end of that run, Vader defeats Misawa to become the LoP Heavyweight Champion for the first time. And it's at that point that we'll resume next time. Until then, here is the ground that we've covered this time.

Mitsuharu Misawa – October 31st, 1998 – January 22nd, 1999
Toshiaki Kawada – January 22nd, 1999 – January 29th, 1999
Vacant – January 29th, 1999 – February 14th, 1999
90th Keiji Muto – February 14th, 1999 – April 5th, 1999
Vacant – April 5th, 1999– April 11th, 1999
Diamond Dallas Page – April 11th, 1999 – April 26, 1999
Vacant – April 26th, 1999 – May 2nd, 1999
Mitsuharu Misawa (2) – May 2nd, 1999 – September 4th, 1999

01-01-2019, 10:55 PM
Heck yeah! Love this series.

I'll be honest while reading this I was getting more and more infuriated that you guys weren't going back to the WWF, particularly when it was Rock & Mankind, one of the hottest stretches of all time. However thinking about it in full as if this was a legit fighting belt I could rightly understand the hesitance to go back after what happened in Montreal you would be very nervous trusting McMahon with your title again. That said I do think you need to settle on someone soon as it seems like no one is really getting a prolonged run with the strap before they are stripped or find themselves in some sort of controversy.

Prime Time
01-02-2019, 10:33 AM
Going to jump in a bit early on this one. The Kawada thing was kind of out of our control but yeah, it's interesting to think about how things might have gone had we not been so happy to take the belt away in the other two cases. If we'd left the belt on Muta he'd have probably had to have given it up in June... but that would likely have meant that the WWF title match would have been Undertaker vs The Rock at King of the Ring, and it would have had no Japanese competition. Hard to see it losing that one.

If we'd left the belt on Page in WCW, then the odds are you go down a path in 1999 that has Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan, and whether we ended up with Goldberg or not would have come down to a vote. Sting, meanwhile, would probably have lost the belt straight back to Page and put us on the same path.

We clearly could have gone with the WWF in early 1999, and it was hot enough to do that. The way the matches fell ran against it though - can't see Rock and Foley losing out if it had been one of their big matches rather than a house show. Perhaps there's a vote we need to have in that as a few times the WWF has been disadvantaged. But truth be told, the WWF in 1999 was so crazy I doubt our title would survive there without getting pulled either. Corporate special referees and screwjob finishes every few months, not to mention Vince himself as champion... yeah, it hardly screams 'secure', does it!

Thanks for reading though Sam, glad you're still getting a kick out of the series.

01-02-2019, 12:35 PM
Still can't believe we went back to WCW, even if it was for all of two weeks. At least we got to recognize DDP! Great work Pete, love reading these.

Don Franc
01-06-2019, 04:56 PM
It's funny how civilized the arguments are for who should be champion considering some of the guys involved hehe. However, some great points are made here. But with that being said, it would have simplified things keeping it in the states as more title defences are happening there. But Japan ruled the roost this time around and it would be interesting to see if that trend continues.

I also had no idea there was an NWO Japan. Interesting...

I enjoyed this guys.

Prime Time
01-12-2019, 07:55 AM
Mizfan: The cards fall where they fall! Though if it was up to me, we'd have left the belt on Muta, and as I say to Sam that probably takes us through the WWF. Lord knows how we get through their 1999 unscathed though! Thanks for your continued participation, mate.

Don: Yeah, I'm a bit surprised that there isn't a bit more vitriol at times! Keeping things in the US would definitely been simpler, as would paying more attention to the Japanese wrestling culture when deciding the model, but the last bit is exclusively on me and no one else. There was an NWO Japan, through NJPW's link with WCW that went back a long way. Muta was part of it, as was Chono, and while they occasionally came to the US guys like Scott Norton went the other way and were part of it there too. If you do NJPW World you can probably find some bits and pieces from that era.

Thanks for reading guys!

01-15-2019, 05:33 AM
OK, so you voted against a clusterfuck in WCW only to create a clusterfuck elsewhere?

Kind of hypocritical as well that you set out with a hard & fast rule about vacating the title when it isn't defended (which this column breaks) only to vacate it because it got defended too much one day!

May be worth considering the aftermath of each match when having a vote rather than just the match itself. Voting in a match which then immediately causes another vote seems pretty pointless. Even if it is the voting which makes the column a column!

Prime Time
01-18-2019, 05:20 AM
Hypocritical? OUCH. Bit harsh!

In all seriousness that's a word that gets bandied around a lot when it doesn't really apply. In this case, I don't think the vote was that it was defended 'too much', but even if it was that wouldn't really be hypocritical. It's perfectly possible to believe that a belt can be defended both too frequently and infrequently. Case in point, going six months without a defence is clearly too long but defending it three times per show, every show, would be too often. And I think everyone would agree with that, at least if they are interested in credibility. It would only be hypocritical if I'd said you can't defend the title too much, but then still used that as a reason to take the strap away.

But my vote wasn't about frequency. It was about the champ being forced into an impromptu match (something that I'm always basically against), and then a second match taking place, arranged entirely by the wrestlers, when two of the participants had already wrestled. Just a complete clusterfuck and the whole thing was better off ignored. Now with that said... I voted to just leave the belt on Page, so there is that.

I'm afraid the last suggestion isn't really compatible with what we're trying to do. There's a principle that you can examine something after the bout in the event of controversy, but otherwise the idea is to put yourself in the historical position as much as possible and to think about what match would make for the best title match - so if you're thinking about it before it takes place, you can't really factor in the result. But it's not pointless, because these votes all determine the direction of the title, even if they are twisted, circling, unclear directions at times.

01-18-2019, 12:31 PM
In all seriousness that's a word that gets bandied around a lot when it doesn't really apply.

True - maybe "ironic" would have been better?

Prime Time
01-18-2019, 07:43 PM
Definitely feels like a better fit 👍