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    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    The Lords of Pain World Heavyweight Championship - 2002-2004


    Welcome to the first meeting in some time of the LoP Championship Committee. We left things with a lot to resolve in that funny old year of 2002, and both WCW and ECW fell by the wayside in our last column, so the wrestling landscape is going to be very different from this time out.

    I’m joined as always by Mazza, Mizfan and Uncle Joe, but we do have a change to our roster. As I’m sure many of you know, Steve has been very busy and won’t be able to take part in this going forward – I’d like to take a moment just to put on record our thanks for his contribution to the first century of the prestigious LoP Title.

    And the prestige of that belt means that when you look around for a fifth member of the group, you need someone who is going to understand that prestige, who will know what it means to take decisions concerning a belt that has been held by the likes of Strangler Lewis, Jim Londos, and Lou Thesz. With that in mind I’ve turned to one of the finest historians we’ve had on this site, one of the few people here who knows more about those illustrious names than me – I’d like to welcome LWO4Life to the panel.

    Last time out we finished with a conundrum at the end of the match between Triple H and Hollywood Hogan, and we decided that we’re staying in the WWE but not recognising their champion, as in a very close vote we’re sticking with Hunter over Hogan. That means we need to find a defence in the next 50 days. Hunter is quite busy, though, so to kick things off: gentlemen, here are your options.

    Chris Jericho, Smackdown 141
    Undertaker, Insurrextion
    Reverend D-Von, Smackdown 143
    Chris Jericho, Judgement Day
    Lance Storm, Smackdown 145
    Test, Smackdown 146
    Hulk Hogan, Smackdown 147

    So, I have a vote in this. Okay... hum... let me think about this.

    It's the PPVs for me. Yes, even the British one. Taker at Insurrextion and Jericho at Judgement Day.

    I think I’m going to go with just Jericho, and the International PPV for my part.

    We have sunk into new Lows. Considering that Devon fucking Dudley is on a list to be a possible contender for our beloved title. Oh, how the mighty have fallen, the erect the massively erect have fallen so, so impotent.

    I suppose I can't avoid voting for the Jericho and Undertaker matches to be recognized here. No way am I giving Hogan another title shot though, he had his chance and it was a damn farce!

    Okay, I vote for Smackdown 147 for the simple fact, it's entertaining. Trips has a successful defense and you have him beating Hogan at the end.

    Shit man if we're honest here, and I'd like to believe that we are, I put these 7 choices on the floor on different pieces of paper, covered in different treats and let my dog choose which one went first. And of course, he picks the treat that has Devon’s name on it. looks like this one is definitely going to get sent to a kill shelter.

    Vote is to recognise the Jericho match as a valid defence

    So, Hunter wins that match and carries on into the Summer of 2002 as champion. That means we need to find another valid defence if he is to keep the belt.

    Lance Storm – Smackdown #145
    Test – Smackdown #146
    Hulk Hogan – Smackdown #147
    Billy Gunn – Smackdown #149
    Undertaker – KOTR 2002

    See what happens when I don't get my way? We end up with this murderer's row of challengers, no pun intended as I've noticed taker on here. I guess undertaker is my choice because maybe he beats him? And while I'm not for undertaker winning the strap, we all know he doesn't have long title reigns so it would be over with quickly. So yeah give me the Deadman.

    I've got to say, only Undertaker really seems like a reasonable challenger here, so I suppose that's the only one I throw my support behind!

    Sticking with my PPV only strategy here.

    I also vote for King of the Ring, since we need to get the belt on Undertaker, then why not do it now.

    Well there’s no guarantee that he’s going to win, of course, but I imagine he’s got every chance – and I think I concur with the consensus that this match has to be the one.

    Vote is unanimous to recognise HHH vs Undertaker at KOTR as a defence

    The result of the last vote means Undertaker becomes our champion at King of the Ring and that reconciles us to the WWE Undisputed title again, which Undertaker carries without a problem until Summerslam. There, he loses the belt to The Rock.

    Trouble is, if I remember correctly, Rocky didn’t beat Undertaker. He beat Kurt Angle. And I think this is actually quite a big deal, because in no decision we’ve made yet have we agreed that you can win the title without beating the champion – or that you can lose it because someone else takes a pinfall. Obviously, there’s going to be a knock-on effect from the decision we take here regarding all future triple threat matches, and those with still more participants, too.

    So, is it right that ‘Taker can lose the title without losing? Is it right that Rocky can be the champion without beating the man who held the strap?

    Two questions, then, and they are inevitably going to be linked so we can be consistent. The easy one first. Is Undertaker champion, or is The Rock?

    And now the harder one. How do we approach this kind of matches? Do we just recognise any changes as a result, regardless of who is involved in the result (vote this way for Rock winning)? If you’ve voted for Undertaker, you have two options: do we just rule them out entirely? Or do we go down the middle and say that the title can only change hands if it is the champion that is actually defeated?

    Oh boy. This is something I hadn't even considered. It's too confusing. I vote that we revert to the previous LOP champion before Undertaker. That would sort this whole mess out!

    Ok, let's say for arguments sake that we take the option of constantly returning to Hunter off the table. Rocky or 'Taker?!

    I really do understand the idea of wanting the champ to be pinned. I really do. Setting this as a precedent however could really see us go way off linear titles as we head through the noughties. Hell, I like it. It could make things really interesting. I vote the champ has to be pinned or submitted to lose his title. Deadman is still walking.

    With the Undertaker to Rock, it was a a Triple Threat. So Undertaker defended the belt but Rock did pin Angle to win. I personally hate NOT beating the champ to win the belt, but once wrestling hit the post-Attitude Era, then you have a lot of this. Like if we do Angle holding the belt and Mysterio getting the belt at WrestleMania, it's just going to get worst. So I'd recognize the change, even though myself, I hate it. Like I truly HATE it... LOL. I have strong feelings, but I personally can overlook it because it's hard to follow WWE's protective booking.

    I'm all for the rock regaining the belt off the undertaker, not because of some rules precedent or anything of the sort; it's just fuck the undertaker that's just how its got to be. If this were anyone else maybe short of Shawn Michaels or Bret Hart or some shit, I would have probably sided with the rule that the champion must be directly defeated for the strap to change hands but seeing as how I don't like the undertaker I don't give a fuck.

    This is an easy one for me. Multi-man title matches have already become relatively common, and we must move with the times. I vote that the Rock will be the champion, and therefore we will recognize any multi-man title result in the future, barring any extraneous one-off shenanigans that may require a closer look.

    UNLESS, we recognize lineal champions like boxing. Like how Fury is the champ because he never lost the belt, so when Undertaker faces Brock at No Mercy, it's the recognized champ vs. the lineal champ. With that said, again, it'll get hard to follow in the future. But maybe it might work. Just thinking though the Daniel Bryan never beating Orton, and Orton never getting that rematch so it never got corrected. Blah.

    I hate the whole idea of triple threat matches, and I think this is a clear way to elevate our title out of the filth that wrestling is quickly coming before our eyes. I vote for Undertaker to hold on to the belt and that you have to beat the champion going forward.

    So long story short my vote is for the because he also does not have long title reigns and I do like the switch up.

    OK, I vote to recognize the results of the triple threat match, even if the person doesn't beat the champ.

    Honestly I am not for predictability as you all know by now, so I vote to abstain from actually voting on this. I prefer it's actually just look at it on a case-by-case basis and decide what's best for business. Cuz if brexit has taught us anything... I had a very very good jokes lined up the seeing as how my fellow Nitwit Americans also made a huge blunder three years ago I can't exactly speak on it.

    Joe, I’m afraid we’re tied at 2-2 – I’m going to have to get you to make the deciding call here.

    I am of the opinion that if whoever wins the multi-man match is the champion cuz you have to have outsmarted five other individuals or four other individuals whatever the case may be.

    Vote is 3-2 to recognise The Rock as champion (and triple threat matches)

    So the tiebreak decision means that Rock wins the title, and we continue with the WWE Title path – Brock Lesnar picks up the championship at Summerslam and reigns without controversy until the WWE, inexplicably, decide to split their world championship in half. This might cause a problem for us, since the LoP title is currently fixed to the WWE title, and yet we also can’t have two champions, no matter what the WWE does. We can either continue to recognise Lesnar, or we can hold up the belt, and since we’re in uncharted territory there’s even a loophole by which we could end up recognising Triple H…..

    "Or there's even"... taken. I mean the new world title was taken because Brock was ducking Hunter. It's a no brainer Triple H should get it. I am sure my colleagues will agree.

    So that’s one vote for Hunter then, which we perhaps should have anticipated. But let’s see what else is out there.

    I don't see any reason why we should divide our focus as the WWE has been doing, especially since the other belt was just handed to someone without any kind of legitimate win. I vote to stay with Lesnar for the time being.

    Obviously, I would vote for us to recognize Lesner after the belt split. Just handing Triple H a title is weak and the lineal champ would be Lesnar just like Tyson Fury is the lineal champion. I still believe you have to beat the man to be the man.

    Hmmm…. in the interest of chaos let's hold it up.

    Well, that leaves it to me, and I can either vote for Lesnar or force a tiebreaker. It’s pretty clear to me that when WWE split their title in half, they absolutely weaken their championship, and I’d have to think long and hard about attaching the LoP belt to a WWE championship in the future. But does that affect Lesnar? Not really. And he was never beaten. I think I have to vote for the majority opinion to continue to recognise Lesnar as champion even though the WWE title is no longer ‘undisputed’.

    Vote is 3-1-1 to recognise Lesnar

    Brock is able to carry on with the belt for the next couple of months through to Survivor Series. Then, he loses the belt to Big Show, and we potentially have to intervene again. It’s a standard match, and there’s a chair heavily involved in the decision for one thing, but for another the decision is really a result of Paul Heyman betraying his client. We’ve taken the belt away from WWE for them allowing people to get away with nefarious plots around their title, and the option is there to do the same again. So – recognise the switch to Big Show, leave it on Lesnar, or hold up the belt?

    I like shenanigans. I liked that story. I vote Show keeps the belt. Change is allowed.

    It's possible we would have taken action in the past but we've got to move with the times as well. Chair or no, I say we go with the referee's call as far as the result goes. And if Lesnar allowed his manager to sign a bad title match for him, he's got no one to blame but himself. I say the title change stands!

    As much as I love Big Show I absolutely do not want to see this guy as champion. Let's put the belt back on Meathead.

    Honestly, I'd hold up the belt because the WWE keeps getting away with the title having chair heavy title match. I feel that if the pattern holds up, then the WWE should be striped. I go with stripping the title.

    I’m quietly getting quite hacked off with the constant shenanigans that have come since Wrestlemania in the WWE, and I’m inclined to say thus far and no further. We’ve got to intervene. Joe, that means it’s down to you as the tiebreaker.

    Goddamnit – let's vacate. Fuck show.

    Vote is 2-2-1
    Uncle Joe casts the tiebreaking vote to vacate the LoP title after Survivor Series 2002



    WWE have pushed their luck too far across 2002 and have finally lost the goodwill of enough of the judges that the tiebreak decision is to hold up the belt. The WWE bailed us out of the chaos in wrestling in the year 2000, but just over two years later their run comes to an end – unless, of course, they are able to win the following vote. And they get two chances now, because the landscape of wrestling has changed so much that there’s a very different look to the belts we can choose from. The NWA title is now part of TNA. The WCW title is gone, replaced with the WWE world title. The ECW title is also gone, and instead we have the option of the RoH title. The IWGP offering is still on the list, and we can still nominally choose from the Triple Crown title in AJPW too, though there’s no suitably timed defence.

    Anyway, here are our options for what we can designate as our world title match:

    Big Show vs Edge – 23 Nov 2002 – Smackdown House show in Syracuse
    Jeff Jarrett vs Ron Killings – 27 Nov 2002 – TNA weekly PPV
    Shawn Michaels vs Rob Van Dam – 25 Nov 2002 – RAW
    Xavier vs AJ Styles – 07 Dec 2002 – ROH Night of the Butcher
    Yuji Nagata vs Kazunari Murakami – 10 Dec 2002 – Triathlon Survivor

    Holy Nikes what a murderer’s row Pete. can I vote to have the titles held up again or can we do a reroll or something like that I think they do that in dungeons & dragons so I think we can do that here, no?

    No, though I must admit I’m not particularly inspired either.

    Alright fine, fuck it, have it your way. None of these are particularly good, but Jeff Jarrett vs. Ron killings actually wasn't so bad as far as I remember but I've been getting high off pork chops and potato salad over the last week, so my memory is pretty fucked. Nagata and Murakami are bland and basic on a regular day but put them together in a ring and its actually kind of shitty.

    A tricky choice... New Japan is really in no shape to take the belt, and I refuse to send it to Jeff Jarrett's vanity project. ROH might have a claim but they're such a young promotion, and the chances of making Xavier the champion of the world is unappealing, so my vote will have to go back to the WWF. Both title matches could be reasonable options, purely by preference I'm going to vote to go right back to the WWE title with Big Show and Edge contending.

    I think I broadly agree with your rationale for ruling out so many of the other choices, but a combination of not liking going straight back after a vacancy and thinking this looks like a much stronger match on paper, I’m going for the RAW bout. Big Show is only champion through tactics that caused us to strip the belt, and while I like Edge, he’s a prospect for the future rather than being a nailed-on talent right now, in 2002. In Michaels and RVD we’ve got a great result either way – Van Dam is ready to go on day 1, while in Michaels we have someone who was never actually beaten for the title the last time he held it.

    It's funny, I’d normally vote the Shawn Michaels match, but if I'm putting myself back in that time, I didn't like Michaels winning the title in a chamber and I don't see the World title as legitimate at all. If we are going pure kayfabe in that moment, I'm voting Yuji Nagata vs Kazunari Murakami in NJPW. It's just a better product.

    This is a pretty clear choice of SmackDown vs Raw to me. Neither are particularly elite bouts. While I'd have a slight preference for the blue brand based on the actual match, the revolution should be televised so I will have the Bosseyed Kid vs Flippy Stoner please.

    All right I guess since I have to vote quote unquote, I'll vote for the triathlon survivor match. But let the record show that I do not have a chub over having to pick out of these choices.

    Alright Mizfan, that leaves us at 2-2-1 and you’ll need to break this tie. The NJPW match or the RAW match – which one have you got?

    The Raw championship scene of this era isn't exactly ideal, but neither are the folks over in Japan. With some reservations about where it might lead, I'll lend my vote to the match between that very talented pair HBK and RVD.

    Vote is 2-2-1
    Mizfan casts the tiebreaking vote for the RAW World title match



    On RAW, Shawn Michaels retains the world title via DQ. However, he isn’t our champion going in and therefore has no champion’s advantage on the LoP title, so that DQ finish is enough to make Rob Van Dam our world champion. Which means we’re not joined to the Raw world title, and have to find an opponent in the next fifty days for Van Dam to keep the belt, or forfeit him after that time. There are only two choices on TV, which we look at in the first instance – vs HHH on the December 2nd Raw, or a week later against Batista. Man, 2002 WWE is kicking our collective ass right now – but at least we’re through it after this, either way.

    Can we just drug test him?

    Ha, no. You could try and raise the motion that we should just have another set of matches rather than deciding via dq, though it would be out of step with what we've done in the past.

    Ok then. Hunter on Raw is the obvious answer.

    Oh god give me the match vs drax.

    Okay, of those matches, I have to go with HHH. Triple H being a former world champion, it just makes sense that that's the match. Batista is just a henchman.

    The situation is increasingly messy, isn't it? If there was an option on the table to hold it up again I'd be strongly tempted to take it. At least we had the guts to make RVD champion when literally everyone in the world wanted him to be though. Loathe as I am to do it, considering the expected outcome, I guess I'll acknowledge HHH as a valid challenger. Batista isn't at that level at this point in his career yet so he doesn't get my vote.

    Vote is 4-1 to recognise the Triple H match as an LoP world title match


    With that we reconnect our title to the RAW World championship, and that allows us to move on not only out of 2002, but all the way into late 2004, when we’ll pick things up again next time. Before we call it a day there’s just enough time to recap the ground that we’ve covered in this instalment. We all hope you’ll join us then and continue the journey of the LoP world heavyweight championship.


    Triple H – March 17, 2002 – June 23rd, 2002
    Undertaker (2) – June 23rd, 2002 – July 21st, 2002
    105th The Rock (3) – July 21st, 2002 – August 25th, 2002
    Brock Lesnar – August 25th, 2002 – November 17th, 2002
    Vacant – November 17th, 2002 – November 25th, 2002
    Rob Van Dam – November 25th, 2002 – December 2nd, 2002
    Triple H (2) – December 2nd, 2002 – September 21st, 2003
    Goldberg – September 21st, 2003 – December 14th, 2003
    110th Triple H (3) – December 14th, 2003 – March 14th, 2004
    Chris Benoit – March 14th, 2004 – August 15th, 2004
    Randy Orton – August 15th, 2004 – September 12th, 2004
    Triple H (4) – September 12th, 2004 –

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  2. #2
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Man I love these columns. I stayed up past when I should have been asleep to read it.

    I think after much constination and hand wringing you guys did the right thing in moving the belt over to Raw to follow the title reign he had there. While it was divicive it was a proper champions run for Triple H and his dominance made the ultimate Benoit win mean a whole lot.

    I also like that you are acknowledging the results of triple threats. While I agree it would be better for all title matches to be 1-1 affairs in the 00s it is just not feasible and I predict would wind up with a lot of belt hold ups.

  3. #3
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    At least we had the guts to make RVD champion when literally everyone in the world wanted him to be though.
    Everyone except me apparently. I never saw ECW so can't comment on that, but in WWE I never really saw him as anything more than an upper-mid card guy.

    It was watching his matches back then that I realised the more unpredictable commentators say a guy is, the more predictable he actually is. He was a crap promo and all his matches were pretty much identical. Just never saw anything in him.


    Still, good to see R-Truth get a brief mention. I assume this means when these columns get up to date, LOP will be recognising the 24/7 title. It gets almost as many changes as the LOP title....
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  4. #4
    The Brain
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    My my, the various world title scenes of this era were rather messy, weren't they? Love how you put these together Pete, more tough decisions on the horizon I'm sure!

  5. #5
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DynamiteBillington View Post
    Everyone except me apparently. I never saw ECW so can't comment on that, but in WWE I never really saw him as anything more than an upper-mid card guy.

    It was watching his matches back then that I realised the more unpredictable commentators say a guy is, the more predictable he actually is. He was a crap promo and all his matches were pretty much identical. Just never saw anything in him.


    Still, good to see R-Truth get a brief mention. I assume this means when these columns get up to date, LOP will be recognising the 24/7 title. It gets almost as many changes as the LOP title....
    When I watched ECW at the time, RVD felt like the greatest wrestler you ever saw. No matter what craziness you saw on ECW, nothing was better than ending the card with an RVD match. Heyman once said booking ECW was easy, you give people a reason to watch two people fight, then you end the card with an RVD match... LOL.

    With that said, I have no idea how we are booking our way out of this mess... hahaha.

  6. #6
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    You guys are getting into one of my favorite periods of WWE next - that late '04 to mid '05 stretch where RAW had a pile of main event talent and a lot of chaos. Survivor Series match for the control of RAW, Elimination Chamber for a vacant World Championship, the first ever Money in the Bank...looking forward to seeing how this rolls out!

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    Hmmm, HHH as champion more times than anyone else during this period? Sounds about right.

  8. #8
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    I hated Triple H's reign of terror, but one thing it did was stabilized the World title... who would have known?

  9. #9
    The Brain
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    I remember when I first started watching in 2003, the question was would we ever see in our lifetime a period where the title wouldn't just go from Triple H to someone else and then right back.

  10. #10
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Sam - Glad you like it, and happy you are happy to have it back! I'm going to stick to my guns and say leaving out the triple threats would have been better in the long run. I don't think it would have necessarily led to a lot of hold-ups if we'd basically vote to ignore the things. It'd probably give the title more stability, in that case. But it's done now - outvoted, so we go on!

    Billington - Yeah, you were definitely in the minority on RVD in late-2002. There was a clear feeling around that they needed someone new to become a star and that he had the most support in the crowd. I still think it was a mistake, frankly, and that you never know where he'd have ended up if they had gone with him when he was hot. I don't think he'd have ever been a big crossover star but I'd stake good money on it slowing that ridiculously steep post-Attitude decline. And hey, we have waaay fewer changes than the WWE title generally does, never mind the 24/7 title! We're only on 113 champions at this point, the WWE title is on 75 at the same time and has been going for 55 years less!

    Mizfan - yeah, pretty much every belt is a mess from 1999-2002. Not a lot you can really do to avoid it, but we've navigated the waters now and if we're smart in how we vote we can avoid some of the worse modern excesses.

    LWO - yeah, RVD in this period used to 'hold up and end', as they say in cricket. Don't worry about the mess, though, it's all smoother sailing from here (the odd stupid night aside).

    Skul - Oh god, I forgot we were coming up to Money in the bank. I predict ructions. Thanks for the feed!

    Don Franc - yeah, Hunter just seems to get everywhere, doesn't he? If we'd stayed on Smackdown we'd have had Lesnar and Angle trading it back and forth, then Eddie Guerrero, and then loooong JBL and Cena spells. Hey, I guess the last bit of that could still happen.



    Right, thanks for reading everyone. The first things for the next column have already been sent out, so hopefully we'll be back before too long with another instalment - and who knows, maybe we'll be able to put together more than a couple of years next time?!

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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