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  1. #1
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    May 2018

    The Lords of Pain World Heavyweight Championship - 1992-1995

    Itís time we called the fifth meeting of the Lords of Pain World Heavyweight Championship committee to order. Weíve a lot of ground to cover today so Iím 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. Heíd 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 thereís a whole situation to wade through. In his match with Yokozuna thereís outside interference from Yokozunaís 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 thereís all sorts of issues here Ė 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 Iím an advocate for the Hitman and think that he got the rough end of the stick with the refereeing at Wrestlemania, thereís a limit to how interventionist we can be before the whole thing becomes unmanageable. Where thereís 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 Ė as in the case of Hart here Ė 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 Ďboutí 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 donít believe we have recognized a switch like that, though itís impossible to be sure. In the absence of proof Iím going to be voting with both my gut and my head. My gut tells me that this kind of switch wouldnít 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 itís my gut instinct. And on top of that, my head tells me that thereís 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 doesnít wind up with it.

    The shenanigans remain. Hogan is champ.

    Iíve 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 Hoganís 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 weíve potentially missed an opportunity here to protect the integrity of the title. It isnít too vital here, thankfully, but itís clear that wrestling promoters are starting to pull far more weird tricks and itís 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 thatís for another time. For now, Hogan is the champion, though his failure to defend the title means that weíre 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 forÖ..

    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 Iím a bit torn on this play right here. On one hand, Iíd 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 Ďem 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 Iím 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 Iíd like to dole out pain rectally like the euro forefathers of the world did, i think Iíll exercise the option to forego all that shit and keep up with the traditions weíve 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 Iím not sure that Iím going to do that. Itís an interesting precedent to set, and I donít know how itíll play out down the line. Weíre 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 thereís no break in the title. Thereís 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 Bretís mother, Helen Hart.

    I suppose the point isÖ 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 Ė 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 Backlundís bookings suggest that in the coming days heíll 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. Iíd 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 canít.

    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. Letís 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, youíll find Mr. Hartís bookings Ė as the title is again not connected to the WWF title weíll need to find an adequate defence. Thereís 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 donít think we can vote for Owen. Letís 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 donít think thereís anything for it here except to recognize just the Diesel match. Bret couldnít beat him at King of the Ring in 1994. Itís the match the fans want to see, itís 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 Steveís 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 weíre still recognizing a WWF talent but not the WWF Champion, weíll 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 Iím 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.

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

    I think Iím 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 Bretís next Ďwindowí 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 isnít as easy as it sounds. I mean sure you might wanna make sure you make each other look great, in theory but you also donít 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 youíll 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 donít know how his pulling double duty at In Your House effects your thinking here?


    I never thought weíd 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'. Havenít given that bout a peep in such a long while.

    Thatís 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 donít think itís legitimate to ask Hart to defend the world title twice in one night. That makes a mockery of the title, and itís 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? Iíll 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 Bretís defence at Wrestlemania should be regarded as a win, since in the I Quit match Backlund never said I Quit. Thereís 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 championís advantage, though itís 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 LawlerÖ. and promptly loses the title. The King cheated to win the strap but while weíve overturned things before thereís 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. Bretís reign of one year, one month and 24 days comes to an end. And I think thatís as good a point as any to end this meeting. Thereís a lot to take in there and weíll come to it fresh next time. But before we go, a quick recap of the ground weíve covered today.

    Bret Hart LoP Title Defences Nov í94 Ė May Ď95

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

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

  2. #2
    The Brain
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    May 2018
    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!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    May 2018
    In Plan's Brain
    I think Unc just splooged like he's never splooged before!

  4. #4
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    May 2018
    Great read and what a deserving champion.


  5. #5
    Cero Miedo Mystic's Avatar
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    May 2018
    Hulk Hogan didn't wave himself to the ring. Bret Hart waved Hogan. Hence, Hulk didn't screw Bret. Bret screwed Bret.

  6. #6
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    May 2018
    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.

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

  7. #7
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    May 2018
    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!

  8. #8
    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!

  9. #9
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    May 2018
    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.

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

  10. #10
    Word Enthusiast Steven's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Deep In The Heart
    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.

  11. #11
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    May 2018
    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!

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

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