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

    The Lords of Pain World Heavyweight Championship - 1998-1999

    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 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

    "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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    May 2018
    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.


  3. #3
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    May 2018
    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.

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

  4. #4
    The Brain
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    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.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    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.

  6. #6
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    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!

    "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
    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!

  8. #8
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    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.

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

  9. #9
    LOP's part time glass ceiling DynamiteBillington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    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?

  10. #10
    Administrator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Definitely feels like a better fit 👍

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

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