Wrestling fans welcome to the most controversial countdown out there. Many of you agree (and you should), and many of you disagree (which makes you wrong). But we can all agree to disagree in this forum. This week we countdown the top 7 wrestlers who you may not have realized have been a World Champion.
Ethan has a question on one of the greatest champions of all time.
How many World titles has Ric Flair actually won? I know they say 16, but I keep reading that there were many more.
Flair is officially recognized by WWE and Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) as a 16-time world champion (eight-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, and two-time WWF Champion), although the actual number of his world championship reigns varies by source, ranging from 16 to 25.
So lets go through the results overall.
1) Flair defeated Dusty Rhodes
2) Flair lost the title to Jack Veneno but the title change was never recognized as Veneno refused to defend the title
3) Flair lost the title to Carlos Colon but the title change again was never recognized and Flair was given the title back
4) Flair defeated Harley Race
5) Flair defeated Harley Race again three days after losing it back to Race
6) Flair defeated Kerry Von Erich
7) Flair defeated Ron Garvin
8) Flair defeated Ricky Steamboat
9) Flair defeated Sting
10) Flair lost the title to Tatsumi Fujinami in Japan, but the decision was overturned and Flair defeated Fujinami in rematch
11) Flair won the 1992 Royal Rumble to become the WWE Champion
12) Flair defeated Randy Savage
13) Flair defeated Barry Windham
14) Flair defeated Sting
15) Flair defeated Vader
16) Flair defeated Randy Savage
17) Flair defeated Randy Savage
18) Flair defeated Hollywood Hogan
19) Flair defeated Jeff Jarrett
So that would be it. My count would be 19.
Tugboat in 1991 was a fan favorite along side his good friend Hulk Hogan. He stood by Hogan during his feud with Earthquake. During a match alongside the Bushwhackers vs Earthquake and the WWE Tag Team Champions, the Nasty Boys. Tugboat blindsides Butch from behind clotheslines him, and then gives Luke a big splash, costing them the match. He then joined forces with Jimmy Hart and Earthquake and was renamed Typhoon as part of the Natural Disasters. They would go on to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
The top 7 wrestlers you may not have realized were a World Champion.
Here are some honorable mentions.
Tommy Rich- NWA- Tommy Rich, a known mid to lower card performer in WCW, once defeated Harley Race in 1981 to become the NWA World Champion. He would only hold the title for a few days before losing it back to Race.
Rick Martel- AWA- Rick Martel was known for his Model gimmick in the WWE, and was a classic mid carder. He never gained singles gold in the WWE, but did attain the WCW World TV title at the tail end of his career. What you may not have known is before his run with Strike Force with Tito Santana in the WWE, Martel was the longest reigning AWA World Champion in history, holding the title nearly 16 months when he defeated long time champion Nick Bockwinkle.
Ivan Koloff– WWF- Ivan Koloff was known as the Russian Bear, and was a part of the main event scene in the early 70’s before having tag team fame in the NWA in the 80’s. It was Ivan Koloff who defeated and ended Bruno Sammartino’s 8 year reign as WWE Champion. He would only hold the championship a mere month before losing the title to Pedro Morales.
7. Ricky Steamboat- Most wrestling fans remember the great technical abiity. He captured the Intercontinental Championship from Randy Savage in 1987 in a classic match up. He was destined for great things in the WWE. He left the company in the summer of 87 for the birth of his son. He returned but never had the success that he was due for. He came to the NWA in early 1989 and immediately started a feud with long time rival Ric Flair. He captured the NWA World Championship a month later from Flair at Chi Town Rumble 89. He held the title for several months before dropping it back to Flair in one of the most classic wrestling matches of all time at Wrestle War 89.
6. Sgt. Slaughter- Slaughter was a regular top star in the AWA days, and jumped ship to the WWE as part of an Iraqui turncoat, feuding with guys like Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Hulk Hogan, and the Ultimate Warrior. Slaughter was never sought out to be a part of the championship picture, until January 1991 at the Royal Rumble, he did the impossible by defeating the Ultimate Warrior to capture the WWE Championship. His reign would last up to Wrestlemania where he was defeated by Hulk Hogan.
5. Curt Hennig- Mr Perfect came into the WWE in 1988 and was a main stay in the upper mid card scene, and would routinely face off against Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior for the WWE Championhip. He was never quite able to get over the top. Before making his way to the WWE, Hennig was the AWA World Heavyweight Champion, and was involved in the championship circuit for several years before losing the title in his last match in the AWA to Jerry Lawler.
4. Kerry Von Erich- Von Erich is known to casual wrestling fans as the Texas Tornado when he won the Intercontinental Championship from Mr Perfect at Summerslam 1990. Long before that however, Von Erich, who was wrestling for World Class Championship Wrestling, faced off against the NWA Champion, Ric Flair, and defeated Flair to win the championship. His reign would be short lived however, as he would lose the title back to Flair a few weeks later.
3. Barry Windham- Barry Windham was a mainstay in the NWA during the mid to late 80’s,winning multiple Tag Team championships as well as the United States Championship. He had a great feud for the World title with Ric Flair, but was never able to get over the hump to win it. That all changed in 1993, when he defeated the Great Muta for the NWA World Championship at Superbrawl III. The title was awarded to him by his long time foe Ric Flair, who he would lose the championship to several months later.
2. Jerry Lawler- Everyone knows that Jerry Lawler was one of the greatest sports personalities of all time. And even a well established professional wrestler during Memphis Wrestling. During the late 80’s, Jerry Lawler defeated Curt Hennig to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. He held the title for quite some time.
1. The Great Muta- Many remember The Great Muta in the NWA when he was a member of Gary Hart’s stable. Muta was never really a major player for the NWA World Championhip, though he did have a feud with Ric Flair and Sting. He was primarily regulated to the World Television Championship where he defeated Sting. In 1993, Muta defeated Masahiro Chono to win his first World Championship for the NWA, this was not highly remembered because the transition from the NWA and WCW had already taken place.
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