WWE - Where Have Our Great Wrestling Champions Gone (2013)
There has been an ebb and flow of wrestling talent in the WWE over the years. Some of what makes a legendary champion is the talent that he has to defend his championship against. Imagine having to swim through shark waters with great whites such as Sting, Lex Luger, Road Warriors, Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Kevin Sullivan, and Ricky Steamboat. Think of the “Attitude Era” and having the roster of superstars Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, The Rock, Kurt Angle, Undertaker, Kane, Chris Jericho, Edge, and Mick Foley. A major requirement for becoming great is that you need a partner who can Keep up with you when you dance. One that will push you beyond limits that you never knew was possible. In other words, they bring out the best in you. The Ric Flair-Ricky Steamboat series elevated their careers to a new level. Brett “The Hitman” Hart and Shawn Michael had arguably the most infamous rivalry of all time. They made a perfect Ying-Yang combination. The McMahon-Stone Cold Steve Austin feud carried a whole organization for more than a year. Today we are missing this quality.
1. Big Show
2. John Cena
3. Alberto Del Rio
5. Randy Orton
6. Mark Henry
7. Chris Jericho
8. Dolf Ziglar
10. Rey Mysterio
11. The Miz
12. CM Punk
13. The Rock
14. Jack Swagger
15. Brock Lesnar
16. Daniel Bryan
17. Great Khali
There are many former champions wrestling each other on a continual basis. Has the quality of the wrestler must have lowered. It doesn't feel like you belong to a select group of wrestlers when you mention former World Champions. I can recall in my youth that you could count the number of World Champions who wrestled in the same era on one hand. The belt just didn't change hands that often. It was almost earth shattering when the title changed hands. I remember Pedro Morales had bragging rights as the only Triple Crown Winner in the WWE. Later, Brett Hart and Shawn Michaels would reach that status. No disrespect to the Miz (who has become one of the true faces of wrestling entertainment), he became the 25th triple crown winner in the WWE. Where is the exclusivity?. In the WWE alone, I count that there are 17 current wrestlers who have won either the World Heavyweight championship or WWE title. While perusing this list of great wrestlers, I feel there are only 4-5 wrestlers who have reached legendary status. They will be remembered as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. Their title reigns and accomplishments will never be forgotten. Their names will be entered in the same conversations as The Macho Man Randy Savage, Brett Hart, and Bob Backlund. One of my friends has even gone to comment that the World Heavyweight Championship is the new Intercontinental Title. I wonder what ring greats like Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, and Dory Funk think of this?
The IC title has also lost its prominence also. To bring the luster back, Cody Rhodes brought back the belt design that was used in the days of The Ultimate Warrior, Rick Rude, Honky Tonk Man, Randy Savage, and Shawn Michaels. This proud title was the work horse championship. This was your audition to see if you would be able to handle the rigors wrestling night after night defending your title. Over the years we have seen easily forgotten champions such as Ezekiel Jackson, Drew McIntyre, and John Morrison. Within the past decade many lack luster reigns have been sprinkled in between decent ones.
The United States Championship has been lowered to the status of the former WCW World Television Title. They try to sell wrestling viewers that this is the prestigious title that was once held by Ric Flair, Magnum TA, Nikita Kolof, Goldberg, Tully Blanchard, and Lex Luger.
I hate to be the wrestling cynic and say that wrestling just isn't what it used to be, but it's not. With all of the improvements, something has been lost in the transition. Maybe it is the fact that the product is too polished. Well that's a topic for another day.
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