Though WCW was put out of business over a decade and a half ago, the WWE would not be where it is today without their rival competition. WCW was so successful during the mid and late ’90s that Vince McMahon was forced to entirely change his product — which launched The Attitude Era.
That brought us ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, The Rock and D-Generation X. The success of some stars in WCW also prompted Vince McMahon to bring them aboard to his company. Thanks to WCW, the WWE Universe was introduced to stars like Goldust, Booker T, Chris Jericho and others.
But you kids out there probably weren’t old enough (or not even born), to notice that some of the top wrestling stars of the past 20 years also held WCW Championships. Everyone knows Ric Flair, Sting and Hulk Hogan won the World Heavyweight Championship.
Keep on reading, though. You’ll be surprised to see that some of your favourite wrestlers held WCW gold of their own at some point.
15. Jim Duggan: World Television Championship
The WWE Hall of Famer is best remembered for his “Hacksaw Jim Duggan” gimmick where he rocked the awesome rockstair hair and brought a very cool piece of wood. But Duggan left WWE in 1993 and joined their biggest competition (WCW), the following year.
But did you know Duggan also won a championship in WCW? It came in the most undeserving fashion, however. On a 2000 Saturday Night show, Duggan found the World Television Championship in a dumpster, where Scott Hall and disposed of it. This technically made Duggan the new champion.
14. Norman Smiley: Hardcore Championship
Smiley is currently working as a trainer for the WWE, but he was also a mid-card wrestler for WCW during their dominance in the late ’90s. He even wore a shirt that said “Norman” on it with a “Smiley” face. You HAVE to love the guy! If you weren’t big on his wrestling career, then explain why he was a two-time WCW Hardcore Champion?
Smiley won the very first WCW Hardcore Champion at the 1999 Mayhem event in Toronto, defeating Brian Knobs in a tournament for the title. The reign lasted 51 days until he lost it to Knobs on an episode of Thunder. And for further evidence that he loved wrestling in Canada, Smiley won the title a second time on a 200 edition of Nitro in Kelowna, B.C.
13. Disco Inferno: World Television Championship
Disco Inferno’s professional wrestling career started with short tenures for the WWE, but he’ll always be remembered best for the success he experienced in WCW. His gimmick was based off of Tony Manero (a character played by John Travolta), from the classic ’70s musical, Saturday Night Fever. Inferno played the character to perfection and got over as a mid-card wrestler.
Inferno won his very first WCW World Television Championship on a 1997 edition of Nitro, defeating Alex Wright. He lost the title shortly after, but regained it after defeating Perry Saturn.
All told, Inferno’s two World Television Championship reigns lasted for 63 days. Unfortunately, his character lost plenty of momentum after he lost the title a second time. WCW was beginning to sink and would ultimately get purchased by WWE.
12. Dustin Rhodes: World Tag Team Championship
Most folks of today know Dustin Rhodes as “Goldust” one of the most accomplished wrestlers with yet one of the creepiest gimmicks ever. But many of you are probably surprised as you read this — he was a two-time WCW World Tag Team champion in his “Dustin Rhodes” gimmick.
Rhodes won his first WCW World Tag Team Championship at the Clash of Champions XVII PPV event with Ricky Steamboat. The duo held on to the titles for 58 days before Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton stole them a couple of months later. Rhodes won the WCW World Tag Team title a final time with Barry Windham at a 1992 edition of Saturday Night. They held the championship together for 58 days before losing them to Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas.
11. Marcus Bagwell: World Tag Team Championship
Better known as “Buff Bagwell” throughout his wrestling career, Marcus Bagwell is most infamous for being part of the nWo during their best years. A sidekick to Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, Bagwell worked in the villainous alliance from 1996 to 1999, but many forget that the former nWo member was also a successful tag team competitor.
Bagwell first one the championship with 2 Cold Scorpio in 1993, but the reign only lasted 20 days as they dropped it to The Nasty Boys. Almost a year later, Bagwell and The Patriot (in their Stars and Stripes tag team gimmick), beat Pretty Wonderful to win the titles. That reign only lasted 28 days, though.
10. Lord Steven Regal: World Television Championship
Does that surname sound similar? Yes, it would be William Regal — one of the more underrated superstars during the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Eras. Yes, he’s the guy who was King Booker’s right-hand man. And the guy who was a friend of Eugene. And a four-time WCW World Television Champion?
Wait what? A four-time World Television Champion? You read that correctly.
Regal’s first big moment with WCW came at the 1993 edition of Fall Brawl- defeating Ricky Steamboat for the World Television Championship. Regal’s first reign lasted 225 days before he dropped it to Larry Zbyszko. Regal would win the championship three more times during his tenure in WCW. He held the championship for a grand total of 557 days — the fourth-most in the title’s history.
9. The Dudley Boyz: World Tag Team Championship
Arguably the most dominant and exciting tag team ever, The Dudley Boyz won dozens of championships together in TNA and the WWE. Everyone their hardcore style that always included the tables. The Dudley Boyz first made a name for themselves in ECW before coming over to the WWE. Considering they never wrestled in WCW, you probably wouldn’t expect them to hold any of the company’s championships.
Well, The Dudley Boyz indeed won the WCW World Tag Team Champions. In fact, they are the last tag team to ever formally hold the title– defeating the Hardy Boyz on the Oct. 21, 2003 edition of SmackDown. The WCW World Tag Team Championship were then unified with the WWE Tag Team Championship. Those Dudley Boyz were so great, they didn’t even have to wrestle in WCW to win their titles!
8. Chris Benoit: World Heavyweight Championship
Chris Benoit was undoubtedly one of the greatest wrestlers we’ve ever seen when it came to in-ring ability. It’s a devastating tragedy that he killed his own wife and son before taking his own life. Though the WWE has rightfully stayed away from mentioning his name and career since the horrific crime, many of us won’t soon forget his championship runs in the WWE.
Benoit defeated Triple H at WrestleMania XX to win the World Heavyweight Championship — a title he held onto for four months. Though that was Benoit’s most memorable moment of his wrestling career, many forget that he was also the WCW World Heavyweight Champion at one point. At the 2000 edition of Souled Out, Benoit defeated Sid Vicious to win the title. However, he only held it for a day before leaving WCW altogether.
7. Booker T and Test: World Tag Team Championship
Everyone is aware of how successful Booker T was in WCW. He won four WCW World Heavyweight Championships, six World Television Championships, one United States Championship and a whopping 10 World Tag Team Championships in WCW. If you grew up watching Booker T in WCW, then you wouldn’t be surprised in just reading all the gold he won there.
But he also managed to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship as part of the WWE Roster. He and Test defeated a legendary and iconic WWE Tag Team (that we’ll get into shortly), to win the titles. They held onto the championship for 13 days before losing them to yet another legendary WWE tag team that he will also get into before long.
6. The Hardy Boyz: World Tag Team Championship
Has there ever been a tag team that brought fans to their seats more than The Hardy Boyz? Matt and Jeff Hardy have put their lives and careers on the line countless times by performing some of the most dangerous stunts in professional wrestling. These two joined the WWE in the late ’90s but quickly got over with the crowd and became the most dynamic tag team in the company.
But since they never performed in WCW, it may be hard for you to realize that they do in fact have the company’s gold on their resume. Matt and Jeff defeated Test and Booker T on the Oct. 8, 2001 edition of Raw to win the championship They held onto them for just 15 days — losing them to The Dudley Boyz. Because it was a short reign, it’s easy for fans to forget that The Hardy Boyz once held the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
5. Kurt Angle: World Heavyweight Championship
DA-DE-DA-DE-DA-DE-DA-DE-DA-DE-DA-DE. Sorry I just love the fact Kurt Angle is back and I get to keep hearing that beautiful music. And no, the real life Olympic gold medalist does not suck. If he did, he wouldn’t make the list of Alex — Drink that in maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!
Angle’s professional wrestling career began in ECW and he eventually found himself in the WWE. Angle didn’t need long to get over with the crowd thanks to his background in Olympic wrestling to go along with his epic microphone skills. Though he never fought for WCW, he once owned the company’s most luxurious belt — the World Heavyweight Championship.
Angle defeated Booker T on the July 24, 2001 edition of SmackDown to earn his very first WCW World Heavyweight Championship. It only lasted six days before Booker T regained it, though. A six-day reign? No wonder everyone forgot/didn’t know that Angle used to be a WCW Champion.
4. The Brothers of Destruction: World Tag Team Championship
The Undertaker and Kane are two of the most successful superstars of all-time. They both had similar gimmicks as intimidating zombie-like creatures — if that makes sense. They both used the Chokeslam and the Tombstone Piledriver as their finishers. So it was only fitting to see them form the legendary Brothers of Destruction tag team.
These two won a pair of WWE Tag Team Championship together, and they also held WCW Championship gold even though The Brothers of Destruction never competed in Ted Turner’s company.
In an August 2001 edition of SmackDown, The Brothers of Destruction faced The Natural Born Thrillers for the WCW World Tag Team Championship. The Undertaker and Kane won the championship and held onto them for 49 days before losing them to Booker T and Test.
3. Chris Jericho: World Heavyweight Championship
Chris Jericho was one of the most overlooked superstars in the history of WCW. They never wanted to give him the push because Eric Bischoff and the creative team only cared about the nWo. Jericho did what was best for him and jumped ship — before becoming a MEGA star for the WWE. The legend of Y2J changed the Monday Night War forever, as other Cruiserweight talents from WCW chose to head over to the WWE (Benoit, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, among others).
Jericho first won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at the 2001 edition of No Mercy (when WCW had already been purchased by the WWE). The Rock captured it from him 15 days later. But…
In one of the greatest upsets in WWE history, Jericho defeated The Rock and Steve Austin at Vengeance to win the title. It was then unified with the WWE Championship — making Jericho the last WCW Champion and the first WWE Undisputed Champion.
2. Roddy Piper: United States Championship
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper was one of the few WWE Hall of Famers who could brag about having mega success in both the WWE and WCW. He’s widely recognized by some as the greatest heel of all time, and even headlined some of the most prestigious wrestling pay-per-views (WrestleMania among many more).
Piper held three United States Championships over his time in WCW. He first won it in 1981 and kept it for 193 days before Wahoo McDaniel captured it at a house show. Piper won it a second time in 1983 — with the reign lasting 14 days. Because both title victories came at house shows, it’s been easy for wrestling fans to overlook these two reigns.
Piper won the United States Championship a final time during a 1999 episode of Nitro, defeating fellow Canadian Bret Hart for the title. Piper kept it for 13 days before losing it to Scott Hall.
1. Stunning Steve Austin: World Television and Tag Team Championship
Who’s that handsome stud?
That would be ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin, the gimmick that The Texas Rattlesnake went by before he became ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin in the WWE. Though he certainly didn’t get over with the crowd, Stunning Steve Austin’s departure from WCW turned out to be a key turning point in the Monday Night War. If he didn’t rise as the top star in the WWE, then we’d probably be watching WCW today.
Any who, Austin won the World Television Championship in 1991 and held onto it for 329 days before Barry Windham took it nearly a year later. But Austin regained it after 26 days and held onto the championship for 102 days. Austin also won the World Tag Team Championship with Brian Pillman as “The Hollywood Blonds”. They held onto the titles for 169 days before Arn Anderson and Paul Roma captured them.
WCW may have underused Austin, but they did give him those three title runs you probably had no clue about.
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