In wrestling, titles are supposed to mean something. They’re meant to be a huge deal and give wrestlers a boost while helping the promotion out. A worker with a belt is meant to be bigger and the title a clear thing to make the business worthwhile. It’s slumped a bit with guys getting “quickie” reigns and too many belts hanging about but they are still are supposed to be a big deal. There’s also how so many older territories had belts meant to be “World” titles but really weren’t that big not to mention ones for various states.
Since the consolidation of wrestling to major powers like WWE and WCW, there have been a lot of titles and trophies around but so many of them haven’t meant much in the long run. Indeed, even at the time, some of these belts were rather useless, more decoration and fans not caring about them at all. It’s easy to see the belts of the territory days but many from the bigger ones that don’t mean a lot either. Here are 15 titles and trophies in wrestling that really don’t mean that much and how their standing as “championships” is rough to say the least.
15. Bunkhouse Stampede Boot
The concept of the Bunkhouse wasn’t too bad. A series of battle royals where guys dressed in street clothes and weapons could be legal, taking place at various events. Jim Crockett had hopes for it and in 1988 made it the showcase of his second PPV. It was a disaster as the first Royal Rumble aired on free TV against it and the card was a mess. The problem was the fact that in four years, one man won every Bunkhouse: Dusty Rhodes. Each win had him getting a giant bronze boot stuffed with cash and the final one had him beating several guys in a bizarre steel cage battle.
This was Dusty’s ego at its biggest as he put himself massively over and it’s not surprising the Bunkhouse was canceled after he left WCW in 1989 so those fancy “boots” are little more than big footwear.
14. WCW Women’s Cruiserweight Championship
WCW looked to be on the verge of cracking women’s wrestling when Madusa showed up on Nitro to dump the WWE Women’s belt in the trash bin. Instead, they were put on the backburner and nothing really done. In 1997, the company finally got around to creating a belt but had the tournament be in Japan. Toshie Uematsu won as WCW was doing a deal with GEA at the time and trying to give them some bonus attention. However, the matches weren’t shown on TV at all and despite the belt changing hands twice, no mention was made on Nitro. Even WCW’s website barely made any mention of it and the title was a forgotten bit. It was retired just six months after it was created and showed how WCW never quite cracked the women’s division.
13. The USWA “Unified” World Title
This…is complicated. In 1988, the AWA entered into a partnership with World Class and Memphis to share talent and get attention. It was going to lead to AWA champion Jerry Lawler against WCCW champion Kerry Von Erich at SuperClash III. However, the PPV was a disaster barely selling over a thousand tickets and blocked in many areas with Lawler beating Von Erich in a cheap “blood loss stoppage” finish. So right off, the “unified” title was a mess as each territory involved wanted Lawler to put their dates first. Then right after the show, Gagne refused to pay Lawler the money promised and so Lawler left with the AWA title, forcing the AWA to give the belt to Larry Zbyszko.
Lawler then went around Memphis as the Unified World Champion but World Class was going under and soon bought out to merge with Memphis to become the USWA. So this “unified” title really unified nothing as the AWA went under a year later and the USWA just became a Memphis-based territory. So instead of unifying anything, this belt just became a small promotion title rather than a huge deal.
12. Million Dollar Championship
In 1989, Ted DiBiase was in a tricky place: Too big for the lower card but not back to main event level. So, he declared that if he couldn’t be a champion, he’d just make his own and created a “Million Dollar Belt” with gold and diamond links. It actually got him over again and from time to time, WWE made it sound like an actual deal. DiBiase would face off with Jake Roberts for it and in 1991 even “defend” it against former bodyguard Virgil to swap around. However, it was really just a vanity piece for DiBiase and when he and IRS won the tag titles, he dropped it fast.
It was revived in 1996 for Steve Austin’s bad bit as “the Ringmaster” but overall, just a prop to push DiBiase and not really an important championship in any real light.
11. Battle Royal Trophy
It’s an old joke in wrestling but true: You see a trophy in the ring, it’s going to get smashed. Battle Royal trophies are an old favorite for several years, going back to the territories and while nice to look at, they really don’t mean much. A key example would be WrestleMania IV where a big 20 man battle royal had a fancy trophy as the prize. Bad News Brown won by turning on Bret Hart and afterward, Bret attacked Brown and smashed up his trophy. It’s pretty much par for the course as the Andre the Giant Battle Royal trophy looks okay but still not a huge deal and so many other trophies show battle royals are more important with money than a fancy piece of tin.
10. Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup
You can’t fault Jim Crockett for wanting to honor his dad but this was a mixed result. In 1985, the NWA agreed to go along with him in creating a tag team tournament, mixing guys from territories as well as abroad for a two-day event. The winner would get a million dollar check and a silver cup. The Road Warriors won the first event, not too bad overall. However, the following year was messy, the tournament dragging on and Dusty Rhodes booking himself and Nikita Koloff to win. The following year was worse, matches mixed up with the Sheepherders winning yet also somehow eliminated at the same time before Lex Luger and Sting won. By this point, Crockett was doing bad and forced to sell to Turner so this was the final Cup. The “checks” were pretty much for show and the cups just a decoration and not meaning much in the long run.
9. AWA Brass Knuckles Championship
Verne Gagne always had an affinity for tough guys and showed that in his running the AWA. Still, this was a bit much. In 1979, Gagne had a partnership with the Memphis organization that led to some crossover. As part of it, Memphis star Jackie Fargo began bragging about being the “brass knuckles champion of the world.” He was soon given a championship in matches where the participants had their knuckles bandaged to indicate they were wearing brass knuckles underneath. Fargo left Memphis and the title was vacated until Crusher Lisowski won it in 1981. When he left, the title was once more discontinued. A real waste of just a novelty belt and it shows how this period has as many lame angles as any of today.
8. WCW Six-Man Tag Team Title
Back in the 1980s, the NWA had a six-man tag title, first used in Texas, mostly by the Freebirds. Another version was in Jim Crockett, mostly by the Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes and represented by a trophy but WCW forgot about it most of the time. In 1991, they restarted it with Junkyard Dog, Ricky Morton and Tommy Rich the first champions. Hardly the best way to start this new title as the Freebirds got the belts fast. The problem was that WCW already had the World and U.S. tag titles, a six-man belt was just a bit too much on top of all that. The teams weren’t that great either, basically just random guys tossed together for bad matches and fans weren’t into it at all. The York Foundation would be the last champions as the title was deactivated after less than a year. Overall 1991 was a rough year for WCW and this title showcased how poor things could really get.
7. WCW Hardcore Title
WCW had a bad habit of making the wrong moves trying to emulate WWE. When that company created a Hardcore title and division, WCW decided to follow suit. Of all people, Norman Smiley won the belt in 1999 in Canada and proceeded to defend it in some very bad matches as WCW’s idea of “hardcore” was just guys messing around for five minutes or so before a bad pin. While some champions made sense (Bam Bam Bigelow, Terry Funk), many more didn’t. Among the titleholders were Eric Bischoff, the Nasty Boys, Lance Storm and others. The matches were total disasters, including the infamous Junkyard Battle and a total mess that dragged on totally. The title was a disaster as well and just highlighted how bad the last few years of WCW truly were.
6. WWE Canadian Championship
In 1985, Vince McMahon was beginning his grand expansion of WWE into a major worldwide promotion. Always having an “in” with Canada, Vince managed to take over the Montreal-based International Wrestling territory and used it to build up more. To try and set up a bigger link, Vince created a Canadian title and allowed IW star Dino Bravo to be its first champion. He defended the belt exclusively in Canada although the title wasn’t recognized in the U.S. at all. Bravo would end up leaving WWE in 1986 and by that point, it was clear Vince was too busy concentrating on the States to care about Canada at this time. Thus, the title was just a vanity plate for Bravo to hold for a time and a piece of trivia only the hardcore WWE fan cares about.
5. TNA Legends/Global/TV/King of the Mountain Championship
A rather confusing lineage for this championship. It began as the Legends title in 2008 with young guys in the company pitted against veterans. Of course, TNA had it won by an ex-WWE guy, Booker T. He defended it with AJ Styles winning it, then Eric Young getting it. Young renamed it the Global championship, defending it only against non-American wrestlers abroad. He lost it to Rob Terry who lost it to AJ Styles who renamed it the TV title. It would go to Young who proceeded to defend it in matches as well as a nutty angle chasing Scott Baio (yes, really). It was won by D-Von and later Abyss but fell totally by the wayside and deactivated in 2014.
It was revived as the King of the Mountain title, won by Jeff Jarrett as part of the “invasion” of TNA by his GFW. What matters is that fans just have never cared for this and no matter what the name, it’s a title even TNA has forgotten themselves to show how far the company has fallen.
4. TNA World Beer Drinking Championship
Even by TNA standards, this is one ridiculous waste. In 2007, James Storm had turned heel and was pushing himself as a hard-drinking cowboy guy. He and Eric Young were getting into a feud that revolved around who could drink the most and Storm calling himself the World Beer Drinking Champion. This led to a series of contests against Young for this “title” and leave it to TNA to commission an actual belt for it. It was basically a plastic spinner with a beer cup on it, totally ridiculous and fans loved to mock it. Storm defended the title for a time before finally “losing” it to Rhyno, who destroyed the belt and it was quickly dropped. Yet another reason it’s so easy to mock TNA.
3. WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Title
In a classic case of “too little, too late, WCW was trying to rebuild themselves as 2001 started. That included getting their cruiserweights more of a shot after neglecting them for so long. Having gotten a rush of new guys, WCW decided to create their own tag title for the division, holding a tournament of high flying workers. The matches were good, a throwback to the early days of Nitro when the cruiserweights dominated. It culminated at the “Greed” PPV with Kid Romero and Elix Skipper beating the Filthy Animals for the first titles.
Sadly, just weeks later, WCW went under and with WWE not interested in their cruiserweights then, the belts were retired. A shame WCW only got into this in their later days as the titles could have meant a lot more earlier.
2. Brawl For All Championship
WWE themselves regularly mock this idea themselves. In 1998, Vince Russo talked them into doing a big thing where Steve “Dr. Death” Williams (an old friend of Jim Ross’s) would be set up as the new big bad challenger for the company. To sell him, they set up a “toughman” contest with a mix of boxing and fighting taking place in the ring with Williams intended to win. The first bad move was that fans hated the shows being interrupted by this. The second was having the bouts all be real…and thus Williams ended up getting knocked out in the second round by Bart Gunn.
The fights were bad with real injuries abounding, the fans hating it and Gunn’s “victory” was really nothing at all. He ended up losing at Mania to Butterbean to cap off one of the worst ideas of the time and a “championship” that was best forgotten.
1. Western States Heritage Title
The very name of it is a bit rough, it doesn’t really sound great, just a clunky title. As Bill Watts’ UWF was rising in 1987, he was planning on expanding more and thought a new secondary belt would be a good idea. But the Western States thing was poor, especially for a promotion that called itself the “Universal” Wrestling Federation. Barry Windham won the belt in a tournament but it was right afterward that the UWF hit its major financial issues (due to the Oklahoma economy collapsing) and Watts was forced to sell to Jim Crockett.
With so many other belts in WCW already, the WSH title was pretty forgettable. Windham lost it to Larry Zbyszko at the Bunkhouse Stampede PPV and Zbyszko proceeded to run the belt into the ground so when he left for the AWA, it was retired. A rough title to start and circumstances just made it a piece of metal and a waste for all.
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