The rotten roots of World Championship Wrestling rest beneath the surface of the WWE Universe; never again will they grow but they will remain forever, serving as a constant reminder of the past.
The ghosts of WCW continue to haunt WWE. There is no right way to rid the company of its most famous competitor. WCW will continue to live in the hearts and minds of those who were around to appreciate the great Monday Night War.
To the modern WWE fan, WCW is an ancient ruin; a long, lost, piece of professional wrestling history. Thankfully, the memories of WCW have been preserved thanks to the WWE Network but a reflection simply doesn't do justice.
Those who lived through the existence of WCW understand full and well the triumphs and terrors that came along with being a fan of the promotion. From the Black and White takeover to the days of hospice care.
The glory days were grand for WCW while the life-support days were laughable. Along the way the company would crown some of the greatest World Champions in professional wrestling.
However, for all the wondrous title victories came a slew of wretched changes. Titles in WCW - particularly the World Heavyweight Championship - have exchanged hands in some of the worst manners.
This is a look back at these title changes. Those which called into question the integrity of WCW and those which were outright foolish. While WWE is guilty of this squared-circle crime as well, WCW became recidivists.
Take into account that much of this piece will consist of the year 2000; the single worst year in the history of WCW and the promotion's final full year in existence. In a perverse sense, this will shed light on the best of the worst.
These are the top 15 worst title changes in WCW history:
15 Bret Hart to Himself
Wrestling fans would like to forget about Bret Hart's time in WCW. However, it happened and is well documented. In fact, while with the promotion, Hart would become a two-time World Heavyweight Champion.
Bret Hart would win his first WCW World Heavyweight Championship in November of 1999 by winning a tournament for the then vacant title. This would lead to Hart heading into Starrcade as World Champion and defending against Goldberg.
Thanks to a controversial finish (Roddy Piper acted as referee and rang the bell while Goldberg was in the Sharpshooter), the title was vacated following night on Nitro; only to see Bret Hart reclaim the prize at night's end and from a new version of the nWo.
14 Kevin Nash Gives the Title to Ric Flair
In May of 2000, Kevin Nash would capture the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on an episode of Thunder in a match against Scott Steiner and Jeff Jarrett. However, Nash had no intention of keeping the gold.
The following Monday night on Nitro, live and in front of the world (or at least who was left watching WCW at that time), Kevin Nash would surrender the World Heavyweight Championship to Ric Flair.
Oddly enough, this would constitute as Ric Flair's final reign as World Heavyweight Champion; making the last of his legendary sixteen title reigns one that is marred with controversy.
13 Jeff Jarrett Wins a Tournament
In April 2000, Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo would join forces in a vain attempt at saving WCW and rekindling the magic that once was for the promotion. However, it was soon proven to WCW fans that magic is fake.
With the reboot came the decision to vacate each and every championship within the promotion. The main prize - the WCW World Heavyweight Championship - was to be decided in tournament form.
The winner and man chosen to lead WCW back to the promise land was Jeff Jarrett; a lifetime mid-card wrestler who in spite of his own opinion never had the star power to draw in the main event.
12 Kevin Nash to Randy Savage
Randy Savage left WWE with a purpose: to prove to Vince McMahon that the "Macho Man" was not over-the-hill. In WCW, Savage would become a four-time World Heavyweight Champion.
However, one particular champion victory came in an unusual manner: heading into Bash at the Beach 1999 Kevin Nash reigned as WCW World Heavyweight Champion and would place the gold on the line in a tag team match (Bad booking).
Randy Savage along with Sid Vicious would challenge Kevin Nash and his partner Sting with the stipulation that if Nash were pinned or made to submit, whomever accomplished this would be declared the champion, which happened with Savage.
11 Booker T to Kevin Nash
Bash at the Beach 2000 is still considered to be one of the most controversial nights in professional wrestling; second only to Survivor Series 1997. That night in Daytona Beach would see Jeff Jarrett literally lay down for Hulk Hogan.
Later on in the event, Vince Russo - in a rather harsh tone - would announce that Hulk Hogan would never be seen in WCW again and that a new World Heavyweight Champion would be crowned, which happened with Booker T.
This was great for Booker T. However, it was too late to build anything around the new champion as the company was in dire times. And of course, who would take away the title from Booker T? None other than Kevin Nash, which was simply more of the same.
10 Sid Vicious Wins the Vacant Title
In January of 2000, the WCW World Heavyweight Championship was vacated when acting title holder, Chris Benoit left the company due to unresolved problems with management. Therefore, a new champion was required.
During this time, Kevin Nash was serving as on-screen Commissioner of WCW and would himself challenge Sid Vicious for the vacated gold, provided Vicious could defeat The Harris Brother, which Vicious accomplished.
Later on in the Nitro broadcast, Sid Vicious would indeed defeat Kevin Nash to become the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion; providing further proof that the company was on hard times as Vicious is clearly not championship material.
9 Kevin Nash Awards Himself the Title
Following the Sid Vicious victory, Kevin Nash - in his role as Commissioner - would decree that Vicious had pinned the wrong Harris Brother. Therefore, stripping Vicious of the gold on Thunder.
This would once again call for a new WCW World Heavyweight Champion to be crowned. Once the belt was taken away from Sid Vicious, Kevin Nash would announce the new champion as himself.
While Kevin Nash would lose the WCW World Heavyweight Championship back to Sid Vicious later that night, the concept of a man in power awarding himself with the company's top prize showcased the lack of leadership in WCW.
8 Ric Flair to Jeff Jarrett
In May of 2000 - on an episode of Nitro - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair would prove once again why we was The Man as he would defeat Jeff Jarrett for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship; making Flair a fifteen-time title holder.
However, the following Monday would see Ric Flair stripped of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship as Vince Russo - once again in all his wisdom - would cause another short title reign.
Who would succeed Ric Flair this time as WCW World Heavyweight Champion? Vince Russo's handpick boy, Jeff Jarrett. Once again placing the strap on the guy who nobody was paying to watch.
7 Booker T to Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner had accomplished a lot in WCW but was never given a run as World Heavyweight Champion. This would change in November of 2000 at a Pay-Per-View event known as Mayhem.
Booker T would place the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on the line against Scott Steiner in a Straitjacket Steel Cage match; which was designed to emphasis the insanity of Steiner but was really just another Vince Russo gimmick.
Scott Steiner would emerge victorious with his first and only WCW World Heavyweight Championship and would become the second-to-last holder of the title (disregard its time in WWE). However, this would only reiterate the fact that Russo lost his touch.
6 Booker T Wins the San Francisco 49ers Match
Once again the WCW World Heavyweight Championship was declared vacant in October of 2000 and once again a new title holder was needed as the game of championship hot potato continued.
This would place Booker T and Jeff Jarrett in a San Francisco 49ers match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The object of the match would place a box hanging on a pole in each corner of the ring with one box containing the title.
The first three boxes were opened to reveal a blow-up doll, a picture of Scott Hall, and a coal miner's glove. Eventually, Booker T would get his hands on the WCW World Heavyweight Championship which was placed in the last box (WTF!?).
5 Jeff Jarrett Wins the Triple Cage Match
Slamboree was once a marquee event for WCW but by May of 2000, nothing the company presented on Pay-Per-View was worth while. WWE had it right while WCW had it completely wrong.
The main event for the evening would feature a Triple Cage match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship which included a cage placed on top of a cage and placed on top of another cage.
What was this match? Nothing more than another gimmick and a complete waste of time. The garbage in WCW was really starting to smell at this time as Jeff Jarrett would leave the structure as the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
4 Goldberg to Kevin Nash
Bill Goldberg was never a real wrestler. In the words of Bret Hart: "Goldberg washed up onto the shores of the wrestling business." However, Goldberg got over and became a massive attraction for WCW.
Placing the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on Goldberg back in July of 1998 was the right move. Goldberg was the hottest thing in WCW and the company needed to run with him as long as possible.
Enter the taser: at Starrcade that December, Kevin Nash would not only defeat Goldberg for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship but end Goldberg's lengthy undefeated streak, thanks to his good buddy, Scott Hall, and a taser.
3 Booker T to Vince Russo
Vince Russo did more than enough to finally put WCW out of business by actually making himself WCW World Heavyweight Champion? What a shame. Russo holding the gold was a complete disgrace to WCW.
So, how did it happen? Vince Russo challenged Booker T for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in a Steel Cage match on Nitro back in September of 2000. Goldberg would arrive and spear Russo through a cage wall.
This would inadvertently cost Booker T the WCW World Heavyweight Championship as technically Vince Russo was first to escape the cage. Russo would surrender the belt the following week on Nitro.
2 Diamond Dallas Page to David Arquette
Diamond Dallas Page as WCW World Heavyweight Champion: was DDP championship material in the first place? DDP himself would say absolutely while many fans and others within the industry would beg to differ.
Nonetheless, Diamond Dallas Page served as WCW World Heavyweight Champion in April of 2000 and would defend the gold on Nitro in a tag team match that included Jeff Jarrett, Eric Bischoff, and David Arquette.
The stipulation being: whomever scored the pinfall would be declared WCW World Heavyweight Champion. Everyone watching just knew what was about to happen and, sure enough, David Arquette walked out with the title.
1 Kevin Nash to Hollywood Hogan
Kevin Nash had defeated Goldberg for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship to round out 1998. On the first Nitro of 1999, Nash would place the gold on the line against Hulk Hogan who appeared to be on his way back to a babyface role.
However, the infamous "Finger Poke of Doom" would occur, solidifying that Hogan was to remain Hollywood while reforming the nW o. That night, WCW was officially and terminally diagnosed while being placed on borrowed time.
Meanwhile over on Raw, Mankind was busy capturing the WWE Championship while WCW viewers (thanks to a spoiler) would switch their stations to witness Mick Foley's moment and permanently change the momentum in the Monday Night War.
Postscript: One must feel for Booker T who had to endure many of these awful moments.