The World Championship Wrestling Television Championship was one of the more interesting titles that the now defunct company had in place for years. What was supposed to be a championship that was routinely defended on television programs such as Monday Nitro was, according to storylines, sometimes on the line overseas when only those inside of arenas were watching. A champion would sometimes be stripped of the title for one reason or another, only to then appear in a tournament and win back the title that was, if this was a legitimate sport, rightfully his in the first place.
What one must remember when examining the best and worst World Television Champions in the history of WCW is that the company does not technically go all the way back to the National Wrestling Alliance. It was not until 1988 when the name that was originally associated with a television show became linked with a promotion that, after early struggles, eventually became a legitimate threat to the WWE. Just think that it only took four years for WCW to go from being the top wrestling organization on the planet to one that was no longer in business. Crazy.
It should come as no surprise to anybody who was following the company at the time that the two worst WCW World Television Champions come from the dying days of the organization. One of them, per the story that was told by the company, found the World Television Championship to be such an anchor and a meaningless title that he decided to literally throw the belt away. The man who retrieved the championship was technically the last man to carry the title, as it was ultimately forgotten about during the reboot that was hoped to be a savior of WCW, one that did barely kept the company afloat through March of 2001.
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15 Booker T
This is not a knock on Booker T, but rather a statement on how ridiculously WCW treated titles such as the World Television Championship. You probably remember that Booker T was a five-time – five-time, etc. etc. – World Heavyweight Champion in WCW, but you may not realize that he held the TV title a total of six times in under 24 months. Championships changed hands more frequently in WCW and the WWE at that time than what is seen in the current WWE, but six title reigns in less than two years was excessive, even for those running WCW.
14 Perry Saturn
Some guys are simply saddled with questionable gimmicks and characters that do them few favors. That was the case for Perry Saturn during his time in WCW and WWE. WCW seemed to be high on Saturn soon after he joined the company, as he was given the World Television Championship before he left the group The Flock and turned babyface to feud with Raven. That was arguably the best that the WCW version of the character would get from the company, and Saturn joined Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko in leaving WCW for the WWE in 2000.
13 Lex Luger
As much as people like to reflect upon all of the negative aspects of Lex Luger's wrestling career, the character was simply too big of a name to be holding the midcard World Television Championship in early 1996. This would be proven later that year when Luger was routinely in main event feuds following the introduction of the New World Order. Something such as the World Television Championship should be used as a way to elevate talent and showcase newer performers. Luger did not need the belt in '96 and his run with the title is but a footnote on his resume.
12 Johnny B. Badd
Here is a brief rundown on the Johnny B. Badd character that Marc Mero played in WCW: he was a man said to be a legitimate boxer who was made to look like Little Richard, and Badd fired off a confetti gun as he made the way to the ring before a match. The pro wrestling industry can be difficult to explain to non-fans at times. This was a time when WCW was experimenting with different ideas in attempts to get performers over with fans, and the reality is that Badd was a somewhat popular babyface. He was not, however, all that great of a Television Champion.
11 Mike Rotunda
Mike Rotunda could work inside of the ring during his prime. There is no denying that. The man most familiar to casual wrestling fans as Irwin R. Schyster of the WWE just never had even a decent character when he was in WCW. Rotunda is one of several wrestlers on this list who were given World Television Championship runs seemingly because the company did not know what else to do with the title. While Rotunda won the championship in early 1988, he was recognized by WCW as one of the company's former television champions. You could not, however, be blamed if you don't remember him holding the strap.
10 Prince Iaukea
The WCW career of Prince Iaukea could serve as an example for why the company is not around today. Iaukea was made out to be a big deal during his early days in front of fans and he was given the World Television Championship as proof that he could be a future star. Iaukea then disappeared off of WCW television for a time before becoming a boring midcard wrestler. Iaukea was later repackaged as “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Iaukea” and then just The Artist, a comedic version of the wrestler who had first been introduced to fans. It is no wonder that he was not picked up by the WWE in 2001.
9 Fit Finlay
Dave Finlay is actually an awesome pro wrestler who could still probably outwork at least half of the current WWE roster despite the fact that he is closer to 60-years old than to 50. Finlay checks in on this list, though, because he was a World Television Champion in WCW as the “Fit Finlay” character that never really had any persona while in the company. Why was Fit Finlay in the wrestling business in the first place? What were his long-term goals? These are questions that were never answered during his time in WCW. He may have won gold in WCW, but Finlay's time in the WWE was far more memorable.
8 Rick Martel
The pro wrestling industry was a lot different in the 1990s than it is today, as both WCW and the WWE were looking to outdo each other in every way possible. One failed method utilized by WCW was to put former WWE stars over the company's own workers in title feuds and in front of massive television audiences. Rick Martel was a name from the past when he appeared on WCW programming and the talented wrestler could have been used as a hand to work with younger talent. WCW instead put the World Television Championship on him, because of course the company did.
7 Alex Wright
The original Alex Wright character in WCW was curious to say the least. He was, per the storylines, a young dancer who supposedly hit the clubs at night and who somehow fell into the wrestling industry. Wright was thus, in the eyes of some fans, just a guy on the roster who was there to take up time in the midcard portion of the roster, and winning the World Television Championship did not do a whole lot for the gimmick. WCW would turn Wright into the awful Berlyn character during the final years of the company's existence and he was not picked up by the WWE after WCW closed for good in March of 2001.
6 Rick Steiner
Some wrestling personalities have “it,” an ability to electrify crowds with their work inside of the ring and also talent to captivate audiences with the words that they speak during promos. Rick Steiner was a fine pro wrestling during his days in WCW, but a great solo act he was not. Steiner was put into singles competitions after his brother Scott was placed in the New World Order and ultimately made a main-event wrestler by the company, and Rick proved to be the weaker of the two when on their own. It wouldn't be all that shocking if you forgot that he held the World Television Championship.
5 Disco Inferno
There is a place in wrestling for characters such as Disco Inferno. Some fans and journalists may even argue that the World Television Championship was made for performers such as Disco Inferno, a comedic character who was able to put on solid matches inside of the ring. Granted, WCW fans found it difficult to take Disco seriously due to the fact that he was literally an act from decades prior to his days in the company. The man was given an anchor of a gimmick that could have sunk him, but Disco deserves credit for running with the role and making it his own; even if it wasn't all that good.
4 The Renegade
The pro wrestling industry has a long history of sorrowful stories and Richard Wilson is one of them. Wilson was tasked with playing The Renegade in WCW, a clear rip-off of the Ultimate Warrior character who was beloved among WWE fans. Renegade did not have the charisma or even the talent of the actual Warrior, though, and he would become a forgettable jobber following a push that saw him win the World Television Championship. WCW did not have much use for Renegade by the end of 1998 and he was released by the company. Wilson, reportedly depressed because of the end of his WCW career, sadly committed suicide at the age of 33.
The official website for Tom Zenk, who went as “Z-Man” during the stint of his WCW career that included him holding the World Television Championship, describes the man as being a “legendary pro wrestler.” Let us take a second to conjure up names that would be regarded as legends of the wrestling industry. Hulk Hogan may not be the greatest person out there, but he would have to make the list. Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels are two other names that come to mind. Is there anybody out there who would seriously put Z-Man alongside those legends? No? Didn't think so.
2 Scott Hall
There is a sad irony about Scott Hall throwing a championship belt into a garbage can considering how his life has gone since his days in WCW. Hall's career and personal life have been in disastrous states because he has not been able to defeat his addictions, and he once again sought help in 2015 after he allegedly appeared at a wrestling show too inebriated to work. Relapses have plagued Hall throughout the years, but the hope remains that Hall will be able to conquer his demons for good before they catch up to him in the worst way imaginable and cost him his life.
1 Jim Duggan
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan was a fine worker who could put on entertaining matches even at the point when he was past his prime in WCW. It is the way that he “won” the championship and not anything to do with his talent that makes him the worst WCW World Television Champion in history. Duggan located the belt that has been tossed into the garbage by the previously mentioned Scott Hall, and thus he was the new champion. Seriously. That is how WCW viewed belts in the year 2000. It is almost impossible to imagine that the company would be dead roughly one year after Duggan's discovery.
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