World Championship Wrestling, or WCW, was known for a lot of things. It was home of big names and some of the most powerful stables in wrestling history. It took pride in unpredictability and stories that cut close to reality, lifting the veil of the kayfabe that usually shrouded the business to shock and excite audiences.
One thing that the now defunct company was not known for, however, was consistency. A lot of this was due to constant changing on personal, both behind the scenes and on-camera. In addition, whoever the chosen leader was at the time had to compete with the 'Creative Control' clause that many top stars had in their contracts that allowed them to refuse to do any story they felt like.
As a result of the creative and political mess, WCW often found itself with short World Championship reigns. This was an especially big problem in its later years as it looked to recapture its faded glory. As everyone knows, it only served to drive the company into the grave at an alarming speed. While the WWE has sometimes been guilty of this as well, especially back in the Attitude Era, where unpredictability was the name of the game, WCW definitely took things to another level. It reached the point where the title grew meaningless and when the richest prize in the business becomes meaningless, it's hard to find anything of value in the company itself.
This list takes a look back at the shortest world championship reigns in the history of WCW. As such, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship reigns that took place under the WCW banner are eligible. However WCW Championship reigns that took place on WWE programming after the final episode of Nitro do not count.
25 Sting - 56 Days
When Sting finally met nWo leader Hollywood Hogan at Starrcade 1997 for the WCW Championship, the fate of WCW was on the shoulders of The Stinger. In typical WCW fashion, a series of controversies clouded the match and the championship ended up vacant. Sting would eventually get the gold in the rematch, despite the interference of several wrestlers - all of whom attacked Sting, with the exception of Randy Savage.
A month later, Hogan and Savage faced off at Uncensored and Sting tried to return the favor by helping the Macho Man but instead, Savage spat in his face. At Spring Stampede, Savage and Sting would meet for the WCW Championship and Savage would end Sting's reign thanks to the interference of a man who had interfered in all of Sting's championship matches - Kevin Nash.
This was all revealed to be a masterplan to create the nWo Wolfpac, separate from Hogan, with Savage and Nash leading the charge.
24 Booker T - 55 Days
Booker T may take pride in being a five time, five time, five time, five time, five time WCW Champion but the unfortunate downside to this was that it meant a few short reigns. Especially given the fact that his first reign came nine months before WCW's demise. In fact, this reign was actually his second longest.
After recapturing his vacated belt by defeating Jeff Jarrett in a San Francisco 49ers match (don't ask), Booker would end up rivaling with 'Big Poppa Pump' Scott Steiner. Unfortunately for Booker, the rise of the 'Genetic Freak' meant that he found himself falling from top spot.
When the two met in a Straight Jacket Steel Cage match at Mayhem, Steiner took the championship by Technical Knock-out by placing the unconscious champion in the Steiner Recliner.
23 Booker T - 50 Days
Booker's first world championship success came during one of WCW's most controversial nights. Following the farce that was the planned championship match between Jeff Jarrett and Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach 2000, that saw Jarrett lie down for Hogan before Vince Russo fired the latter on live PPV, Russo made a new main event between champion Double J and Booker T.
Booker managed to win this match and stake his claim as a top player in the company. He would lose the belt unceremoniously to Kevin Nash on Nitro but it wouldn't take him long to regain it.
22 The Great Muta - 48 Days
The only entry on the list to actually be an NWA World Heavyweight Championship reign. Muta captured the championship in a Title for Title match against Masahiro Chono, with his own IWGP Heavyweight Championship on the line, at the WCW/New Japan Supershow III in the famous Tokyo Dome.
His win made him one of only two men to ever hold both championship simultaneously, although his run with the NWA belt was brief. At Superbrawl III the following month, Muta would lose the title to Barry Windham.
21 Sting - 43 Days
At Fall Brawl 1999, Sting won the WCW Championship from Hulk Hogan with the use of a baseball bat - turning his back on the fans and WCW. The two man were scheduled to have a rematch at Halloween Havoc the following match, but instead of competing, Hogan came out in street clothes and laid down for Sting to cover him and win.
Sting, unhappy with the 'match', issued an open challenge for later that night. Bill Goldberg would answer the challenge and defeat Sting in just over three minutes. Goldberg was awarded the title, but Sting attacked referee Charles Robinson to get his belt back. The following night on Nitro, Sting stated that he never agreed his open challenge would be for the belt. Despite this, he was stripped of the championship by J.J. Dillon.
20 Jeff Jarrett - 41 Days
During the space of two months in 2000, 'Double J' won the WCW Championship four times. As the chosen head of The New Blood, a stable of younger talents under the guise of WCW's new creative unit of Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo, Jarrett was being looked at as one of the top stars going forward.
This, his final reign, began by defeating Ric Flair on Nitro for the belt after a saga that started with Russo stripping Flair of the title. This led to Jarrett and Nash feuding over the belt, with Nash returning the belt to Flair after he won it. Although this would backfire as Jarrett would win the championship back from Flair later that night.
He lost the title at Bash at the Beach, although there is a question as to the exact moment. After Jarrett laid down for Hogan in protest, Russo told Hogan that the belt he won was now a 'Hogan Memorial' and Jarrett remained champion, only to lose the belt to Booker T later that night.
19 Randy Savage - 31 Days
Macho Man won the vacant WCW World Championship during the first World War 3 match - a three ring, 60 man battle royal. The win wasn't without controversy, as Hulk Hogan was deemed to be eliminated by a referee that missed him being sent under the bottom rope.
At Starrcade: World Cup of Wrestling, Savage lost the championship to Ric Flair. This was actually the second match of the night for both men, as Savage won a match for Team WCW against NJPW's Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and Ric Flair defeated Lex Luger and Sting to earn number one contendership.
18 Bret Hart - 29 Days
Bret captured his first WCW Championship by winning a tournament for the vacant belt. It wasn't an easy journey, first handing Goldberg his second official loss before defeating former champion Sting in the semis, and Chris Benoit in the final. The first of whom was instrumental in this short reign.
When Bret defeated Goldberg in the quarters, he took his United States Championship - making him a four time champion, the most in the company's history. While Bret was WCW Champion, he and Goldberg would hold the Tag Team Championships together, making Bret the first wrestler to win both the WWE and WCW Triple Crown.
However, when Bret put the WCW Title on the line against Goldberg at Starrcade he retained it in very suspicious circumstances. Guest referee Roddy Piper called for the victory while Goldberg was in the Sharpshooter but without a submission, mirroring the Montreal Screwjob. In reaction, Bret vacated the championship out of respect for his opponent. This would also be the match in which Hart suffered what proved to be a career-ending concussion due to an errant kick to the head from Goldberg.
17 Ric Flair - 28 Days
The Nature Boy was in the midst of a very personal feud with Hollywood Hogan when he won his sixth WCW Championship, with the two fighting over not just the belt but control of the company itself.
At Uncensored 1999, Flair got a final shot at Hogan's belt by putting his Presidency up for grabs in a First Blood Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match. This was a direct response to Hogan recruiting Flair's son David to help him retain his championship the month prior. Flair won thanks to the help of 'Mini Naitch', referee Charles Robinson, who - using the discretion Flair had instructed him to use - refused to count Hogan's pinfall attempts and didn't acknowledge Flair bleeding first. This, and Arn Anderson's interference, allowed Flair to finally capture the title.
However, his hunt ended up longer than his reign as less than a month later he would lose the title to Diamond Dallas Page in a Four Way.
16 Bret Hart - 27 Days
Bret's second WCW Championship reign and final championship ever, Bret would follow directly on from his forfeiting of the belt by starting a new reign later that same night. Only this time he won it with help from Piper, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Jeff Jarrett.
This move was supposed to launch the nWo 2000 group, led by The Hitman, but Bret was forced into retirement due to the injuries he sustained in the match with Goldberg at Starrcade that left him with post-concussion syndrome.
Interestingly, given the history of the duo, Bret is the only person to hold an undefeated record against Goldberg in singles and tag competition.
15 Ric Flair - 26 Days
Flair ended Savage's 31 day reign at Starrcade: World Cup of Wrestling during a four month period where the two frequently traded the belt. Both men had competed previously in the night, although Flair actually had the harder battle.
Savage won his match for Team WCW in 7 minutes, while Flair competed in a half hour Triple Threat to earn his title match - a match he would enter immediately afterwards. However, thanks to the help of Arn Anderson and a pair of brass knuckles, Flair would topple his rival.
Less than a month later the fates would be reversed. This time Anderson's brass knuckle interference backfired and, with Hogan helping to take out 'The Enforcer', Savage would regain his championship.
14 Big Van Vader (21 Days)
Almost immediately into his time in WCW, Vader received a World Championship shot at Sting. The big man would get himself disqualified but in the process, Sting suffered cracked ribs and a ruptured spleen. This left the champion mostly unable to compete and three months later Vader would win the rematch and become the fourth ever WCW Champion.
Unfortunately, history would repeat itself as Vader himself would get injured after winning the strap - a recurrence of a knee injury that he suffered months prior that forced him to lose the IWGP Tag Team Championship. Ron Simmons would win a raffle to replace Sting as Vader's challenger and became the first recognized African-American WCW World Champion.
13 T13. Kevin Nash, Randy Savage - 20 Days
Kevin Nash's final world championship reign came as a part of The Millionaires Club stable, soon into WCW's final reboot. Nash would take Booker T's championship on an episode of Nitro but at Fall Brawl, Booker would recapture it inside Caged Heat - WCW's version of Hell in a Cell.
Savage may have avenged his Starrcade loss to take back his championship but Flair would get the final laugh at Superbrawl VI, as he won a Steel Cage match after Miss Elizabeth turned on her man. This would end their championship back-and-forth as The Nature Boy would go onwards leaving Savage in his wake.
12 DDP - 15 Days
Diamond Dallas Page may be remembered as 'The People's Champion' of WCW but his World Championship success certainly did not reflect that. All three of his reigns as champion can be found in this regrettable list.
His first reign was the longest, although not by much, as he dethroned Ric Flair in a Fatal Four Way match thanks to the interference of guest referee Randy Savage. However DDP finally reaching the top was mistimed, as the fans were starting to tire of his hero shtick and began to boo him.
This forced WCW to turn Page heel, which in turn, saw him lose the title to Sting on an episode of Monday Nitro.
11 DDP - 13 Days
However, DDP would kick-start his next reign later that evening in another Fatal Four Way match. He didn't even pin the champion though, instead pinning Kevin Nash after a weapon attack.
This decision would lead to his next downfall, as Nash was chosen as number one contender for Slamboree - where he would leave DDP with another short reign ended. Despite Savage's help initially getting Page the win, Eric Bischoff called for the match to be restarted, allowing Nash to pick up the victory instead.
10 David Arquette - 12 Days
Easily the most infamous world championship reign in professional wrestling history. When average actor David Arquette came into WCW he started a feud with Eric Bischoff as a way of promoting the Ready to Rumble movie, the two men were aligned with DDP and Jeff Jarrett respectively. Despite Arquette being aligned with Page, he captured his WCW Championship in a tag team match thanks to being the one to score the winning fall over Bischoff.
However, it was all revealed to be a ploy as Arquette betrayed DDP during a Triple Steel Cage match to allow Jeff Jarrett to capture the championship. Vince Russo may defend the decision by pointing to the mainstream attention it received but it is fairly unanimously accepted as one of the worst decisions in a history of bad decisions that were made in WCW.
9 Sting - 11 Days
At Starrcade 1997, Sting put an end to Hulk Hogan's lengthy rule over WCW but thanks to backstage politics things did not go quite as planned. The company had spent a year building up the repackaged Sting as the man to finally overcome the nWo's domination but Hogan's backstage pull meant that he didn't get to do it in any kind of convincing fashion.
A convoluted story was told, with nWo-sympathetic referee Nick Patrick giving Hogan the win with a "fast count" that Bret Hart would take issue with to restart the contest. If this wasn't bad enough, Patrick didn't even count fast in execution - potentially in agreement with Hogan himself.
This messy situation saw Sting eventually stripped of the title on the inaugural episode of Thunder. Instead of creating the hottest anti-hero in wrestling, WCW threw away all their work on Sting. WWE took notice and Stone Cold Steve Austin soon rose to the forefront, tipping the Monday Night War permanently in the opposite direction to WCW.
8 T8. The Giant, Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett (x2) & Booker T - 8 Days
The Giant won the WCW Championship in his first ever professional contest although it was under dubious circumstances. Champion Hogan would get disqualified after his manager Jimmy Hart interfered before joining forces with The Giant. It was later revealed that Hart had put a clause in the match contract that the belt could change hands via disqualification, but Giant would be stripped of the championship due to Hart being the source of the DQ.
Nash's reign was an even more infamous incident, ending Goldberg's undefeated streak thanks to Scott Hall interfering with a stun gun. Instead of Goldberg receiving his rematch a week later, he instead found himself arrested. Hogan would return to take his place, leading to the 'Fingerpoke of Doom' that saw Nash literally lie down to relinquish his title to his opponent.
Both of Jarrett's reigns took place within a month. After being chosen as the face of a rebooted WCW, Jarrett would win the vacant title. However, after losing it DDP he would regain it from David Arquette in the previously mentioned Triple Cage match. Likewise, Booker won his title from Nash in the prior stated Caged Heat match but would soon lose it to...
7 T7. Vince Russo, Ric Flair - 7 Days
Yup, WCW writer Vince Russo. Russo had challenged Booker to the title inside a Steel Cage and ended up the victor after being speared through the cage by Goldberg. Some have claimed that this was accidental, and the following Nitro Russo did vacate the title proclaiming that he wasn't a wrestler. However, with his previous decision to make actor David Arquette as champion many believe that this was another attempt for controversial attention.
Russo was also instrumental in Flair's short reign, stripping him of the WCW Championship a week after he ended Jeff Jarrett's reign and handed it back to ally Double J.
6 T6. Kevin Nash, Sting - 6 Days
Kevin Nash took it upon himself to avenge the decision of Russo, winning the WCW Championship back from Jeff Jarrett on a pre-taped episode of Thunder. On Nitro, Nash would voluntarily give the strap back to Ric Flair, leaving himself with another short reign.
Sting had an equally short reign at the opposite end of WCW's existence. In 1993, Sting won the championship from Big Van Vader during a tour of the United Kingdom. Six days later, Vader would recapture the belt towards the end of the tour as if nothing ever happened for the fans back in America.
5 Lex Luger - 5 Days
When 'The Total Package' received an impromptu championship match on Monday Nitro, he took full advantage of the opportunity and brought an end to the nearly year long reign of Hollywood Hogan.
Unfortunately for Lex, he could not make the same success out of being the champion. He would lose the championship straight back to Hogan in the rematch at Road Wild thanks to the involvement of Dennis Rodman, who was a member of the nWo at the time.
4 T4. Savage (x2), Benoit, Sid Vicious, DDP, Jarrett - 1 Day
No matter the company, Randy Savage constantly found himself thwarted by Hulk Hogan. After winning the WCW Championship from Sting at Spring Stampede in 1998, he would lose it to Hogan on Nitro. The following year, he would win it again in a tag match but Hogan would return the next night and bring an end to the final world championship reign of the Macho Man.
When Bret Hart vacated the title due to a career ending injury, Chris Benoit took his place in his WCW Championship match - after his own United States Championship match fell through thanks to champion Jeff Jarrett's own injury. Benoit won the WCW Title but would leave to the WWE after a dispute with WCW management, notably Kevin Sullivan.
The following week, Sid would manage to win the vacant championship by defeating WCW Commissioner Kevin Nash. He would be forced to vacate though, after Nash ruled that he had pinned the wrong Harris brother to earn his title shot.
Nash would be heavily involved in Jarrett's short reign too, after Jarrett defeated him to win the vacant championship before losing it to him the following night.
3 Kevin Nash - 2 hours
Karma would come back to get Nash though, with a reign that lasted only two hours. Worse still, the WWE doesn't even acknowledge it as having happened in their official title lineage.
After Nash stripped Sid of the championship for pinning the illegal Harris brother he went on to name himself the champion. In what would prove to be a foolish decision, he also granted Sid another shot at his championship later that night in a handicap match.
Sid would once again overcome the odds, making Nash submit to lay his indisputable claim to the top prize in the company.
2 Ric Flair - <2 Hours
When Vince Russo stripped Ric Flair of his WCW Championship, Kevin Nash took it upon himself to try and avenge the injustice. He was successful, regaining the title back from Jeff Jarrett and handing it back to the rightful champion, Flair.
The pursuit would end up all for naught though, as later that same night Jeff Jarrett would defeat Flair and recapture the championship legitimately.
1 Sting - 90 Minutes
When Diamond Dallas Page finally won the WCW Championship, his first reign was less than what was expected. Thanks to the fans tiring of his 'goody two shoes' act, he was turned heel and found his reign cut short thanks to WCW's hero, Sting.
Sting had to defend the championship later that same night though in a Fatal Four Way match against DDP, Kevin Nash and Goldberg. DDP would regain his belt after pinning Nash, leaving Sting with the shortest world championship reign in the history of the company he is synonymous with - despite not even being pinned to lose it.
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