WCW did a great job protecting the credibility of their world championship until its dying days. Many of the all-time icons in wrestling history held the big gold belt to represent WCW as the top champion in the promotion. The title reigns of the better wrestlers to win the title helped make the belt one of the most valuable in wrestling history. Unfortunately, not all champions were able to have the same impact.
We will look at both instances of the great champions and disappointing ones. The great champions help make WCW what it was at its peak while the worst champions helped played a role in the promotion going downhill. Not every wrestler was destined to be a world champion, and that was showcased with the history of the WCW title. Find out just which wrestlers thrived and flopped with the five best and five worst WCW Champions of all time.
10 Best: Goldberg
The title reign of Goldberg as WCW Champion featured him taking an undefeated streak to the next level. Goldberg defeated Hollywood Hogan in a tremendous moment on Nitro. WCW viewed Goldberg as having enough momentum to win the gold.
No one could have predicted Goldberg would win the WCW Championship by defeating the biggest star in the company one year into his career. Fans accepted Goldberg as the new face of WCW during his title reign with an argument that he was the biggest homemade star in company history.
9 Worst: The Giant
Big Show started his career in WCW under the name of The Giant. Hulk Hogan discovered him at a gym and convinced him to become a wrestler. The Giant won the WCW Championship over Hogan in his first match with the made-up gimmick of being Andre the Giant’s son.
WCW would see The Giant have two world title reigns that both disappointed. Giant didn’t have the star power of WCW peers like Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage, and his matches weren’t as good as Ric Flair or Sting. WCW used him in a secondary role after the second title reign before he made the move to WWE.
8 Best: Ric Flair
Ric Flair created a legacy as the iconic performer that helped put WCW on the map. Outside of his one short run in WWE, Flair spent almost the entirety of WCW’s existence as one of the top stars on the roster.
Eight of Flair’s legendary sixteen world title reigns came with the WCW Championship. Flair helped make the WCW Championship a relevant title in the wrestling industry. The big gold belt is often associated with Flair when fans discuss the WCW Championship
7 Worst: Jeff Jarrett
The back and forth between WWE and WCW in the '90s made Jeff Jarrett a strong part of both companies at different points. Jarrett had the biggest opportunity in his career when he moved back to WCW in 1999 when his supporter Vince Russo gained control.
There were four separate WCW Championship reigns for Jarrett that helped WCW continue to lose momentum. Jarrett spent a long time in the mid-card picture, and it was not as believable seeing him in the top spot. Many great wrestlers could rise to the level needed in that role, but Jarrett was not one of them.
6 Best: Booker T
Booker T was the final WCW Champion on the last episode of Nitro before WWE officially controlled the WCW brand. The journey of Booker T was also one of the last great stories to come from WCW. Booker rose to the top as a five-time WCW Champion after many years of mid-card and tag action in Harlem Heat.
The legacy of Booker has the WCW Championship history associated with him. Booker was a tremendous WCW success story when looking at his progress as a performer. The impressive WCW Championship reign helped put him on a good path joining WWE to become a two-time Hall of Famer today.
5 Worst: Vince Russo
One of the worst decisions in wrestling history featured Vince Russo booking himself to win the WCW Championship. Russo made a lot of controversial choices during his time running the company that put them in a bad place losing money.
The silliest idea of them all came when Russo came out of a cage match winning the WCW Championship to end one of Booker T’s reigns. Russo vacated the title after a week, but it delivered a blow to the title’s credibility. Diehard WCW fans still try their best to forget Russo ever held the big gold title.
4 Best: Hollywood Hogan
The signing of Hulk Hogan by WCW helped them gain new viewers making the move from WWE. Hogan held the WCW Championship on six occasions for a total of over 1,000 days. The best title reigns of Hogan came when he formed the Hollywood heel character as the leader of the New World Order.
WCW found their greatest success during Hogan’s title reign since the nWo dominated the wrestling world with interest from fans. Hogan added a second strong chapter to his legacy as an all-time great WCW Champion over a decade after he first did the same in WWE.
3 Worst: Sid Vicious
WCW signed Sid Vicious to a big contract to try to add another top name to the main event picture. Sid was coming off a strong run in WWE as a world champion, but the star power just was not as strong as the other top stars in the industry.
A few main eventers left WCW as things started to get worse which helped Sid get an even bigger push. Sid won the WCW Championship twice in the year 2000. Neither title reign meant much in the grand scheme of WCW with the second one ending after he vacated the title at the start of New Blood angle.
2 Best: Sting
The incredible career of Sting featured most of his legacy getting created in WCW. Sting never once left WCW from the start of his run until the company went out of business. An impressive six WCW Championship reigns helped Sting become arguably the greatest champion in company history.
Sting always had a role in the title picture which helped create more prestige to the title. The most memorable win came when Sting defeated Hollywood Hogan during the New World Order vs WCW feud as fans clamored for the moment for over a year. Only Sting could have such an impact winning a world title in WCW.
1 Worst: David Arquette
David Arquette’s reign as WCW Champion still stands out as one of the final nails in the coffin of WCW. Vince Russo made a lot of bold moves during his reign that unfortunately destroyed the credibility of the company and its championship belt.
The marketing of the Ready to Rumble movie led to Arquette appearing on WCW television. Russo used this as inspiration to make Arquette the WCW Champion in hopes of getting press coverage for a celebrity holding the title. The press did not care and fans lost respect for WCW that played a role in its demise.