... A Sour Apple Tree

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Location: Huntington, WV, United States

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Top 10 Wrestlers Who Deserved A World Title Reign

The annals of professional wrestling are littered with tales of horrible booking decisions. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than in an analysis of some of the hacks who have been booked for world title runs in the AWA, NWA, WCW, and WWF/WWE over the years. Names like Ronnie Garvin, Tommy Rich, and David Arquette (yes, that David Arquette) readily come to mind. Meanwhile, guys like Hulk Hogan bogarted the title for years at a time, leaving the other talent to feud over, at best, the Intercontinental Title or, at worst, a stolen bulldog.

...ASAT will now take a look at the ten best wrestler who, for one reason or another, were screwed out of a chance to hold the gold.

Honorable Mention. Andre the Giant: While he technically did have a very short WWF World Title reign, the event involved a fake twin referee, a fast count, and him trying to sell the belt, only to be stripped by President Jack Tunney. He deserved so much more.

10. Abdullah the Butcher: In most wrestling organizations, the Madman from Sudan (well, actually Canada) would arrive, spill a few buckets of blood, and leave, thereby never really having the chance to take one of the recognized world titles during his long career.

9. Greg Valentine: Although a dazed referee once tried to award The Hammer the WWF World Title after he was beaten by then-champion Bob Backlund in 1981 and was on the verge of a title push in the NWA before jumping back to New York in 1983, Valentine never quite made it to the top flight.

8. The Sheik: The Sheik (note: not The Iron Sheik, totally different guys) was the Abraham of hardcore wrestling in the 1960s and 70s, but was too busy running his Detroit promotion (and perhaps too violent) to have a real crack at the Big Gold Belt.

7. Tully Blanchard: If he hadn't failed that piss test, just think of what might have been...

6. The Dynamite Kid: Imagine Chris Benoit at his best, and then multiple that by about 120%. That was just how damn good The Kid was. Unfortunately, he competed in an era where talented light heavyweights were swept aside in favor of charismatic beefcakes. By the time that the booking climate had changed enough for a man of his size to have been given a title run, his body was crippled by drug use and medical problems.

5. Ernie Ladd: The Big Cat was something of a monster heel back in the 1970s but, unfortunately, that was an era when few heels and no African Americans were given world title reigns.

4. Ted DiBiase: Despite finding much success in the Mid South, DiBiase never quite seemed to land the NWA World Title. He was brought into the WWF with the promise of a great angle, and boy, did McMahon & Co. Deliver. The Million Dollar Man character, combined with DiBiase's talent, made for one of the greatest heels of all-time and the template for every evil corporate persona to come.

3. Bad News Brown: Before there was Stone Cold, there was Bad News. Brown, an Olympic medalist in Judo, was the first 'tweener character. He was certainly not a babyface was wasn't above breaking the rules as needed, but he was by no means a cartoon villain like many of the other heels of his day. He was more of a loner than anything, and would attack a fellow baddy as quick as he would go after a good guy. He was a true talent and double tough: Andre the Giant once backed down from him after Brown confronted the big man over his use of the n-word. Unfortunately, the WWF felt that the world wasn't quite ready for a black champion and Brown left the Federation in disgust. It would be a decade before there was a black WWF World Champ.

2. Arn Anderson: Arn Anderson made a helluvah career for himself as Ric Flair's chief lieutenant and top enforcer and, honestly, I doubt that Anderson would change one thing about his career. That being said, it would have been great if his sick ring skills and top-notch ability to shit-talk would have been put to good use for a few months with an Anderson run with the belt.

1. Owen Hart: I can say, without a doubt, that Owen Hart, with the exception of his brother Bret, was the greatest in-ring technician that I have ever seen. His moves were so graceful and coordinated that he made even the clumsiest of opponents seem like a quality worker. If it hadn't been for that goddamn Blue Blazer shit, he would have held the title many, many times in his career. Now, though, all we have is this clip of him beating Bret in a match where the decision was later reversed.

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Blogger The Film Geek said...

Great analysis! I think Double A should have been more selfish!

Friday, May 16, 2008  
Blogger Chris James said...

One note:

While I count the WCW International Title as a true World Championship, others do not.

For those folks, let me add Rick Rude to the list.

Man, think about how much heel heat he could have generated with a WWF Title run.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008  

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