The Hot Topic: The Greatest…Part I

Rob Taylor


Greetings from “Sunny England” and welcome to another THT!…

This column begins something special…a regular section that will once and for all seperate who the greatest champions ever actually are! but first as ever…my thoughts on recent events….

The Royal Rumble is shaping up to be nice… Kurt and JBL teaming up against Big Show was a good swerve, though I have to believe the Big Show is walking out the champ… Right now he is the closest to a true “main eventer” he has EVER been… including when Hogan discovered him!

Rumors abound that The Rock has a problem with Vince’s lack of interest in him lately… Sorry Rock, but WWE can’t do much with one of their superstars playing a gay bodyguard in “Be Cool” when they have Cena as “The Marine”… Rock is talented as an actor, I was impressed by Welcome To The Jungle & Walking Tall, not the whole films, but the fact he CAN be convincing as someone other than his wrestling character and entertaining too…Sink or Swim Dwayne… Start Paddling!

Ironically the same week this is alleged, WWE Films signs a deal with “Stone Cold” for 3 films… Obviously this was some kinda “proviso” for Steve to return to the WWE fold, but it is not likely to succeed…Austin plays one role…well… he has not done anything else for nearly 10 years now… Can he empathise? Can he relate? Could he work “The Method”? Is he destined for a cinema release as opposed to straight to DVD? Gimmie a Hell No!

I was amazed to read the Dr. Feelgood article on WZ…cos I have RP’d a near identical character (name and all) for the last 5 years in my efedding!… Must be something in the water… or maybe he read my stuff… or maybe we are both just geniuses 🙂

AND NOW..LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…THE MAIN EVENT!

In this series of columns, once and for all I will answer the question, “Who is the greatest…. Champion”

Each time a different belt will be looked at… those who have won it, what they did with it…and their place in the pecking order of history… The first to be looked at… The Intercontinental Title…

Of course, we all know the first IC champ was none other than Pat Patterson, although he only won it in a ficticious tournament… Sadly, despite being “the first” this fact DQ’s him out of being “the greatest…

Our rundown begins with a man who held the IC title proudly, but turned vicious when his reign was threatened… at #5 I give you… Macho Man Randy Savage…

At the first Wrestlemania saw Tito Santana as IC champion, a solid wrestler no doubt, but not exciting to the masses… He was defeated around this time of year 19 years ago by the “Macho Man”, who proceeded to make the IC title the most important title of it’s day… how did he do so? by not only adding glamour through his connection to Miss Elizabeth, but his sheer venom in defending the title… No one was taking it from him…. at any cost…. In one such defence he used the ring bell on Ricky Steamboat’s throat… and the hottest wrestling feud seen for a lower tier title ever began….

We all know the outcome of Wrestlemania 3… Macho Man lost the belt but wrestled the match of his career in doing so, and cemented his main event status and World title win just one year later, during that era, no time at all… Remember…in those days, WWE only introduced the Survivor Series and Summerslam AFTER this!… The Royal Rumble? 2 years later! so there was ONLY Wrestlemania!

At #4 we have “The Bad Guy”… Razor Ramon/Scott Hall whatever you wish to call him… Razor had been a major player in WWF since his debut, instantly being promoted to main event roles as part of the Flair/Perfect/Heenan group…He main evented PPV’s but fell short when it counted… but around Summerslam 1993, a sea change occured… Ted DiBiase had picked on Razor’s “humiliator” the 1-2-3 Kid…and rather than joining in…Razor defended the man who had beaten him so prominently on RAW… One month later…Razor was not only the IC champion, after winning a tourney set up by Shawn Michaels “quitting”, but he was a face to boot…Razor dominated the IC division for 2 and half years, winning the title 4 times… No matter who held the belt during that period, Ramon was their #1 contender.. such tenacity in a division deserves recognition… His final IC loss came to Goldust at the 1996 Royal Rumble but by then he had already decided to return to WCW and made a massive splash as part of the NWO!

“Cut The Music…What i’d like to have right now is for all you fat…useless…IWC zombies to pile down and let me welcome #3 to the party…” Yup you guessed it… “Ravishing” Rick Rude… Rick makes this high up the list because his win had arguably the most impact of it’s day…he handed The Ultimate Warrior his first (albiet crooked) loss in the WWF… Taking the title made the insult even more pointed… Rude, with Bobby Heenan in his corner lorded it over the WWF for several months, getting in the face of Rowdy Roddy Piper as well as being stalked by the Warrior.. By Summerslam his reign was over… but Rude headlined the same event just one year later, against the Warrior, for the World title… he turned his short stint as IC champion into a career as arguably the best heel of his generation…

2: Davey Boy Smith: A short reign, but his IC title victory was the highest the IC title has ever reached on a WWE show.. Make no mistake, Bret Hart was the champion of the time, but it was Davey Boy who elevated their match to the main event of Summerslam 1992… On the night, he delivered to the point of embarrasing WWE… How could this guy be only wrestling for the IC title? Within months, it became apparent that Bret, not Davey was going to the World title and Davey decided to quit the WWF… not before jobbing to one Shawn Michaels on his way out… that match was simply amazing… Davey literally lifted and slammed Shawn completely one armed…yet still came out worst… To sum up Davey Boy forced and won the most important IC championship match ever…and handed one of the WWF’s most influential wrestlers ever, his first title… THAT is great!

1: But…not quite as great as…well “He’s Got Long Sideburns and his hair slicked back…he’s coming to your town in a…” you get the point… at number 1 without question is the man who held the IC title for the longest period ever… The Honky Tonk Man… Why was he great? look back at the time and think… Elvis had been in the ground barely 10 years, and here was this obnoxious, horrible man basically pissing on his legacy on WWF TV week after week… While Honky was shall we say “musically challenged” in the ring he was certainly not… he not only held the title as a great wrestker, but he held the heat the whole time he was champion… His final loss to Ultimate Warrior was fitting, in the style of Elvis himself… Honky shone bright, but let himself get too cocky…too high on his own hype, just like the real king… he let himself go in the ring and made a reckless open challenge at Summerslam ’88, which Warrior answered within 30 seconds… it was pure “Rock & Roll”.. Honky shone bright…but burned out before he could fade away… his record is intact to this day…with good reason, cos no IC champion has made such an impact or the belt so meaningful since…

So..before you kick up… I admit, some guys came close to the top 5 but didn’t quite make it… My own personal hero… Y2J, is the most decorated IC champ to date, with 7 reigns… he was #6… but some of his reigns were real short, one night in fact.. So that kinda puts him down the list…

Chyna deserves a mention, the first (and only) female IC champion… Sure an admirable feat, but come on…were we really to believe the guys couldn’t beat her? Goldust deserves a mention, for being one of the most hated and controversial champions ever… and so do Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect…but they were never “stellar” as the guys on the list were.. Jeff Jarrett is DQ’d cos he held the belt ransom to job to Chyna… a lot of dough for sure…but a DQ in this list!

The Rock…Austin…neither had the belt long enough, nor did it particular good while they held it… Ditto for Benoit or Angle…Orton…forget about it… shame they didn’t follow through and let him beat Honky’s record… How over would Orton be going for his first world title at WM21 then?

Some will shout, scream, disagree… I welcome your feedback… the top 5 have been selected on what they actually meant to the belt…as will those on my next subject… the WCW TV title!

As ever, mail any feedback to robwilltaylor@hotmail.com

Bye for now…

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