The WCW Hardcore Championship's five wildest moments

Nothing more than monkey business

On May 22, 2000, another ECW alumnus, “The Franchise” Shane Douglas, defeated Terry Funk for the WCW Hardcore Championship. Two nights later on WCW Thunder, The Franchise defended the title against two competitors he was certain he could defeat — Norman Smiley and Ralphus (a WCW truck driver who was originally recruited as Chris Jericho’s sidekick/bodyguard) — in a Three-way Hardcore Match. Smiley and Ralphus were allies at the time, making the battle seem more like a Handicap Match. Ralphus wasn’t one for a fight — as evidenced by the ridiculous gorilla suit he was wearing— thus making Smiley an easy target for Douglas.

On the outset, the gorilla suit made this match look like the type of thing that made viewers change the channel away from WCW in 2000, but seeing a grown man in a gorilla suit during a Hardcore Match was admittedly hard not to watch.

As Ralphus’ attempts to help Norman Smiley were all for naught, it seemed as though The Franchise would walk out of Saginaw, Mich.’s Wendler Arena with the title intact. Although, after Douglas put “Screamin’ ” Norman through a table, the gorilla was suddenly ready to fight and delivered a flurry of familiar punches to The Franchise. With the swing of a steel chair, Ralphus took down Douglas and pinned him to win the title. After the match, however, the man under the gorilla suit revealed his true identity: Terry Funk reclaimed the title!