The most absurd champions ever!
Sports-entertainment's historic timeline is marked by iconic champions like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan who defined generations. But sometimes, through bizarre circumstances, several absurd Superstars and Divas have ridiculously been able to lay claim to wrestling's greatest titles.
Some of these championship victories have been forgotten (trust us, it’s better that way). Other instances are remembered as having contributed a substantial negative impact on a title’s overall legacy. In an attempt to stop history from repeating itself, WWE Classics takes a look back at the most cringe-worthy of these blemishes on sports-entertainment’s championship histories.
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David Arquette and Vince Russo: WCW World Heavyweight Champion
In April 2000, “Scream” star David Arquette began appearing on WCW programming in conjunction with the film “Ready to Rumble” – a wrestling comedy that was produced in association with the Atlanta-based company.
Arquette’s initial appearances were innocuous enough, but his role took a dramatic turn when he was involved in a tag team match on Thunder pitting Jeff Jarrett and Eric Bischoff against Arquette and WCW Champion Diamond Dallas Page. The stipulations of the bout dictated that whoever scored the pinfall would win the title. When the comedian covered Bischoff for the three count, even he could not believe he was being handed the iconic “Big Gold Belt.” ( WATCH)
The infamous moment is noted as having played a pivotal role in the eventual demise of World Championship Wrestling. Thankfully, Arquette’s reign did not last long. Twelve days after winning the title, he lost it in a Triple Threat "Ready to Rumble" Triple Cage Match (say that 10 times fast) where he turned on DDP, solidifying his role as one of sports-entertainment’s top villains. ( WATCH)
An even darker moment in WCW’s decline came only five months later. Vince Russo, a backstage bigwig, weaseled his way in front of the cameras and into in-ring competition. In a Steel Cage Match for the WCW Championship at Long Island, N.Y.’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Russo shockingly defeated Booker T in a chaotic bout to win the title. The following week, the pompous slob came to his senses, realized he was not an athlete, and relinquished the championship on Nitro. It didn’t matter – the damage was done. After Arquette and Russo, the credibility of WCW’s most coveted prize was beyond repair, and the company ceased operations six months later.
Rick Steiner and Judy Bagwell: WCW Tag Team Champions
There must be something in the Long Island water. More than two years before the Vince Russo debacle, an even odder moment occurred in WCW. The team of Rick Steiner and Buff Bagwell won the WCW Tag Team Championship at Halloween Havoc 1998, but Bagwell betrayed Steiner during the contest, creating a vacancy for Steiner’s partner. Steiner revealed his choice – and co-holder of the titles – on Nitro several weeks later. In a defense against Buff and Rick’s brother Scott, Steiner sauntered to the ring with Buff’s own mother Judy.
With the championship snapped around her loose-fitting sweater, Judy entered the ring with Rick, ducked a punch from her son and leveled him with a slap across the face. Buff and Big Poppa Pump retreated as the elderly woman and The Dog Faced Gremlin posed in the ring. What a sight it was to behold. ( WATCH)
Mr. McMahon: ECW Champion
Following Mr. McMahon’s loss to Donald Trump in the "Battle of the Billionaires" at WrestleMania 23 ( WATCH), the newly shorn Chairman was not done terrorizing Trump’s representative, Bobby Lashley.
Lashley defended the ECW Championship in a Handicap Match against Umaga, Mr. McMahon and Shane McMahon at Backlash, and the boss pinned his opponent after two top-rope splashes from The Samoan Bulldozer. A legendary title claimed by such champions as Terry Funk, Tazz and Rob Van Dam, was held by a bald and do-ragged Mr. McMahon for more than a month – a shocking episode for a championship once known for hardcore innovation. The new-look Chairman wasn’t very extreme, but he was extremely absurd. ( WATCH)
Hervina (Harvey Wippleman): WWE Women's Champion
In one of the most peculiar incidents in Raw’s history, The Kat defended the Women’s Championship against a mystery opponent in the first and only “Lumberjill Snowbunny Match.” Similar to Superstars’ Lumberjack Matches, a venerable who’s who of WWE Divas – Ivory, Jacqueline, Luna, Mae Young and The Fabulous Moolah – surrounded not a ring, but a snow pit.
The Kat’s opponent turned out to be the debuting Hervina, an odd looking performer with wavy brown hair who was covered from head to toe in pants and a winter coat. Following interference from the Lumberjills at snowside, Hervina pinned The Kat to win the title. Immediately following the matchup, Hervina accidentally revealed herself to be not a her at all, but quirky manager Harvey Wippleman. WWE fans were never clued in to why Harvey wanted the title. Still, he is the only man to have been Women’s Champion in the title’s 54-year history.
Chyna and Chris Jericho: co-Intercontinental Champions; Crowbar and Daffney: co-Cruiserweight Champions
In late 1999, Chyna’s success and domination among the WWE roster led her to defeating Jeff Jarrett in a “Good Housekeeping Match” for the Intercontinental Championship at No Mercy. She became the first woman to hold the title, and ran Jarrett out of WWE forever. The Ninth Wonder of the World lost the prize to Chris Jericho, but controversy ensued after a rematch on SmackDown two weeks later. Through unusual circumstances, two referees were judging the bout, and after both Chyna and Y2J laid with their backs on the canvas simultaneously, the officials were unable to declare a decisive victor ( WATCH). To keep things fair and square, both Jericho and the tough Diva held the title as a unit until the "Best in the World at What He Does” came away as the solo Intercontinental Champ following a match at the Royal Rumble inside Madison Square Garden. ( WATCH)
A similar incident occurred in (surprise!) WCW when Tammy Lynn Sytch and Cruiserweight Champion Chris Candido battled Crowbar and Daffney on the May 15, 2000, edition of Nitro. Daffney pinned Tammy, and the winning pair was declared co-Cruiserweight Champions. The following week, the couple battled to determine an undisputed champ. After Candido interfered in the bout, the shrieking goth inadvertently pinned Crowbar to take sole ownership of the Cruiserweight Championship. ( WATCH)
These two absurdly unconventional occurrences remain the only two instances of a man and woman co-holding a singles title originally designed for male competitors, with the Diva of the duo also holding the championship on her own.
Mideon: European Champion; "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan: WCW Television Champion
“One man’s trash is another’s man’s treasure” is a motto that can certainly be applied to both Mideon and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan.
Shane McMahon retired as an undefeated European Champion in early 1999, but Mideon spotted the title in The Boy Wonder’s travel bag on an edition of Raw in June. He needed a belt to hike up his pants, and asked his leader in The Corporate Ministry if he could grab it. Later that night, Mideon appeared in the arena with the title, and was officially recognized as reactivating the European Championship simply by pulling it out of a carryon.
Later that year over in WCW, Scott Hall, simultaneously the Television and United States Champion tossed the WCW TV Title in a trash can when he and pal Kevin Nash deemed it useless. Less than three months later, WWE Hall of Famer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, who had been named the janitor of World Championship Wrestling, uncovered the legendary championship in a dumpster during WCW Saturday Night. But that was okay with him, tough guy! Even though the title was “covered with goo” – as “Hacksaw” proclaimed it – he announced himself the new holder of the Television Championship. “Hacksaw” declared it had a legacy longer “than all of these fancy damn wrestling shows combined.” Always a true patriot, Duggan exercised freedom of speech at its finest, and remained the Television Champion until the title became defunct in WCW’s April 2000 reboot. ( WATCH)
Madusa, Oklahoma, Jacqueline, Chavo Classic, Hornswoggle: Cruiserweight Champion
Once considered to be a revolutionary championship partly responsible for the zenith of WCW’s 1990s popularity ( WATCH), the Cruiserweight Championship became an unfortunate punchline in the history of high-flying wrestling. When Madusa defeated Evan Karagias at Starrcade 1999, it was no joke ( WATCH). The former Alundra Blayze was a talented grappler worthy of championship gold, though perhaps not the male-oriented Cruiserweight Title. The real eyerolls began when the talentless Oklahoma somehow won the title from Madusa the following month at Souled Out, but vacated it when the paunchy hack admitted he far exceeded the championship’s weight limit. ( WATCH)
When Chavo Guerrero held the same title in WWE, he briefly traded it back-and-forth with another talented Diva, Jacqueline ( WATCH), and his own father, referred to as "Chavo Classic" ( WATCH). They were accomplished ring veterans, but not appropriate contenders for a championship mostly reserved for lightweight risk-takers.
The final Cruiserweight Champion arrived in Hornswoggle. The diminutive Irishman was a last minute entry in the Cruiserweight Open at 2007’s Great American Bash, and won the title in a shocker during the bout’s final moments ( WATCH). Hardly a regular match competitor, 'Swoggle even held the championship when he was revealed to be Mr. McMahon’s illegitimate son. He was stripped of the title in September 2007, and it was never heard from again.
The Mean Street Posse, Gerald Brisco, Pat Patterson, Trish Stratus, Terri Runnels: WWE Hardcore Champion
A commentary on sports-entertainment’s absurd champions would hardly be thorough without the inclusion of the completely ridiculous Hardcore Championship. Instated to bring the increasingly popular no holds barred style of competition to WWE, the title soon earned the distinction of being defended 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Originally introduced by Crash Holly, these rules yielded many precipitous matches and champions, including four Divas: Mighty Molly, Trish Stratus, one of The Godfather’s associates and Terri Runnels – who won the championship in the midst of conducting a backstage interview with Stevie Richards. ( WATCH)
The first man to take advantage of the 24/7 edict was The Mean Street Posse’s Pete Gas, who attacked Crash Holly at an airport baggage claim. Pete’s Posse cohorts, Rodney and Joey Abs, also held the title – albeit very briefly – as did WWE Hall of Famers Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco. Patterson and Brisco, then in their 50s, clawed for the title in June 2000 and settled their differences in a Hardcore Evening Gown Match at King of the Ring – a far cry from Patterson’s accolade of being the first-ever Intercontinental Champion.