Hogan, Demolition, Stratus...Helms?
Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Honky Tonk Man, Gregory Helms. What do these four men have in common? Not much, it may seem, but in the last 20 years, they are the only four men to hold one of the currently active WWE men’s singles championships for one full calendar year.
It was at the Royal Rumble on Jan. 29, 2006 that Helms became Cruiserweight Champion of the World. When the clock struck midnight on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007, he joined an elite group of Superstars and Divas in the “one-year club.”
How rare is this feat these days? Overall, it has only been accomplished nine times in 20 years. Trish Stratus, Sensational Sherri and The Fabulous Moolah with the Women’s Championship, Demolition with the World Tag Team Championship and Gillberg with the now-defunct Light Heavyweight Championship are the only other instances.
As competition has increased in WWE over the years, having a lengthy championship reign has seemingly become harder and harder. Prior to Helms’ current reign and Trish Stratus’ 15-month reign as Women’s Champion in 2005-06, the last year-long title reign was Demolition’s 16-month World Tag Team Championship reign in 1988-89.
Several have come close, but not quite gotten over the hump. Diesel’s reign as WWE Champion in 1994-95 fell just short, ending at 358 days, and Hulk Hogan’s second reign with that title in 1989-90 ended just one day before he hit the milestone.
When asked about joining the one-year club, the cockily confident Helms cracked a wry smile before sounding off.
“I never, ever think about losing a title, but when you break a record or do something noteworthy like this, it adds a little something to that reign,” a candid Helms said. “Everyone’s goal should be to become one of the elite in sports-entertainment. At this point, I’ve been Cruiserweight Champion twice as long as anyone else has ever been. No one can take that from me, because I am one of the elite.”
When interviewed following Armageddon about becoming the longest reigning champion in SmackDown history, Helms told WWE.com that “some people read about history, some people write about history, and some people make history. That’s what I’m doing, day by day, making history.” So now that he’s once again entered the history books, what does 2007 have in store for the cocky Carolinian?
“As I’ve said before, I like to set goals and pace myself accordingly. And as I’ve also said, I can see myself keeping this title and winning another,” he crowed. “2006 was a breakout year for Gregory Helms, and 2007 will be even better.”