It may be impossible for newer fans to believe, but once upon a time Monday night wasn’t the big wrestling night of the week. Nope, that designation belonged to Saturday night, at 6:05pm to be precise. Yeah, 6 OH FIVE, because for whatever reason, Ted Turner and his SuperStation flunkies determined that starting all shows at five minutes after the hour was the thing to do. Laugh if you will, but I will say this – they’ve not done that in like 20 years, and I STILL remember it, so if nothing else, it made some type of bizarre historical impact.
But yeah, 6:05 meant it was time for NWA (later WCW) Saturday Night. Back in the mid to late 80s, it was a great show. Horsemen beat downs, Midnight Express matches, Missy Hyatt in her prime…all good stuff. But something that was an intriguing part of the show were the WCW TV title matches. So many feuds I remember revolving around that belt. Mike Rotunda (not RotundO) and Rick Steiner’s antics in their Varsity Club days were so great, as was Tully Blanchard battling with Dusty Rhodes. Yes, back then secondary titles meant something. Think anyone would have a bloody war over, say, the US belt today? Folks did over the TV belt, which led to great matches and amazing feuds.
I could ramble on about this for hours, but I’ll spare you a long-winded Grandpa Simpson-esque tirade. Instead, let me explain what happened to what was once a great title in pro wrestling.
It was slam dunked into a trash can.
And I mean this in a very literal sense.
T’was the end of 1999. WCW was starting its downfall, and Scott Hall was just kinda given the once prestigious TV championship. The belt hadn’t meant as much as it had in the past, but had in recent months given men like Chris Jericho, Booker T, and Scott Steiner something for which to battle. But Steiner got injured, which somehow meant that Hall was the TV titlist.
And Hall did what he did best in those days: he turned WCW into a joke.
I’m going to say something here that will likely infuriate some of you, but I have to speak my mind: Scott Hall did a lot of damage to WCW, as did his buddy Kevin Nash. They had a tendency to mock pretty much everything the company did. Now granted, a lot of it was funny and admittedly, much of what that company did deserved a good mocking; heck, I mean I wrote a whole book basically doing the same thing. A book which has a newly expanded 10th Anniversary Edition hitting stores soon.
But there’s a major difference between Scott Hall, WCW employee, and RD Reynolds, website hack. And that is I didn’t work for the company, and thus wasn’t trying to help them succeed. Hall, in theory, was. Nash too. And again, I found a lot of what they did to be comical. Nash doing cannonballs into swimming pools? I laughed. Heck, I still watch that if I am having a bad day and need a laugh.
But a lot of what they did was destructive to the company. What I am about to show you is one of those things that will tell you these men sure as heck didn’t care if the company that was paying them lived or died.
In an interview, Hall openly mocked his gifted TV title, stating that he didn’t understand what the title was even supposed to represent. Did it allow him to meet TV stars? No. Did it get him an audience with Ted Turner? Nay. Heck, it didn’t even get him a TV dinner! Really, he said all these things.
Nash, upon hearing this, just kinda shakes his head and asks for the belt. The animated GIF you are about to see is a pretty good summation of all things WCW during this period.
Yep, once again we get Hall and Nash making the company their personal playground for their own amusement as the belt is thrown right into the trash can.
WCW’s legendary TV title, dead and buried November 29, 1999, in Denver Colorado.
Look, I know that Hall and Nash didn’t book the segment. That would have been my pal Vince Russo. But seriously, you want to know everything wrong with the company at that time? You’re looking at it. WCW telling its fans that the company is a joke and then showing just how much of a joke it is by throwing a championship into the trash.
Why would anyone want to support such a place?
Fast forward a few months to of all places, WCW Saturday Night, where we get an appearance of none other than Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
You may think that poor Jim was looking pretty rough here. Rightfully so: he was no longer a flag waving super patriot, instead he was now a janitor. Again, that’s not a joke: his WCW character at the time was that he was a janitor who went around backstage cleaning stuff up. But every silver cloud has a lining (just documenting what the man said), except tonight, it wasn’t silver…it was gold!
You see, as he was cleaning up the basement of WCW headquarters, he found this!
The WCW television title!
To recap…Hall and Nash threw the title into the garbage in November in Denver, Colorado.
According to storyline, on February 19, 2000, Duggan found it in the trash in the basement of WCW HQ in Atlanta, Georgia.
Which begs the question…did WCW actually get it out of the garbage in Denver to take it home, only to throw it away again?
Did WCW transport its refuge from arenas back to Atlanta weekly?
The mind reels.
Anyway, Duggan promises to polish up the belt (“I’ll sandblast it if I have to!” Duggan noted) and defend it like a true champion! True to his word, he defended it against the likes of men such as Lord Steven Regal (who fled the company after the match)…
…the most tanned 90 year-old you ever did see, Robert Gibson…
…the pride of Cuba, Fidel Sierra…
…and Frankie Lancaster.
In the interest of fairness, he also appeared one time – ONE TIME!!!!! – on Thunder, besting The Barbarian. Duggan was never booked to defend the strap on Nitro.
That, friends, was the sum and total of the final WCW Television title run.
Duggan never lost the belt in the ring, instead he was stripped of the title when the company decided to reboot and strip everyone of the belts. The only difference is that unlike the other championships, the WCW TV belt was never to be seen again.
That is until years later when Duggan once again found the title…this time in his closet. One eBay auction later, the belt was officially gone forever.
Finally, someone figured out how to make money with the belt. Good for you, Jim!