INDUCTION: The Final WCW TV Title Run – Fitting that It Started with a Trash Can

47 Submitted by on Mon, 01 September 2014, 20:00

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WCW, 1999-2000

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.

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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!

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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)…

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…the most tanned 90 year-old you ever did see, Robert Gibson…

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…the pride of Cuba, Fidel Sierra…

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…and Frankie Lancaster.

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Really.

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!

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47 Responses to "INDUCTION: The Final WCW TV Title Run – Fitting that It Started with a Trash Can"
  1. John C says:

    I remember our family got the big old backyard filling satellite dish in 1985 and I could finally watch the NWA on tv. Since the Saturday night was mainly squash matches when Tully Blanchard defended the title against a big name main eventer it was a big deal. Tully vs Wahoo or Brad Armstrong, Ricky Morton or yadda yadda yadda was awesome to watch. So yeah that really ticked me off when The Cool Kids Club had to poop on the memory of the title by trashing it.

  2. Adam S. says:

    I seem to recall reading or hearing something somewhere saying that TBS did the :05 timeslots to supposedly lock you in to watching no other network. You’d watch a show on TBS until 7:05 and when it was over what you were going to switch to had already started, so why not just stay on TBS?

    • Mister Forth says:

      I think it was both that, & that it would get them a separate spot in most TV listings.

    • Nick Nutter says:

      They did the :05 thing because Headline News aired at the top of every hour. THAT later became the Nancy Grace channel that it is today.

    • Mista Maddog says:

      Yeah I remember the :05 start times. Another reason TBS did that because VCR’s at the time only recorded at either :00 or :30 times, so you had to watch TBS programming (and commercials) live. Eventually enough people complained so they went back to normal start times.

  3. Mike says:

    I remember the :05 start times, too. The thought was that if people finished watching a rerun of Andy Griffith or whatever, and it ended at 6:35, shows on every other channel would have already run five minutes in, so it would encourage you to stay where you were on the dial. Not too sure how well that worked.

  4. Rob says:

    I thought it was Rick Steiner who was the TV Champion that was stripped of the title before Scott Hall had it handed to him.

  5. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    Despite how infuriating this angle was, I can’t help but love good ol’ Hacksaw even in this directionless gimmick. Besides, I’ll take this over Heatless Canadian Turncoat Hacksaw any day.

  6. Sean Bateman says:

    RD is no hack!

  7. Downtown OPC says:

    TNA should lobby to have Spike air its programs starting at :05 past the hour just so TNA can do yet another thing with Impact that WCW used to do.

    • Brians says:

      Nah, they’d get it done to :06 past the hour due to having a six-sided ring. Then they’d promptly go back to having the four-sided one.

  8. Dennis Castro says:

    I must know…. how much did the belt sell for?

  9. E-Squared says:

    All, the :05 times. That brought back memories and not in a good way. I remember how I used to see those ads a lot back in the day. Being a guy who lives in California, I remember seeing that TBS and TNT used to air stuff on Eastern time. I remember seeing ads for “Saved By The Bell” to be aired at 5:05 when it was 2:05 over in my area.

  10. The Doctor of Style says:

    This kind of thing really makes you wonder if the WWF sent Russo as a mole.

    Also, eerie how much “janitor” Jim Duggan resembles Duke The Dumpster Droese.

  11. George from Dudleyville NY says:

    This is a prime example of why I always looked at WCW as a joke. I personally loved all real ECW(that’s just me being partial), WWE was always the big leagues and WCW was “The Ding Dong’s” and Judy Bagwell on a pole. I always judged on how many more positives to outweigh the negatives. I give WCW credit for exentuating international talent on the big stage. Excluding the NWA and NWO angle, WCW sucked.

    • Brians says:

      Yeah, they had one amazing industry-defining angle and even managed to fuck that up by running it into the ground instead of ending it at Starrcade 97.

  12. Sir Cheese says:

    I remember all of the great battles for the TV title referenced above, and the belt was also the center of some really good wars in the early 90s. Anderson/Eaton from Superbrawl I (which resulted in Eaton’s first major singles title run) was great. Austin and Dustin Rhodes had a great (and bloody) war at Halloween Havoc 1991, proving that the suck of the Chamber of Horrors couldn’t completely ruin that PPV.

    Steve Austin and Barry Windham had some really good battles over the belt in ’92, including some good 2/3 falls matches during the short period of time in early 1992 when Saturday Night became a talk show of sorts (similar to Prime Time) and ended with a 2/3 falls main event match every week. Of course, good, lengthy television matches that were part of an ongoing storyline and had a decent amount of in-ring psychology were obviously bad for business, as Bill Watts quickly killed that concept off (along with moves off of the top rope) as soon as he was hired as head booker.

    Austin and Steamboat had one of my favorite Clash matches ever at Clash XX for the TV belt with Paul E. suspended above the ring in a cage. I just went back and watched that match a couple of days ago and it is still fantastic.

    Hell, even Arn Anderson and Z-Man had some really good TV title matches in late ’89 and early ’90. They were a kind of bizarre because Arn and the Horsemen in general were so over, even as heels, while the crowd couldn’t have cared less about the babyface Zenk, but they were good matches nonetheless.

    Also, who could forget the legendary battles over the title between Stunning Steve and Spid…err, Arachniman?

    Okay, scratch that last one.

    These were all part of my childhood and caused me, as a fan, to really believe that the TV belt was prestigious and important. It was really sad to see this belt end up the way it did and was pretty disrespectful to the wrestlers who wore it over the years and built its prestige. I’m glad that this stupid angle was finally inducted!

    • hobu0 says:

      Man you pretty much named all my favorite memories of the TV title. Early 90s WCW. Particularly, the reign of that dastardly Stunning Steve Austin.

  13. Anon says:

    “…the most tanned 90 year-old you ever did see, Robert Gibson…”

    He STILL wrestles and so does Ricky Morton when he isn’t in jail for not paying back support money.

    • Guest says:

      “Back Support Money”

      Damn that sounds like serious business.

    • BaltoJim says:

      There’s a photo on the Rock n’ Roll Express Wikipedia page with the two looking like they actually are 90 years old. Gibson has one eye on the camera and the other on his partner…

  14. Michelle Cohen says:

    Not to be a geek or anything, but you kind of screwed up your argument that Hall and Nash were being destructive to WCW by throwing the title in the trash and THEN saying they didn’t book the segment. This is more a “WCW/Russo was being stupid” thing.

    • "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

      All three of them did their part to screw up the company, IMO.

    • cavalier says:

      Hall and Nash had enough pull that, if they wanted, the segment would have been changed. If you just want to discontinue it, give Hall another title and he can ‘merge’ them.

      • "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

        The whole purpose of the skit was for Hall and Nash to amuse themselves… like many of the skits/interviews they did.

    • Brians says:

      Hall and Nash were both heavily involved in booking, and their characters were such that this sort of “we’re too good for this” angle became commonplace. The Rock was a much better representation of this type of thing, even though he could still go too far in putting people down and making it seem like he didn’t care, you knew with him that it was an act and that he was giving it everything in the ring. It also made his more serious promos, especially where he would stop talking in the third person, much more meaningful because of its contrast. We didn’t get that with Hall and Nash, it was all just an attempt to amuse themselves and their friends because they knew they wouldn’t lose their jobs over it.

  15. Nick Nutter says:

    1995: Nitro creates a huge buzz by having WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze drop the title belt into a trash can on live TV.

    1999: WCW puts one of it’s OWN titles into a trashcan to absolutely no fanfare.

  16. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    I’m disappointed that we never got a WWE Classics Jakks Janitor Hacksaw figure.

  17. Kurt Zamora says:

    Am I the only one who absolutely does not remember WCW Saturday Night EVER looking like that?!

  18. Hashington says:

    I’m surprised Nash didnt seriously injure himself during that basketbelt segment.

  19. Greg says:

    For all the heat that Hogan gets, nobody ever really talks about what pieces of human garbage Nash and Hall were. They both deserve what’s happened to them. I’d have liked to have seen Paul Wight slap the hell out of Nash some time.

    • Guest says:

      Yeah I’m sorry but regardless of how you feel about their attitudes with regards to WCW I see no positives out of Nash having issues with his quadriceps and Hall who has/had problems with drug and alcohol.

    • Brians says:

      How is alcoholism or physical incapacity a fair consequence of acting like douche-monkeys in an environment that should never have let them run riot to begin with? Hell, how is Hogan’s ‘punishment’ of having his whore of a wife boot him out of his house and abusing the biased liberal divorce legal system to take more than half of everything he’d worked for while she sat on her ass reaping the benefits, leaving him seconds from shooting himself before he happened to get a phone call from someone casually asking if he wanted to meet up for a coffee reminding him he wasn’t alone, a fair consequence? All of them acted like total dicks but what’s happened to them doesn’t have anything to do with what they did. Any comeuppance they received should have been restricted to what they were doing wrong – and, ironically, NONE of them faced this because all three of them (even the notoriously unreliable Hall) continue to find themselves in high-profile wrestling work.

    • Vealchop says:

      I used to feel the same way about Hall until I listened to his interview on Colt Cabana’s show. It sounds like he’s really trying to get his life together.

  20. Dan Sheldon says:

    This is gonna sound crazy but I LOVED WCW Saturday Night at the end of its run! Sure you had goofy gimmicks like Sharkboy, Fidel Sierra, Hole in one Darsow and High Voltage (all of whom I really liked) but you know what? It was a wrestling show where they actually wrestled. The main roster was full of over the hill, same old same old, political playing guys that I enjoyed the hour of wrestling Saturday Night offered. I also got to see a lot of young guys that I never saw anywhere else. Long live WCW Saturday Night!

  21. AdamX says:

    The last REAL TV champ of the big three was RVD.

    WCW as noted treated theirs as a joke and nobody really had the ECW version long enough to do much with it after RVD was stripped. Though Rhino was poised to do big things before the shutdown.

    It’s a shame TNA abandoned their TV title given their roster size but ROH does the title proud with Lethal, Ciampa and others.

  22. Anonymous says:

    An awful piece of WCW history and a well deserved induction.

  23. Peter says:

    Yeah I remember when Hacksaw got the belt. I was actually happy to see it back, and see Duggan with a title. Obviously Russo never cared about it though. He cared more about that crappy Hardcore title they had. Heck, you could probably do a whole induction on that belt alone.

  24. Brians says:

    I’d love to see the Dramatic Dream Team Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship inducted. Unlike the TV title and so many other once-prestigious championships that were ruined, this title was designed as a joke from the start and has seen some really funny changes. The 1000th champion was the title belt itself. It may be intentional and not harming anyone, but it’s still Wrestlecrap in its purest form and thus would be worth celebrating.

  25. Captain Ron says:

    You want to know why all TBS shows started at five minutes past the hour? So they’d stand out in TV Guide. Seriously. It was actually a clever move on Turner’s part and it worked.

    That said, you hit the nail dead on the head regarding the TV Title. It MEANT something. I remember when Tully Blanchard and Dusty Rhodes had a bloody WAR for nearly TWO YEARS over that belt. First blood matches, winner-gets-Baby Doll matches, cage matches, winner gets $50,000 matches and so on.

    The sad thing is, if WCW wanted to do away with the TV title, they would have been better off just quietly deactivating the belt and not saying a word. Instead, they let Hall and Nash once again highlight what a joke the company was. But you know, that wasn’t just Hall and Nash, nor was it anything new. I watched the Great American Bash ’91 a few weeks ago – I had never seen it before and I wanted to see if it was really THAT bad (it wasn’t – it was far, far worse). They have Tony Schiavone address the Ric Flair situation. And Schiavone actually says that Flair refused to sign a contract with WCW. And that’s what he said – Flair refused. Not, “Couldn’t come to an agreement” or “Flair wanted more money.” Flair refused to sign a contract. Oh, that’s a great way to showcase your company – by mentioning that your top star, your freaking CHAMPION, doesn’t want to work there anymore.

    That’s WCW, folks. And it’s also the reason why I was watching that PPV on the WWE Network and not the WCW Network.

  26. poe says:

    NWA/WCW Saturday night was an amazing show before Nitro stole its position, and the tv title was a big part of that. You watched the last five minutes of Captain Planet and then here comes AA or Austin or whomever and good things were to come.

  27. Headbanger Man says:

    Couldn’t Chavo have asked them if he could keep the belt?

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