Tyrus vs. EC3

Quick wrestling quiz: Who was the most viewed world champion in history?

Not Hulk Hogan, despite wrestling Andre the Giant for the largest TV wrestling audience ever.

And not The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin, both world champions when Raw was at its ratings peak.

No, according to Billy Corgan, the most viewed world champion in history was Tyrus…

(This guy)

…who appeared on Fox News’s Gutfeld! show five days a week during his 41-week reign as NWA champion.

See, if you added up the audiences for all 200 episodes or so, that was over 400 million viewers!

(Or more than 20 combined NWA YouTube channels)

All publicity is good publicity…

…so Corgan figured having a talk show panelist wear your belt on TV could only help business.

Just think: Had Corgan bought the NWA a decade earlier, he could have strapped up Bill O’Reilly. He’s 6’4” and in better shape than Tyrus. Hell of a promo, too.

And while I don’t know for sure how many of those Gutfeld! viewers followed Tyrus over to NWA Powerrr, I do have a focus group of casual Gutfeld! viewers: my parents.

My mom thinks Tyrus is a stand-up comedian…

…while my dad once asked me about a certain long-retired WWE wrestler named “Cyrus”, who wore a replica belt on Fox News and was in the nWo.

Neither mom nor dad ever bought a subscription to FITE to watch NWA Powerrr, or have ever looked up NWA on Youtube, or have even heard of the NWA to begin with.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, as did Tyrus’s title reign. Putting not just his belt but his career on the line, Tyrus took on challenger EC3 in a bull rope match at NWA’s 75th Anniversary Show.

The eyes of the wrestling world (a few of them, at least) were on St. Louis’s Chase Hotel…

…where the NWA’s worst-dressed champion took perhaps his final walk down the aisle.

Right away, things were amiss.

See, every single time Tyrus wrestled a main event, commentator Tim Storm would comment on what great shape he was in.




This must have been some kind of rib, because this is what Storm looked with the same title at age 53:

But on this night, not even Tim had anything nice to say about Tyrus’s physique or conditioning….

…especially not after seeing Tyrus enter the ring and get stuck.

(Regarding the bout’s one-hour time limit, Sky declared that it would “go the distance… no doubt”.

Yes, Sky guaranteed Tyrus would wrestle for 60 minutes with no conclusive finish. That’s why she’s at the announce desk and not in the marketing department.)

The match got off to an odd start when Tyrus collected his half of the bull rope…

…leading EC3 to demonstratively march his way to the corner. Was this intentionally funny?

EC3 then stared at the rope for a good 15 seconds until Tyrus unleashed the Tongan death grip…

…taught to him by his father-in-law Haku. There is no good reason why Haku couldn’t have been champion instead of Tyrus.

The challenger then fought back with chop after chop, which didn’t faze Tyrus in the slightest.

The champion reclined in the corner as if to say, “I could do this all night”. Realistically, though, Tyrus would have still tired out before EC3.

The match may have started out slow, but it soon became methodical, and ended up downright deliberate.

Tyrus very methodically—methodical as molasses, in fact—beat on EC3 for the opening minutes of the match…

…until he juuuust missed an elbow drop…

…and a corner splash…

…allowing EC3 to tip him out of the ring. The announcers called this a DDT.

EC3 then tried one more DDT, this time to the floor…

…but all he managed to do was drag Tyrus on top of him. And still, the announcers sold like he’d broken the champ’s neck.

I swear this audio goes with this gif.

Eventually, the two men maneuvered their way over to a table, where Tyrus chokeslammed EC3.

But Tyrus, forgetting the rules, tried to pin EC3 on the ballroom floor.

The referee refused to count, telling Tyrus to get back in the ring. This, of course, would be easier said than done:

Somehow, Tyrus made it back into the ring, then told the audience to call his mama. As far as I know, no one did.

It was now time for his colossal running splash. Tyrus may have been fifty years old, but he moved like a man ten years his junior.

Specifically, Andre the Giant, circa 1987.

Tyrus feebly tapped his butt against the second rope before crashing onto EC3.

Tyrus vs EC3

I kid you not, Tyrus’s former boss Snoop Dogg got more momentum running the ropes than he did.

EC3 kicked out, then rolled to the outside for a breather. And Tyrus let it happen, because EC3 could move faster on his back than Tyrus could on his feet.

Tyrus followed EC3 to the floor, and somehow, Tyrus’s head wound up somewhere in the neighborhood of the ring post.

“EC3 was able to counter!” explained Joe Galli, but Tim Storm didn’t even believe him.

“Pullin’ at the—pullin’ at the bull rope!” he insisted. “Pullin’ at the bull rope”, he added once more, limply, his spirit audibly leaving his body.

After some more yanking, EC3 softened up Tyrus (figuratively) with a steel chair and rolled him into the ring.

Properly conveying Tyrus’s immobility is always challenge—How many times can I use the phrase “beached whale” in a single article?—but this finish was something else.

If Ric Flair had moved like Tyrus in his last match, they would have stopped it after two minutes and called paramedics.

EC3 punished Tyrus with the chair, body part by body part.

When EC3 smashed Tyrus’s foot, the big man clutched his knee (because he couldn’t reach that far).

Tyrus lay on the mat, apparently helpless.

Was he playing possum? Tortoise?

But before EC3 delivered the coup de gras, he had second thoughts. He didn’t want to end Tyrus’s career (and become the most popular man in NWA).

Histrionically, EC3 begged Tyrus to quit…

…before picking up the chair once more. This time, Tyrus rose to his knee and threw a desperation punch.

It missed by a foot. EC3 fell anyway.

Tyrus then briefly rose to his feet and blatantly knocked over the ref…

(except it was supposed to be an accident)

…meaning no one was around to count his Tongan death grip.

EC3 crotched Tyrus with the rope…

… then delivered a pair of One-Percenters…

(that’s this move)

…with questionable effectiveness.

Finally, EC3 smashed Tyrus with the cowbell and locked him in some kind of hold, I guess.

And it worked! Tyrus tapped out, ending the match after 17 agonizing minutes.

And so, the most viewed world champion in history bade farewell to the hundreds of fans in attendance and the hundreds more watching at home.

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