While WCW had a lot of championships in its history, the Television title often seems ignored. That’s a shame as it was the perfect belt to boost the WCW midcard, not as huge as the U.S. title but more important than some random championship. For years, WCW expertly used a feud for the TV title to get guys air time, and it ended up creating a few stars over the years.
Sadly, like many things in WCW, the Television title lost some of its luster by the end of the company, but when it was good, it was great. Yet some details on the WCW Television title can be ignored, starting with how it existed before WCW did. There’s also the unique history of titleholders, with some guys holding it for a year while a few reigns didn’t last a day. From its beginning to its ignoble end, here are some intriguing facts about the WCW Television title to remind fans why it was such a big deal for the company.
10/10 It Predates WCW
Several promotions used a TV title such as Georgia, yet WCW’s predates the actual company. It was created in 1974 by Jim Crockett’s Mid-Atlantic Promotion and soon became a prominent belt there. In 1977, a fictitious “tournament” did away with other TV belts to make it the NWA TV title and later named the World Television title in 1985.
It became the WCW Television title when the company officially renamed itself in 1991 and kept that label to the end. Thus, this title is actually around much longer than WCW itself ever was.
9/10 It Was The First Starrcade Title Change
Starrcade ’83 was the first true “Supercard” event and a pretty stacked show, headlined by Ric Flair defeating Harley Race for the NWA World title. However, it was the TV title that got the first championship match on the show as champion the Great Kabuki defended against “Charlie Brown.”
Brown was really Jimmy Valiant doing the old “suspended face comes back under a mask” bit and the stipulation that Kaubiki’s belt would be on the line for the first fifteen minutes, then Brown’s mask for the rest. “Brown” managed to beat Kabuki for the title, thus marking the first ever Starrcade title change. Valiant later vacated the belt, but it was still a historic moment.
8/10 It Was A Mainstay Of WCW TV Shows
As the name would imply, the TV title got serious play on the WCW television shows. The old TBS Saturday afternoon shows would often showcase the TV champ in action in some quick bouts. Likewise, the syndicated TV shows would utilize them well with an occasional title change on Power Hour or Worldwide.
It was also a big deal for a Clash of the Champions show, but it really sparked up when Nitro debuted. Before long, a TV title match on Nitro was a regular event, with a title change occurring often. Thus, the belt lived up to its name as a central part of WCW broadcasting.
7/10 Time Limit Draws Were A Serious Thing
One thing about the TV title that remained the same almost to the end was a strict time limit. Almost all TV title bouts were held under a ten to fifteen-minute time limit. It was meant to make the bouts more exciting and fit as they were intended to highlight a WCW show.
A common bit would be a face just about to get the pin, only for time to expire, so the heel champion kept the belt. This was a great way to keep a feud for the belt going. While that length was extended a bit over the years, the short time limits helped make TV title bouts more exciting.
6/10 It Was The First Championship For Major Stars
While the TV title didn’t get as much attention as the other belts, it was notable as the first championship to be held by many future stars. Ric Flair won it in 1977 for his very first championship in wrestling, paving the way for his future superstardom.
It was the first solo championship for Sting in 1989 and two years later was won by a young “Stunning” Steve Austin. Booker T held it more times than anyone, six, as the championship could pave the way for some of WCW’s biggest names.
5/10 A Surprising Figure Had The Longest Reign
A few wrestlers have had very long reigns with the Television championship, with Mike Rotunda and Steve Austin each holding it over 300 days. However, the longest-ever reign goes to a surprising figure. Before he became a top heel manager, Paul Jones held the Mid-Atlantic version of the TV title for a total of five times.
He also had the single longest reign, which began beating Baron Von Raschke in June of 1978. Jones held the belt 368 days before losing it to Ricky Steamboat. Steamboat then vacated the belt when he won the tag titles with Jay Youngblood, so one can argue he held it longer, but Jones is recognized as the longest reign.
4/10 It Was Unified With Another TV Title
In 1987, Crockett bought Bill Watts’ UWF promotion which was treated as a secondary company. By the fall, Crockett was ready to absorb it totally. At Starrcade, NWA TV champion Nikita Koloff faced UWF TV champ Terry Taylor in a unification match.
Koloff won and the UWF TV title was never spoken of again. As it happened this was the only unification match of any type with the UWF as the promotion went fully out of business. It’s still notable how this title got a bit more attention as the last gasp for the UWF.
3/10 Arn Anderson Held It Longer Than Anyone
While Paul Jones has the record for the longest single reign, Arn Anderson can claim more time with the TV title than anyone. Across four reigns, “Double A” held the TV belt for a total of 877 days. His first reign in 1985 was an impressive 248 days, while his second was an even better 336 days, holding it for almost all of 1990.
One last run lasted for six months in 1995 before ending at the hands of the Renegade. Anderson defended it against all comers in some great matches and for many fans, he was synonymous with the TV title.
2/10 Lex Luger Had The Shortest Reign
A famous bit for WCW was in 1998 when, to spark up some house shows, they had the TV title change hands four days in a row. Of course, this being WCW, none of those changes were actually counted on TV. Before that, however, Lex Luger had the dubious honor of the shortest TV title reign.
On February 17, 1996, at a house show in Baltimore, Luger defeated Johnny B. Badd for the title. The very next afternoon, at another show in Norfolk, Badd regained the belt, so Luger’s reign wasn’t even 24 hours. Luger would get the belt back for a longer reign on TV a few weeks later, yet his first time with the title was barely enough to keep it warm.
1/10 It Was Literally Trashed
As 1999 went on, WCW was becoming more of a mess with the TV title, more than ever, treated like a joke. It finally built up to Scott Hall literally dumping it into a dumpster and walking away. A couple of months later, Jim Duggan dug it out to declare himself the new champion.
Any hopes of the title being restored to prominence were dashed when WCW vacated all its titles in April 2000. Unlike the other belts, it was never brought back and so the title died a year before all of WCW did. It was a sad ending to what was once a major belt for WCW, but at least it left behind a good legacy of champions.