This week is pretty frivolous, but important in a sports-like way. I was thinking about championships. More specifically, wrestling championships. Yes, I know. “It’s not real.” It is fun though. And that TV show you probably like more, y’know, NCIS? The Walking Dead? Orange is the New Black? Fox News? That isn’t real either – so bite me. Regardless, there is a bit of a problem with the number of championships people have had. It doesn’t really add up correctly and it could look so much more impressive if you look at it sideways.
Let’s start with this, and it doesn’t sound impressive. If you’re an 11-time champion – that means you’ve lost it at least 10-times. Now this is different in, let’s say, baseball. The 27-time champ New York Yankees didn’t lose the championship the next year. There is only one per year and once that is won, the next games go on next years championship. They didn’t lose it to the next champion even if they did make it back to the world series the next year.
But let’s look at wrestling (and boxing, and UFC, and MMA, and the list goes on). Let’s start with a match from 1994 (because it floated across my desk recently), Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair. Hogan was a 5-time champ while Flair was an 11-time. Here’s the thing, more people know Hogan. Having 11 championships is impressive, but who, outside of wrestling fans, knows who Ric Flair is? Hulk Hogan? Even kids today know who this guy is, or, more appropriately, was. The match, at the time, was kind of a dream match in that it was almost WWF vs. WCW… except they were both in WCW at the time. But Hogan was the more impressive wrestler so how do we boost that number to make it more meaningful?
Turn the situation on its side and you get something a little different, but I’m going to have to look at a different group to do it because I have those numbers. AEW is a new wrestling company, and a good one, in my opinion. They’ve had two champions so far… or have they? The first was Chris Jericho who won it on November 9, 2019. He had it until February 29, 2020. During the gap, he defended the belt twice. But when you’re in the match defending it, neither contestant is really the belt holder, are they? The belt is up for grabs. No one owns it during the match. Sure, the champ may claim it, but it’s not really theirs – nor should it be. Watch this.
Chris Jericho won the belt – One-time champ. He defended it successfully once – two-time champ. Then he lost it to Jon Moxley (formerly Dean Ambrose of the WWE in case you didn’t know). Moxley became a one-time champ. He’s defended it five times as of this writing, therefore, his winning it, and his five defenses, make Moxley a SIX-time champ.
Now go back to Hogan and Flair. I don’t have access to the number of times they defended their respective belts, but it would almost certainly boost their numbers WAY beyond five and eleven. And who wouldn’t want to have a sixty-time champ on their roster? Now, take this across all sports. Not just Flair and Hogan. Think about Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali. Think about Ken Shamrock and Randy Couture. Take this across all fighting type sports.
It inflates the numbers but that really just makes it more accurate. Now, you know that while Jon Moxley and Chris Jehrico were both, under current terminology, one-time champs, in the new system, you can tell that Moxley defended it more often. He didn’t do what a lot of wrestling champs do in that they win the belt and hide in a cave until the next big “Pay Per View.” Yes, I’m looking at you Brock Lesnar. And yes, I’m aware you can easily kick my ass, but really. A guy who beats people for a living beating a writer. Ooh… look at you.
Anyway, it’s something to think about. Let me know what you think. Let other people know what you think about this. Let companies know what you think about this. I think it makes things a lot more interesting. This just seems like a more accurate way to judge who are the better champions of all-time. I mean, really. Who is better? The guy who defended it constantly, or the guy who hid in a cave? CM Punk over Lesnar every time! Incidentally, Hogan won that match.