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  #1  
Old 09-11-2016, 11:54 AM
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Default Most unexpected and impressive run to a world title?

I was thinking about this the other day, trying to remember the last time I really marked out for someone getting the title, and how excited I was by the path they took along the way. I was thinking of this in terms of...

1) The quality of the booking and creative direction
2) The gimmick and how well the wrestler carried this and sold it to the crowd
3) The timing and pacing of the push
4) Connection with the crowd and how 'over' they were
5) How unexpected it was, in terms of someone who you didn't imagine getting a world title, or someone who you thought was past their sell by date
6) Impact on ratings

The one that really stood out for me, and the one that still hangs clear in the memory is Mark Henry's run in 2011 with his Hall of Pain gimmick. They slowly built him up to be someone that was unbeatable, but they achieved this by having him beat credible and top babyfaces in good, physical matches. I think Henry exceeded expectations with his in-ring work too - which was previously considered limited. The matches were believable. The fans booed him to high heaven. His promos were excellent. I seem to remember ratings went up during this time too.

I don't think many people expected him to beat Orton (at least I didn't), I thought they were using him to enhance Orton, but I was wrong, and the match was phenomenal and his winning promo was memorable. There was genuine emotion from Henry about having that last chance to show he could do it.

It was, in all, a perfect example of how to capture all of the emotion, intrigue and entertainment expected from pro wrestling and I think they made a star in the process - even if the run didn't last for as long as I would have wanted.

Here is that promo unless anyone forgot it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb7OvwhdEIw

So which impressive and unexpected title runs spring to mind for you guys?

Last edited by Isaac Kaye : 09-11-2016 at 12:08 PM. Reason: video link did not work
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2016, 03:02 AM
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For me, Austin Aries beating Bobby Roode for the TNA world title. A result that was unpredictable yet so brilliant. Roode was in the midst of an amazing title reign, beating all comers and every TNA fan would've told you that the one to finally take the title from him would be James Storm at Bound for Glory.

While this is going on, Aries is also incredibly over as X Division champ. The whole option C thing started and Aries gets a title shot. People predicted Roode would retain of course, what followed was an amazing match, one of my all time favourites. When Aries won, the crowd erupted, they were shocked. But in a good way.
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Old 09-19-2016, 08:20 AM
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I remember this well, Roode was on an absolute roll but they gave Aries just the right kind of build - there was still that feeling that he would come up short given that he was carrying a secondary title. This was exciting and unpredictable. Aries was so over. I just watched the rerun of that match just now and it was amazing.

I think this pretty much cemented Aries as a top level player, even if again, he didn't hold the title for as long as expected, and wasn't given a second run.
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Old 09-19-2016, 04:20 PM
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I actually really enjoyed Velvet Sky's run up to becoming Knockout Champion. When she started out in TNA she was pretty bad all around. She eventually improved every aspect of her abilities, and by that time they had built her up as easily the most over face of the Knockout division. It's a shame they had to derail a very good story by having her drop the belt so quickly to the newly returning, and exceedingly boring Gail Kim. What a waste.

It honestly reminded me of how they ruined Aries' run after his awesome build by turning him heel for stupid reasons just so they could push Jeff Hardy's redemption story and give him the belt.

Another one I'd throw out there as well would be Daniel Bryan's build, but not up to WM30 (very predictable, but a great story nonetheless). I'd say up to SummerSlam '13 when he beat Cena clean for the belt.

Not long before he was stuck in a tag team with Kane. But he used that tag team to go from a point where it seemed he was stuck in the midcard forever (by that time the WHC was a glorified midcard title anyway), to probably the most over wrestler in a decade. They started out as heels, but eventually became so entertaining to everyone that they just naturally turned face. Once the split happened the door just flew open for a shot at the main event.

I'm sure others would include the run from SummerSlam to WM30, as a lot of people believe they really tried to keep him down. I wouldn't fault them for that. But, to me, I feel like his initial rise was much more of a surprise.
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Old 09-19-2016, 05:57 PM
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1) The quality of the booking and creative direction was excellent. They made perfect use of his previous runs in other promotions, while still being fresh with the WWE Universe.

2) The gimmick and how well the wrestler carried this and sold it to the crowd was unbelievable. He was the one who wins Championships, but "couldn't win the big one."...and then he did.

3) The timing and pacing of the push was precise. Even though he had experience, and already made a name for himself elsewhere, they built him up from the ground up and didn't rush a thing.

4) Connection with the crowd and how 'over' he was was off the charts. The ones who hated him ended up liking him, and the ones who liked him ended up loving him.

5) How unexpected it was, in terms of someone who you didn't imagine getting a world title, because of the fact that you had 3 other SuperStars...no Legends...no Hall Of Famers, who were all more favored to win over him.

6) Impact on ratings were not a big deal at the time, only because the "War" was just recently won, and he grabbed the competition by the throat.

I'm talking about...

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  #6  
Old 09-20-2016, 04:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King Patrick Star View Post
1) The quality of the booking and creative direction was excellent. They made perfect use of his previous runs in other promotions, while still being fresh with the WWE Universe.

2) The gimmick and how well the wrestler carried this and sold it to the crowd was unbelievable. He was the one who wins Championships, but "couldn't win the big one."...and then he did.

3) The timing and pacing of the push was precise. Even though he had experience, and already made a name for himself elsewhere, they built him up from the ground up and didn't rush a thing.

4) Connection with the crowd and how 'over' he was was off the charts. The ones who hated him ended up liking him, and the ones who liked him ended up loving him.

5) How unexpected it was, in terms of someone who you didn't imagine getting a world title, because of the fact that you had 3 other SuperStars...no Legends...no Hall Of Famers, who were all more favored to win over him.

6) Impact on ratings were not a big deal at the time, only because the "War" was just recently won, and he grabbed the competition by the throat.
Good choice! Interesting that you should mention this actually, I was watching the WWE network the other day and they were showing that skit where wrestlers travel with each other. They had Henry and Jericho (who apparently were traveling together for the first time) talk about their careers, defining moments etc. Jericho obviously pointed towards this title win and said 'nobody can ever take that away from me'.

Looking back, that was an huge endorsement for Jericho, and it's no surprise he's still so valuable to the company all these years down the line.
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