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  #1  
Old 09-16-2015, 10:33 AM
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Default Most Iconic Title Changes in Pro Wrestling History

So I popped on the main WZ page to check the news today and found the interview done with Bob Backlund to be especially interesting. This one excerpt was the inspiration for this thread:

Quote:
Billy Superstar Graham dropped the WWF title to me, and that had the biggest influence because it changed my life. I know he actually didnít want to do that, and in the book I explain that a lot. A lot of people were trying to talk Vince McMahon Sr. out of doing that with me because I was new and I wasnít a proven commodity yet.
Looking back on it, Billy Graham dropping the WWF Title to Bob Backlund is legendary. It launched one of the longest and most historic World Title reigns in history, and given what a legend Graham was already, it set Backlund up as a success.

So, in the history of wrestling, what do you feel have been the most iconic Championship Changes ever? Either because the moment was huge, the names were huge, the representation of the passing of the torch, etc.

A few I'd like to nominate:

The Ultimate Warrior wins the WWF Title from Hulk Hogan.

Hogan was pretty much the standard bearer for the entire 6 year history of Wrestlemania at that point, having never lost the title without some degree of major controversy. When Warrior went over Hogan clean, signifying that there was a man who could potentially match Hogan in popularity, the landscape changed.

Steve Austin wins the WWF Title from Shawn Michaels.

Truth is, as much as the WWF tried to build up the "Tyson backing DX" storyline and make it seem like there was doubt to who'd be going over, the Main Event of Wrestlemania 14 felt far more like a coronation than a match. The match itself was terrific, no doubt about it, but most fans knew that the WWF was moving to Austin as its biggest star, and the moment was appropriate.

Goldberg wins the WCW Title from Hollywood Hogan.

As opposed to the first two I listed, which took place as the main events of Wrestlemania, this occurred on an edition of Monday Nitro, and was as excited as I've ever been as a fan. Goldberg going over Hogan, clean, in Georgia, was electric, and it's the 3rd most excited I've ever seen a crowd get (behind the Foley vs Rock title match on Raw when Austin's music hit and behind when the Bulldog beat Bret Hart at Summerslam in Wembley), so this match has to make the list of all-time iconic title changes.
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2015, 10:51 AM
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There's loads going through my mind but too much to type so i'm going to go with.......

Edge. When Vince came out and announced Edge was cashing in it was fucking HUGE.
As you all know it was the first time it was been cashed in and many many people assumed that Edge would just announce beforehand and then bang we had a Main Event set in advance. Instead the way it was done after Cena had just been through a grueling match in the Chamber and when Edge came out and cashed in 3 spears later and The Ultimate Opportunist was born.
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  #3  
Old 09-16-2015, 10:55 AM
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The first one that jumped to mind was definitely the Austin title win at WrestleMania 14, where he became WWF Champion for the first time. Austin had been red hot for a long time at that point, and it's impressive that WWE held fire on making him Champion, resisting the urge to stick the belt on him and waited for the grandest stage of them all before pulling the trigger on him.

It was clear that the Stone Cold era had arrived, and you could tell that he was the guy that the machine was going to get behind for the foreseeable future. With the move towards a more edgy product and the start of the "Attitude Era", Austin was the perfect poster boy as HBK's career was thought to be over.
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  #4  
Old 09-16-2015, 04:46 PM
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Mankind on Raw 1/4/99. The loudest pop ever. The final nail in the coffin of WCW. Throw in Austin, Rock, and Vince and this is the best change ever.
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  #5  
Old 09-16-2015, 04:58 PM
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Wow I can't believe no one has brought this up.

Hulk Hogan b. Iron Sheik - January 23, 1984.

This is the moment that introduced the world to modern wrestling. The idea of someone being squashed for the World Title hadn't been seen since Sammartino beat Rogers twenty plus years earlier. Hogan came in and blew the doors off wrestling with pure charisma and completely changed the way we look at the business. Not only was he a different kind of wrestler, but he took Sheik apart in less than seven minutes, broke his finishing hold and dropped the big leg for the pin.

Hogan had returned less than a month earlier and was now the WWF World Champion. Imagine if say Braun Strowman was challenging Seth Rollins this Sunday and winning the title in a match that quick. That sort of thing hadn't happened and still doesn't happen to this day, but it launched the biggest career in the history of wrestling. How many times have you hear Gorilla say the line "Hulkamania is here."? It's iconic and probably the biggest game changer in wrestling history.
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  #6  
Old 09-16-2015, 06:08 PM
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The Rock def. Triple H - Backlash 2000

His first title win was at Survivor Series 1998 but his title win at Backlash was his most iconic. There's a reason why people say this should've happened at Wrestlemania 2000 (and it was originally planned for WM 16), the pop for Austin's return and the moment Rock hits The Peoples Elbow on Triple H and pins him, were huge. It was a Wrestlemania moment done at a B-PPV. I was fine with it happening at Backlash though. Triple H made history, being the first heel to walk out of the Wrestlemania main event the winner and still the champion. It solidified him as a mega heel. And it made The Rock's title chase better and the payoff worth it.
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Old 09-18-2015, 09:29 AM
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Another one that comes to mind is the 1st time The Rock won the title. Hear me out.

Leading up to SS98 The Rock was on fire. It was clear to all (from my opinion of watching youtube videos and what i've learnt over the years) that he was something special and the crowd loved to cheer him. As you all know The Rock turned heel and became corporate champion much to the dismay of the fans. For the months up to Mania15 The Rock and Mankind traded the title a few times before The Rock dropped the title to Austin. In these months it was clear that The Rock whilst still been a heel was over with the fans and that left them waiting and waiting to find a reason to cheer him. Finally the night after 'Mania The Rock left the corporation and BOOM he went from been the corporate champion to the man we know today as the peoples champion.
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  #8  
Old 09-18-2015, 11:35 AM
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This was an iconic moment. I was watching WrestleMania 31 and Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar were beating the tar out of one another. The crowd desperated didn't want Reigns to blow the trumpet of triumph. They were booing the living shit out of Roman Reigns and his every attempt at offense.

It was set in stone that Lesnar wouldn't walk out of the event as the WWE World Heavyweight champion. The moment was filled with unpredictability. People loved when Lesnar threw punches but they despised Reigns' getting even a little offense in.

And then something miraculous happened. A familiar music resounded the arena and the spectators were filled with delight. Excitement was at top. I screamed at the top of my voice (while watching it on my TV, can you imagine.)

This became one of the best title changes because
  • Fans wanted this to happen. People loved every second of it.
  • This was the first ever Money in the Bank cash in at Wrestlemania.
  • The way this match happened. Seth Rollins' insertion into a one-on-one match was iconic.
  • This was unique.
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  #9  
Old 09-18-2015, 12:37 PM
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CM Punk def. John Cena (c) - WWE Championship - Money In The Bank


I don't think there's a bigger moment in wrestling in the last 15 years. That changed the landscape of WWE and you can feel it now, with most of the independent wrestlers getting a shot to thrive in the WWE. I'm not gonna go out and say that CM Punk is the sole reason for it, but he's probably the biggest proof that the guys in the indy scene had IT. In many ways he changed how the company looked at his wrestlers and to the outside world.

Also, it was a five-star classic. Probably my favorite match ever. He defeated Cena as clean as you could get. He had an entire city with him. The crowd tells the story. I can listen to the match only and still be in awe. CM Punk may be overrated, but dang, that moment was THAT good.
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  #10  
Old 09-18-2015, 11:37 PM
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I'm disappointed in you all... Yesterday was September 17th and not one of you mentioned the one moment that would be the beginning of creating one of the world's greatest World Champions ever... In 1981 a young Ric Flair would win his first of 16 recognized World Championships, and that would only begin the legacy of the dirtiest player in the game. A record so phenomenal that it caused Daily Show's Jon Stewart to intervene and refuse to let Cena tie for the record!
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