Categories
Rating The Champ WWF

WWF World Titles – 1997

Welcome to my blog. This is the start of a new series, where I’ll be looking back at the history of WWE World Titles (not counting ECW) and ranking all the World Title reigns since the “Modern Era”. The “Modern Era” goes all the way back to the birth of Hulkamania in 1984, and that’s where we’ll end. Today we look back at the year 1997, and we’ll continue to go back from here.

In front of my star ratings for the matches, you’ll either see “HR”, “R” or “RTA”. “HR” means the match is highly recommended ; “R” means the match is recommended ; “RTA” means recommendation to avoid. In case nothing appears, the match is watchable but nothing spectacular.

WWF CHAMPIONSHIP

Shawn Michaels (January 19, 1997 – February 13, 1997)

  • Televised matches: 1
  • Record: 1-0

My match ratings:

  • Shawn Michaels def. Sycho Sid(c) – Royal Rumble 1997 (**)

After losing his first WWF Championship to Sycho Sid at Survivor Series 1996 in Madison Square Garden, Shawn Michaels got his rematch in his hometown of San Antonio at the Royal Rumble 1997. Michaels won the match and regained the title… and then infamously lost his smile after suffering his 15,268th “career ending injury”. Ah, 90s Shawn Michaels!

Rating: -/10

Bret Hart (February 16, 1997 – February 17, 1997)

  • Televised matches: 2
  • Record: 1-1

My match ratings:

  • Bret Hart def. Steve Austin, The Undertaker and Vader in an Elimination Match – Final Four 1997 (****1/4) *HR*
  • Sycho Sid def. Bret Hart(c) – RAW Feb. 17 1997 (***1/4) *R*

The Royal Rumble match in 1997 ended with controversy, as Steve Austin was eliminated but came back to the match without the referees seeing his elimination. He managed to win the match, but WWF President Gorilla Monsoon booked a match for the February In Your House PPV featuring Austin and the three wrestlers remaining in the Royal Rumble Match at the time of Austin’s missed elimination: Vader, The Undertaker and Bret Hart. Once Shawn Michaels lost his smile and vacated the title, the match was contested over the belt instead. The four managed to have a physical and brutal fight (where eliminations could happen via pin/submission or tossing the opponent over-the-top-rope), and ultimately ‘The Hitman’ captured the WWF Championship. His reign would not be long, however, as the company saw themselves forced to change some of the top matches at WrestleMania 13 due to the Shawn Michaels situation: the main-event over the WWF Title became Sid against Undertaker instead, while Bret Hart went on to battle Steve Austin in arguably the greatest match in professional wrestling history (my personal favorite). Bret would drop the gold to Sycho Sid on the following night’s episode of RAW thanks to interference from ‘Stone Cold’. A weird but understandable situation.

Rating: -/10

Sycho Sid (February 17, 1997 – March 23, 1997)

  • Televised matches: 5
  • Record: 3-2

My match ratings:

  • Sycho Sid def. Bret Hart(c) – RAW Feb. 17 1997 (***1/4) *R*
  • Sycho Sid(c) def. Bret Hart in a Steel Cage Match – RAW March 17 1997 (***1/2) *R*
  • The Undertaker def. Sycho Sid – WrestleMania 13 (*1/2)

Booked against a corner, Vince McMahon’s WWF put its top belt back on Sycho Sid heading into the main-event of WrestleMania 13 against The Undertaker. Sid defeated Bret Hart on RAW in a really solid match to capture his second WWF Title, before being confronted by ‘Taker immediately afterwards. Sid would retain the gold in an even better bout against ‘The Hitman’ on the go-home edition of RAW before WrestleMania, in a steel cage match, before dropping the belt to The Undertaker in a typical WWF-ish “monster vs monster” kind of match. This reign didn’t have to be anything special, as it was literally a last-minute decision, but it wasn’t bad and has two really solid matches in it.

Rating: 3/10

The Undertaker (March 23, 1997 – August 3, 1997)

  • Televised matches: 15
  • Record: 10-5

My match ratings:

  • The Undertaker def. Sycho Sid – WrestleMania 13 (*1/2)
  • The Undertaker(c) def. Mankind – Revenge Of The ‘Taker 1997 (***3/4) *R*
  • The Undertaker(c) def. Steve Austin – A Cold Day In Hell 1997 (***1/4)
  • The Undertaker(c) def. Faarooq – King of the Ring 1997 (**)
  • The Undertaker(c) def. Vader – Canadian Stampede 1997 (***1/4) *R*
  • Bret Hart def. The Undertaker(c) – SummerSlam 1997 (****) *HR*

After defeating Sycho Sid at WrestleMania, The Undertaker went on to have arguably the greatest reign of his career. During this point, the storyline with Kane had already started, and the WWF teased it for most of that year. Throughout this reign, Undertaker went on to have a fantastic match with Mick Foley, an incredible hard-hitting contest with Vader, an interesting PPV match with Steve Austin and an average match with Faarooq. The highlight of this reign would be its ending, though, as Undertaker dropped the gold to Bret Hart after an awesome match at SummerSlam thanks to Shawn Michaels, which would then set up the first ever Hell in a Cell Match. Which would also feature the debut of Undertaker’s brother, Kane. This reign was fantastic, the stories were engaging, the matches were solid and consistent, and overall the reign is quite possibly ‘The Deadman’s best.

Rating: 8/10

Bret Hart (August 3, 1997 – November 9, 1997)

  • Televised matches: 12
  • Record: 6-4 (2 draws)

My match ratings:

  • Bret Hart def. The Undertaker(c) – SummerSlam 1997 (****) *HR*
  • Bret Hart(c) def. The Patriot – Ground Zero 1997 (***1/2) *R*
  • Bret Hart(c) def. The Undertaker by DQ – One Night Only 1997 (****3/4) *HR*
  • Shawn Michaels def. Bret Hart(c) – Survivor Series 1997 (***3/4) *R*

Oh, this reign. This very infamous reign. You all know what happened on the last night, so I will focus on the rest of the reign. Bret Hart won his last WWF Championship in the middle of his awesome Canada/USA feud, beating Undertaker after a spectacular match at SummerSlam. A really good match with The Patriot followed, as then WWF actually parted ways with Bret for him to contact WCW in September. As a result, Bret would go on to have multiple DQ/no-contest finishes, as Vince understandably didn’t want him going over other WWF wrestlers. That did give us a spectacular rematch with The Undertaker at One Night Only, however, a true five-star classic without a proper finish. And then came the final match at Survivor Series (which actually wasn’t Bret Hart’s final date, as he was still going to be around until the December PPV, but it is what it is…) where Shawn Michaels won the WWF Championship in Canada. Everyone remembers this reign for its final night, but you really should check out the rest of it. Four recommended matches out of four rated is impressive, but it featured a lot of non-finishes. It was still a really good reign overall, though.

Rating: 7/10

ALL-TIME CHAMPIONS RANKING

  1. Steve Austin (WWF Championship, 29/03/1998 – 28/06/1998 10
  2. The Rock (WWF Championship, 25/06/2000 – 22/10/2000) 10
  3. Steve Austin (WWF Championship, 01/04/2001 – 23/09/2001) 9
  4. Triple H (WWF Championship, 03/01/2000 – 30/04/2000) 9
  5. Kurt Angle (WWE Championship, 15/12/2002 – 30/03/2003) 9
  6. Brock Lesnar (WWE Championship, 18/09/2003 – 15/02/2004) 9
  7. John Cena (WWE Championship, 17/09/2006 – 02/10/2007) 9
  8. CM Punk (WWE Championship, 20/11/2011 – 27/01/2013) 9
  9. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship, 13/11/2018 – 07/04/2019) 9
  10. AJ Styles (WWE Championship, 11/09/2016 – 29/01/2017) 9
  11. The Rock (WWF Championship, 25/02/2001 – 01/04/2001) 8
  12. The Undertaker (WWF Championship, 23/03/1997 – 03/08/1997) 8
  13. Steve Austin (WWF Championship, 28/03/1999 – 23/05/1999) 8
  14. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 16/12/2007 – 30/03/2008) 8
  15. Kurt Angle (WWE Championship, 27/07/2003 – 18/09/2003) 8
  16. Edge (WWE Championship, 08/01/2006 – 29/01/2006) 8
  17. Chris Benoit (World Heavyweight Championship, 14/03/2004 – 15/08/2004) 8
  18. Randy Orton (World Heavyweight Championship, 06/05/2011 – 17/07/2011) 8
  19. Brock Lesnar (WWE Championship, 25/08/2002 – 17/11/2002) 8
  20. Batista (WWE Championship, 21/02/2010 – 28/03/2010) 8
  21. The Rock (WWE Undisputed Championship, 21/07/2002 – 25/08/2002) 7
  22. Steve Austin (WWF Championship, 29/06/1998 – 27/09/1998) 7
  23. Brock Lesnar (WWE Championship, 17/08/2014 – 29/03/2015) 7
  24. Edge (WWE Championship, 03/07/2006- 17/09/2006) 7
  25. The Rock (WCW Championship, 19/08/2001 – 21/10/2001) 7
  26. The Rock (WWF Championship, 15/11/1998 – 04/01/1999) 7
  27. Bret Hart (WWF Championship, 03/08/1997 – 09/11/1997) 7
  28. Kurt Angle (WWF Championship, 22/10/2000 – 25/02/2001) 7
  29. Batista (World Heavyweight Championship, 26/11/2006 – 01/04/2007) 7
  30. The Rock (WWF Championship, 15/02/1999 – 28/03/1999) 7
  31. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 07/10/2007 – 27/04/2008) 7
  32. John Cena (WWE Championship, 07/04/2013 – 18/08/2013) 7
  33. Chris Jericho (World Heavyweight Championship, 07/09/2008 – 26/10/2008) 7
  34. Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship, 14/12/2003 – 14/03/2004) 7
  35. Kurt Angle (World Heavyweight Championship, 13/01/2006 – 02/04/2006) 7
  36. Batista (World Heavyweight Championship, 03/04/2005 – 13/01/2006) 7
  37. John Cena (WWE Championship, 03/04/2005 – 08/01/2006) 7
  38. The Undertaker (World Heavyweight Championship, 01/04/2007 – 11/05/2007) 7
  39. AJ Styles (WWE Championship, 07/11/2017 – 13/11/2018) 7
  40. CM Punk (World Heavyweight Championship, 07/06/2009 – 26/07/2009) 6
  41. Batista (World Heavyweight Championship, 16/09/2007 – 16/12/2007) 6
  42. Brock Lesnar (WWE Championship, 30/03/2003 – 27/07/2003) 6
  43. Eddie Guerrero (WWE Championship, 15/02/2004 – 27/06/2004) 6
  44. John Cena (WWE Championship, 29/01/2006 – 11/06/2006) 6
  45. Steve Austin (WWF Championship, 28/06/1999 – 22/08/1999) 6
  46. Mick Foley (WWF Championship, 04/01/1999 – 24/01/1999) 6
  47. Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship, 09/01/2005 – 03/04/2005) 6
  48. John Cena (WWE Championship, 28/03/2010 – 20/06/2010) 6
  49. John Cena (WWE Championship, 01/05/2011 – 17/07/2011) 6
  50. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 18/08/2013 – 15/09/2013) 6
  51. Kevin Owens (WWE Universal Championship, 29/08/2016- 05/03/2017) 6
  52. Chris Jericho (World Heavyweight Championship, 21/02/2010 – 02/04/2010) 6
  53. Alberto Del Rio (World Heavyweight Championship, 16/06/2013 – 27/10/2013) 6
  54. Seth Rollins (WWE Championship, 29/03/2015 – 04/11/2015) 6
  55. Roman Reigns (WWE Championship, 03/04/2016 – 19/06/2016) 6
  56. King Booker (World Heavyweight Championshp, 23/07/2006 – 26/11/2006) 6
  57. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 26/04/2009 – 07/06/2009) 5
  58. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 19/12/2010 – 18/02/2011) 5
  59. Chris Jericho (WCW Championship, 21/10/2001 – 05/11/2001) 5
  60. Jeff Hardy (World Heavyweight Championship, 26/07/2009 – 23/08/2009) 5
  61. The Rock (WWE Championship, 27/01/2013 – 07/04/2013) 5
  62. CM Punk (WWE Championship, 17/07/2011 – 14/08/2011) 5
  63. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 18/02/2011 – 15/04/2011) 5
  64. Steve Austin (WWF Championship, 08/10/2001 – 09/12/2001) 5
  65. Brock Lesnar (Universal Championship, 02/11/2018 – 07/04/2019) 5
  66. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 27/10/2013 – 06/04/2014) 5
  67. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship, 06/04/2014 – 09/06/2014) 5
  68. Christian (World Heavyweight Championship, 17/07/2011 – 14/08/2011) 5
  69. Randy Orton (World Heavyweight Championship, 14/08/2011 – 18/09/2011) 5
  70. CM Punk (World Heavyweight Championship, 23/08/2009 – 04/10/2009) 5
  71. The Undertaker (World Heavyweight Championship, 04/10/2009 – 21/02/2010) 5
  72. JBL (WWE Championship, 27/06/2004 – 03/04/2005) 5
  73. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 11/05/2007 – 20/07/2007) 5
  74. Seth Rollins (Universal Championship, 11/08/2019 – 31/10/2019) 5
  75. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 15/06/2009 – 13/09/2009) 5
  76. Triple H (WWE Championship, 27/04/2008 – 23/11/2008) 5
  77. John Cena (WWE Championship, 29/01/2017 – 12/02/2017) 5
  78. Shawn Michaels (WWF Championship, 09/11/1997 – 29/03/1998) 4
  79. The Rock (WWF Championship, 30/04/2000 – 21/05/2000) 4
  80. Booker T (WCW Championship, 30/07/2001 – 19/08/2001) 4
  81. Sheamus (World Heavyweight Championship, 01/04/2012 – 28/10/2012) 4
  82. Mark Henry (World Heavyweight Championship, 18/09/2011 – 18/12/2011) 4
  83. John Cena (WWE Championship, 29/06/2014 – 17/08/2014) 4
  84. The Rock (WCW/World Championship, 05/11/2001 – 09/12/2001) 4
  85. The Undertaker (WWE Undisputed Championship, 19/05/2002 – 21/07/2002) 4
  86. Dean Ambrose (WWE Championship, 19/06/2016 – 11/09/2016) 4
  87. Chris Jericho (WWF Undisputed Championship, 09/12/2001 – 17/03/2002) 4
  88. Alberto Del Rio (WWE Championship, 02/10/2011 – 20/11/2011) 4
  89. Kofi Kingston (WWE Championship, 07/04/2019 – 04/10/2019) 4
  90. Alberto Del Rio (World Heavyweight Championship, 11/01/2013 – 08/04/2013) 4
  91. Seth Rollins (Universal Championship, 07/04/2019 – 14/07/2019) 4
  92. Mick Foley (WWF Championship, 31/01/1999 – 15/02/1999) 3
  93. John Cena (World Heavyweight Championship, 05/04/2009 – 26/04/2009) 3
  94. Jeff Hardy (WWE Championship, 14/12/2008 – 25/01/2009) 3
  95. Kurt Angle (WWF Championship, 23/09/2001 – 08/10/2001) 3
  96. John Cena (WWE Championship, 25/10/2009 – 13/12/2009) 3
  97. Brock Lesnar (Universal Championship, 14/07/2019 – 11/08/2019) 3
  98. Big Show (WWE Championship, 17/11/2002 – 15/12/2002) 3
  99. Brock Lesnar (Universal Championship, 02/04/2017 – 19/08/2018) 3
  100. Triple H (WWE Championship, 24/01/2016 – 03/04/2016) 3
  101. Christian (World Heavyweight Championship, 01/05/2011 – 06/05/2011) 3
  102. Alberto Del Rio (WWE Championship, 14/08/2011 – 18/09/2011) 3
  103. Kane (World Heavyweight Championship, 18/07/2010 – 19/12/2010) 3
  104. Chris Jericho (World Heavyweight Championship, 03/11/2008 – 23/11/2008) 3
  105. Rob Van Dam (WWE Championship, 11/06/2006 – 03/07/2006) 3
  106. The Undertaker (WWF Championship, 23/05/1999 – 28/06/1999) 3
  107. Rey Mysterio (World Heavyweight Championship, 20/06/2010 – 18/07/2010) 3
  108. John Cena (World Heavyweight Championship, 27/10/2013 – 15/12/2013) 3
  109. Triple H (WWE Championship, 15/02/2009 – 26/04/2009) 3
  110. Big Show (World Heavyweight Championship, 28/10/2012 – 11/01/2013) 3
  111. Edge (WWE Championship, 25/01/2009 – 15/02/2009) 3
  112. Booker T (WCW Championship, 26/03/2001 – 26/07/2001) 3
  113. John Cena (WWE Championship, 25/07/2011 – 14/08/2011) 3
  114. Goldberg (World Heavyweight Championship, 21/09/2003 – 14/12/2003) 3
  115. John Cena (World Heavyweight Championship, 23/11/2008 – 15/02/2009) 3
  116. The Miz (WWE Championship, 22/11/2010 – 01/05/2011) 3
  117. Sycho Sid (WWF Championship, 17/02/1997 – 23/03/1997) 3
  118. Randy Orton (World Heavyweight Championship, 15/08/2004 – 12/09/2004) 3
  119. Triple H (WWF Championship, 26/09/1999 – 14/11/1999) 3
  120. Roman Reigns (Universal Championship, 19/08/2018 – 22/10/2018) 3
  121. Jinder Mahal (WWE Championship, 21/05/2017 – 07/11/2017) 3
  122. Bray Wyatt (WWE Championship, 12/02/2017 – 02/04/2017) 3
  123. Edge (WWE Championship, 23/11/2008 – 14/12/2008) 2
  124. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 15/02/2009 – 05/04/2009) 2
  125. Triple H (WWF Championship, 21/05/2000 – 25/06/2000) 2
  126. John Cena (WWE Championship, 18/09/2011 – 02/10/2011) 2
  127. Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship, 12/09/2004 – 06/12/2004) 2
  128. Edge (World Heavyweight Championship, 01/06/2008 – 30/06/2008) 2
  129. John Cena (WWE Championship, 13/09/2009 – 04/10/2009) 2
  130. Roman Reigns (WWE Championship, 14/12/2015 – 24/01/2016) 2
  131. Goldberg (Universal Championship, 05/03/2017 – 02/04/2017) 2
  132. The Undertaker (World Heavyweight Championship, 30/03/2008 – 02/05/2008) 2
  133. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 04/10/2009 – 25/10/2009) 2
  134. Triple H (WWF Championship, 23/08/1999 – 16/09/1999) 2
  135. Dolph Ziggler (World Heavyweight Championship, 08/04/2013 – 16/06/2013) 2
  136. Rey Mysterio (World Heavyweight Championship, 02/04/2006 – 23/07/2006) 2
  137. Shawn Michaels (World Heavyweight Championship, 17/11/2002 – 15/12/2002) 2
  138. Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship, 02/09/2002 – 17/11/2002) 2
  139. Triple H (WWF Undisputed Championship, 17/03/2002 – 21/04/2002) 2
  140. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 26/04/2009 – 07/06/2009) 2
  141. Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship, 15/12/2002 – 21/09/2003) 2
  142. Daniel Bryan (World Heavyweight Championship, 18/12/2011 – 01/04/2012) 2
  143. CM Punk (World Heavyweight Championship, 30/06/2008 – 07/09/2008) 2
  144. Sheamus (WWE Championship, 22/11/2015 – 14/12/2015) 2
  145. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 19/09/2010 – 22/11/2010) 2
  146. Sheamus (WWE Championship, 20/06/2010 – 19/09/2010) 2
  147. Hulk Hogan (WWF/E Undisputed Championship, 21/04/2002 – 19/05/2002) 1
  148. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 02/04/2017 – 21/05/2017) 1
  149. Batista (World Heavyweight Championship, 26/10/2008 – 03/11/2008) 1
  150. Sheamus (WWE Championship, 13/12/2009 – 21/02/2010) 1
  151. Big Show (WWF Championship, 14/11/1999 – 03/01/2000) 1
  152. Jack Swagger (World Heavyweight Championship, 02/04/2010 – 20/06/2010) 1
  153. The Great Khali (World Heavyweight Championship, 20/07/2007 – 16/09/2007) 1
  154. The Rock (WWF Championship, 24/01/1999 – 31/01/1999) 
  155. Chris Jericho (World Championship, 09/12/2001) 
  156. Jeff Hardy (World Heavyweight Championship, 07/06/2009) 
  157. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship, 18/08/2013) 
  158. Seth Rollins (WWE Championship, 19/06/2016) 
  159. Bret Hart (WWF Championship, 16/02/1997 – 17/02/1997)
  160. John Cena (WWE Championship, 21/02/2010) 
  161. Kane (WWF Championship, 28/06/1998 – 29/06/1998) 
  162. Rey Mysterio (WWE Championship, 25/07/2011) 
  163. Roman Reigns (WWE Championship, 22/11/2015) 
  164. Randy Orton (World Heavyweight Championship, 15/12/2013) 
  165. Finn Bálor (WWE Universal Championship, 21/08/2016 – 22/08/2016) 
  166. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship, 15/09/2013 – 16/09/2013) 
  167. Triple H (WWE Championship, 07/10/2007) 
  168. Mick Foley (WWF Championship, 22/08/1999 – 23/08/1999) 
  169. Dolph Ziggler (World Heavyweight Championship, 18/02/2011) 
  170. Big Show (World Heavyweight Championship, 18/12/2011) 
  171. Kurt Angle (WCW Championship, 26/07/2001 – 30/07/2001) 
  172. Batista (WWE Championship, 07/06/2009 – 09/06/2009) 
  173. Randy Orton (WWE Championship, 07/10/2007) 
  174. Shawn Michaels (WWF Championship, 19/01/1997 – 13/02/1997)
  175. Vince McMahon (WWF Championship, 16/09/1999 – 20/09/1999)