While everyone is freaking out about Jinder Mahal winning the WWE Championship, it is important to put his victory in a historical context. Of course, it is weird that a “jobber” was elevated to Champion so quickly. Mahal is unpopular with AMERICAN crowds, but he does have appeal both as a heel and as a face for the Indian market.
So is Jinder one of the worst champions ever? It is way too early to tell. However, there are a few past champions whose reigns were blunders.
Note: This doesn’t include the WCW/World Heavyweight Championship title. For more on that, check out WCW disrespected it in 2000.
Bob Backlund (in 1994)
Let’s get one thing out of the way, Backlund was a great champ…from 1978-1983. His return in 1994 is considered a low-point during a low-time in WWF history. Backlund had returned as a caricature of his previous self and was berating fans and putting everyone in his signature cross-face chicken-wing. Backlund’s winning of the title at Survivor Series was only to further Bret’s feud with his brother Owen. Owen cost Bret the match by convincing their mother to “Throw in the towel”, which was a reference to how Backlund lost the belt to the Iron Shiek in 1983.
Backlund then cut what is probably the most psychotic promo that didn’t involve Scott Steiner or a pile of cocaine.
His reign was virtually non-existent as he lost the belt three days later to Diesel (Kevin Nash) at a house show.
Similar to Backlund, Stasiak was a transitional champion. But unlike Backlund, Stasiak was never champion before or again. In fact, most of his career was spent as a tag-team specialist. His run was so Vince Sr. could take the belt off Pedro Morales and put it back onto Bruno Sammartino. Both of whom were babyfaces.
He was a champion for 6 (four according to WWE) days. This and him winning the Royal Rumble the next year were considered the zenith of the villainous “Mr. McMahon” character. Both times were via subterfuge and almost immediately ended in vacating. A lot of wrestling fans, this writer included, find the reign of Mr. McMahon to be on par with Arquette or Bischoff winning the WCW title. McMahon would repeat the feat years later by “winning” the ECW title during the re-branded federation’s run as a WWE program.
It is a tactic that WWE has resorted to out of both necessity and storyline. The “vacating” of the title leaving it up for grabs is never a popular decision with the WWE Universe. Either it arises after an injury (Shawn Michaels and Batista) or to further a storyline (Daniel Bryan vs the Authority). The Character is so notorious that it even has its own Twitter account! While vacant can add some intrigue, often it is met with bewilderment by WWE fans.
— Vacant (@WWEVacant) April 14, 2017
Have a bad champion that we’ve forgotten? Share your thoughts in the comments!