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10 Of The Shortest Championship Matches In History



Championship matches are supposed to be long, drawn-out, epic affairs. Except when they're not.

Just as Kobe Bryant is entitled to a 6-of-24 night in the NBA Finals, pro wrestling champions occasionally slip up and serve up an occasional steaming pile of turd. Hey, it happens.

And so hot off the train wreck that was WWE Fastlane 2017 (and we'll pretend we aren't confounded in the slightest), we're here to celebrate ten of the shortest championship matches in mainstream North American wrestling history.

(Note: Impromptu Money In The Bank cash-ins are not included in this list. Not because they don't count, but because they weren't "proper" matches to begin with.)


Still a great moment though.

Honorable mentions


Before we get into the more serious insta-title changes, we'll do a quick run-through of three iconic championship matches that ran short for storyline reasons.

1. The Fingerpoke of Doom—WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Hollywood Hogan vs. Kevin Nash (c), WCW Monday Nitro (1/4/1999)


Ah, the moment that sealed WCW's death in the eyes of countless fans towards the end of the Monday Night Wars. Kevin Nash was riding high as leader of the nWo Wolfpac faction, and seemingly had overtaken Hollywood Hogan as the real king of WCW. Just listen to the rabid cheers of the 40,000-plus fans in attendance who were aching for Big Sexy to lay the giant ego of Hogan to rest once and for all.

Unfortunately, 1:40 was all it took to throw WCW's credibility into the garbage can.


2. D-X Trolls Sgt. Slaughter—WWE European Championship Match: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels (c), WWF RAW is WAR (12/22/1997)


D-Generation X was famous for constantly being a pain in the ass for any authority figures that got in their way. Hall of Famer (and then-Commissioner) Sgt. Slaughter thought he could whip some order into Shawn Michaels and Triple H by pitting the two allies against each other with HBK's prized European Championship on the line, hoping to fragment the duo.

Great thinking, Sarge. Except that when it came to D-X, you could never quite expect them to toe the line.


3. Vince Russo Disrespects Hogan—WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Hollywood Hogan vs. Jeff Jarrett (c), WCW Bash at the Beach 2000


WCW was losing momentum against the WWE, especially with Hollywood Hogan's contractually-stipulated creative control continually screwing up the company's plans to move the spotlight on to fresher superstars like Booker T, Jeff Jarrett, and Scott Steiner. The man had a monster hard-on for himself, refusing to pass the proverbial torch onto the next generation.

Thus, in a rare moment we will thank Vince Russo for, WCW's creative team conspired to humiliate Hogan live on PPV by exposing his power-hungry ego for the cancer it was.


The Magnificent Seven


And now we move on to the "proper" matches in this lineup, featuring a range of championship matches across multiple divisions.

1. JBL Retires—WWE Intercontinental Championship: Rey Mysterio vs. John "Bradshaw" Layfield (c), WrestleMania 25


JBL was a perfectly adequate singles heel, winning both the World and Intercontinental Championships during his main event run. It's a pity that perhaps his most memorable match was the one that retired him—and in ridiculously short order too.


2. Guerrero Means 'Squash'—ECW Heavyweight Championship: Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero, WrestleMania XXIV


Chavo tried to make the most of the Guerrero family goodwill, but unlike Rey Mysterio, he never quite got the World Champion sympathy push in honor of his Uncle Eddie. The ECW Championship was just about the peak title of his career, and it earned him a prominent spot on a 'Mania card.

The poor dude just so happened to be opposite the Demon Kane this one time, promptly dropping the gold in just nine seconds thanks to a single Chokeslam To The Depths of Hell.


3. Hulkmania Returns—WWF World Heavyweight Championship: Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna (c), WrestleMania IX


This was probably the spiritual predecessor to the Money In The Bank cash-in, with Hogan "heroically" stepping in to save the day at WM IX, moments after Yokozuna defeated Bret Hart to become the first heel to reign supreme in a WrestleMania main event.

This was supposed to be the re-annointment of Hogan as WWF flagbearer after roughly a year off. Hulkamania, sadly, was a tired act at this stage, and he was promptly written off as champion just months after.


4. Warrior Wildfire Is Born—WWF Intercontinental Championship: The Ultimate Warrior vs. Honky Tonk Man (c), SummerSlam 1988


The Honky Tonk Man was writing the record books as longest-running Intercontinental Champion in history, while also driving fans mad as the most absolutely chickenshit heel the company had ever seen.

The pop that the Ultimate Warrior got when announced as the mystery challenger was unreal, and mere seconds later, Honky's historic two-year IC reign was over.


5. The New Generation Arrives—WWF World Heavyweight Championship: Diesel vs. Mr. Bob Backlund (c), WWF House Show


Mr. Bob Backlund was brilliant in his throwback role as a deranged—dare we say #BROKEN—lunatic who procured his Crossface Chickenwing on the new generation of stars he blamed for throwing his generation's legacy by the wayside.

That's why it was so deliciously ironic to see Diesel as the newly-anointed "Chosen One" of the company just destroy Backlund in eight seconds for the World Championship—a record that still stands today as the fastest WWE title match of all time.


6. FELLA!—WWE World Championship: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan (c), WrestleMania 28


In hindsight, we should probably respect this moment as the spark that triggered Daniel Bryan's meteoric rise as a monster pop culture phenomenon in the world of pro wrestling.

While dropping the strap to Sheamus in this abbreviated manner was probably humiliating, it galvanized fan sympathy behind him, and helped put the Yes Movement on top of the world just two years later at WrestleMania 30.


7. KO Gets KO'd—WWE Universal Championship: Goldberg vs. Kevin Owens (c), WWE Fastlane 2017


Let's not lose faith, Henrinites. We're still not emotionally-prepared to process this fully, but we sincerely believe that Kevin Owens' 22-second loss to Goldberg is just setting him up for greater things to come.

(And at least we have the greatness of his feud with Chris Jericho to look forward to at 'Mania this year.)


*****

How do you feel about these record-setting squash matches that led to championship changes? Do they devalue the belt and its former holder, or do you think they're a useful way to get fans talking? Let us know your thoughts below!

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