Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are that of the author himself and not necessarily of Sportskeeda.
Picture this moment: You're sitting around with some close friends watching a pro wrestling event on television. Maybe it's the WWE, or ROH, but it doesn't really matter which promotion. On screen, a wrestler pins his opponent and becomes a newly minted champion.
On rare occasions, every one of your friends will agree, but most of the time an argument will break out about whether or not the new champion is 'worthy' of holding a prestigious title belt. Both sides will have their opinions, and perhaps cite precedents about earlier champions in a similar mold, but in reality the only way to tell if someone was a worthy champion or not is by looking through the lens of history.
For a recent example, you can look at former NXT champion Tommaso Ciampa. When he first won the belt, many believed him to be unworthy, and that he would merely act as a transitional champion to put the NXT title on Johnny Gargano. However, fast forward to the recent past and pretty much everyone agreed that Ciampa might have been the greatest NXT champion thus far.
So, let us adjust the lens of history and scan back to yesteryear and ascertain seven pro wrestling champions who may not have been worthy of carrying the ten pounds of gold.
#1 Kevin Nash (Diesel)
The Man: Kevin Nash, wrestling as Diesel
The Time: November 26 1994
The Title belt: The "richest prize in sports entertainment," the WWE World Championship.
In a lot of ways, you almost can't blame WWE for putting forward Kevin Nash as their top guy in 1994. Bret Hart, their biggest star at the time, was off filming acting projects. Shawn Michaels was a cocky heel and a star on the rise, but had yet to truly prove himself on the main event stage. With Hulk Hogan gone to rival WCW, there wasn't much left in the way of marketable talent.
So, it was Kevin Nash who was pushed almost overnight from being a mere bodyguard to being the world champion. He defeated Bob Backlund, who had been built up as a serious threat for years, in less than eight seconds to collect his first--and thankfully, only--WWE World title reign.
Why he wasn't a memorable champion: Kevin Nash has always had a great look and tremendous size on his side. In later years, working for WCW, he was able to relax and express himself well on the microphone, but at the time in WWE he was relatively green at interviews.
Then you factor in that Nash has one of the most limited movesets in all of wrestling. When working with men like Bret Hart, he could deliver an adequate match, but his clashes with Sid Vicious and Backlund were less than stellar.
WWE officials were so worried about his match with King Mabel that they added the Ladder match between Razor Ramon and HBK to the show in hopes it would overshadow what was likely to be a terrible match (spoiler alert; it was, in fact, terrible.)
Nash just didn't have the tools at his disposal to be a worthy champion in 1994, and it showed.
Nash not only had a limited skill set, he was also consistently down with injuries which halted his progress as a WWE superstar. Right from his WCW days to the time the NWO members returned to the WWE, Nash had to endure a lot of pain and bad luck which eventually cost him his career as well.
#2 The Renegade
The Man: The Renegade (Richard Wilson)
The Time: June 18 1995
The title: WCW World Television Championship.
Richard Wilson was a big, burly and surprisingly agile wrestler who signed with WCW back in 1994. Trained by the legendary killer Kowalski -- who also trained Chyna and Triple H--he was thought to have both old school toughness and modern day athleticism. Perhaps that's why WCW hired him in the first place.
Unfortunately, instead of pushing Wilson under his own merits, WCW conducted one of the worst bait and switch routines in history. Hulk Hogan teased an "Ultimate Surprise" as his mystery tag team partner. A silhouette of Wilson in his Renegade regalia was shown, and fans thought exactly what WCW wanted them to think; The Ultimate Warrior was coming to the company.
But then the Renegade appeared, and fans were so disappointed that they never really gave Wilson a chance. Desperate to get the big man over, WCW had him defeat Arn Anderson for their third tier belt, the television title. It didn't work and he would drop the belt just three months later.
Why he wasn't a memorable champion: Richard Wilson was a reasonably skilled wrestler, but WCW hamstrung him from the outset. Fans saw him as a weak Warrior clone, and WCW never did anything to change that perception.
The brand was notorious for creating a lot of gimmicks that just didn't work and the Renegade was one such experiment that ended up failing.
#3 Ahmed Johnson
The Man: Ahmed Johnson (Anthony Norris)
The Time: July 23, 1996
The Title: The WWE Intercontinental championship.
Anthony Norris trained for the ring under the legendary Skandar Akbar and Polish power Ivan Putski. With such a pedigree, one would think that he would have a bright future in sports entertainment.
Add in the fact that Norris was over three hundred pounds and immensely powerful, and you have a slam dunk...at least that's what WWE thought when they hired him. Dubbed Ahmed Johnson, he began a career as WWE's top midcard babyface.
He would capture the WWE Intercontinental Championship and barely hold it for a month.
Why he wasn't a memorable champion: Two massive flaws in Ahmed Johnson made him a poor choice as champion. One, which is often ridiculed to this day on the internet, is the fact that he was not a very good public speaker. Most of the time, people couldn't even understand what he was saying.
His other flaw was his propensity to hurt himself and his opponents. This led to time off for Ahmed, who could never maintain any real momentum.
The Man: Hornswoggle (Dylan Posti)
The Time: July 22, 2007
The Title: The WWE Cruiserweight championship.
Hornswoggle was initially utilized as a part of veteran performer David "Fit" Finlay's gimmick. The Irish Finley could count on Hornswoggle's help, as the leprechaun would hide under the ring and then interfere when the time was right.
On air, he was referred to as Finlay's little b**tard, which is ironic considering the direction his character would eventually take. After a time working with Finlay, he began to develop something of a following and WWE decided to utilize him more.
He would end up winning the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, and actually was the final champion before the belt was retired.
Why he wasn't a memorable champion: To give credit where credit is due, Hornswoggle is capable of performing athletic feats despite his physical condition. However, he would never be able to work a genuine wrestling match against a normal sized opponent, and his mic skills were nonexistent. Putting the title on him was an act of desperation by WWE, who believed that the cruiserweight title had lost all its shine by 2007.
The cruiserweight division was a success in the WWE with superstars like Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero being well known names, plying their trade initially in the division. Hornswoggle winning the title all but put an end to that.
#5 The Kat
The woman: The Kat (Stacy Carter, also known as Miss Kitty)
The Time: December 12, 1999
The Title: The WWE Women's Championship.
Stacy Carter had one of the more unusual tracks to becoming a pro wrestler. She was working as an exotic dancer when she was spotted by Jerry The King Lawler. She and Lawler would wind up forming a relationship, and even getting married.
Lawler used his pull with WWE to get her hired. Since she was lovely to behold, the WWE agreed. First known as Miss Kitty, she would re-dub herself the Kat and for a time emulated Chyna's dress and mannerisms. Because she lacked wrestling ability, she won the women's title by stripping the clothes off her opponents during an evening gown match.
Why she wasn't a memorable champion: The Kat was nothing more than a glorified valet who wound up being put in a prominent position because of backstage connections and her good looks. Her 'reign' as champion has been swept under the rug by WWE, as well it should be.
#6 David Arquette
The man: David Arquette
The Time: April 25, 2000
The title: "Big Gold," the WCW World Heavyweight championship.
To understand exactly why David Arquette won the WCW World Championship in 2000 requires a bit of a history lesson.
After dominating the ratings war for years against Monday Night Raw, Nitro had slid solidly to second place. No matter what WCW did, they just couldn't get the ratings back as high as they had once been. In order to increase WCW's platform and gain new fans, Eric Bischoff decided to make a 'WCW movie.' That movie was Ready to Rumble, and it starred a hot (at the time) actor who happened to be named David Arquette.
So when Arquette won the WCW World title, it was essentially the world's most unique movie promotion stunt. He would lose the title in the blink of an eye
Why he wasn't a memorable champion: David Arquette was a Hollywood actor, not particularly athletic, and his goofy character seemed at odds with the prestigious title he held. Fans knew it was a publicity stunt and responded with derision. Ironically, Arquette has been of late trying to improve his image with the wrestling community and has wrestled some independent matches.
There you have it; Seven unworthy champions. Questions or comments? Please leave them below the article and as always thanks for reading!