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The Complete History of the WWE Championship - Part 3

Paul Benson
ANALYST
Feature
Timeless

The Ultimate Warrior: Career peaked at Wrestlemania VI
The Ultimate Warrior: Career peaked at Wrestlemania VI

Hulk Hogan became the second man, after Bruno Sammartino, to win the WWE Championship on more than one occasion when he defeated Macho Man Randy Savage in the main event of Wrestlemania V.

However, when Hogan defeated Savage, plans were already being put in place for a successor. Not just as WWE Champion, but for figurehead of the entire company.

Hogan had been "The Man" in WWE since January 1984 (Becky Lynch hadn't even been born yet). For the rest of the decade, he was the biggest star in the company and the most well known wrestler on the planet.

Merchandise bearing his likeness, movies and even a cartoon series called Hulk Hogan's Rock n Wrestling, which ran from 1985 to 1987, dominated the mainstream. Hogan was a major league celebrity and he and WWE were a box office sensation.

However, Hogan's fame afforded him some perks in terms of his wrestling schedule. While every other WWE performer worked a full time schedule, of up to six matches per week, Hogan's house show schedule was extremely light.

Hogan was now in his mid 30's, and Vince McMahon was looking for a younger alternative, one who would be dedicated to the cause full time, without outside distractions.

His choice: The Ultimate Warrior.

Warrior's crowd responses were almost as loud as Hogan's and his merchandise sales were comparable also.

Warrior had lost the Intercontinental Championship on the undercard of WrestleMania V to Rick Rude, and would regain it from him at SummerSlam in August 1989. Warrior's rise to main event status was almost complete.

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At WrestleMania VI on April 1, 1990, Warrior's journey to the top was completed as he supplanted Hogan as WWE's top star. However, his role as company figurehead was to be short-lived.

In the third part of my series - part 1 and part 2 can be found here - I will cover the reigns of Warrior through to Hulk Hogan's record breaking, albeit short lived, fourth WWE Championship run.


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