Championships are the single most important storytelling device in wrestling. While personal grudges, the development of factions, and other tropes can draw, titles bridge the gap between sports entertainment and legitimate sport. They offer a symbol of excellence and a consistent, understandable reason for athletes to compete with one another.
Accordingly, title changes go a long way towards defining a wrestling promotion, whether it is an international brand like WWE, or an independent organization. WCW had its share of monumental title changes. Some were for the better, marking iconic moments. Others were for the worse, as titles changed for poor reasons.
10. Hulk Hogan in 1994
It marked a seismic shift in the pro wrestling landscape when Hulk Hogan signed with WCW. He was the biggest name in professional wrestling history. The fact that he agreed to work for WCW marked the dawn of true competition between the promotions.
It’s telling that, in his debut match, Hogan defeated Ric Flair for the WCW Championship. The title win marked a paradigm shift as WCW transitioned first to more of a cartoonish 1980s WWE style, with Hogan and friends at the fore, and, down the road, to an edgier product featuring Hogan and the nWo. In doing so, WCW dismissed Flair--his style, aesthetic, and cohort--making him more of an afterthought relative to The Hulkster.