Let’s talk about the WCW/NWA Tag Team Titles. For those of you who were around for WCW and remember its glory days (which did exist, contrary to what WWE might have you believe), who do you remember as the top tag teams? It might be the Steiner Brothers, Harlem Heat, the Outsiders, Rick Steiner and Judy Bagwell, or someone else entirely. They were all great teams, but none of them have the record that apparently matters more than anything else.

If you go by WWE logic, the greatest WCW tag team of all time was Doom. Why is that the case you ask? Well it’s very simple: they had the longest title reign in the title’s history. Yeah that’s what matters most, at least in WWE’s mind. I mean, didn’t you know that the Honky Tonk Man was better than Randy Savage and Chris Jericho? Or that Gregory Helms was the greatest Cruiserweight Champion (by more than double, and screw off with that separate lineage between the two Cruiserweight Titles nonsense while I’m at it) of all time? It’s a provable fact because they had the longest reigns the titles ever saw.

With that we’ll move to the modern times and the Universal Title. As of this writing, Brock Lesnar has held the Universal Title for 394 days with his most recent successful title defense coming at the Greatest Royal Rumble last week. The current rumor says that Lesnar isn’t going to be defending the title again until Money in the Bank 2018 in just over six weeks on June 17. If Lesnar holds the title that long, and there’s no reason that he shouldn’t, he would surpass CM Punk’s 434 day reign with the WWE Championship, which seems to be one of WWE’s goals.

Brock Lesnar brutalizes Roman Reigns in a shocking display of force: WrestleMania 34 (WWE Network)

Now, where do I even begin with why this is stupid? For one, let’s start with what record is Lesnar breaking by surpassing Punk? The longest Universal Title reign? No, because he’s already more than doubled that. The longest World Title reign in WWE history? Don’t make me laugh. Actually it’s the longest World Title reign in the modern era. You know, because that’s the kind of thing you can brag about forever.

Now, assuming we can get a consensus on the modern era (which really is up for debate and could go all the way back to Hulk Hogan winning the WWF Title from the Iron Sheik on January 23, 1984), let’s consider how ridiculous of an accolade this really is. WWE is obsessive with pushing their own people and those who have kissed the ring for their entire life and for some reason they’re more than willing to throw all forms of logic out the window for the sake of rewriting history. Now why is this stupid?

Just how much could Lesnar make by staying in WWE?

Well to begin with, how far do you go with something like this? Let’s say Lesnar goes all the way to 500 days as champion before losing. If he walks out on the company or falls out of its good graces or whatever, are we going to need a 510 day reign to erase Lesnar from the history books as well? Two months is a near eternity in wrestling. These title reigns are already over a year and they’re approaching a year and a half. Are we really just keeping these title reigns going for the sake of keeping them going?

Remember a little over a year ago when New Day held the Tag Team Titles for over a year? It wasn’t exactly thrilling stuff until the very end, which wasn’t exactly enough to validate keeping the belts on them that long. By the end it was kind of interesting to see them break the record held by Demolition, but it’s not like it was something that I was dying to see. I like New Day, but just seeing them set a record for the sake of getting rid of a team that isn’t on the best terms with WWE is a big waste of time. Are we supposed to buy New Day as better than Demolition? Is that how this works?

The New Day confronts Randy Orton and Dean Ambrose: Raw, October 12, 2015

Also, why doesn’t New Day get an asterisk next to their 483 day reign? After all, the WWF Women’s Team Titles had two longer reigns, with Princess Victoria and Velvet McIntyre holding them for 574 days back in the early 1980s and the Glamour Girls holding the belts for 906 days (or nearly twice what New Day did) from 1985-1988. Are those too early for the modern era, or whatever status Lesnar’s reign is being given? The Glamour Girls only lost them about two months before Demolition’s former record reign started so why shouldn’t New Day have to break that mark instead?

I mean, it’s not like WWE doesn’t have a history of adding in a ton of qualifiers to its records to make them stick. You know full well that Monday Night Raw is the longest running TV show in history. If you go by weekly shows that is. Well and make sure it’s episodic. And sports entertainment. And ignore WCW Saturday Night, which ran for just shy of twenty nine years, or over three years longer than Monday Night Raw at this point. Or the weekly Memphis wrestling show, which ran over thirty years. But yeah, other than that and with those specifics, absolutely nothing tops Raw!

I completely get why WWE wants everything it does to be on top, but going by length is such a ridiculous method of determining how great something is, especially with title reigns. Again, let’s say that that Lesnar makes it all the way to 435 days as champion. That’s a great accomplishment, but do you know how close that gets him to Bruno Sammartino’s original WWWF World Title reign?

EXCLUSIVE - Ernie Ladd vs Bruno Sammartino - MSG 3/1/76 - FULL MATCH

That would be fifteen and a half percent. In other words, when Lesnar gets to 435 days, which is an eternity in today’s wrestling product, he won’t even be one sixth to the greatest mark of all time. It’s about a fifth of the way to Bob Backlund’s 2,135 day reign and less than thirty percent of the way to Hulk Hogan’s first World Title reign. Oh and it’s still behind one of Hogan’s WCW World Title reigns (469 days from July 1994 – October 1995), which doesn’t fit into that “longest title reign of the last 25 years” thing that WWE was pushing for Punk.

In other words, it’s not exactly a secret that WWE is trying to rewrite history and it’s not like fans don’t quite know what’s going on. There’s no hiding the fact that they’re making up all these accolades as they go and then deciding that they’re the most important in the world. It works very well, if you cherry pick the titles that count, make the category incredible specific, and just ignore some stuff when it’s inconvenient.

Is this going to change fans’ thoughts of who matters? Not really. Fans are still going to remember Punk’s reign and how WWE turned it into a mess. They’re going to remember Sammartino and Hogan holding the title for years. And they’re going to remember that Lesnar almost never defended the title once every thirty days, which was the requirement for champions for years but doesn’t apply to him.

John Cena and CM Punk's Undisputed Championship Match Contract Signing

It’s not like WWE hasn’t tried stuff like this before and for the most part, fans either don’t care or roll their eyes at WWE for doing a bunch of nonsense. The history is there and it’s not like the fans don’t know it as well. I’m not sure what WWE thinks they’re getting out of rewriting a bunch of their records, but you can imagine that they’ll milk the old records for everything they can when the time is right. It’s annoying, it’s rather petty and stupid, and it’s exactly what you have to expect from WWE. There’s a lot more to being a champion than holding a title for a long time, but I’m sure WWE will explain the new rules later.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 26 wrestling books. His latest book is the WWE Grab Bag.

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