The next list in our United States Championship series is here and its the 90’s. The 90’s brought crystal Pepsi, Tamagotchis, and Harry Potter. Also during the 1990’s, the wrestling world witnessed the formation of the NwO, the rise of the Attitude Era and the Monday Night Wars.
The championship moved promotions during the late 80’s – early 90’s. in ’89, the championship moved to WCW, but didn’t get a name change until 1991. The championship went from the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship to become the WCW United States Championship.
Although the 1990’s wasn’t a great time for the championship, we did have some great champions and something the previous decades hadn’t seen before, a father-son connection, with Dustin Rhodes winning the same championship his father had held six years prior and Ric Flair winning the gold three years before his son David did. In the 90’s, we also saw second and first generations winning the gold in Dean Malenko and Curt Henning.
So join us as we continue our series and countdown the Top Ten United States Champions of the 1990’s
10. Dean Malenko
We kick off our list with the “Man of 1000 Holds,” Dean Malenko. The second generation superstar won the championship on March 16th, 1997 by beating Eddie Guerrero. Malenko went on to hold the championship for 85 days, successfully defending it 14 times. Although it’s not the best championship reign possible, in a decade full of short, inconsistent, inconsequential reigns, Malenko’s definitely deserves the number ten spot.
9. Curt Henning
Our number nine spots goes to Curt Henning, a.k.a Mr. Perfect in the WWF. The father of Curtis Axel held the United States Championship for 104 days, successfully defending it 20 times against the likes of Chris Benoit, Lex Luger, and Diamond Dallas Page.
8. Diamond Dallas Page
Winning the championship from Curt Henning, DDP held the championship for 112 days from December 1997 to April 1998. Our number eight spot defended the championship 19 times during his first reign. DDP was 41 years old when he won the championship for the first time. His second reign wasn’t as successful, only holding the championship for 35 days, successfully defending it three times.
7. Ric Flair
Ric Flair comes in at our number seven spot. Flair only held the championship once during the 90’s. This was his 6th US. Championship reign, having held it at least once through all three decades of its existence. During this reign, Flair held the championship for 141 days. Flair successfully defended the championship six times against the likes of Randy Savage, Eddie Guerrero, and Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Also, David and Ric Flair have the distinction of being a father-son duo who have both held a championship within the same decade.
Our number six spot goes to Konnan, who held the championship for 160 days from January – June 1996. Konnan successfully the championship 25 times, including defending it once in the AAA promotion in Mexico against Pierroth Jr. in a two out of three falls match.
Sting comes in at our number five spot. Sting had two reigns in the 90’s for 86 and 148 days, respectively. During his reigns, Sting defended the championship 12 times during his first reign, including multiple steel cage matches against Cactus Jack. During his second reign, Sting defended the championship successfully 25 times. Sting’s second reign would end due to Kensuke Sasaki in a cross-promotional match with NJPW.
4. Dustin Rhodes
The grandson of a plumber comes in at our number four spot. The son of Dusty and the brother of Cody held the U.S. Championship twice early in his career. His reigns lasted 110 and 119 days, respectively. It was hard times for Dustin when he was forced to vacate the championship after a double-pinfall with Rick Rude. Rhodes would defeat Rude in a rematch four months later for the championship. During his combined 229-day reign, Rhodes defended the championship 11 times.
3. Steve Austin
Steve Austin comes in at number three, holding the championship two times in the 90’s. Before he was Stone Cold or The Ringmaster, Austin won the champion in December 1993 for his first reign and went on to hold it for 240 days. Austin’s second reign wasn’t as successful, as he held the title for less than a day. During his first reign, Austin successfully the championship 18 times.
2. Rick Rude
Our runner-up today is Rick Rude. The future DX member held the championship for 378 days until, unfortunately, having to vacate after injury. Rude successfully defended the championship 10 times during his reign against the likes of Nikita Koloff, Erik Watts, and Marcus Bagwell. Rude held the championship for the most amount of days for a single reign within the 90’s.
1. Lex Luger
Our number one spot goes to Lex Luger. Luger held the championship twice in 90’s. He ushered the championship into the 90’s and held it for the first 300 days of 1990. Luger’s second reign lasted 210 days, giving him a combined 510 days with the title in the 90’s, a reign deserving of the top spot.