TJR Blog React: WWE Top 10 Inaugural Champions Crowned

This Sunday at WWE Elimination Chamber, WWE will crown the inaugural Women’s Tag Team Champions although we might need to put an asterisk on that. There were WWF Women’s Tag Team Titles from May 1983 until February 14, 1989 when they were deactivated, which is nearly 30 years to the day. I understand why WWE is treating the 2019 Women’s Tag Team Titles as a brand new thing because it’s new for this era, but they should at least acknowledge the past.

Anyway, WWE puts out their WWE Top 10 videos every Saturday (and Monday) covering different topics. I watch them on WWE’s Youtube channel and some days (like today) I feel like writing about them too. I’ll give you WWE’s order in their video and then let you know how I would.

Everything on this list is from this decade. They didn’t go back decades with certain titles and some of them, like the Intercontinental Title won by Pat Patterson, was never actually won in a match even though WWE said there was. They lie! Shocking. I’ll post the video below. Let’s roll.

10. NXT Women’s Title – Paige (July 24, 2013)

Paige was the first NXT Women’s Champion when she beat Emma in the finals of an 8-woman tournament. The title win was actually taped on June 20, 2013, but it aired on July 24, so that’s the recognized date by WWE. Paige was only 20 years old at the time of the match.

9. Smackdown Tag Team Titles – Heath Slater & Rhyno (September 11, 2016)

This match took place at Backlash 2016 following the WWE roster split in the summer of 2016. Raw kept the Tag Team Titles, so WWE had to introduce Smackdown Tag Team Titles. It was a fun story with Heath Slater trying to get a job, then he was put in a team with Rhyno and because they beat The Usos, Slater got a full time contract. In reality, Slater never lost his job, it was just a storyline at the time. The pop for the title win was pretty huge as you can see in the video.

8. NXT UK Women’s Title – Rhea Ripley (November 28, 2018)

This one is pretty recent because it was part of WWE’s launch of the NXT UK brand last year. Rhea Ripley defeated Toni Storm in the tournament finals. The interesting thing about the date is that it actually took place on August 26, 2018, but the November 28, 2018 date is what WWE recognizes because that’s when it aired. Storm is the current champion after beating Ripley at the NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool WWE Network special.

7. WWE Cruiserweight Championship – TJ Perkins (September 14, 2016)

The WWE Cruiserweight Classic tournament in the summer of 2016 was full of great matches featuring a lot of incredible wrestlers. I reviewed the entire ten-week series and it was one of my favorite things to write about this decade. The finals came down to TJ Perkins (now just TJP) beating Gran Metalik in the finals. The Cruiserweight Title launch led to the 205 Live show as well.

6. WWE United Kingdom Championship – Tyler Bate (January 15, 2017)

The WWE UK Championship Title was introduced two years ago with Tyler Bate beating Pete Dunne in the finals of the tournament. There was a huge ovation for Bate when he won. Bate was only 19 years old when he won the title because his birthday was two months later. Dunne won the title back from Bate during an incredible NXT Takeover Chicago match in May 2017 and Dunne has been the champion ever since. Dunne is three months away from a two year title reign.

5. NXT North American Championship – Adam Cole (April 7, 2018)

Adam Cole bay-bay! This might be the best match on this list because I went just under five stars for it in my NXT Takeover New Orleans review last year. It was a six-man ladder match won by Adam Cole with Ricochet, EC3, Killian Dain, Lars Sullivan and Velveteen Dream in the match. It was an incredible match with all kinds of high spots and guys putting their bodies on the line to entertain the fans. I think when you have a match that great for a new title, it really shows how much a title means to a wrestler.

4. WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship – Becky Lynch (September 11, 2016)

It’s back to Backlash 2016 as WWE introduced a Women’s Championship for the blue brand following the brand split in July 2016. They had a 6-pack Elimination Match with Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Naomi, Alexa Bliss and Carmella. Lynch won by last eliminating Carmella. It was the first title win in WWE for Lynch, who didn’t win the NXT Title. Lynch was very popular, so it was the right choice for the new title. Lynch is even more popular today as we all know, but watching this video is a reminder of how much the fans supported her nearly three years ago as well.

3. NXT Championship – Seth Rollins (August 29, 2012)

The date listed above is when it aired and that’s what it is recognized even though the actual date was July 26, 2012 when Rollins beat Jinder Mahal in the finals of the NXT Title tournament. Rollins was a face wrestler with a bright future when WWE re-launched the NXT brand in the format we see today with Triple H running things. What’s cool about the moment is Jim Ross is on commentary and Howard Finkel was the ring announcer, so it’s got the classic “AND NEW” feel of The Fink on the call when Rollins was announced as the winner. Rollins won with a Buckle Bomb and a Blackout, which is now just known as The Stomp.

2. WWE Women’s Title – Charlotte (April 3, 2016)

I was at this one live at WrestleMania 32 in Dallas when Charlotte Flair faced off against Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks in a great triple threat match. The Divas Title that Charlotte held was going away because WWE was dropping the term “divas” after using it for about twenty years. In its place, they were back to pushing the women’s division and that meant the re-introduction of the Women’s Title. This was a match for the new WWE Women’s Title. Charlotte won with the Figure Eight submission on Lynch while Banks was being held by Charlotte’s dad Ric Flair. It is arguably the best women’s match at a WrestleMania. In July 2016, it became the Raw Women’s Title after WWE did the brand split.

1. Universal Title – Finn Balor (August 21, 2016)

Finn Balor was a fresh name on the Raw brand after getting called up from NXT where he was a long term NXT Champion. The fans loved the guy, so when he faced off in his Demon Balor look against Seth Rollins at SummerSlam 2016 for Raw’s new Universal Championship, it was one of those matches where you wondered if WWE would go with the “new” guy in Balor over the more established guy in Rollins. When Balor won after the Coup de Grace double foot stomp, the arena went wild and it was one of the loudest of any championship win I can remember this decade.

Sadly, Balor’s reign only lasted one day because he suffered a serious shoulder injury that required surgery. Balor wrestled most of the match with a serious shoulder injury, which showed how tough he is. He was injured for about eight months and hasn’t won a title in WWE since then.

Inaugural champions crowned: WWE Top 10, Feb. 16, 2019

I like most of the order and I’m guessing they are ranking them as far as what’s the most important title in WWE today, which is why they put the Universal Title and Raw Women’s Title at the top of the list. I think the Smackdown Tag Team Titles and NXT Women’s Title should be at 5 and 6 while everything above them would move up a spot.

The best match out of everything on here is the NXT North American Title Ladder Match, so if we were ranking this in terms of best matches, I’d put that first.