I seem to be the only one who cares, but I enjoy this stuff, and I think the forum could use some good ol’ wrestling bullshit. So…
I just got bored and did some quick research. Using the cagematch.net match listings, it appears that the NWA United States Title has been merged with the WWE Lineal Title since 1986. Harley Race brought the NWA U.S. Lineal Title to New York in 1986 and lost it to Koko B. Ware, who lost it to Hercules, who lost it to Hulk Hogan to unify it with the WWF/E Lineal Title.
The current unified WWE/NXT/Universal/Intercontinental/United States Lineal Championship is currently held by Roman Reigns. If, unfortunately, Roman doesn’t “defend” by October 1, 2019 (one year since his last singles match), the lineal belts will all be forfeited to their “real world” owners.
Just sort of always been that way, I guess. Wouldn’t be too hard to trace what would happen if Warrior was never stripped of the title. All roads seem to lead back to the big ol’ unified belt mentioned above. Maybe a project for me for tonight or tomorrow…
I’m so glad you asked because, if we ignore the one year rule, the result is pretty hilarious. If the Warrior doesn’t vacate the title after not defending for a year, here’s the lineage (as always, my source is cagematch.net):
3/17/1991 - Ultimate Warrior
10/25/1998 - Hollywood Hogan
3/14/1999 - Ric Flair
4/12/1999 - Sting
6/13/1999 - Rick Steiner
And then, thanks to the wonder that was the 1999 WCW midcard, Here’s where things get interesting:
According to Cage Match, Teo has not lost a singles match since. Which means that the 3’6", 86 lb. “World’s Smallest Extreme Athlete” has been the “darkest timeline” WWE Lineal Champion for 5,992 days and counting!
So, to answer your question, it appears that the “one year rule” is indeed a very good rule.
I did my best with the information available on Cage Match for the “historical” WWF Women’s Championship, and I think that the current WWE Women’s Lineal Champion is Becky Lynch.
It will be interesting to trace all of the other relevant women’s titles… hopefully they all merge at some point so I don’t have to go all the way up through the present to figure it out.
A few notes:
It’s worth reiterating here that the lineal title rules have a “no multi-person match” clause. As such, only one-on-one matches should be considered.
There were two losses in the territory days that I had no choice but to ignore because the winners were Japanese women with no match history on Cage Match. However, I feel like it’s safe to say that Moolah always got her win back, so there’s a good chance the lineage would have come back there anyway.
The title went back to the “real world” holder on four occasions. One of which included Chyna being awarded the lineal title but never defending it (because she was only wrestling singles matches against men at the time).
As it is explicitly called the WOMEN’S Championship (despite the fact that men have held it in the real world), I ignored wins by Meng and Oklahoma (both over Madusa) and Stevie Richards (over Jacqueline).
Believe it or not, the WWE Divas Lineal Championship is alive and well! After reigns by a cavalcade of stars including ODB, Heidi Lovelace (Ruby Riott), Santana Garrett, and Io Shirai, the lineage currently resides in Japan around the waist of Momo Watanabe.
In addition to the historic WWE Women’s Championship (which is also the current Raw Women’s Championship in terms of lineage), Becky Lynch is also the lineal Smackdown and NXT Women’s Champion.
The lineal NXT Women’s Championship and the WWE Women’s Championship were unified during Bayley’s (real world) NXT Title run in 2015-16. The lineal Smackdown Women’s Championship joined the mix when Charlotte defeated Asuka at Wrestlemania last year.
Missed one… the European Title is also a part of the Roman Reigns “mega-lineal title”… merged when Kane defeated Steve Austin in a First Blood Match at the 1998 King of the Ring. Or, if you don’t think the First Blood stip counts in the spirit of the lineal rule, then it merged the next night on Raw when Austin beat Kane with the Stunner.
So… as of Feb. 1, 2019 here are your WWE Lineal Champions
WWE/Universal/NXT/Intercontinental/United States/European Lineal Title: Roman Reigns (last defended Oct. 1, 2018)
WWE Women’s (Raw)/Smackdown/NXT Lineal Title: Asuka
WWE Cruiserweight Lineal Champion: Pete Dunne
NXT North American Lineal Champion: Johnny Gargano (has not yet strayed from actual lineage)
That’s an interesting one because the lineage breaks on Oct. 8, 2017 when a guy named Logan Bryce defeated Eddie Dennis in what appears to be Bryce’s most recent match. So the belt goes back to Pete Dunne (the “real world” holder of the belt) on Oct. 8, 2018 and eventually ends up with YOUR WWE UK Lineal Champion: John Greed.
Just a refresh for the heck of it. The WWE UK Championship is quickly becoming my favorite… all started when Pete Dunne did the favors in a random indy match to Josh Alexander (which means we were THIS close to having the title make the rounds in Impact!) Will it ever make it back under the WWE umbrella?
WWE/Universal/NXT/Intercontinental/United States/European Lineal Title: Elias (defeated Kevin Owens on Aug. 20, 2019)
WWE Women’s Raw/Smackdown/NXT Lineal Title: Bayley (defeated Charlotte Flair on Oct. 11, 2019)
WWE Cruiserweight Lineal Title: Roderick Strong (defeated Pete Dunne on Sept. 28, 2019)
NXT North American Lineal Title: Adam Cole (defeated Johnny Gargano on June 1, 2019)
WWE UK Lineal Champion: Vaughn Vertigo (defeated Tyson Dux on July 24, 2019)