Throughout 1994, Steve Austin engaged in a heated rivalry with former World Heavyweight Champion Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Steamboat, reaching the twilight of his career, was a great selection to assist with Austin honing his craft as a solid heel for the WCW.
After an eight month US Title reign, Steamboat defeated Austin at Clash of the Champions. Unfortunately, Steamboat became injured, and was forced to relinquish the title less that a month after winning it. Austin was awarded the title at Fall Brawl, but under one circumstance: Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel demanded Austin defend the title at the PPV against a mystery opponent.
Who comes out? Former WWE mainstay, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. Austin refused to face Duggan, and tried a number of times to exit the ring. However, his attempts were unsuccessful. Moments later, Duggan pins Austin, and we have a new United States Champion.
As popular as Jim Duggan was, this win was the pinnacle of his career. He stayed champion for three months, and retained a large fan base throughout the mid-1990s. Although his fan base was even greater in the WWE, he never managed to win a single title during his tenure. The biggest achievement he had was winning the 1988 Royal Rumble.
One can argue that Duggan had the credentials to be a top guy for the WWE. However, during that time, he was overshadowed by the likes of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior. As a result, he was too low on the babyface chain to be a world champion. Even so, an Intercontinental Championship should have been added to his resume, as he was unquestionably one of the most popular wrestlers in the WWE during that time.
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