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Blog Wars 25: Top 5 Wrestlers to Jump Ship

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Welcome back to Blog Wars 25. The semi finals in the Olympic series will be up soon but in the mean time we will commence with the main series. Last time The Hit Man came out on top to retain the title but this week RavenEffect looks to end his reign. Here is the list...

Top 5 Wrestlers to Jump Ship

Basically, the contestants will list 5 guys who they think made an impactful company jump. WCW and ECW talents coming to WWE through the buyout DO NOT count as a jump.

The Hit Man (C)

5. Bret Hart to WCW – 1997

At the time Bret Hart was arguably the biggest name in wrestling and was also WWF’s highest paid talent. In fact so highly paid, Vince couldn’t afford him. WCW came calling for the Excellence of Execution with an even more lucrative offer and in the end Hart made the switch over to the big rival. What made this is even more of a big deal was that Hart made his WCW debut the very next night after the controversial Montreal Screwjob.

4. Kurt Angle to TNA – 2006
It was rumoured that Angle left WWE due to injuries so when it was announced that TNA signed the Olympic Gold Medallist it came as a huge surprise. Angle was a massive loss to WWE as there were not many superstars as big as Angle and for the much smaller company in TNA to sign him to a contract was a major swoop for them.

3. The Big Show to WWF – 1999

At the height of the Monday Night Wars where WWF were just starting to edge the weekly battles, McMahon landed another blow by signing former WCW Champion Paul Wight. He may not have been the biggest star to jump promotion during the Wars but his debut was definitely shocking. Coming through the ring during the Steel Cage match at Valentine’s Massacre caught everyone off guard.

2. The Radicalz to WWF – 2000

If Show’s jump was a blow to WCW the Radicalz jump was effectively the death knell for them. The appearance of Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn on Monday Night Raw was a complete shock to say the least. Recognised by the commentators as WCW wrestlers, everyone was wondering why these four men were in the crowd. It soon became clear that WWF had acquired four of the greatest wrestlers at that time. To make it even worse for WCW, Benout was their recognised World Champion.

1. Ric Flair to WWF – 1991

WWF had landed the biggest possible swoop when they signed The Nature Boy to their company. Still a top draw and WCW’s biggest star, this has to be the biggest company jump. One of the most iconic moments in the history of WWE is when Ric Flair first appeared on WWF programming with the WCW Championship and proclaiming himself as the ‘Real World Champion’.


5. Kurt Angle - (WWE to TNA) - 2006

Everybody knows that Kurt Angle is a very, very intense human being. So intense, in fact,
that the WWE decided to draft him to their WWECW. At its inception, the WWECW was all the old ECW guys and young, no-name talent with crazy gimmicks. For a big-name WWE guy to be put on the show, he had to be an absolute monster... like Bobby Lashley or Kurt Angle. Angle wasn't known for barbed wire or thumbtacks or crazy gimmicks. Angle was simply a wrestling machine, and the move went over surprisingly well with fans. However, Angle was nursing multiple injuries, and decided to opt out of a contract renewal in 2006 to sign with TNA. The move was an absolute blockbuster for a number of reasons. WWE loses one of their top 5 guys and TNA gains not only an incredible talent but a HUGE name. With a history of signing ex-WWE and WCW stars who either couldn't go anymore, made single-digit appearances, or simply decided to no-show events (they never even got to say Hello to the bad guy), TNA desperately needed a big-name guy who could still go
and who wouldn't disappear after a few shows. Kurt was that guy and he quickly became the face of the franchise going on to win multiple championships and have incredible matches with the likes of Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Desmond Wolfe, Sting and Jeff Jarrett.

4. Steve Austin - (WCW to WWF by way of ECW) - 1995

Technically, Austin's jump was from ECW to the WWF. However, it was WCW that had him for the entire first half of the nineties. WCW failed to use Austin properly, and a recently sustained triceps injury left the company eager to let him go. He then went to ECW where he wrestled a total of two matches but became red-hot as a performer through his promos. Heyman saw the potential he had and let him speak on the microphone while he rehabbed the injury. When he got healthy, our friends over at the VinnieMacian Empire noticed the budding star and proceeded to buy him out from the land of the Extreme. A year later Austin became King of the Ring. During the induction ceremony, Austin decided to enlighten us on what exactly Austin 3:16 meant and he did so with a pretty busted up mouth. Cue the Attitude Era and Austins rise to heights of success never seen before and Stone Cold Steve Austin becomes one of the greatest and in some minds the greatest of all time.

3. Chris Jericho - (WCW to WWF) - 1999

Jericho's stellar mid-card run with WCW was all but finished when he began
to split time between working Japan and continuing to work with a very
dysfunctional WCW. A few contract negotiations with the WWF later,Y2J
was officially property of Titan Towers. After weeks showing a "Countdown
to the Milennium" clock on WWF programming, everybody knew that something big was
in store for the August 9th, 1999 edition of Monday Night Raw. The clock came down
to its final seconds in the middle of a red-hot Rock promo and when it
finally struck zero, Chris Jericho appeared and was immediately thrust into
a verbal joust with The Rock in what was a truly a great moment for professional wrestling.
Jericho never looked back from that point and he went on to become one of the hands-down greatest wrestlers of all time.

2. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash - (WWF to WCW) - 1996

Diesel and Razor Ramon defect from the WWF to WCW... The jump that ignited the explosion of the Monday Night Wars. With Nash's contract coming to a close and Scot Hall fresh off a drug suspension, someone over at the Ted Turner Wrestling Fund (WCW) decided to clue in Russo and Bischoff on the soon-to-be free agent tag team. What followed was an invasion storyline that blurred all of the wrestling "boundaries" that everybody was so positive existed. In the midst of a tit-for-tat technical wrestling classic that the hugely popular Steve Doll and his opponent The Mauler were putting on, a lone camera panned to Razor Ramon in the middle of the WCW crowd. He then jumped the guard rail, climbed into the WCW ring and said "You know who I am but you don't know why I'm here." A week later he brought out Kevin Nash and the two went on to form the nWo by turning Hulk Hogan heel for the first time in ten years and power-boosting WCW into the ratings war lead.

1. Hulk Hogan (AWA to WWF ) - 1983

While Hogans eventual jump from WWF to WCW was pretty a pretty damn huge jump in itself as well as the jump that most of the younger generation fans will considers Hogan's most iconic team-change, it was his initial move from the AWA that really changed the landscape of professional wrestling forever. From the early 60's to the early 80's, Verne Gagne not only ran the AWA, he was also THE man (as in "You were never really THE man like how I'm THE man"). However, the ten-time World Champ who also ran the promotion was significantly responsible for it's death. Gagne was out of touch with fans and wrestlers alike. While working AWA and New Japan, Hogan also had a breif stint in the WWF under Vince Sr., but Vinnie J. was quite old school and didn't like the fact that Hogan's role in Rocky III might bring too much "entertainment" into his wrestling promotion. Hogan ended up returning to the AWA with Verne Gagne trying to give him the belt and sign with the company for a long time. All he wanted in return was Hogan's profits, both in the AWA and what he made in Japan. This didn't fly by the man with the 24-inch pythons and he
was soon back in the WWF, under newly it's newly appointed owner Vincent K. McMahon, AKA Vince Jr. We all know how "sports entertainment"-based Vince is, and the two working together was simply the perfect recipe for big, big business. The title-chasing heel that Hogan was in AWA became the biggest babyface of all time, winning the belt almost immediately and sparking the biggest wrestling phenomenon of all time, Hulkamania. Hogan went on the become the biggest sports-entertainer of all time, and forever changed the face of the WWF and the wrestling world in general. Hogan would stay a good guy during his entire tenure in the WWF, and wouldn't go back to being a heel until ten years later
in WCW... but that's a whole 'nother jump-ship story altogether.

Honorable Mentions:

Hulk Hogan (WWF to WCW) - 1994: As big as this jump was I didn't think Hogan deserved two spots and his initial jump to the WWF was by far the more significant one between the two.

Ric Flair (WCW to WWF) - 1991: This jump was monumental at the time because it set up Hogan vs. Flair... except the match never happened due to Hogan being on his way out because of the steroid scandal. As much as Flair still managed to accomplish without Hogan around, he was back in WCW less than two years later which turned the potential game-changing jump into nothing more than a small stint with another company.

Christian (WWE to TNA) - 2005: This move was huge because TNA showed everybody how WWE should've used Christian, and damn did it ever work. Angle gets the spot over him though because Angle's TNA legacy has become much greater than Christian's, simply due to the fact that he stayed.

The Radicalz (WCW to WWF) - 2000: A blockbuster move that was really more like a sports team drafting four outstanding players. While the addition of that kind of talent really boosted WWE's roster depth, the jump wasn't exactly game-changing or monumental.

That's it for this week, as always vote for who you think had the better list and stay tuned for the Olympic Blog Wars tournament.

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  1. Hurtts101's Avatar
    Tough choice as both have excellent picks and reasons for them. I personally think Austin's is a bit of a ringer since if WCW didn't fire him, would he have left. But I guess technically if you talk about him leaving ECW for WWE, it becomes somewhat valid. I would love to be apart of BlogWars sometime as have these exact debates with my friends. As is, I am going to give the win (though just barely) to RavenEffect.
  2. Nichols's Avatar
    Bret Hart did not make his WCW debut the next night. He was actually under contract with WWE for another couple of weeks after that. He made his debut at Starcade, a month later, as a special guest referee.
  3. kidcontra's Avatar
    I think Raven effect wins this time around for the inclusion of Y2J, the lower rank of Angle and for the smart Hogan choice, the awa to wwf, the real game changer, as opposed to wwf to wcw, a big time move that worked for awhile anyways. The Angle choice is the only choice I have issue with. I like what Angle did in WWF/WWE, towards the end of his run he was on ECW, so it's not like WWE thought all that much of him or had all that much for him to do. I never once have thought, you know who I miss, Kurt Angle. He's a big star, but not a BIG STAR, so his absence hasn't hurt as much as it should. I totally forgot that he has been gone for 6 years. Great blog guys!
  4. HungOver's Avatar
    RavenEffect gets it for me in this close battle.The top 2 choices won it for me.If Outsiders did not make the shock switch there would of been no NWO and the same can be said with Hogan an Hulkamania.
  5. ozfan's Avatar
    Kurt Angle didn't leave due to injuries, it was due to health reasons. That's a difference and he was at the top of his game and also because he did not like the direction the company was heading in.
  6. Thunderlips's Avatar
    Great topic and well covered. RavenEffect has to take the win nailing the two jumps that changed wrestling forever.
  7. Darkside Ron Garvin's Avatar
    RavenEffect for the win. Both great lists and very well written, but RavenEffects top 3 out weigh Hit Man's top 3.
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