*Here are scenarios where these grapplers could have become champion.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper
The Hot Rod could have won the title at The Wrestling Classic in November of 1985, then lost it back to Hulk Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania II. How that changes history: King Kong Bundy’s push is aborted and there is no boxing match with Mr. T at WrestleMania II. No great loss. Roddy Piper competed in WCW in the late 1990s, but even when the WCW Championship changed hands like a hot potato, The Hot Rod still could not capture the gold.
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
The Dragon revolutionized pro wrestling with his Intercontinental Championship Match against “Macho Man” Randy Savage at WrestleMania III, but asked to take the summer of 1987 off to tend to his family. That is not the way to get in Vince McMahon’s good graces. Had he put the needs of the promotion ahead of his personal life, he might have challenged Hulk Hogan for his spot as top baby-face circa WrestleMania IV just as The Ultimate Warrior did at WrestleMania VI. How that changes history: Ricky Steamboat would have been booked as one of the elite along side Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. There might not have been room at the top for The Ultimate Warrior. Ricky Steamboat did win the WCW Championship from “Nature Boy” Ric Flair in 1989.
“The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
Andre the Giant could have been allowed to sell the title to The Million Dollar Man on The Main Event after his controversial win over Hulk Hogan. Ted DiBiase then loses the belt to “Macho Man” Randy Savage at WrestleMania IV. How that changes history: There is no title tournament at WrestleMania IV, but the big matches that were part of the tournament like Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant and Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude could still be booked. The main event also remains the same.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts
After turning heel over the summer, Jake Roberts could have defeated Hulk Hogan at Survivor Series 1991 instead of The Undertaker. How that changes history: Since The Undertaker’s first title reign was short and barely even acknowledged for several years, his career would not have suffered much. The Undertaker was a protégé of Jake Roberts at the time, so The Phenom could still be part of the angle and the title would probably still be declared vacant before the 1992 Royal Rumble.
“Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig
Tough to say as, unfortunately, Mr. Perfect was not involved in many angles with WWF Champions save for a brief feud with Hulk Hogan circa the 1990 Royal Rumble. Maybe he could have ended The Ultimate Warrior’s reign at Royal Rumble 1991 and then been in the main event of WrestleMania VII against Hulk Hogan? How that changes history: Sgt. Slaughter gets shafted big time, which I am not advocating. I am trying to come up with scenarios which do not alter history too much. Curt Hennig was at least the AWA Champion before joining the WWF in 1988.
“Ravishing” Rick Rude
Another tough one. Rick Rude departed for WCW while The Ultimate Warrior was the WWF Champion. He would have been another candidate to bridge the gap between The Warrior and Hulk Hogan in 1991 since he already beat The Warrior at WrestleMania V for the Intercontinental Championship. How that changes history: It was not my intent to pick on Sgt. Slaughter’s title reign, but erasing a reign of Hulk Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, or The Ultimate Warrior would alter WWF history to such a degree that it would be total fantasy booking without any link to reality. Rick Rude had three reigns as the WCW International Heavyweight Champion during the transitional period when the promotion showcased two heavyweight champions.
Owen could have defeated Bob Backlund at the Madison Square Garden houseshow the weekend after Survivor Series 1994 instead of Diesel. Owen had helped Backlund win the title. Betraying Backlund and taking the belt from him could have been phase two of Owen’s plan. Owen loses the belt to Diesel at Royal Rumble 1995. Bret “Hit Man” Hart interferes in that match. How that changes history: Diesel still faces Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XI, but Bret and Owen’s respective matches are a bit more tricky. Even with Yokozuna as his mystery tag team partner, Owen may not have challenged for the WWF Tag Team Championships. Owen could have fought Bret in the “I Quit” Match with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as guest referee, taking the place of Bob Backlund. Bret vs. Backlund at WrestleMania XI was the weakest of the matches they competed in during their 1994-1995 rivalry anyway, but I do not enjoy leaving Yokozuna without a match. The roster was real thin at the time and I cannot think of worthy adversary for Yoko.
The Lex Express steadily derailed after he failed to take the gold from Yokozuna in the main event of SummerSlam 1993. In my own humble opinion, it was for the best that Yokozuna was booked as this unstoppable heel champion until WrestleMania X. Vince McMahon also chose wisely by having Bret “Hit Man” Hart be the hero who slayed the monster. The only other opportunity I can think of to make Lex champion would be to interrupt Diesel’s year long title reign in 1995. Lex could win the belt at the King of the Ring and lose it back to Diesel at SummerSlam. How that changes history: King Mabel never main events a pay-per-view and perhaps Lex does not jump to WCW and appear on the inaugural Monday Nitro, effecting the early days of the Monday Night War.
Not unlike Mr. Perfect, Razor Ramon was a perennial contender for the Intercontinental Championship. The only WWF Championship Match I can recall him competing in was against Bret “Hit Man” Hart at Royal Rumble 1993. That was not the right time for him to become champion, nor should he have ended Diesel’s 1995 reign. A likely scenario would have been for Scott Hall to not join WCW in 1996, remain with the WWF, turn heel, and feud with Shawn Michaels. They could have had another Ladder Match? They were tied at one a piece, so a rubber match to settle things? How that changes history: Scott Hall appearing announced on Nitro caused the Monday Night War to escalate in a big way. Scott Hall and subsequently Kevin Nash changed the industry forever in 1996. Like Roddy Piper, Scott Hall was one of the few WCW main event talents to not have a run with the WCW Championship in the late 1990s.
The Honky Tonk Man
He had the charisma, but not quite the wrestling skills to be the WWF Champion.
“The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich
He had the body builder physique the WWF loves, but lacked the promo ability.
“The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith
The same situation as with Kerry Von Erich. Great physique, generic promos.
An Intercontinental Champion who became WCW and TNA World Champion.
With his androgynous gimmick, he could have challenged Shawn Michaels in 1996.
Had he not returned to ultimate fighting, he may have become the WWF Champion.