February 1989 was an interesting month for the WWF title picture. Two unusual events occurred around that time:
- WWF Heavyweight Champion Randy “Macho Man” Savage went heel on Hulk Hogan after months of build-up, which makes him one of the few (if not the only) world champions in WWF history to turn in the midst of a title run
- Savage fought Intercontinental Champion Ultimate Warrior in champion against champion matches with both belts at stake in several arenas, including the old Boston Garden
It was rare to see the Heavyweight champ in the ring with the Intercontinental title holder, and even rarer to see a title vs. title match. For the record, in Boston, Savage won by countout, I believe thanks to Ravishing Rick Rude distracting the Warrior, so no titles changed hands. A similar result occurred at Madison Square Garden.
About 15,000 fans packed the Boston Garden to see Savage and Warrior fight. Would a champion vs. champion match do that today?
That’s partly because such matches happen more frequently (C.M. Punk fought Daniel Bryan not too long ago on Monday Night Raw), and also because the titles themselves mean so little these days, particularly the Intercontinental strap.
Perhaps the biggest title vs. title bout came about a year after the Savage-Warrior matches, when Warrior and Hogan battled at WrestleMania VI. WWF Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund fought Intercontinental Champion Magnificent Muraco at house shows in the Northeast in 1981, although I don’t recall those matches ever being for both belts (Backlund’s title was always at stake).