On Wednesday, July 8th, Taz reintroduced a championship that he had long been tied too. During an in-ring interview with Tony Schiavone, Taz with ‘The Machine,’ Brian Cage by his made an announcement. Taz presented him a title. It was a title that ECW fans around the world had known. He presented the F** The World or FTW World Heavyweight Championship. However, to respect its value today, it is essential to understand its lineage. Let’s explore the history of the FTW World Heavyweight Championship.
It was first established on May 14th, 1998, and also recognized as the Brooklyn World Championship at the It Ain’t Seinfeld event in Queen’s, New York. In essence, much like any title that a talent bestows upon themself, it doesn’t hold the same recognition by the promotion. The title was not sanctioned as an official title.
So what I’ve got right here is see I’m not the uncrowned champion because…I am the world heavyweight champion and this right here is the proof. You could call it the Brooklyn World Belt, you could call it the F**k the World Belt. You could call it anything you want. But enough with the chitter-chatter. Shane Douglas. Shane Douglas, you piece of **** why don’t you come out here belt for belt. Brooklyn vs Pittsburgh and bring it. Bring it out. – Taz via The Rise and Fall of ECW
The championship was first created as part of a storyline. Shane Douglas, the ECW Champion at the title, was facing an elbow injury. Despite also facing injuries himself, Taz was later awarded as it was warranted. According to Brian Fritz’s, Between the Ropes: Wrestling’s Greatest Triumphs and Failures – Paul Heyman said that Taz had a ‘bad-a**, no-nonsense attitude’ about him justifying carrying that title. The Human Suplex Machine announced the title’s creation as he wasn’t able to challenge then-champion, Shane Douglas, for the title.
History of the FTW World Heavyweight Championship
Taz advertised himself as the real world champion, much as he is doing with Brian Cage. He said ECW fans loved what the title represented. Taz felt it should have been recognized as the company’s top title. However, it never officially was. He was valued as such.
As time went I kinda invented my own belt. the FTW Championship. FTW stood for F the World and that was Taz’s attitude. He didn’t care about anybody. He was miserable and pissed at the world. Just angry. Angry. Rage. The company was doing me wrong. I felt like I wasn’t getting an opportunity for Shane Douglas’ ECW World Heavyweight title and blah blah blah blah blah. I come out with my own championship in my own city of not Brooklyn but Queen’s New York and debut with this belt. It took a life of its own – Taz via The Rise and Fall of ECW documentary
There were only two champions in the history of the FTW’s World Championship history in ECW until recently. Taz held the title for 219 days before losing it to Sabu on Hardcore TV on December 19th, 1998. After a three-month title reign, Taz regained the championship at the Living Dangerously pay per view on May 21, 1999. The title was retired and unified with the ECW Championship.
Among some unique tidbits as it pertains to the title are as follows. Upon the FTW World Championship’s creation, it was the same ECW Television Championship title Taz had used with a different strap. At the time, Taz had orange stickers covering the emblem. The name TAZ appeared as the top of the title with FTW stickers arranged accordingly to hide the word ‘Television.’ After agreeing to team with The Whole F’N Show Rob Van Dam and Sabu, Bill Alfonso presented Sabu with the FTW title that had become synonymous with its lineage.
Taz’s name was permanently engraved on the title. Therefore, when Sabu had the title, he had to cover the title with his name on the title. With the use of tape and permanent marker, Sabu’s name would appear. Taz would state that Sabu wasn’t happy about that as the original title
I don’t think that if you go back into the history of ECW that the FTW World title meant that much. I think in the history of ECW the FTW title was a launch towards Taz’s push towards the World Heavyweight championship. – Paul Heyman via The Rise and Fall of ECW documentary
Interestingly, Taz’s cousin Chris Chetti would revive the FTW title while a member of XPW (Xtreme Pro Wrestling), in the Fall of 2002. Former ECW talent Dangerous Danny Doring would win the title from Chetti and unify it with XPW’s World Championship. Will the newly revived FTW World Heavyweight Championship be used like it was back in 1998? We shall see. However, if its reincarnation is any indication, it may be the one unrecognized championship that will be hard-pressed not to be recognized.