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Reliving A Title Run #4: Goldust As WWF Intercontinental Champion In ’96

In July 1995 vignettes promoting a man named Goldust began to air on WWF television. He was rather bizarre as he was obsessed with Hollywood and painted his face gold while also wearing a blonde wig. Early on he competed in singles match on pay per view against Marty Jannetty and Bam-Bam Bigelow. He would win those matches and would quickly enter his first high profile feud.

It started at fifth In Your House pay per view in December 1995. WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon teamed with Marty Jannetty to take on 1-2-3 Kid and Psycho Sid. During the match, Goldust told everyone that he was keeping his eyes specifically on Razor Ramon. He was clearly setting his eyes on the gold. The following night on RAW, Ramon declined to reveal what a letter written by Goldust the previous night had said. It was apparent that Goldust had something much more on his mind for the Bad Guy.

Ramon’s boiling point game when an usher gave him flowers. On the January 15th edition of RAW, Ramon took his frustration out on Goldust in the backstage area. It was a memorable moment as he beat Goldust up outside the arena. These two men would wrestle at the Royal Rumble.

At the Royal Rumble, Goldust was able to successfully win the WWF Intercontinental Championship by defeating Razor Ramon after the 1-2-3 Kid hit Ramon with a kick off the top rope. In just four months in the WWF, Goldust won a championship. The next night on RAW, he would lose to WWF World Champion by submission. On February 19th, Ramon challenged Goldust to a fight after the champion bailed on their match.

Ramon would end up being suspended by the WWF and Goldust would be put in a feud against Roddy Piper, who had recently returned to the WWF as the interim President. Goldust continued to use sexual comments to get under his opponents skin. There were several instances were Goldust would taunt Piper. He even sexually assaulted a mannequin dressed up as Piper! Goldust and Piper would end up competing in a Hollywood Backlot Brawl at WrestleMania XII.

At WrestleMania XII Piper was able to get the better of Goldust. Piper ended up stripping Goldust down to his lingerie in the ring after they had a brawl in the parking lot for several minutes. Piper had gotten suitable revenge against Goldust. It didn’t get any better for Goldust as he was stripped of the WWF Intercontinental Championship after a match with Savio Vega on April 15th. Luckily for Goldust he would regain the championship the next night thanks to Steve Austin getting involved and costing Vega the championship.

Goldust would wrestle the Ultimate Warrior at In Your House Good Friends… Better Enemies. They didn’t really have a match as Goldust just avoided Warrior before losing the match by count-out. Goldust proceeded to have a feud with the Undertaker for a brief time. Goldust was clearly afraid of caskets and the Undertaker used that to his advantage. Goldust would trap Taker in a casket and helped Mankind destroy it with a lead pipe. They would wrestle at In Your House Beware of Dog on May 26th. Goldust was the winner after several heels came out and attacked the Undertaker to help Goldust win the match.

On May 27th, Goldust would try to save the life of Ahmed Johnson. No, Johnson didn’t actually need his life to be saved. You see, Johnson had just lost his first match on television against Vader and wad laid out. Goldust came out to give Johnson mouth to mouth. That obviously didn’t sit well with Johnson. Johnson went looking for Goldust in the backstage area in a fit of rage.

Ahmed Johnson would get his hands on Goldust at the King of the Ring on June 23rd. Goldust didn’t learn his lesson and attempted to revive Johnson during the match with mouth to mouth. Johnson recovered and hit a spine buster followed by the Pearl River Plunge to end Goldust’s championship reign.

In my opinion, Goldust’s WWF career started off really strong and there was a high level of interest. He was getting a lot of heat from the crowds all around the country and quickly rose up the card to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship in only four months in the company. For me, the moment he lost to Bret Hart on RAW, his interest diminished. They should have held off on a champion vs. champion type of match for a much later date and on pay per view. Again, for me that moment really hurt Goldust in my eyes.

His feud with Piper was fun because everyone knew that Piper wasn’t going to just allow Goldust to get away with what he was doing. Piper and Ramon had the same character traits and replacing Ramon with Piper didn’t hurt the impact of the feud. His brief feud with Warrior was just a filler it seemed and there weren’t any notable moments. I did like his stuff with the Undertaker, especially the fact that he won a casket match over the Undertaker. Sure Goldust needed help of a bunch of heels, but it was still a big victory.

There was only one guy that Goldust could have lost the championship to and should lost it to was to Ahmed Johnson. Johnson was a very popular new character that was getting over due to his intensity. The fans were chopping at the bit to see Johnson destroy Goldust, I know I was. It was an effective way to get the belt off of a strong character and on to a new character.

Overall, the title run started off really well. The moment they had him drop the title to Vega was kind of a negative turning point, but I think by the end he was able to recover the title reign to make it an enjoyable title run despite a weak under card to work with.

What did you think of Goldust’s title run in the WWF back in 1996? How would you compare it to Cody Rhodes’s current championship reign?

Thanks for reading.

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