The Hardcore, the European and the Cruiserweight Championships, which to bring back?
By David Travers @GuannacoTRAVERS
We look at the Hardcore , European and Cruiserweight Championships, before giving the verdict on what title I would bring back to the WWE.
The Hardcore Championship
The title was first introduced on November 2nd 1988 when Mr. McMahon presented the title as a gift to Mick Foley (In his Mankind character). Originally the belt was suppose to be used for comedic purposes to play on Mick Foley’s reputation for hardcore wrestling. hardcore wrestling became increasingly more popular with the fans as well as the Mankind character the title this lead to the Hardcore Championship being taken more seriously as a title and began to be properly defended and acknowledged as a champion ship in the WWE then known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
After Mankind lost the title to The Big Boss Man in a ladder match ending his 25 day reign as champion, Mankind then received a main event push due to his increase in popularity with the fans.
After Crash Holly won the title on February 24th 2000 he introduced the ’24/7’ rule. This rule meant that the title was constantly defended whether it was in a WWF ring or not, as long as a referee was present. This had numerous wrestlers win the title in comedic styles such as pinning wrestlers when they were asleep, being chased around and amusement park.
- The 24/7 rule did continue, but less so as the title was mainly defended once again in in ring competition rather than the title being able to change hands anywhere else.*
The title was then unified in 2002 between Rob Van Dam who was the Intercontinental Champion and Tommy Dreamer who was the Hardcore Champion. A week earlier the Intercontinental and the European titles were unified. Rob Van Dam won the Intercontinental and European unification match.
Then went on to defeat Tommy Dreamer the unify the Intercontinental (Eurocontinental) and the Hardcore titles becoming as I would like to call it the Eurocontinental hardcore Champion having won all three titles.
The title was seen two more times in 2003 when Stone Cold Steve Austin presented the belt to Mick Foley for his contributions to hardcore wrestling. Mick Foley got the belt back but not the championship due to Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer having a unification match.The title was seen again in 2006 when Edge and Mick Foley declared themselves ‘Co-Hardcore Champions’ as apart of a storyline with former Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) stars. The title was never defended by either Edge or Mick Foley and then title was quietly forgotten about.
The European Championship
title was introduced on February 26th 1997 when The British Bulldog win the title in a tournament that was held over several shows in Germany. When Shawn Michaels won the championship he became the first wrestler to hold both the WWF Championship and the European Championship at the same time.
Although starting off as a serious title it went through a bit of a comedic phase as when both D’Lo Brown and Al Snow held the championship respectively they were then billed from different parts of Europe, and example of this was during Snow’s reign as champion, he would come out dressed as a stereotype of whatever part of Europe he was billed from that week.
The title went through a time of being part of the ‘Eurocontinental Championship’ this refers to a wrestler who holds the Intercontinental and European titles at the same time. There have only been three wrestlers who have achieved this.
The first champion was D’Lo Brown defeated Mideon for the European Championship then two nights later defeated Jeff Jarrett to win the Intercontinental Championship thus becoming the first Eurocontinental champion.Jeff Jarrett was the second champion as he then defeated Brown at the Pay-Per-View ( PPV) Summerslam. The Final wrestler to achieve this feat was Kurt Angle who first beat Val Venis on Smackdown! to win the European title, then seventeen days later won the Intercontinental title from Chris Jericho at No Way Out.
Angle then held the title until WrestleMania where he then lost both titles in a triple threat two-fall match, the match included Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho however Angle was never pinned or submitted in the match. Benoit walked out the Intercontinental Champion and Jericho left the European Champion.
The title was then retired on July 22nd 2002 on Monday Night RAW when Jeff Hardy unified both the Intercontinental and European titles defeating Jeff Hardy in a ladder match.
The Cruiserweight Championship
Originally in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) but, when WCW was purchased by WWF in 2001, the title then debuted in the WWF with the first champion being Shane Helms but lost the title to Billy Kidman before X-Pac unified both the Cruiserweight and the Light Heavyweight titles.
The title then replaced the Light Heavyweight Championship when the WWF beat The Alliance at Survivor Series. Although, the title is still formerly acknowledged as the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship.
Thus becoming exclusively to Smackdown! The Cruiserweight division included superstars such as Rey Mysterio, Billy Kidman, Taijiri, Funaki and Chavo Guerrero to name a few. The Cruiserweight division has had its fair share of memorable superstars and matches. But,
While in WCW the title has seen many big names hold the title such as, Justin Thunder Liger, Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Jericho and another big name in Japan Ultimo Dragon
.The Cruiserweight division while in the WWF and WWE have had memorable superstars and matches. Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman have had the most championship reigns with Mysterio having 8 and Kidman having 7 reigns.
In 2007 the title was vacated after Hornswoggle won the Cruiserweight Open at the Great American Bash PPV. Hornswoggle wasn’t originally in the match but was in the ring as the bell rang this becoming involved in the match and pinned champion Chavo Guerrero to win the title.
The title was officially retired on September 25th 2007 with Hornswoggle being involved in the storyline of being Mr. McMahon’s son and then General Manager Vickie Guerrero felt his size would get in the way of his well being and career got him to hand over the title this deactivating the Cruiserweight Championship.
*After viewing those three championships and taking into consideration the way the WWE is currently in.Although the Cruiserweight Championship, has had its memorable moments and superstars those superstars are no longer with the company.
Thus brining back the Cruiserweight title wouldn’t be best for business as the credibility of that championship has been long passed as the WWE decided to place the title on Hornswoggle and end the championship with Hornswoggle and no matter how hard people try and forget that ever happened it would just be a joke and the joke is better left on the Intercontinental championship *Fingers crossed Kevin Owens can continue to turn it around*
*I would not bring back the Cruiserweight Championship*
I’m struggling to decide between brining back the Hardcore Championship and the European Champion. I know that both titles have been unified with the Intercontinental title. But the idea of having the Eurocontinental Championship back, is a good idea but as the same time I can see it being a matter of time before the WWE decide to unify the Intercontinental Championship with the United States title.
I have decided to go with the Hardcore Championship as the title I would choose to bring back. I can see the 24/7 rule coming back as well and although it wouldn’t be taken as a serious title as it once did, it would end up being the jobber championship as unless they do what they did with John Cena and get a main event star win the Hardcore title and do well with it.
Maybe Rob Van Dam might come back and be that guy to give the Hardcore title more credibility and we could see the return of Raven, Rhyno to the main roster and other hardcore superstars. I would personally bring it back but mainly have it defended on NXT and have that as their second singles title.
*With that, I have chosen to bring back the Hardcore Championship if I was in the WWE and had the chance to bring back one defunct championship.*
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