Throwback Thursday: Championship Flashback, The Hardcore Championship (Mankind, Crash Holly, Wrestlemania 2000)

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Championship Flashback: The Hardcore Championship

 

A look back at the Hardcore Championship title belt and the men (and a few women) who coveted it.

 Date Established November 2, 1998
 Date Retired  August 26, 2002

On November 2, 1998 a new title belt entered the WWE (then WWF) world- The Hardcore Championship. Vince McMahon awarded the new belt to Mankind as part of a manipulation storyline in which Vince, acting as a pseudo father figure, used Mankind to do his bidding.

The belt was originally created to be used for quick segments by mankind as a comedic reference to his reputation as a hardcore wrestler, however the interest grew and soon the hardcore division had a large group of fans that demanded hardcore matches. They definitely got their wish.

What made the hardcore title, and the matches for it, interesting? For me it was the 24/7 rule. This rule meant that at any point, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the title was on the line. Crash Holly introduced this rule to prove how tough he was and how great of a champion he was, however, this backfired as Crash was pinned in his sleep, attacked while eating, in his hotel room, etc.  While these moments were great for comedy it also made sure title changes were frequent and title reigns were brief.

A few of these brief, insane matches were:

Wrestlemania 2002, Maven defended against Goldust, Spike Dudley ran out and pinned Maven after he was knocked out by a trash can lid, the Hurricane would later pin Spike backstage. Next, Molly Holly would knock out the Hurricane with a frying pan when his back was turned and pinned her crime fighting partner. Christian would accidentally hit Molly with a door and then, seizing the opportunity, pinned her for the title. Maven caught up to him and regained the title before escaping in a taxi.

 

At Wrestlemania 2000, a battle royal match was booked. Crash Holly came in with the title and the rules were simple: the title could change hands as many times as it needed to as long as it was within the span of 15 minutes. The last wrestler to have earned a pin for the title would leave with the championship. The order of victors in this match is as follows: Tazz, Viscera, Funaki, Rodney, Joey Abs, Thrasher, Pete Gas, Tazz, Crash, Hardcore Holly.This took the space of fifteen minutes meaning the title was held for approximately a minute and a half before losing the title (other reigns were obviously shorter as frequent pins was a big thing in this match.)

 

Notable Champion: Crash Holly

On February 24, 2000 Crash Holly defeated Test to win his first Hardcore Championship. It would be the first of 22.

Shortly thereafter Crash created the 24/7 rule which meant that the championship had to be defended, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Along with this rule, the only thing needed to win was that a WWE referee count the pin fall and it could happen anywhere, anytime.

This lead to Crash being attacked in odd locations such as the airport, his hotel, a funhouse, etc. Crash, although usually taken by surprise in these circumstances, often won the title back quickly, usually within minutes.

Oftentimes Crash would win the pinfall, grab the title and run backstage/ away from challengers. The comedy of this made Crash a fan favorite and he was soon dubbed “The Houdini of Hardcore”.

He also defended the title against non-wrestlers such as referees, road agents (Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson) and even one of the Godfather’s hos.

He had rivalries with The Mean Street Posse and a few other wrestlers over time. However, even if Crash would win a match against a challenger in the ring he would often run into trouble outside the ring and be attacked for the title.

With the Hardcore Championship retired and Crash Holly no longer with us it’s tough seeing this title brought back but I for one think it could add some much needed intensity in the ring/backstage areas. Not to mention the comedic relief this title often brought.

 

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