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Hello wrestling fans! Thanks for your all your great feedback on my last column ‘The NXT Factor’ – I hope you all enjoyed NXT Takeover as much as I did, and have also seen the debut of Hideo Itami (aka Kenta) against Justin Gabriel. I think there is big things ahead for Hideo and can’t wait to see more of him in his journey within WWE.
Anyway, I’d like to take the time this week to talk about the European Championship. A bit about its history and if we would benefit from seeing it resurrected back into today’s WWE. Would you like to see it back and if so, how would you bring it back? Who would you give it to as the saviour?
The WWE European Championship was first established in 1997 and was featured heavily throughout the Attitude Era of the WWE/F. It was eventually unified with the WWE Intercontinental Championship in 2002 by Rob Van Dam after beating Jeff Hardy in a Ladder match on Raw, and RVD continued with the Intercontinental title from then on. During its time with us, anyone who held both the European and Intercontinental titles at the same time were named ‘Eurocontinental’ Champions. There were only three wrestlers who managed to hold this coveted title and they were D’Lo Brown, Kurt Angle and finally Rob Van Dam.
Here are a few statistics I have collected on the title;
First Champion – British Bulldog Last Champion – Jeff Hardy Most Reigns – William Regal/D’Lo Brown (4 times) Longest Reign – British Bulldog (206 days) Shortest Reign – Chris Jericho (23 hours)
I had this idea after seeing a re-run of “The History Of The European Championship” recently whilst on a break. I really enjoyed the rivalry between D’Lo brown and X-Pac at the time. The Nation Of Domination against the original Degeneration-X was great TV. Another great moment was the battle between Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit at WrestleMania 2000 (WrestleMania 16) which saw the three superstars go head-to-head-to-head for both titles. The match stipulation was a two fall triple threat match, with the first pinfall for the Intercontinental Title which Benoit won thanks to a diving headbutt on Y2J to win the belt. The second pinfall was for the European Championship which Jericho won thanks to a Lionsault onto Benoit to win the title. Kurt Angle lost both titles by not getting pinned!
So given the amount of new wrestlers that we have appearing in the WWE, (with quite a few being European) I think that it would be a good idea to bring back the European Championship. Bad News Barrett, Cesaro, Sheamus, Prince Devitt and Rusev all have the potential to hold the reignited championship and have some pretty good feuds, as well as getting some serious heel heat with parading around with it in countries other than Europe. Of course, like the original title, it doesn’t always have to be held by a European, in fact the only European’s to hold the original were William Regal and The British Bulldog. During the Attitude Era the title was held by legends such as Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero and Owen Hart.
If I were to book the return, I would have a Euro tournament to determine which two wrestlers would eventually fight for the title – and I would have the tournament finish on the Raw before Royal Rumble. With the eventual title match being at the Rumble. In terms of booking I’d definitely have Bad News Barrett as a finalist given he lost out on a good run with the I.C title due to injury and I think he has definitely got that character down to a fine art. I would also have Cesaro progress far, again a brilliant wrestler who seems to have lost momentum for some reason since splitting from Jack and Zeb. Heath Slater would also be high up on my list as he is now down to being a 1 Man Band, why can’t WWE seem to utilise this? They could have given him a heel turn and sent him on a rampage as he lost his band members etc. just so many good bookings have been ignored! I’d also (depending on where he was at the time) try to bring up Adrian Neville from NXT. He could maybe be a wild card and go on to the final, or at least the semi as a step up to the main roster.
So to round things up, I believe the WWE would definitely benefit from bringing back this lost title, definitely to their advantage given the current crop of wrestlers and I think it would bring back a bit of relevance to the belts, which seem to have been lost a little. The likes of no cruiserweight belt leaves the lower carders just wrestling for nothing.
Thanks for reading, as always let me know in the comments who you think would be the best European Champ.
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