Jeff Crosby’s Top 5 Greatest Hardcore Championship Matches of All Time!
When you talk about the most prestigious titles in WWE history how can you not think of the Hardcore Championship.
Legends such as Mankind, The British Bulldog, Tazz, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, RVD, Big Show, Kane, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Christian, Booker T, JBL, Edge, and the Undertaker have all held this prestigious belt.
Well, let’s look at reasons why this title is not prestigious: Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Thrasher, K-Kwik, Maven, Molly Holly, Steven Richards, Terri, and Godfather’s “Ho.”
Yeah, there were 240 reigns shared among 52 wrestlers, The first champion was of course Mankind. Raven had the most reigns with 27! Eat your heart out Ric Flair! The longest reign was from the late, great Big Boss Man and it was 97 days. Steve Blackman had the most combined reign with 172 days throughout 6 reigns.
Enough with the numbers. The title of course changed hands so much because of the WWE 24/7 mode. All in all, it was an entertaining championship. You just couldn’t take it too seriously.
Cream always rises to the top. Even a title that was a joke had some great matches. Here are my Top 5 Greatest Hardcore Championship Matches of All Time!
5. Big Show vs Raven vs Kane - WrestleMania X-7.
This is one of my favorite WrestleMania’s of all time. The Big Show was sent away to OVW to lose weight… WWE wanted him at 380… When he came back the WWE didn’t really know what to do with him, so they just through him into the hardcore division. He was of course the heaviest champion of all time. This match was entertaining. There were bodies crashing off the stage, through a window, and a golf cart chase. The golf cart chase was the deciding factor between this being number 5 and an honorable mention.
4. Hardcore Battle Royal - WrestleMania 2000
Anybody remember the championship scramble matches. I personally loved those. I believe they were a perfected form of this match. This was not an over the top battle royal. This was a pin or submission battle royal. The catch was there was no elimination, and you had to pin the champion. Pinning the champion didn’t make you and interim or unofficial champion. Pinning the champion made you THE CHAMPION. That led to the title changing hands ten times during the course of the fifteen-minute matchup. This match had 13 participants and went all over the arena. This match was entertaining. It came down to the wire. This WrestleMania took a lot of heat for not having a single match on the card… with the exception of the catfight, but even then, Val Venis was the referee… of course. I actually enjoyed it. I own the DVD, and it has commentary from Jericho, Benoit, and Angle during their awesome triple threat two fall match in which Angle lost his IC and European titles.
3. Shane McMahon vs Steve Blackman SummerSlam 2000
We have already mentioned Steve Blackman’s contribution to the Hardcore Title’s legacy, but here is Shane’s he held the championship for 6 days, and even used his weight as Vince’s son to have the 24/7 rule suspended during his title reign. We have all seen the highlight of Shane falling 40 feet off scaffolding. This was a great moment for SummerSlam as well as Shane’s in ring career. Blackman capitalized with an elbow drop and won the title back after he lost it just 6 days prior on RAW.
2. RVD vs Jeff Hardy Invasion 2001
Favorite superstar of all time: Jeff Hardy. With that being said Jeff Hardy and RVD had great chemistry. They locked up in the ring showing off their move set. The match of course went onto the outside and into the crowd. RVD put together a highlight reel of him backflipping off anything he could climb on to. Of course, Jeff Hardy brought out a ladder and jumped off it. Out of all the matches that RVD and Jeff Hardy had in WWE or TNA this was my favorite.
Honorable Mention Time: Al Snow vs. Hardcore Holly: St. Valentine's Day Massacre; The Headbangers vs. Crash Holly: SmackDown, March 16, 2000; Crash Holly vs. Hardcore Holly vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy vs. Perry Saturn vs. Tazz: Backlash 2000; Road Dogg vs. Al Snow: Raw, Jan. 4, 1999; The Rock vs. Kurt Angle vs. Big Show: Raw, Feb. 26, 2001; Mankind vs Ken Shamrock: Raw, November 2, 1998
1. Raven Vs. Rhyno - Backlash 2001
This is what happens when you put two former ECW Champions in a hardcore match. Most Hardcore Title matches were just senseless violence and hitting everyone with random weapons. This Hardcore Title match actually made sense. Of course, it was extreme and violent, but they told a great story. I feel like Rhyno could have easily been made into a star if the WWE would have gave him more attention. The man was a beast in his prime (Man-Beast) and as athletic as anyone else. The ending of this match was one of my favorite Hardcore Title moments of all time He had a good look and a was a throwback powerhouse with a move set to back it up. Raven was also one of my favorites. I enjoyed him throughout ECW and even into WCW, but I feel like he was one of the countless wasted talents on the WCW roster. The ending of this match was epic. Rhyno literally speared himself through a shopping cart. He went head first and got stuck. Raven then beat him with a kitchen sink. Before kicking out and hitting his always devastating gore on Raven for the win.
What are your favorite Hardcore Championship moments?