Top 5 Hardcore Title matches

The Hardcore title is long gone from the WWE, but in it’s pomp during the Attitude Era, it was a constant source of entertainment and high quality matches. It really came into it’s own when Crash Holly brought in the 24/7 rule, meaning the title could be won anytime, anywhere. There have been some prestigious holders of the Hardcore title, including Mankind, The Undertaker and one of the Godfather’s Ho’s. Here are the top five Hardcore title matches:


1. Chris Jericho vs Rob Van Dam, Unforgiven 2001
During the Alliance story-line, there were a lot of great hardcore matches, mostly featuring RVD, whose skill-set so suited the Hardcore division. While all the guys who came through ECW would have been used to dealing with the weaponry, RVD had that extra bit of charisma, not to mention the all-or-nothing high-flying nature which so energises the crowds. He became the star of the Hardcore division. Even though he was representing the Alliance, he was the one who the crowd cheered for throughout this match, with Y2J getting booed for insolently slapping RVD after performing his signature taunt. Getting two top-tier technical wrestlers who love to fly around the ring made for a classic. Counters were being countered with even more outlandish counters. Jim Ross and Paul Heyman battled it out on the verbal side. Jericho threw a chair at RVD, who just happened to be sitting on top of a ladder at the time, and then put him into the Walls of Jericho on the top of the ladder. Jericho even got to swing a chair at Stephanie McMahon, but of course he missed, got on the wrong end of a Van Daminator and… well, there was only going to be one winner after that.

2. Shane McMahon vs Steve Blackman, Summerslam 2000

A week before Summerslam, Steve Blackman was defending his Hardcore title against Test, in what is as much of a straightforward Hardcore match as you could see. That all changed when Shane-O-Mac decided to slide in, roll up Blackman and run out with the title. Commissioner Mick Foley suspended the 24/7 rule until Summerslam, ensuring Shane would have to face Blackman at the PPV. Shane was a former European champion, so he made a go of it. Before long though, he was trying to escape. Blackman could have finished the match in the first sixty-seconds, but he wanted a little payback. Unfortunately for him, as he “hog-tied” and choked McMahon, Test and Albert burst onto the scene to give Shane a fighting chance. As they proceeded up the ramp to inflict maximum damage on the former champ, he got loose, using a kendo stick to break free of T&A. McMahon ran, but made the mistake of running up. He climbed some scaffolding near the top of the Titantron, only for Blackman to follow him up, kendo stick in hand. He caught up to Shane, and beat him with the stick until he fell back, through some tables to the side of the stage. The crude estimates of JR and the King put the fall between fifty and seventy-five feet. Blackman then leg-dropped into the Shane for the win, but at least he had the good sense to climb down a few feet first.

3. Raven vs Rhyno, Backlash 2001

Was there anything that signified Hardcore more than seeing a Superstar coming down to the ring with an arsenal of weapons in a shopping trolley? Raven was always good enough to provide a vast array of slightly odd foreign objects on his way to the ring. Steel chairs are for getting disqualified or taking someone out, but road signs are much more Hardcore! Raven and Rhyno were both Hardcore champion multiple times, and they made this match into a classic. It was a straight-up bruiser though. Nothing fancy here, just two men beating each other as hard and as often as they could, with the best weapons that would come to hand. The key was just to survive, and as Rhyno endured goreing himself into the shopping trolley itself, getting stuck there while Raven pummelled him with a kitchen sink and somehow still managed to pick up the win, it’s hard to agrue he didn’t deserve to retain the Hardcore title.

4. Kane vs Kurt Angle, Raw 4/9/2001

Kurt Angle famously gave John Cena his first WWE match (and very nearly his first WWE title) with a challenge first thing on Smackdown once upon a time, and you’d think his earlier experiences with such things would have made him think twice. Long before that, he came out for an opening tirade on Raw, demanding a title shot. He goaded Triple H and Stone Cold… only for Kane to appear at the top of the ramp. Paul Heyman was alone in commentary that night, as JR had gotten on Vince’s wrong side for the umpteenth time, and he gave a great performance, remarking on the “classic Olympic style by Kurt Angle, a garbage can lid right to the head!”. This match gave great prestige to the Hardcore title, particularly when first the Big Show and the the Undertaker joined proceedings. Big Show went for the belt, Angle made a hilarious attempt to side with The Brothers of Destruction, and Kane went home with the title.

5. Crash Holly vs Hardcore Holly vs Tazz vs Perry Saturn vs Matt Hardy vs Jeff Hardy, Battle Royal, Backlash 2000

This may be the ultimate Hardcore encounter. Six men, one ring, all the weapons under the sun, and the only way to stop the match was Crash Holly being pinned or pinning someone else. It quickly descended into a five-on-one, with everyone doing all they could to beat Crash. Crash “Elroy” Holly tried to make a break for it early on, but once he was dragged back to the ring he was constantly on the receiving end of shots of all shapes and sizes. The contrast between the Hardyz (who for the most part helped each other out) and the Holly’s (where Hardcore “Bob” Holly probably did more damage to Crash than anyone) was stark. At one point, Crash was laid out near the ropes after the Hardyz had done a number on him, and his cousin Hardcore smashed him in the head with a weapon from outside the ring. It was carnage. Even Crash’s size (weighing in at allegedly well over four-hundred pounds) couldn’t help him. From the first minute he was beaten senseless, not being able to turn in any direction without an opponent catching him with a powerful shot. The only thing that kept the match going was that none of the contenders could find enough time in isolation to get the three-count over Crash. The Hardyz both had chances, but in both instances the other Hardy pulled their brother off, breaking the count. In the end, it was both high-fliers leaping at Perry Saturn and Hardcore Holly on the outside that allowed Crash, moving of his own freedom for the first time in several minutes, to roll over on top of a laid-out Tazz to pick up the win and retain the belt. Fittingly, he was only able to fall out of the ring and crawl up the ramp, with everyone else unable to get up at all. Truly, this was a tribute to the Hardcore Championship.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: