The European Championship. 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? Should it replace the US title?
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)
After the brilliance of the Intercontinental Ladder Match at WrestleMania 31, and after watching “The History Of The European Championship” 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! Add to that the recent run of I.C. matches (TLC – Ziggler v Harper / Mania – Ladder Match / R-Truth stealing it each week) it really does prove that WWE have got a fantastic second tier of wrestlers who can hopefully take that step up to the next level.
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 great idea to bring back the European Championship. Bad News Barrett, Neville, Cesaro, Sheamus, Finn Balor and Rusev all have the potential to hold the reignited championship and have some famtastic 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. Why not have William Regal somehow involved in the build up to bringing it back!? 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 – such icons of the business who developed into true wrestling legends today, and to look at the talent WWE has now, who knows what the future holds?
If it was to return, I would book a European Tournament to determine which two wrestlers would eventually fight for the title – and I would have the tournament finish on the Raw before WrestleMania. With the eventual title match being at WM. In terms of booking I’d definitely have Wade Barrett as a finalist given he is now out of the League Of Booty. I would also have Cesaro and Neville finish high up the tourney, two brilliant wrestlers who can produce a great match I’m sure. What about Heath Slater? Get him involved! He is currently the leader of a band of misfits, why not have him take the title and become a real threat to the other Europeans? Neville also must be the favourite once back from injury, a great debut on Raw and hailing from the UK – It’s just what he needs to build up momentum and get the Raw crowd behind him as he seems a bit lost at the moment neither in the IC Title race, or the US Title.
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 some relevance to the belts, which seem to have been lost lately. The likes of no Cruiserweight or Hardcore belt leaves the lower carders wrestling for nothing.
Let me know in the comments who you think would be the best European Champion!