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On this date in WWF history: The European Championship is born

On February 26, 1997, World Wrestling Federation (WWF) created the European Championship, holding a tournament on Monday Night RAW to crown the first-ever champion.


In the finals, appropriately right in the heart of Europe, in Berlin, Germany, the British Bulldog prevailed over Owen Hart. The championship didn't make regular appearances in the United States, however, until after Shawn Michaels defeated the British Bulldog in Birmingham, England at One Night Only. After Michaels won the title, the European Championship began being defended on U.S. soil more often. The European Championship was retired on April 4, 1999, after Shane McMahon defeated X-Pac, but it was then brought back and awarded to Mideon in June of that same year. The European Championship became a coveted title and was strapped around the waists of some of the top WWE Superstars including the likes of Triple H, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero. But after Rob Van Dam defeated European Champion Jeff Hardy to unify the Intercontinental and European Championships, the European Championship was once again deemed inactive.

Bulldog's initial title reign, lasting 206 days, would be the longest in the belt's history, He actually held it twice for a combined tenure of 253 days, far surpassing the second longest champion, William Regal, who won it four times for a total of 179 days.

Anyone recall any memorable moments from this forgotten pro wrestling title?

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