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WWE needs to bring back the 24/7 rule...

I make no bones about how much I miss the Attitude Era. Above all I miss the feeling of “anything can happen.” That feeling was never better realized than during the era of the Hardcore—24/7—Championship...

hardcore title belt

Let me take you back in time to the year 2000, when a 5’8, 200lb tag team jobber named Crash Holly decided to enter the Hardcore Title division in the WWF. The division began as a vehicle for Mick Foley (and a way to exploit the mania that followed his KOTR 98 death-defying stunts). ECW was a popular small-time promotion and hardcore wrestling was en vogue; it made sense in a lot of ways.

Within a year of its inception, however, it was mainly a joke title for the bottom of the roster to fight over on Sunday Night Heat. At one point there was a story involving a dog named know what, let’s move on.

It was a jobber title.

And that’s fine; this was the era—maligned though it may be today—where everyone on TV (whether Raw, SmackDown or Heat) had an angle, a gimmick, a character, a story...something that (A) made them stand out, (B) justified giving them airtime opposite WCW, and (C) was crazy enough to keep people watching and not turning the channel to WCW.

Crash didn’t have much to offer as a character. He carried around a doctored weight scale and claimed he was a super-heavyweight (playing him on the N64 made it look like he carried around a giant Gillette Mach III) but that was about it. He won the title in early 2000 and, needing something to stand out from the rest of the bottom-dwellers on the card, announced that he was willing to defend the hardcore title “twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.”

It took less than two weeks for the potential of the idea to bear fruit. The 24/7 gimmick was a revelation and offered up a plethora of things sorely lacking in WWE’s present-day, sterile, TV product...

1. Spontaneity

WWE occasionally touts the “anything can happen” motto, but it’s a hollow slogan today. Back in 2000 they meant it, and it was never more true than with the Hardcore Title. Title changes could break out during any backstage segment. They could happen in the airport of the city hosting Raw that night, or in the line outside the arena before SmackDown started. Title changes sometimes happened in the middle of ongoing matches; little Crash Holly might suddenly burst into the arena, chased by Funaki with a trashcan lid, a referee in tow, ready to count.

2. Continuity

A Hardcore Title backstage segment in quarter one of Raw might end on a cliffhanger, with the story picking back up in the middle of hour two, only to be completed halfway through the first hour of SmackDown. The whole mini-story might happen without anyone ever getting in the ring. The constant cutting back to see what’s up with the 24/7 belt made for a great through-line, keeping you watching from beginning to end (something else that’s sorely lacking in today’s overly-segmented, short-attention spanned WWE shows).

3. Accessibility

As said, other than the occasional Kane or Big Show win, the 24/7 Hardcore Title was mostly a jobber belt. But it gave the jobbers a purpose. It gave them something to do. In the era where you needed a gimmick to justify being on TV, the 24/7 belt itself was gimmick enough. Whoever had it was almost guaranteed a segment each week on Raw, though their moment in the sun rarely lasted very long. It was a belt where Mighty Molly Holly could beat the Hurricane to win it, Pat Patterson could beat Gerald Brisco, even Godfather’s Ho won it one time! Anyone could win it because it wasn’t about the title, it was about the gimmick.

4. Fun(ity)


I miss this.

The above clip basically summarizes everything just written: The titles changed hands with reckless abandon, the storyline of the title changes was woven throughout the night (WrestleMania X8) and featured, among other things, a woman winning the belt from a man and her doing it with a frying pan to the back of the head of a superhero.

***forlorn sigh***

And because it was a jobber title, there was no snooty talk about degrading the value of the belt with all its title changes. It had no value. It was held together by duct tape.

People like to talk about WrestleMania X-Seven as the end of the Attitude Era. Or maybe it was the purchase of WCW, or the end of the InVasion storyline, or changing of the name from F to E.

If you ask me, the Attitude Era finally ended when the 24/7 rule retired. The late-90’s era of wrestling was a period of helter skelter booking, bad women’s matches (bad anything matches, really), gratuitous violence etc etc. Yes it’s true, but it was also an era where anything could happen, anyone could become a star, the shows were must-see from beginning to end, and above all you had fun.

The 24/7 rule wrapped it all up in a neat little package. It needs a comeback. I don’t care if you call it the Hardcore Title, the TV Title, the 24/7 Title or what.

Bring it back.

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