For a belt that had such a short existence overall, the WWF/WWE European Championship had more than its share of crappy title holders. The championship started out with a promising enough run though. The British Bulldog won the WWF European Championship in a classic match with Owen Hart in a tournament final. Heck, even before that tournament final the brackets for the the right to wear the belt were impressive, the caliber of a WWF Championship tournament in fact. This competition included names like Bret Hart, HHH and Mankind. Howe ever, after Bulldog won it, he went ages without defending it as the title became more and more like a decoration rather than an accomplishment. Yet, Davey Boy Smith was hardly the worst champion who would wear the strap.
Anyway, in evaluating these champions criteria similar to what I used to evaluate the 6 Worst WWF Intercontinental Champions of the 1990s will be used:
*The quality of a wrestler as champion is not equal to how talented that wrestler was overall. For instance, Val Venis may not be the greatest champion, but he still could have a respectable enough reign to keep him out of the bottom few.
*The time a wrestler is champion is of minor importance compared to how good the storyline involving the title was.
*How much sense it made for a wrestler to hold the title is taken into consideration.
*How holding the title affected the wrestler’s career is taken into account as is the overall end result.
With that said let us begin Counting Down the 6 Worst WWF/WWE European Champions!
6. Shawn Michaels
When the British Bulldog finally got around to defending his championship at WWF One Night Only it was against no less an impressive opponent than Shawn Michaels. The argument for Michaels being a worse champion than Bulldog has at least a couple of points to it. First, while Bulldog is remembered as winning the title in a classic with Owen, Michaels is remembered for winning the belt by basically being a tremendous dick. Second, at least Bulldog dropped the belt in a respectable match whereas Michaels lost it to Kliq buddy HHH nearly three months later in a comedy match. What keeps Michaels from being ranked as a worse champion is that at the end of the day he is still Shawn Michaels…in 1997 no less! This means that he was red hot and that if nothing else at least the belt was featured on television a bunch. Heck, it even made a cameo in the first ever Hell in a Cell!
5. Jeff Hardy
How many people honestly remember Jeff Hardy as the WWE European Champion? Well, we should if we’re being good wrestling historian. Hardy was the last real holder of the title before he dropped it to Rob Van Dam who didn’t have a reign with it since RVD immediately unified the title with the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Prior to this match from WWE Monday Night Raw, Hardy had only held the title for two weeks after defeating one of the better WWF/WWE European Champions, William Regal.
4. Mark Henry
Mark Henry had the benefit of being awarded this title during a fairly hot feud between Jeff Jarrett and D’Lo Brown. Yep, “awarded.” The reason for Henry’s reign was more or less a storyline device used to split up the WWF European Championship and WWF Intercontinental Championship, which had been unified by D’Lo. Oh yeah, I guess it also made Henry look a little more threatening since fans were always supposed to fear him as a monster even though by that point he had been in the WWF for roughly half a decade and never held a championship. Henry held onto the strap for just over a month before dropping it back to D’Lo.
Mideon was another wrestler who was awarded the championship rather than winning it. Well, sort of. He found it in Shane McMahon’s gym bag after Shane had abandoned it. Jeez WWF, way to make your championships seem prestigious! Unlike Henry who the belt helped to at least some minor extent, after losing it Mideon just stayed a joke wrestler on the undercard. In fact he would shed more than just his belt and became Naked Mideon! I apologize if I awakened your repressed memories. The only good parts about his reign though was that it got the WWF European Championship reactivated and that he dropped it to D’Lo for his third title win.
A blink and you missed it champion. Bradshaw’s run with the strap came at a time when the WWF was thinking of giving him a decent singles push, but apparently didn’t have enough faith in him. The week after Bradshaw won it from The Hurricane he lost it to one of the title’s last decent holders, Christian. Bradshaw would float around pretty aimlessly for a while before The APA was reunited. Thankfully, fans would have to wait a while before he got his JBL run.
1. Crash Holly
It is a shame that Crash Holly passed away at such a young age and didn’t get to do more in the WWE. Holly’s run with the WWF/WWE Hardcore Championship took that division in an entirely new direction and gave viewers yet another reason to tune in every week during arguably the company’s hottest period ever. Yet, for as entertaining as his runs with that championship were his two day run with the WWF European Championship was forgettable. On the positive side he actually won the title on pay-per-view…a pay-per-view shown exclusively in the United Kingdom. As everyone reading this should know anything that happens on those pay-per-views is barely mentioned on WWF/WWE programming after the fact. Holly didn’t even get a chance to properly wear the belt as right after the match William Regal (who he had just defeated) attacked him and stole it. Regal didn’t have to worry about arguing that possession was nine tenths of the law because Holly dropped the championship to him as soon as they arrived stateside.
Photos 1-3, 5-6: en.wikipedia.org
Photo 4: onlineworldofwrestling.com
Categories: Wrestling Lists