Could the Hardcore Championship Survive in the Era of PG?
The hardcore title is a championship many wrestling fans remember. Most of the wrestling faithful remember the title with disdain. It’s understandable, considering the belt was based solely on gimmick matches.
For some, the belt had turned into a means to make the fans laugh rather than a vehicle for the hardcore division to be seen as an actually viable. There were some good hardcore matches that had the title on the line, but most of the matches were fairly dull. People had seen the matches before and lets be honest, the whole point of having a gimmick match is for the spots.
With all this said, with a few subtle modifications to the match stipulations, a belt similar to the hardcore title can exist in modern wrestling. Now, there are more than a few obstacles standing in the way of this working. Although in the PG Era, selling the idea of a hardcore title again would be nearly impossible.
Also, there would need to be a rest period for the hardcore title. Simply put; you couldn’t have the hardcore title defended on a weekly basis. For starters, the matches getting stale would kill the title. Spots are exciting because we do not see those moments every week on television, but the second it becomes a regular occurrence, the audience is desensitized to the spectacle, especially today’s viewers who have the attention span the length of Roman Reign’s first title run. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t very long.)
Even with these limitations, some form of the hardcore title could still be entertaining for the fans. For instance, one of the best things the title did was allowing opponents to attack the champ at anytime for the belt under Crash Holly's "24/7" rule. There were interesting moments that would come out of these matches. It was one of the most unique stipulations ever put on a belt.
In today’s age of social media, these match types could be amazing to watch. The build up to the matches on social media could be epic, essentially counting down to the moment the two wrestlers meet. One guy send out a cryptic tweet or photo and next thing you now the next segment on RAW has the champion getting jumped in the mall.
The belt could also be a good tactic to get lower card wrestlers on T.V. Wrestlers like Cesaro could actually have some gold and get precious air time. Guys coming in from NXT could also find more work in the form of the hardcore title.
Obviously, this isn’t going to be a prominent title guys like Wyatt or Rollins would ever want to have but it is not meant to be that kind of belt. The belt is about sheer entertainment value and possibly giving other wrestlers a chance to be seen.
If there is any concern over whether the belt will drag talented young stars down, there are a few solutions to make sure this doesn’t happen. One way to do this is simply have guys attack people in the arena on a given night.
Sure, the belt is defended 24/7, but it does not make a lot of sense to have the belts always defended in some fun or crazy place. Let’s be real here. Who is going to track someone every step of the way. But on Raw or Smackdown you know the champion is going to be there. This can also lead to some interesting challenges between faces to set up in ring action instead of the areas outside the arena. The charm of the belt exists in the environment, but if it happens every match it gets run down and stale.
Granted, there are going to be questions about safety. After all, having hardcore match after hardcore match is terrible on the body. It’s common sense, but do you really need the belt defended week in and out? Again, this is a smaller belt, not the Intercontinental Title or the U.S. championship. It’s not a building block belt, but a means to give someone a chance to work.
It may be a stretch for a lot of you out there to bring this belt back. Even I'll admit bringing a belt like this back has it’s problems, but I truly feel in today’s era of social media the belt could become something special. It could become more than just a reason for guys to get hit with chairs. It could even give the network more to work with, having people hop on the network to see what going on ‘live’. And let’s all be honest, who doesn’t want another 'Booker T. getting his ass whipped in a grocery store moment again.' Admit it, you loved it.
This belt probably wouldn’t stand the test of time, but it could give us some very fun moments on T.V. and honestly, isn’t this what wrestling is all about? Those awesome moments you rarely see anywhere else?