Rob Van Dam Explains WWE's Decision to Retire Hardcore Title

Exploring RVD's insights on WWE's approach to hardcore wrestling.

by Atia Mukhtar
Rob Van Dam Explains WWE's Decision to Retire Hardcore Title
© WWE/YouTube

WWE Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam has recently opened up about the possible reasons behind WWE's decision to discontinue the Hardcore Championship, a title that once brought a unique flavor to the wrestling world. This revelation came during an episode of his podcast, "1 Of A Kind," where RVD delved into the history and treatment of the title within WWE.

Introduced in November 1998, the WWE Hardcore Championship quickly became a fan favorite, capitalizing on the burgeoning interest in hardcore wrestling, a trend largely popularized by ECW. Unique in its format, the title featured no disqualification or countout rules and introduced the innovative 24/7 rule, allowing the championship to be defended at any time and place.

This often led to unexpected and comedic encounters, far removed from traditional wrestling norms.

RVD Critiques Title Handling

However, RVD, a prominent figure in WWE's hardcore division and a main event regular, perceived a lack of seriousness in WWE's handling of the title.

"It was a joke to them before I got it," RVD commented, referring to scenarios where title defenses involved comical antics rather than serious competition. He believes that WWE never envisioned the Hardcore Championship as a main-event-level title, which likely influenced its eventual retirement.

In a memorable moment of wrestling history, Van Dam unified the Hardcore Championship with the Intercontinental Championship in August 2002, after defeating Tommy Dreamer. This match effectively retired the Hardcore title, but Van Dam continued to embrace the hardcore style that defined his career.

"I was able to do it my way and be seen as the hardcore wrestler RVD," he stated, emphasizing how this approach catapulted him to main event status. During his tenure as a four-time WWE Hardcore Champion between 2001 and 2002, Van Dam believes his reigns significantly elevated the championship, often headlining various house shows.

Reflecting on the current landscape of wrestling, he opines that a title with a similar concept could still be successful today, drawing parallels with the recently retired WWE 24/7 Championship, which shared the 24/7 defense rule.

As this story unfolds, fans and wrestling enthusiasts continue to speculate on the evolving dynamics and championship opportunities within WWE, reminding us of the ever-changing nature of this global sports entertainment powerhouse.

Rob Van Dam