Long May He Reign!: R-Truth Makes Surprising History with New 24/7 Championship and its Hardcore Predecessor

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R-Truth, 24/7 Championship
Credit: @RonKillings

During the Money in the Bank PPV on Sunday, it was announced that Mick Foley would be present on Monday Night Raw to introduce a brand new championship. Unsurprisingly, the Hall of Famer and hardcore legend revealed the title as a reborn version of the Hardcore Championship, the belt he first held. The new title is called the WWE 24/7 Championship and its already made its impact as three different wrestlers (Titus O’Neil, Robert Roode and R-Truth) claimed the title in its first night – the first hour really – of existence.

Carrying the same rules the Hardcore Championship had adopted ever since Crash Holly‘s reign in 2000, WWE describes the 24/7 Championship as using the “24/7” rule, meaning, the title can be contested anytime, anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as long as an official/referee is present. As many will remember, the 24/7 rule led to some hilarious moments and even more hilarious matches when it was in effect. Under the rule, the hardcore title was defended in airports, at amusement parks, while people slept, the list goes on. It once even changed hands 15 times in one night.

In its history, which lasted about four years, four-year existence, the Hardcore Championship was held 229 times by 52 different wrestlers. Mankind was the first to hold it, Ron Van Dam the last. Raven had the most reigns with 26 and Big Boss Man had the longest reign at 97 days. But that was prior to Crash Holly’s introduction of the 24/7 rule, after which point, the title became characterized by reigns lasting one day or fewer. Prior to the rule, there had been 14 champions, only one of which had a reign of less than one day. Following the rule, 170 of the 228 additional reigns, lasted one day or fewer with even more lasting less than a week.

While initially the hardcore championship itself wasn’t meant to be so gimmicky (initial rules only called for the title to be defended under no disqualification, no count-out and falls count anywhere stipulations) and did have its origins as a legitimate title for those who specialized in a “unique brawling style,” Holly’s rule set the stage for what the title would become and seemingly laid the groundwork for the new 24/7 Championship and the rules it would be defended under. To kick off the third hour of Raw, which was intentionally presented under darker lighting and a format made to separate it from the look of the first two hours, the 24/7 Championship was won by Titus O’Neil in a scramble. His reign didn’t last long however as, after the match, Robert Roode pinned him to win the belt himself. Roode’s reign didn’t last long either as before he could leave the Times Union Center, R-Truth brought a referee to the parking lot and ended the show in possession of the title.

R-Truth is promising to bring his “European Championship” to SmackDown Live tonight, where it will no doubt change hands several more times.

On its own, R-Truth being 24/7 Champion isn’t all that significant. After all, if this title behaves anything like its predecessor, there will be many, many, many more champions and Truth himself may have many, many, many more reigns. What’s interesting however is the little bit of history Truth made in winning the title as he now becomes the first person to ever win both the Hardcore and 24/7 championships. And while any one of the hardcore title’s previous holders, such as Tommy Dreamer, RVD, Bradshaw (JBL), Raven, Big Show, William Regal, Christian, Trish Stratus, etc, could (and likely will) come back occasionally to pop the crowd and win the 24/7 Championship, Truth is the only one so far, who can say they’ve won both belts.

 

R-Truth’s first reign with the Hardcore Championship came on February 3, 2001, when he defeated Raven at a house show/live event in Greensboro, North Carolina. His second came just two days later at another house show, this time in Columbia, South Carolina. Both reigns lasted less than a day.

After last night’s introduction of the title, WWE noted in an article that not only can the title be challenged for whenever and wherever an opponent chooses, including but not limited to Raw, SmackDown, WWE Network shows (we’re totally going to see this title change hands on Ride Along, aren’t we?), live events or even on social media, but that it is also open to eligible superstars on Raw, SmackDown, 205 Live, NXT, NXT UK and even WWE Legends and Hall of Famers. To sum it up, just about anyone can win the title at any time.

 

As James Wortman writes on WWE.com, “Now, more than ever, anything can happen in WWE.”

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