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WWE European Championship

The original WWF European Championship belt (February 1997 - May 2002)
Details
Promotion World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
Date established February 26, 1997
Date retired July 22, 2002
Other name(s) WWF European Championship

The WWE European Championship was a professional wrestling championship competed for in World Wrestling Entertainment. Along with the WWE Intercontinental Championship, it was one of two coveted midcard heavyweight singles championships in the promotion, with several superstars holding both titles simultaneously—known as "Eurocontinental champions"[1]—or within short spans of each other.[2][3] Established in 1997 as the "WWF European Championship", the title incurred a brief hiatus in 1999 due to then-champion Shane McMahon's desire to retire an "undefeated champion", before finally being unified with the WWE Intercontinental Championship in 2002. The title was held by top WWE superstars such as Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero prior to its retirement.[2]

Despite its name, only two holders were actually from Europe notwithstanding the champions of European descent: the British Bulldog and William Regal.[4]

Contents

History

The WWE European Championship was originally known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) European Championship. The WWF European Championship, as it was then known, emerged in 1997 when The British Bulldog became the first Champion after winning a tournament that was held over several shows in Germany, culminating in a finals victory over Owen Hart.

1997 tournament

With Shawn Michaels winning the belt, it made him the first Grand Slam Champion in WWE. Michaels is the only wrestler to have held both the WWF Championship and the European title at the same time.

After winning the European title, both D'Lo Brown and Al Snow were billed from different parts of Europe each week while champion. During Snow's reign, he and "Head" dressed up as various ethnic stereotypes corresponding to the European location they were billed from, though not always in a politically or geographically correct manner.

The belt was retired briefly in April 1999 by then current champion, Shane McMahon, who wanted to retire as an "undefeated champion". McMahon reintroduced the championship two months later and gave it to Mideon, who saw the title belt in Shane's travel bag and asked if he could have it.[2]

Eurocontinental Champions

The term "Eurocontinental Champion" is a portmanteau of European and Intercontinental, used to describe wrestlers who held both titles simultaneously.[1] Three wrestlers were booked to accomplish this feat. The first was D'Lo Brown, who defeated Mideon for the European title at the Fully Loaded in 1999 and two nights later at a Monday Night Raw taping, defeated Jeff Jarrett to win the Intercontinental Championship. A month later at SummerSlam Jarrett defeated Brown to win both titles, thus becoming the second Eurocontinental Champion.

Six months later Kurt Angle defeated Val Venis to win the European Championship. At No Way Out Angle defeated Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship. He then was given kayfabe credit for coining the term "Eurocontinental Champion." Two months later at Wrestlemania 2000 Kurt Angle faced Jericho and Chris Benoit in a two falls triple threat match for both the European and Intercontinental Championships. The first fall was for the Intercontinental title, Benoit pinned Jericho. The next fall was for the European Championship, Jericho pinned Benoit. This meant that Kurt Angle was not pinned or forced to submit, yet lost both championships.

It is debatable whether Rob Van Dam could be considered the fourth and final Eurocontinental Champion, since he was the Intercontinental Champion, and won the European Championship in a unification match, so, if he was a Eurocontinental champion, it was only for a fleeting instant before the European Title was retired. So far, World Wrestling Entertainment has not credited this as a Eurocontinental title reign.

Deactivation

The WWE European Championship, as it was next known, was retired in a ladder match on July 22, 2002 when Rob Van Dam (RVD) put his WWE Intercontinental Championship on the line, along with Jeff Hardy's European Championship.[5] By winning that match, RVD merged the two titles together, and continued to hold the Intercontinental Title. RVD's title reign is not listed in the official European title history on WWE's official website[2], and therefore is not credited with being a Eurocontinental Champion, but is acknowledged in RVD's profile.[6]

The British Bulldog was the inaugural champion and has had the longest title reign with 206 days. William Regal and D'Lo Brown both have had the most title reigns, each holding it four times. Rob Van Dam is essentially the shortest reigning European Champion as he only held it for one night when he defeated Jeff Hardy to unify it with the Intercontinental title.

The shortest reigning European Champions that wasn't a title unification would be Jeff Jarrett and Chris Jericho who only held the title for one day each.

See also

Notes

External links

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WWE European Championship
Details
Promotion World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
Date created February 26 1997
Date retired July 22 2002
Other name(s) WWF European Championship

The WWE European Championship is a former championship for World Wrestling Entertainment. It was first established as the 'WWF European Championship'. The first and longest reigning champion, The British Bulldog became the first Champion after winning a tournament that was held over several shows in Germany, culminating in a finals victory over Owen Hart. When Shawn Michaels won the belt, it made him the first Grand Slam Champion in WWE. Michaels was and still is the only wrestler to have held both the WWF Championship and the European title at the same time. The title was on a brief hiatus in 1999 due to then-champion Shane McMahon's wanting to retire an "undefeated champion". The WWE European Championship was retired in a ladder match on July 22, 2002 when Rob Van Dam put his WWE Intercontinental Championship on the line, along with Jeff Hardy's European Championship in a winner-take-all type match. When RVD won the match he merged the two titles together, and continued to hold the Intercontinental Title. RVD's title reign is not listed in the official European title history on WWE's official website, and therefore he is not credited with being a Eurocontinental Champion, but is mentioned in RVD's profile.








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