WWE has started pushing their new title, the WWE 24/7 Championship, all over the place — from Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live to their YouTube channel, Facebook page, and even the San Diego Comic-Con this weekend. The entire idea of the title changing hands anywhere at any time brought back memories of the Hardcore title from the WWE Attitude Era.
The WWE Hardcore title had the same type of dynamic as the WWE 24/7 Championship. A wrestler could win it anywhere, at any time, and there were no requirements about who could win it. The main difference is that Hardcore rules remained in effect, which meant lots of weapons and carnage. The title had some great champions — but it also had some cringe-worthy ones. Here is a look at the five best and five worst WWE Hardcore Champions.
10 Pat Patterson/Gerald Brisco - Worst
It says a lot about their willingness to humiliate themselves regularly, but it is also kind of sad to see two of the all-time greats in wrestling history turned into a joke during the Attitude Era. With his brother Jack Brisco, Gerald was one of the top stars of the '70s, a multi-time tag team champion.
Pat Patterson was the first-ever WWE Intercontinental Champion. Patterson was also a considerable influence behind-the-scenes and is the man who created the idea for the Royal Rumble. In the Attitude Era, they were Vince McMahon's Stooges and even wrestled sometimes in matches where they were humiliated. Brisco was a two-time Hardcore Champion, and Patterson held the title once.
9 Rob Van Dam - Best
When it comes to the WWE superstars who excelled in their Hardcore Championship title reigns, look to the former stars of ECW. Rob Van Dam went on to bigger and better things, including winning the WWE world title from John Cena at One Night Stand, but he was one of the early stars of the Hardcore division.
Rob Van Dam held the title four times and is the third-longest when it comes to title reigns, with a combined 134 days as the Hardcore Champion. He also had a very long reign, compared to most, with 90 days as champion in 2001. Van Dam was the last champion, unifying the Hardcore title with the IC title.
8 Maven - Worst
Maven was set up almost to fail. He earned his WWE contract by winning the first season of Tough Enough. The female winner from that year, Nidia Guenard, didn't fare much better. When Maven debuted in WWE after winning, he started a feud with Tough Enough trainer Tazz, and then a feud with Undertaker sent Maven to the mid-card for the rest of his career.
However, it was this feud with Undertaker that gave Maven the Hardcore title. He actually beat Undertaker for the Hardcore title thanks to The Rock and Al Snow interfering on his part. Maven lost his title to Spike Dudley at WrestleMania X8, won it back the same night from Christian and then lost it for the final time to Raven.
7 Big Boss Man - Best
Big Boss Man had a great WWE career and one that earned him a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. After starting his career in the NWA as Big Bubba, he made his way to WWE with the gimmick of a correctional guard who carried a nightstick and beat his opponents whenever the chance arose.
That made him a perfect choice for the Hardcore Championship. Boss Man joined up with the Corporation and was one of their main henchmen in the Attitude Era, and the Hardcore title was his primary goal. He held the title four times for a combined 154 days, the second-most in the title's history. Boss Man was the second champion, winning it from Mick Foley and then won his next three titles all from Al Snow.
6 Goldust - Worst
Goldust is one of the biggest names to come out of the Attitude Era. He never once held the world title but proved that some wrestlers never needed a world title to become icons. Over his time in WWE, Goldust held three IC titles and three world tag team titles.
However, while his biggest success came thanks to his legendary gimmick, he also had a large number of Hardcore title reigns. Goldust won the WWE Hardcore Championship nine times in his career. Why is he listed as one of the worst? His nine reigns were for a combined 13 days, and he lost the title the same day he won it during eight of his nine title reigns.
5 Steve Blackman - Best
Steve Blackman is a forgotten WWE superstar, and that is tragic. During his time in WWE, which was a period of five years, from 1997 through 2002, he was the best WWE Hardcore Champion the company ever had. Blackman had a martial arts gimmick and was named the Lethan Weapon.
The reason most fans have forgotten him is that he had almost no charisma or character and just relied on being the toughest guy in the ring throughout the Attitude Era. With that said, the only title he ever won in WWE was the Hardcore title and he held it six times. He is also the record holder, a champion for 172 days -- longer than anyone who ever held the title.
4 Shane McMahon - Worst
Shane McMahon has been referred to by critics as a stuntman more than a wrestler, a man who will do anything to his body to get a pop from the fans. As the son of the owner of WWE, McMahon never had to do what he did but has the love for wrestling that makes him willing to throw caution to the wind and put his body through hell for the enjoyment of the fans.
Shane McMahon has held a handful of titles in WWE as well, and won the WWE Hardcore Championship from Steve Blackman in 2000 on an episode of Raw is War. WWE Commissioner Mick Foley then suspended the 24/7 rule during Shane's reign, so he held it until he lost it at SummerSlam a week later.
3 Crash Holly - Best
Crash Holly became a star thanks to WWE giving Bob Holly the Hardcore Holly gimmick and then giving him a fictional family, including Crash and Molly Holly. While Hardcore Holly was the star of the family, it was Crash that defined what fans expected from the WWE Hardcore title in the Attitude Era.
While Goldust received some criticism due to winning the title and losing it on the same day eight times, Crash Holly gets praise for the same thing. The difference is that Crash Holly never stayed down and won the Hardcore Championship 22 times for a combined 88 days. His combined days as champion is fifth-longest and his number of reigns is second only to Raven.
2 Cynthia Lynch - Worst
Believe it or not, there have been a few female WWE Hardcore Champions. Molly Holly, Trish Stratus, and Terri Runnels were all champions at one time, holding the title for less than a day each. However, all three of those were legitimate superstars and fans popped when they won the titles.
When it comes to Cynthia Lynch, she was not a WWE superstar, but she was at least a developmental wrestler. She was one of Godfather's ho's. In a match between Godfather and Crash Holly, D-Lo Brown interfered, and then Lynch snuck into the ring and pinned Holly. She quickly lost it, but even Lilian Garcia struggled when she actually announced the new Hardcore Champion was "one of Godfather's ho's."
1 Raven - Best
When it comes to hardcore wrestlers, Raven sits as one of the best of all-time. He was the master of hardcore in ECW, the land of hardcore. He continued his violent ways in WCW and then back to ECW. When Raven made his way back to WWE, he was the centerpiece of the Hardcore Championship for a long time.
While Raven was never as big in WWE as he should have been, he was a mainstay in the Hardcore division. He holds the record for the most title reigns at 27 and held the title for 84 days, the sixth-longest of anyone in WWE history.