WCW Hardcore Championship
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|WCW Hardcore Championship|
The Hardcore belt
|Promotion||World Championship Wrestling|
|Date established||July 11, 1999|
|Date retired||January 21, 2001|
The World Championship Wrestling (WCW) Hardcore Championship was a title in World Championship Wrestling. The title was defended in Hardcore matches, in which there were few rules and restrictions and weapons were allowed. Eventually, the rules were changed so that matches began in the backstage area but would only end by pinfall in the ring, but later were changed back to 'Falls Count Anywhere' rules. The belt was created in response to the growing popularity of hardcore wrestling in North America.
The title lasted from 1999 to 2001. The very first WCW Hardcore champion was Norman Smiley who defeated Brian Knobs in Toronto, Ontario at the WCW pay-per-view Mayhem on November 21, 1999. Other notable champions are 3 Count who won and defended the belt as a trio. Brian Knobs who held the belt a record three times and was the one to defeat 3 Count at Uncensored 2000. Terry Funk (a two time hardcore champ) also held the title for a period of almost two months, from April–June 2000 when he was defeated by Eric Bischoff at a WCW Monday Nitro in Atlanta, Georgia. Bischoff later awarded the title to Big Vito as a reward for helping him take it from Funk. In 2000, as part of a storyline where he renamed singles titles that he had won, Lance Storm won the Hardcore Championship and, as he had done with the Cruiserweight and U.S. titles (renaming them the 100 Kilos and Under and Canadian championships), changed the name of the title to the Saskatchewan Hardcore International Title (or S.H.I.T for short).
The final hardcore champion in WCW was Meng, who defeated Crowbar and reigning champ Terry Funk at WCW Sin on January 14, 2001. It was largely abandoned after Meng left the company to return to the WWF. Meng presented the championship to Barbarian as a gift at an independent wrestling event on January 21, 2001. The belt was not defended again nor was it featured on the final episode of Nitro which was also known as "Night of Champions". The title belt was handed over formally to the WWF upon the purchase of WCW. The title is now displayed in WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.
The WCW Hardcore Title was a continuation from the WCW Hardcore Trophy that Fit Finlay won in the Junkyard Battle Royal that took place at the 1999 Bash at the Beach pay-per-view. Shortly after the PPV, the trophy was seized by Eric Bischoff and removed from television. Afterwards Norman Smiley was crowned first official WCW hardcore champion.
Norman Smiley held the record for the longest official reign at 51 days. The shortest reign was that of Carl Ouellet, who was awarded the title after Lance Storm gave it up but lost it 38 minutes later to Norman Smiley. Brian Knobbs and Funk hold the record for most reigns with three each and Smiley holds the record for most cumulative days as champion.