The Hardcore Title Story: Fact or Fiction

Out of all the titles that I have seen in any federation, be it the WWF (wwe), WCW, ECW, XPW, TNA, ect…(the list literally goes on and on), may favorite was always the Hardcore Championship. It was really a great title during its early goings with The Road Dogg (yes it has two “g”‘s) Big Boss Man (RIP) or Hardcore Holly were probably the greatest and most memorable. I remember when Boss Man won the title for an unpresendented 4th time (which was odd because it was unpresendented for him to have won it for the third time since no one had one it that many times..yet). Then it was cute and funny when Crash Holly (RIP) won it and started the 24/7 ruling that was started, they even had a match in Newark Airport; that was obviously before 9/11 and I wonder if the WWE would even be allowed to do something like that anymore.

It has been a long time since anyone has seen the Hardcore Championship belt, the last person to officially hold it was Rob Van Dam and that was before it was unified with the European Championship, which has also been gone for a long time. Anyway, I was looking at the world famous Scott Keith’s Blog of Doom and he posted a link to the hardcore title story and I thought you people would like to read it.

Is this story fact or fiction, I know the answer…do you?


Posted By Scott Keith on 10.27.01

What, no Bobcat match?

– Tradition. Heart. Two words that have lost meaning throughout the years with the abundance of titles in the wrestling world, but throughout all of the changes from the turn of the 20th century until the turn of the 21st century, one thing remains consistent: The Hardcore title.

Newer fans who think the title was created in 1998 may be surprised to learn that in fact the title was around for nearly 100 years before that point! The first documented evidence of the Hardcore title comes in 1903, a couple of years before the NWA claims that the World title was founded. The first Hardcore champion was Irish brawler Ralph “The Irishman” McGuirk (fighting out of Nebraska), who won the title by shocking the audience with a punch in the 14th round of a scheduled 28 round wrestling match against rival Pete “The Dog” Taylor.

The title was never lost by McGuirk, as he held it with pride and honor, revolutionizing the budding “hardcore” genre with his pre-match interviews, where he’d threaten to use such vile weapons of destruction as “body slams” and “loaded .44 Magnums”, and in fact he rarely had to wrestle his matches – one scatching pre-match interview was usually enough to frighten his hapless opponents into forfeiting moments before the actual match. On occasions where he actually did have to step in the ring, one threat of a punch or body slam was enough to send the opponent scurrying. My, how the papers the next day would rage over his use of such unorthodox tactics like punching in a wrestling match! It is whispered that the public was so upset with the shenanigans of McGuirk that President Warren Harding himself challenged the “Nebraskan Nightmare” to a greco-roman rules wrestling match at the White House in 1923, but conveniently died the day of the match in order to avoid the inevitable beating.

McGuirk retained the Hardcore title until his enlistment in the US army for World War II in 1939, at which point it was declared vacant and offered to Lou Thesz. Thesz pretty much forgot to ever answer the question, and so the Hardcore title lay dormant until 1979, when a WWWF employee found the belt buried in a pile of souvenirs from Jess McMahon’s promoting days. A tournament to re-determine the Hardcore champion was scheduled for the same night as the tournament in Rio DeJaneiro that crowned Pat Patterson the first Intercontinental champion, but it was bumped for time reasons and rescheduled for later that year. However, before that new tournament could happen, the WWWF was renamed to the WWF and the planning was lost in the paperwork.

The title was forgotten again for another 9 years until someone noticed in 1988 that Howard Finkel was using it to hold up his pants. Why no one noticed until then is a mystery that may never be solved, but Hulk Hogan liked the design so much that he had his own copy made up to be used as the WWF World title. Vince McMahon quite rightly pointed out that people may not like a smashed up World title belt, so they reconstructed what it might look like with the pieces joined, and the new World title belt was debuted in 1988 and used for the next ten years. Meanwhile, Finkel had the Hardcore belt mailed to Lou Thesz, but since he was writing “Deceased” on all his mail for tax reasons at that point, the belt was lost in the mail for the next 10 years.

Finally, a US postal employee, while on a murderous rampage with an Uzi, accidentally shot the lock off a room full of lost mail while aiming for his co-workers. The lost parcel was found and returned to the sender, the WWF, in October of 1998. And Vince McMahon awarded it to Mick Foley shortly after that, and thankfully the WWF has since treated the venerable title with all the class and distinction that it warrants ever since.

Wow, that was an unbelievable story. It nearly brought me to tears. Just as close as seeing trash cans and road signs crack over someone skull or watching Al Snow and Big Boss Man (RIP) in a Kenel in a Cell Match…actually to be fair to both of them I have yet to see that match but I heard the horror story that it was and I really ahve no interest in seeing it.

Tell me what you think of this story.


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