In WWE's long company run many belts/championships have come and gone. They have been debuted, deactivated, and reactivated and one title I would like to focus on is the European title.
In 1997 a new title debuted in the WWE. The title was named the European title. A tournament to crown its first ever champion was held over several shows in Germany.
The finals came down to two greats and future hall of famers, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog. They were friends and had a match and a half for the European title, but it would be the British Bulldog who emerged to be the title's very first holder.
Bulldog's reign would be short lived as HBK would defeat him for the belt not too long after her won it. HBK had become the only man in WWE history to hold both the WWE championship and the European championship at the same time. HBK also was crowned the first Grand Slam champion as well.
The title would later change hands numerous times giving us champions the likes of Al Snow, D'Lo Brown, Owen Hart, Triple H, and even Shane o' Mac himself. In 1999, we would see the first deactivation of the European championship as Shane McMahon wanted to retire as an undefeated champion since he never loss the title when he was champ.
He did retire but brought back the European title two months later. The world would soon see the birth of one of the rarest championship milestones, so rare there were less than five wrestlers (three to be exact) to ever pull off the feat.
D'Lo Brown would defeat Mideon for the European championship at the 1999 Fully Loaded PPV. The next night on Raw, Brown defeated Jeff Jarret for the Intercontinental championship making Brown the first ever man to ever hold the European and Intercontinental championships at the same time.
This gave birth to a new breed of champion...the Eurocontinental champion. It means nothing more then "holder of the European and Intercontinental titles". This wasn't the last time the feat was pulled off as six months later an olympic gold medalist would reach the milestone as well.
Kurt Angle defeated Val Venis, then defeated Chris Jericho at No Way Out to become the 2nd Eurocontinental champion. Chris Jericho and Jeff Jarret are both tied for the shortest European title reign at one day each. The most reigns was a tie between the first Eurocontinental champion D'lo Brown, and England native William Regal.
The longest combined days as champion is owned by the very first European champion the British Bulldog who had two reigns combined for 253 days. The European championship is a great title and I had hoped to one day see it around the waist of Santino Marella. I believe he could make a great European champion.
However, whatever happened to the belt? In July 2002, two of the most prominent high flyers were set to go head to head in ladder match. The European champion, Jeff Hardy, and the Intercontinental champion RVD. Since no one wanted their title to be put up, both agreed to put both titles on the line. RVD would ending up winning the match and would become the 3rd and last Eurocontinental champion.
Instead of holding both titles at the same time, RVD unified them and just carried around the Intercontinental championship. The European title is officially gone for good after this point...or is it?
If RVD unified them shouldn't the Intercontinental championship also be the European championship? So Santino did carry the European title after all! Or did he?
The call is up to you. Nevertheless the belt has had a great run and has served as the cause of many great feuds. It will always be remembered. The United States title was brought back from the grave to replace the former mid card belt as it was retired in 1977.
Hope you had a great read.