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#ThrowbackThursday: The Hardcore Championship Switched Hands Thrice In One Night


On this day thirteen years ago, we see clearly that a momentous occasion happened on an episode of Monday Night RAW held in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The main event of the show saw The Rock, then the WWE's Undisputed Champion, take on Ric Flair in their first ever televised singles meeting.

But what a lot of people may not remember from July 29, 2002, was the fact that the Hardcore Championship switched hands an astounding three times in one night!

Bradshaw was the Hardcore Champion heading into this episode, and he was scheduled to take on Jeff Hardy, the latter having gone through two ladder matches in the three weeks leading up to that episode. The first of those ladder matches was Jeff Hardy's star-making match with the Undertaker, the one where Jim Ross could be heard on commentary yelling, "CLIMB THAT LADDER, KID! MAKE YOURSELF FAMOUS!"

Bradshaw, who looked like a redneck version of Texano, and Jeff Hardy would have a five-minute match which featured many garbage can lid shots to the head. This may have been common at the time, but watching footage of matches with such head shots in 2015 makes them all the more jarring.

The match would reach its crescendo as Hardy and Bradshaw both ascended the ladder, with Jeff repeatedly nailing Bradshaw on the head with the lid until the latter fell off. Hardy then went to the top of the ladder and delivered an awkward-looking Swanton Bomb on his fallen opponent. Three seconds later, and Jeff Hardy was announced as the new Hardcore Champion.

Less than a minute into his celebration, Johnny "the Bull" Stamboli would enter the ring with a referee and hit Hardy with a spinebuster, which would be enough for a three-count and his own Hardcore Championship reign.

As the Bull celebrated his win, Bradshaw got up to his feet and measured him for a Clothesline From Hell, which would connect on Stamboli. Before he could even cover Stamboli, Tommy Dreamer would enter the ring and hit Bradshaw with a kendo stick, allowing him to pin Stamboli, and quickly escape the ring and the arena with the Hardcore Championship.

The total amount of time in which the Hardcore Championship switched hands? Forty seconds. Unbelievable.

Here's the match in its entirety:


Thirteen years later, the Hardcore Championship's legacy of "defending the title anytime" somewhat lives on in the Money in the Bank Contract trope. We all know that Bradshaw is still with WWE as the resident annoying color commentator in JBL. Jeff Hardy is now in TNA and still takes shots to the head, much to everyone's chagrin. Johnny "the Bull" Stamboli is still wrestling in the indys using the Johnny Stamboli gimmick, according to Wikipedia. Meanwhile, Tommy Dreamer currently owns and operates the House of Hardcore while being employed by TNA. Interestingly, Dreamer appeared at NXT's road tour in Albany, New York last May as a surprise opponent for Baron Corbin.

Photo from WWE.

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