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31 Days of Wrestling (12/24/19): 24/7 Magic In The Air (The Birth of the 24/7 Championship)



Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies, and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2019 produced for us.

For the hustlers, gangsters, the ugly-ass bitches and their friends, there was the 24/7 Championship.

The title picture for the WWE in early 2019 may have brought us memorable events like Kofi Kingston finally winning the WWE Championship, or Becky Lynch winning the WrestleMania main event for the WWE Women's Championships. Yet even with these positive changes in the title picture, ratings weren't improving as expected. Maybe the mainstream audience wasn't connecting as well with the general public, or that the general appetite for wrestling was on a downturn. Either way, the company—as well as its networks—had to act fast.

Enter the WWE 24/7 Championship.



On the May 20 episode of WWE Monday Night RAW, Mick Foley introduced the 24/7 Championship: a title that was to be defended 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Harking back to the days of the old Hardcore Championship from the Attitude Era, the 24/7 Championship was supposed to bring back a sense of excitement and thrill to an otherwise stale third hour of RAW.

The title belt itself is nothing to write home about. It is, by all means, a simple belt: not the sort that would wow anyone looking for a fantastic-looking championship. The premise of an edgier element of surprise from a title that was to be defended 24/7 almost instantly lost its credence, however, as the first champion was crowned by a simple stipulation: whoever gets it first becomes champion.

The "edge" that was supposed to define the 24/7 Championship wore out completely after that, and pretty much became WWE's comedy title. Consider the many exchanges between R-Truth and Drake Maverick, where the latter used the belt to... consummate his marriage. Celebrities, legends, and even an account manager for the company all held the 24/7 Championship.

It was, of course, fun while it lasted: the novelty wore off as the 24/7 Championship became part of the whole slew of "content" the WWE churns out for its audience, filling up to seven hours of live broadcasts every week. Sure, the premise of the title may have gotten TV time for some of the more underrepresented talent in the roster, but the expected jumpstart didn't work out as well.

While pro wrestling fans are no strangers to comedy titles, it seems that the 24/7 Championship could have benefited from the promise of what the Hardcore Championship was before the 24/7 rule: the kind of ultraviolent, hardcore wrestling that would give the shows a much-needed edge. Then again, the WWE could do with a little less seriousness when done well. Maybe the coming year would give us an honest-to-goodness storyline around the 24/7 Championship... and give us true 24/7 magic in the air.

*****

31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2019. Read our previous entries:

1. The Man Stands Tall at WrestleMania (Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey, WrestleMania 35)
2. The Game Changes (Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega, AEW Double or Nothing)
3. Still the Ace (Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kenny Omega, Wrestle Kingdom 13)
4. #KofiMania (Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan, WrestleMania 35)
5. Starting With A Bang (The Premiere of AEW Dynamite)
6. Let's Start A War (The Premiere of NXT On The USA Network)
7. For You And Me! For All Of Us! (Jake De Leon vs. TJP, PWR Homecoming)
8. It Takes a Bird and a Villain (G1 Climax Finals: Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White)
9. The Fall of Bray Wyatt and the Rise of the Fiend
10. Johnny Champion (Adam Cole vs. Johnny Gargano, NXT TakeOver: New York)
11. Do You Wanna Yeet a Four-Man? (QUATRO vs. Chris Panzer vs. Jeff Cobb, PWR Homecoming)
12. From Purveyor Of Violence To Death Rider (Jon Moxley in NJPW)
13. We Will Rock You! (Crystal vs. Emi Sakura, PWR Path of Gold 2019)
14. Revolutionary (QUATRO vs. IMABAYASHI, PWR Wrevolution X 2019)
15. Manila Has Fallen (Ho Ho Lun vs. Robin Sane, MWF 10: Republika)

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