The forgotten legacy of the European Title

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July 30, 2013

After HBK wrestled the title away from Bulldog at 1997’s European exclusive One Night Only pay-per-view, he was forced to defend the championship against his D-Generation X running buddy, Triple H. But instead of fighting for the title like it meant something, Michaels simply let his friend defeat him. Sure, it was the type of arrogant, nose thumbing that DX was infamous for, but it was also a big shot to the title’s credibility. The next time the title changed hands, Owen Hart won the championship from Triple H by beating Goldust who was dressed up as The Game. Make sense? Of course not. Shot number two.

The European Championship wasn’t dead yet, though. In fact, it was revived, somewhat unexpectedly, by D’Lo Brown. A flunky in The Rock’s Nation who won the bulk of his matches thanks to a superfluous chest protector, Brown brought the title some interest through a series of exciting matches against Sean “X-Pac” Waltman. Pac, in turn, gave the championship its greatest exposure during one of 1999’s most memorable rivalries.

“[The European Title] was the centerpiece of probably one of the hottest feuds I had in my career with Shane McMahon,” Sean Waltman told WWE Classics.

A referee and commentator early in his WWE career, Mr. McMahon’s son found his footing as the type of entitled, prep school jerk that people would gladly pay money to see get kicked around. When he shockingly defeated X-Pac for the European Championship, it led into a rematch at WrestleMania XV with WWE fans desperate to see the DX member get the title back. (WATCH)

“I have to take my hat off to him,” Waltman admitted. “He was up there with the toughest I’ve ever been in the ring with.”

Shane O Mac successfully defended the European Title that night and the championship was never hotter. Suddenly, the title was doing exactly what it was supposed to do, which is inspire passion in young competitors and give them something to fight for. Then along came Mideon.

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