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European Title

So what was the deal with the European Title back in the 90s? At the time, WWF only had three championships, unless light-heavyweight had been added, I'm not sure. 

Was it expected to be an equal to the Intercontinental title? I know they've moved on to have countless titles over the years, but this was the first major new one and I'm wondering if anyone knows what made them pull the trigger?

Thanks

Brian

It was basically a vanity title for Davey Boy Smith that was supposed to boost business in the UK market by having him defend it overseas, and then Shawn threw a tantrum and put himself over for the belt to kill it in that market and it became just another joke title from then on.  Nothing else to it, really.  

Comments

  1. It was a star making vehicle for Mideon

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  2. Caliber_Winfield_69420BoobiesNovember 20, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    That very moment has always made Shawn a piece of shit in my mind. He STILL defends the choice, despite the fact that Davey Boy's DYING sister was front row, and he DEDICATED the match to her! If I were going up against Davey, he would have kicked the living shit out of me, and we would have a spot where his sister knocks me out after the match. I still can't believe they let him do that.

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  3. Asshole move by Shawn, yes, but ti still stands out to me as some of the most successful heat getting angles of all time when he screwed Davey with DX and became the first "Grand slam" champion, at least for that one night-the shitty booking that followed is more my problem

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  4. JeffHardysInnerDialogueNovember 20, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Man. Still bummed out Vince didn't listen to me when I was European champion about the potential WWE market in Amsterdam.

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  5. Who are you to doubt Crash Holly?

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  6. Srsly. I remember people at that PPV losing their fucking minds. It was wonderful.

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  7. One of the few times where garbage was being thrown at the ring and it was a good thing. Somewhat.

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  8. What about Spike Dudley. It brought tears to the eyes of William Regal.

    Why the hell do I remember that?

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  9. Yeah, I remember "watching" that match on scramble-vision. I was shocked that not only did Shawn win, but they beat on Bulldog FOREVER after the match until Bret and Owen came out for the save.

    It boggles my mind how Vince allowed such a travesty to happen. But then again, Shawn had him wrapped around his little finger.

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  10. Loved Shawn's line "Now, to all you Londies, especially Diana my little sweetie..."

    which was a callback to the Shawn Michaels sexually harrassed Diana Smith storyline from a year prior, AND kinda confirms Shawn was lying & Bulldog was in the right.

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  11. Does anyone know more of the story behind this? Like, for instance, why did Shawn care--he made fun of the European title in the pre-match interview before the first HITC match. And I was always under the impression that Shawn only had bad-blood with Bret, and was fine with Owen & Davey. What gives?

    OH, another thing...Why did Shawn have so much influence over Vince? He had bombed as champ financially, had a shitty attitude, and a drug problem. Plus, by this point it was obvious Austin was the future--I guess there was doubt b/c of the neck injury at this point, but still. Why would Vince care what Shawn wanted? I mean I understand why Bret had fallen out of favor with Vince, but still, Shawn was clearly not one to bow down to. If anyone deserved preferential treatment in 1997 it was The Undertaker.

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  12. If I had to guess, Vince didn't want to risk losing Shawn to WCW.

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  13. But he had no problem handing WCW Bret on a silver platter, with a marketable storyline too. From everything I read 1997 Shawn sounds like a shit head who was really bad for morale. And he was under contract right? So he couldn't just walk out and be on Nitro the next week.

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  14. Shawn and HHH were on the booking team as far back as 1996 so HBK having Vince's ear wasn't exactly a new thing around this time. And plus he didn't have a 20 year contract.

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  15. But that wasn't until Bret pretty much couldn't handle being around Shawn/Vince not being able to pay him.

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  16. Wow, I never knew people hated this angle so much,it was one of my favorite matches on the Shawn Michaels: My Journey DVD

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  17. Again why? Like I said, I totally understand why Bret had fallen out of Vince's favor, but Shawn seemed bad for company morale; as in actively antagonizing his co-workers. I mean obviously in the long run things worked out fine for him, but if I'm Vince in 1997 I would want to find a way to get rid of Bret AND Shawn for creating turmoil in the locker room, and just reset with Austin & Undertaker (which is what happened anyway).

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  18. could have been a VERY good thing with proper follow up

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  19. That happened at around the same time as Shawn beating Davey for the Euro title.

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  20. Because Shawn wasn't going around starting fights and fucking shit up for every guy on the roster, just the the Hart Foundation. So there was no need to get rid of them both, just one. And D-X was super hot at the time so I can't really blame him for going in that direction.

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  21. The Hart Foundation were starting fights? I know Bret & Shawn had a catfight in the locker room in June of that year, but I've never heard of Owen, or Davey, or Anvil, or Pillman getting into fights in the WWF lockerroom.

    Just logically I don't understand why Vince didn't take a look at the bitter delusional veteran and the temper-tantrum throwing drug addict realize neither is good for company morale and fire both of them. The fans wanted Austin, Undertaker was hot, Rock was just getting started, and DX was at its best a couple of months later without Shawn Michaels anyway. So looking back, it seems so strange to me that the temper-tantrum throwing drug addict had the boss wrapped around his finger.

    FYI--I am a huge fan of both Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels.

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  22. When did I say the Hart Foundation were starting fights? I was saying Shawn was only picking fights with them and not the rest of the roster.


    Shawn was dick but I think you're underestimating how red hot he was as heel at the time. And plus, Austin getting the title at WM was set in stone and they needed someone to drop it to him.

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  23. Getting rid of Shawn doesn't help the company financially. Bret had to go because Bret was the enormous contractual albatross. (Granted an albatross that Vince himself created but whatever). Also, Shawn wasn't actively keeping Vince from going more TV-MA, Bret was.



    I've always thought that Vince looked at both Bret and Shawn as de facto sons. When one son disappoints you (Bret) you put double the expectations on the other. When Bret decided to leave, it only made Vince love Shawn more.

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  24. Wasn't Vince's explanation to Davey that they would end up having another match in the UK with Smith winning the title back?

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  25. Awwww....Scramblevision. I think about the HOURS that I stared "through" that nonsense as a kid and how I'd give up on it in SECONDS now as an adult...

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  26. That's how I always saw it. Shawn had his heels dug in on Vince since 94/95.

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  27. Your words: "Because Shawn wasn't going around starting fights and fucking shit up for every guy on the roster, just the the Hart Foundation."

    OOOOOH, you were saying Shawn was only antagonizing the Hart Foundation, not everybody on the roster, is that it? Figured it out as I was typing.

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  28. This makes the most sense to me

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  29. Well, and from what I read in...I think Bret's book, that's not necessarily totally true. I seem to remember Austin basically begging Bret to come back because Bret was one of the few people that could get Vince to deal with Shawn. (Which would seem to intimate that Shawn was giving Steve problems too...)

    I think it was mostly Bret's contract with a little bit of Vince's paternal "I've put so much into my fucked up drug addict son and he's SOOOO close to turning the corner, I can't give up now!"



    Every family has the responsible child that gets totally ignored in favor of the fuck up child, lol.

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  30. that's the story I have read several times as well. it especially makes sense because the Bulldog loses the match at One Night Only despite dedicating it to his sister who was suffering from cancer.

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  31. Agreed. If this angle had a payoff: perhaps Bret & the Foundation fighting off DX for Bulldog to regain the belt from HBK. Sounds to me like a great angle, not simply a personal jab from Shawn. Dude was a dick, to be sure, but this just sounds like him being a really good heel. The prima donna hotshot jock heel was his strong suit in those days, the fact that he was the same backstage doesn't negate the quality heel heat and angle, imo

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  32. that's where one of the best wrestling rumors comes into play: Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon being more than just "friends".

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  33. That rumor does rule.

    Assuming it's true (which I don't believe) I wonder who Vince's guy would be now. Oh, wait, it would be Orton, duh.

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  34. Yeah, I don't have a problem with it either, HBK drew great heat and looked like he was going to encite a riot and with the benefit of hindsight they made the right decision since Bulldog ended up quitting anyway. And besides as Scott said, it was just a vanity title and probably didn't mean that much to the Bulldog.

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  35. I remember reading that in Bret's book too. Although I don't know what Steve's beef would be outside of Shawn just generally being a dick. They weren't working together at the time.

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  36. or old Johnny-Boy (cena)

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  37. That kinda plays into the confirmed rumor that Shawn refused to job at WM14 & Undertaker had to sit at the entranceway as the real enforcer

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  38. I'm figuring Orton works because he's closer to the Shawn mold = pretty boy jock that gets super pushes despite being morale cancer.

    Although the more I think about it the more I'm leaning toward a pretty boy with long hair like maybe Curt Hawkins or Morrison before he left.

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  39. That Bret quote about Steve complaining about Shawn was back in 96 when Bret was on vacation.

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  40. I *LOVE* that story, at least the legend as I've always heard it, that Taker sat on the other side of the locker room and just stared at Shawn and slowly taped his fists...


    It's totally overdramatic but I want it to be true SO BAD that I overlook how nonsensical it sounds.

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  41. Shawn & Taker have both confirmed that some version of that actually happened

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  42. Daniel Bryan. Vince has a goat fetish. "I swear officer, I was just trying to help the goat over the fence!"

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  43. Ooooh Miz is a good pick, he could tell Vince sordid stories about sharing a Winnebago with Sean Duffy.

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  44. I feel like the financial stuff was bullshit when Vince was suddenly paying Mike Tyson a shit ton of money to appear at Wrestlemania.

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  45. No, he used Bret's money to pay for Tyson. Probably wouldn't have been able to afford him with Bret still around.

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  46. Didn't that money come out of no longer having to pay Bret? Bret's gone in November, that leaves a huge portion of 1998's budget wide open for something like Tyson.

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  47. It wasn't complaining about Shawn as so much as to say he felt that Shawn wasn't the future of the company because the guy was paranoid and obviously had his hand in one too many pill bottles.

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  48. I think that calls for another parody of Bret's writing. Austin was probably on one knee and took breaks from speaking to kiss Bret's hand.

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  49. well, Vince does have that hillbilly fetish, perhaps it extends to farm animals.

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  50. LOL! Sorry I left the actual page I'm replying out of the dashboard now hahaha.

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  51. I think the fans getting so riled up that they throw garbage at the ring is ALWAYS a good thing...unless it's at a babyface!

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  52. It could be that...Vince actually liked Shawn. Not as more than friends, but as friends. Occam's Razor. I have kept a number of friends who were sort of fuck ups for way longer than I probably should have.

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  53. Are we sure Vince was struggling as much as he claimed? He did just bring in Jeff Jarrett right around late 1997?

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  54. Seriously. 54 comments when I started reading, and no one mentioned the awesomeness of D'Lo being introduced as being from Helsinki, Athens, etc.


    Not to mention classic Mick Foley punnery before a tag match on Heat (Mankind/X-Pac vs. D-Lo/Shamrock): "You know, X-Pac, I don't understand why you don't get along better with D'Lo Brown. After all, your belt says 'European,' and D'Lo, well...YOU'RE A PEON!"

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  55. You're probably right, but I just have no idea what they have in common other than wrestling.

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  56. and you've gotta shell out the big bucks for Double J

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  57. I got the impression that the Euro Title was essentially a third-tier Title, behind the IC Belt. It seemed a rather obvious jumping-ground for the pushes of lower-card guys, and a trophy for guys who just weren't quite at IC Level yet. Witness how a rookie-ish D'Lo Brown got his first real push as a European Champion, while bigger names like Val Venis were on the IC Title instead.

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  58. I think he probably just thought that Shawn was a cool guy to hang around.

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  59. It didn't last all that long, but they had a nice little grove in the late 90's where the belts had a hierarchy and you could watch a wrestler work up the ladder.

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  60. I legit think that if they ever have Cena beat the Rock at a Wrestlemania, especially this one, that's exactly what's going to happen.

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  61. Well, he did just come in from WCW.


    By the way, I loved that he mocked the Double J gimmick when he came in from WCW in that "shoot" promo of his, only to go right back to it months later.

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  62. Poor Shane.......

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  63. Yeah I was just being snarky.

    But it is different; Vince won a bidding war to get Bret back to WWF and signed him to a very lucrative 20 year deal. There was a lot of money promised to Bret, and he was probably set to make a lot per year.

    I don't think there was any sort of bidding war between WWF & WCW for Jarrett. His first run in WCW was kind of awful, if Jarrett & Debra were onscreen I put on Raw, so I doubt Bischoff cared much. He probably only returned in 99 b/c Russo liked him & always booked him well.

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  64. Plus I'm sure the interest from what happened at Survivor Series didn't hurt.

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  65. Actually Hart's salary would have drastically went down in just a few years. As part of the contract, Bret would have retired in 1999 and become strictly a backstage guy, and his salary would have went down to the low 6 figures.

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  66. I wonder if Vince was worried about losing the rest of the kliq, or saw HBK as a potential means to lure Nash back to WWF. Might have been an entirely political move to give him so much sway despite his utter douchiness.

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  67. @The_Bo:disqus he was saying that shawn was only starting fights with the harts

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  68. I liked the European Title and the little sub-division it had going. It never appeared as a jobber belt to me because it mostly treated seriously (aside from the Mideon thing, but that at least fit Shane-O-Mac's character at the time) and it did a good job of ranking people. So it meant shit was more organised than today.

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  69. God Damn that was only a year previous, wasn't it? They made such a tonal shift in that time that it feels like years later.

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  70. I see big things in the future for this gimmick poster.

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  71. I always liked that. I wish WWE now would cut it back down to the WWE title for the main event, IC title for midcard and a TV / Internet belt for the lower card guys. Then have the tag and divas titles for those divisions.

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  72. To be fair, dying sister or not, the match was still fixed with a predetermined winner.

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  73. Bret Hart's book would argue differently. Bulldog dedicated the match to his dying sister and losing tore him up. Furthermore the way the match looked made Bret and Owen look like morons. then again, around that time all the booking seemed designed to make Bret look like a moron once he took the belt back at Summerslam.

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  74. the issue was that it had no payoff and Shawn had no intention of paying it off. The guy was walking around backstage bragging about refusing to do jobs and working the booking committee with HHH. Yeah he got great heat that night, so did HHH. But what about the Hart Foundation? Bret and Owen looked like morons for not coming out for so long, for allowing Bulldog to get cheated against by Chyna and HHH all match and of course Bulldog just looked like a pussy.



    Game, set, match, Shawn Michaels. Loser? Bret, Bulldog, Owen.

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  75. Your 2nd point is correct. Your first point is BS. Bret got screwed with from almost the day he came back, long before DX. Vince seemed to have 2nd thoughts from the moment he signed the deal with Bret and he made Bret pay almost every day afterwards. As for "fights" what fight other than his little hair-pulling scrum with Shawn?

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  76. Tyson cost way more than Bret's contract. According to Bret, Vince also claimed poverty and said he would be cutting a whole bunch of wrestlers in addition to Bret. Never happened. Vince ditched Bret because Bret didn't fit the attitude era and wouldn't go quietly into the night. Plain and simple. Any stories of poverty are simply a cover.

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  77. and as an avowed UT hater, it makes me want to love him. Just a cool story and awesome that the Undertaker would do that.

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  78. I didn't mean literal fist fights, just meant antagonizing them. And the real trouble between Shawn and Bret didn't start until after WM 13 when neither guy could tell the difference between work or shoot and Shawn refused to put Bret over.

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  79. Ahh another "Montreal" rehash. So many comments on Bret and Shawn. Figured I'd collect my thoughts in one post. First off it was just awful that Shawn didn't care about the Euro belt, yet threw a tantrum to get it and had no intention of paying off any angle with the Hart Foundation. Bulldog looked like a pussy, Bret and Owen too for letting HHH and Chyna interfere all match with no payback, then letting Diana be sexually harassed and still not coming down. Who looked good? Shawn and DX. And it was doubly awful because he had no intention of giving the job back. He was on record backstage as saying he wouldn't do jobs.



    As for why Shawn over Bret? First off, Vince showed a giant man crush on Shawn in 95 and 96. Not saying they were lovers or something, but listen to his commentary during Shawn matches. He positively gushes over the guy on a level that no one else got. I think Vince felt backed into a corner in his resigning with Bret, knowing that with Hall and Nash already leaving just a few months earlier that he couldn't afford to lose Bret. But almost immediately he kept poking Brett. Little remarks in the commentary. Making him a whiner, even while still a face. Jobbing him all over the place, except against Austin at SS. I think Vince became convinced the company couldn't go "adult" with Bret. Add in the backstage fight and DX hitting it big and Hart is odd man out. Vince got confidence he had other stars in DX, Austin, Rock was taking off as a heel, UT, Shamrock, etc. So after Summerslam, Bret started being made to look stupid as DX was always way smarter and cooler. Bret got shunted into a bad feud with The Patriot. Vince pleads poverty, which was BS, and sends Brett on his way. But he demands his old superhero job to the new, ultra-hip cool heel in Shawn to really solidify the attitude era. Then Vince spends way more on Tyson than Bret would have made in the next 2 years combined (he was making about 1.0 mill, I heard Tyson got 2 mill). End of story other than Bret being bitter, failing to surf the waves of backstage WCW politics, and then he's done after a Goldberg kick.

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  80. well said.

    I started the why Shawn over Bret thing, but it was more why one over the other instead of kicking both to the curb? It is unfair that I get to say this well after the fact with the knowledge that the WWF soared to great new heights without either, but to me it just seems if both of them are causing lots of problems let 'em both go to WCW and fuck up that locker room. But whatever, some really good points were made below for why Vince chose Shawn.

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  81. I'm a Shawn fan, but that story is awesome too! I've always loved this visual of Taker sitting there taping his fists putting what's good for the company over egos. It may not be true but I prefer it to be true. It puts over the fact that Taker was a company man.

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  82. I know a lot of people have been talking about how douchey it was for Shawn to do this(and it was) so I'm gonna do something different and say: Man what a great match it was. Seriously what gets lost in the controversy is how good that match was. Wall to wall action, Shawn bumping like a madman, Bulldog when he was one of the top wrestlers in the company, and a molten crowd. Plus you also had Bret vs. Taker too in another amazing match. Hell of a PPV event.

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  83. Bulldog was either an idiot for dedicating a match he knew he would lose to his dying sister, or he's a total professional.

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  84. he was told he was winning right up until the day of the match. Bret does point out it was stupid of Bulldog to make a promise like that knowing Vince and also knowing how Shawn was at that point, but he was promised the big win in the UK up until match day.

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  85. well yes and no. Bret though Shawn was a monster long before that and based on how the Kliq did their best to keep Bret down the card after he lost the belt to Backlund, I don't think HBK was exactly in the Bret Hart fan club. But no they weren't openly punching each other. Bret hated Shawn and thought he was an awful champ and then Shawn lost his smile and Bret was livid because he knew that Shawn was refusing to return the job. And yeah, the whole worked shoot interview stuff they both were doing was not helping. That interview where Shawn said "we all know you need a note from the almighty himself to get the belt off Bret" was not only ultra-unprofessional, but patently false. it was all downhill from there. I hate those types of interviews. What's the point of telling the crowd that one guy doesn't want to job? Why expose the business like that? But HBK and Bret really solidified some of the worked shoot stuff that the NWO had only touched on and took it to the next level, until we had Russo having segments with guys talking finishes backstage and announcers shouting about "improvising" finishes after a wrestler isn't cooperative. Obviously russo took it too far, but fans really went nuts for that worked shoot stuff in 97-99

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  86. Sunny claims she dumped Shawn and had an affair with Davey take with grain of salt..


    Or maybe the screwjob to get rid of the Hart Foundation was planned in advance except Bret, Davey & Owen all had belts post summer slam...

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  87. Caliber_Winfield_69420BoobiesNovember 21, 2012 at 6:14 AM

    Yeah, it was. And that's exactly why Bulldog should have absolutely murdered Shawn. That classless asshole says "it got us great heat!" Yeah, it sure did. In Europe. Which I know means a lot since the WWE is ALWAYS there, and that this wasn't during a time where the angle was that AMERICA absolutely hated the Hart Foundation or anything, so of course DX needed heat in the states. It just makes me so fucking mad sometimes that Shawn got to retire after a classic WM match, while Bret got to retire after a match where Piper pinned Goldberg to give Bret the title, Owen dies in perhaps the most meaningless way, and Jim Neidhart & his stomach are the last physically able to wrestle reminder of the HF.

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  88. Shawn's victory over Bulldog in England for that title was complete bullshit, and I lost a lot of respect for him over that. There was absolutely no reason for him to do Davey like that, and especially in the manner it went down.

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  89. lol I just looked that up. How manly.

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  90. D-Lo was the greatest. His reaction when he beat X-Pac on Raw for the title was tremendous...just this look of shock on his face and yelling "I'm the European Champion!!!"

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  91. I can't possibly top the +27 I got for my recent Daniel Bryan parody of Bret's book, so I'll leave this one to someone else.

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  92. Bret's last match in WCW was against Kevin Nash (you're reviewing WCW in 2000 - you should know this!).

    Funnily enough, the match with at Starrcade is frequently touted as what ended Bret's career, but in a number of interviews immediately following his exit from in-ring action (2000-2001), Hart blamed his retirement on a series of concussions he received subsequent to that infamous Goldberg kick, mainly in a hardcore match against Terry Funk but also in the match against Nash (and he took a nasty chokeslam from Sid Vicious in that bout too, apparently)/

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  93. I would care but it's a work and davey got paid to do the job. They put on a great match though and it got the main event heel big heat.

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  94. I thought the euro belt was the wwe equivalent to the wcw tv title

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  95. Caliber_Winfield_69420BoobiesNovember 21, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Yeah, it was a hardcore match set up by Terry Funk and 'The Old Age Outlaws'. I just find it funnier to mention the match where Bret won the title by Piper pinning Goldberg.

    But you are correct, he took all sorts of powerbombs and shit in that last bout.

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  96. The right guy 100% went over. No way 1997 hbk should job to the british bulldog. It got shawn more heat and gave him the grand slam gimmick. Daveys job was to get shawn heat and he did. Dx cerebrating in that ring did so much to make them hateable. Davey made them look great and showed his ass. As far as his sister, she had a near 5 star match dedicated to her. Why would she care who won a fake match? Plus she got to be part of the angle

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  97. I could be wrong, but I also thought it was a selling point for the UK only PPVs. There damn sure wasn't going to be a World Title change on these cards, but the Euro strap was up for grabs.

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  98. Jim Cornette confirmed it to be true and he's never been one to bullshit.

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  99. don't make Shawn job. Make it a big brawl and a DQ at the end. Is that so hard? Then have DX run off and the Hart Foundation stands in the ring supreme while the UK fans cheer. Not rocket science.

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  100. The whole point of the show was to get dx crazy heat so you have to end it with hbk dancing with the belt and the crowd going crazy with blood lust. If the hart foundation (which was on the wayout the door) celebrated to end the show so what. But this way you established dx as super heels. Perfect booking and career upper mid carder dbs gets a ppv main event pay out to lay down for a guy who would be on a wrestling mount Rushmore. Everyone wins

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  101. Yeah the loser was the guy about to leave the company. The payoff was hbk jobbing to austin at wrestlemania. That worked out pretty well.

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  102. It's all about the game, and how you play it...

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  103. That's pretty much the thought I had- as a younger fan, I just assumed they were copying the then-more-successful WCW with a third-tier belt.

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  104. The manner it went down is why it's fine, beating him clean, NOW THAT would have been a dick move

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  105. If the UK fans cheer, no ones getting any heat-purpose defeated

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  106. Bret Hart's book is mostly exaggerated bullshit though...

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