Friday, May 24, 2019

The WWE 24/7 Convenience Store Championship

For some strange reason, I felt the need to expand on the quick thoughts I threw up a couple days ago regarding WWE's latest gimmick to try and turn their sagging ratings around: the 24/7 championship.

Introduced by WWE legend Mick Foley at the start of the third hour of RAW, the 24/7 title is essentially the modern-day take on the old Hardcore championship of yesteryear. More specifically, it is focused on the 24/7 rule of the Crash Holly days where the title can change hands anywhere at any time, so long as there is a WWE official on hand to administer the decision.

So this thing has been mocked by some and praised by others. A couple days ago, I've suggested that the theory behind the title was something that appealed to me... but questioned the execution. I suppose I could expand on that mentality a bit by addressing a few points of criticism.

A lot has been said about the title belt itself and I'll re-iterate what I've said before; it's another basic-looking penny championship. And then the Waffle House Twitter chimed in and claimed that one of their 24/7 signs went missing. Upon closer inspection, the center plate does indeed look like something that was nicked from a convenience store display. Hence the nickname.

While people had been clamoring for the return of the classic Hardcore title and were understandably disappointed by this new belt, it's worth noting that the Hardcore Championship was just a broken version of an old Winged Eagle title belt and was introduced as pretty much a gag title for Mick Foley a.k.a. Mankind. The fact that people would eventually covet this dilapidated piece of shit belt made the whole thing humorous.

Old-timers might be happy to see a broken belt, but younger folks might wonder why everyone is fighting over this cheap garbage. Also, pulling out a shit belt after a couple decades is not the smartest idea for a company who (allegedly) wants to keep their superstars healthy.

So everyone wanted the old Hardcore title back and that this new championship is basically a farce of that title... which I find hilarious because the Hardcore title itself was originally a farce to begin with.

The Hardcore title was originally introduced as a gag gift to Mankind from Vince McMahon; sort of a vanity belt much in the same vein as Ted Dibiase's Million Dollar Champion or Taz's FTW Championship in ECW. They were "champions" but not officially sanctioned. It was only when Mankind lost the title to the Big Bossman - originally done as a means of demoralizing Mankind - that it slowly became an official title that would be contested under hardcore rules. And it wouldn't be until Crash Holly won it that he would declare the 24/7 rule that just stuck with the title until its retirement in 2002.

Also, need I remind you folks that the Hardcore title has been defended in the infamous Kennel From Hell match? Also, need I also remind you that Hall Of Famers and lifelong Stooges Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco once feuded over the Hardcore title in an Evening Gown match in their senior years? Also, need I also remind you that the Hardcore title was held by one of the Godfather's escorts? At least, the 24/7 belt needs not suffer that fate.

So this is a championship for the folks that have nothing better to do... mostly the lower-tier to lower-midcard talent that are on the show doing fuck all and need something to do. You've just described the entire purpose of the Hardcore division back in the day. Even during the height of the Attitude Era where you had the World, Intercontinental, European, Light Heavyweight, and Tag Team titles under one roof - none of this brand split wild card bullshit - people needed something to do, so they had these Hardcore segments with Crash Holly and others and the 24/7 rule. It filled time, it gave people something to do, and it was fun stuff.

This 24/7 championship was conceived along that same notion. Perhaps not baring the "hardcore" moniker and probably aiming to be lighter in tone compared to what came before (nobody is cooking Pepper this time around), but as I've said in the past, I like the idea in theory and given WWE's efforts to try and take up as much of your time as possible, it's something that can play out not only on the TV shows, but also take place on their social media outlets. Why wait for an "earlier today" clip when you can watch it while it happens?

People dug this stuff back in the day and word is response from some of the more casual folks has been rather positive. Shouldn't we be happy that more people are peeking in?

Now, as much as I like the idea and as much as I feel the concept could go far if done well, it is not the be-all and end-all solution to the current woes of WWE programming. As much as people want to praise this as a way to get "more eyeballs" onto the product, the question will be whether it'll be enough to entice people to stick around for the rest of the show. These segments are good in short bursts because of the spontaneity, but meddle with them too much and they become another failed concept that should've been left along to evolve on its own.

It's why I say that I like the theory and the idea behind the 24/7 title. I'm not quite sure about the execution, where it might be good for the first couple weeks... maybe even a month. But eventually, it starts to feel... not quite as good.

Also, going back to the Hardcore title and the key thing here... while it was largely a title for the lower-tier folks to play with, bigger names did hold on to the title. Mick Foley was the obvious one, but you also had guys like Big Bossman, Kane, Rob Van Dam, Bradshaw, and even the UNDERTAKER. If the 24/7 title is going to feel like something worth a damn, it needs to be held by someone with significant name value... maybe a Braun Strowman or something like that.

Actually, the adventures of 24/7 Convenience Store Champion Braun Strowman is the best idea WWE could run with... you're welcome.

So, those are my thoughts on this whole 24/7 thing.


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