Welcome back to the 62nd and Final edition of The Hardcore Files. Yes, after so many crazy moments, shocking title changes, hilarious segments & even some all around good matches, we’re at our end. Why you ask? Well, that’s because in this match; the current Hardcore Champion, Tommy Dreamer will be defending the championship against the Intercontinental Champion; Rob Van Dam. The winner will then have to unify the titles and it’ll be known as just the Intercontinental Championship and the Hardcore Title will be no more. Also, there will be a special announcement at the end of the article. So, for our final time doing the WWE Hardcore Files, let’s get into it.
Date: August 26, 2002
Watch: WWE Network
Hardcore & Intercontinental Championship: Tommy Dreamer (c) vs. Rob Van Dam (c)
Even though both titles are on the line, the match will still be contested under Hardcore Rules. But, these two started out strictly wrestling. Going back and forth, counter for counter and had the crowd applauding them. A wild ECW chant broke out while each man took in the moment. It’s only fitting that these two, with the background they had, would be competing in the final WWE Hardcore Title Match. But again, it’s a Hardcore match. There’s no time to be messing around and Dreamer realized that early on. Van Dam continued to try to show off his fast paced, high-flying style and Dreamer had enough. He grabbed a kendo stick and welted the stomach of RVD with it. From that point on, it only got more Hardcore. Tommy introduced a ladder, but it backfired after Rob kicked it into him. These two were giving it their all. They just wouldn’t stay down. The ladder was placed between the barricade and ring apron by Van Dam and he was obviously looking to do something dangerous with it. But, Dreamer took control and looked to hit a running bulldog off the apron into the ladder. That was countered and RVD sent Dreamer head first into the steel rungs. The risk-taking RVD climbed on top of the ladder and hit a jumping side kick, knocking Dreamer off the barricade. It would’ve ended there but Dreamer kicked out of very near fall. When the action went back into the ring, both men fought back and forth, both trying for pins that were unsuccessful. Dreamer again had enough of the wrestling and pulled the ladder into the ring. RVD was side walk slammed onto the ladder. Tommy felt like that wasn’t enough and climbed on the second rope, looking for an elbow drop. When RVD moved, Tommy hit hard on the ladder. A visibly hurt Van Dam was looking for a home run to win the game in the form of a rolling thunder onto a ladder that was stacked up on top of Tommy Dreamer. Some how, Dreamer had enough left in him to kick out.
Not too long after a ladder was placed on the second rope and Dreamer was looking for a giant sized suplex off the top. Sadly for him, it was reversed and Tommy fell straight down, causing his legs to slip through the ladder rungs. Yeah, that couldn’t have felt good. Van Dam saw his opportunity and took it. After a jumping kick to the face of Dreamer, he found himself upside down on the ropes with his legs still caught in the ladder. He then took a Van-Daminator to the face followed by a five-star frog splash and that there folks was the last ever WWE Hardcore Championship Match. Rob Van Dam unified the Hardcore and Intercontinental championships. An emotional Dreamer and RVD hugged and celebrated after the match.
For the last Hardcore Title match, there’s no two other guys I’d rather see in it. August 26, 2002 will always be known as the last time the Hardcore Title was defended on Raw, but not shown on Raw. The title was never seen again from that point on until May 22, 2006. After Edge defeated Mick Foley in a Hardcore match at WrestleMania 22, Mick Foley presented Edge with the Hardcore Title on that May Raw episode. Edge named Foley the Co-Holder of the title. The title was never defended and shortly after never to be seen again. So, this is for you Hardcore Title. May you R.I.P. You’ll never be forgotten.
As for the announcement I alluded to earlier, I’m officially announcing that The Hardcore Files will be continuing in the form of The Hardcore Files: WCW! So, for everyone who’s ever read The Hardcore Files or if this is your first time reading, THANK YOU! Thank you so much for coming on this crazy journey with me through one of the craziest divisions in WWE history. It took a year to get to the end, but dammit it was worth it. I loved the WWE Hardcore Division. Some may call it stupid or pointless, but to me it was pure gold. But, this journey is not over quiet yet. Go back in time with me as I look through the very short-lived career of the WCW Hardcore Title, soon to come! Thank you for reading and be sure to come back next time for the WCW Hardcore Files!