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5 Important WWE Title Changes That Took Place In The UK

AJ Styles vs Jinder Mahal - UK title change

This September WWE returns to the UK for its first stadium show in 30 years. We take a look back to find reasons to get excited with some historical UK title wins!

WWE UK PPVs were typically nothing to get to write home about. Sure, it’s nice for grappling fans across the pond to get to see their favourite superstars live, but that’s about it.

UK Shows from the turn of the millennium like Rebellion and Inssurextion may have been billed as major events but typically they served no greater purpose than glorified house shows.

It’s probably more exciting nowadays to go to a live recording of Raw or Smackdown.

Matches may be shorter and less spectacular for the weekly’s, but at least you know it’s going to be broadcast in America so something should occur to help further various storylines at least.

One sure-fire way to get a pop from a UK crowd is a title change. Normally it is just a small victory for a lesser title, that’ll probably be reversed or retconned by the time the company heads back stateside, but SOMETIMES history is made.

The significance could be instantaneous, or it could become more important when looking back in hindsight, as this list will show…

Shawn Michaels Wins The European Championship

Shawn Michaels Poses with the european title

Before WWE inherited the US Championship from WCW, the second secondary belt for the WWFwas the now-defunct European Championship, and the inaugural titleholder was the one and only British Bulldog.

Well, we say one and only. Dynamite Kid was technically a British Bulldog too, and Davey Boy Smith jr has inherited the moniker from his father but you get what we mean.

Davey Boy Smith sr. was crowned first European champ after winning a tournament in Germany back in February of1997, and enjoyed a lengthy six-month reign.

In September of that year, WWE hosted the event One Night Only in the UK. Being as this was Bulldog’s home turf his European title match was given top billing over Bret Hart Vs Undertaker for the world title, much like Summerslam 1992 (oh, we will get to that).

Bulldog faced Shawn Michaels and with the British crowd on his side….he lost.

Not only did he lose, but he also lost controversially both on screen and behind scenes.

This title loss was unexpected, but it served as a setup for things to come.

Shawn had now diabolically won a belt off someone in their homeland. A little over a month later WWE would host Survivor Series 97 in Quebec Canada, although nothing of any importance happened at that show and we’re not quite sure why we brought it up.

Tyler Bate Wins The WWE UK Title Tournament

Tyler Bates wins the UK title

In December 2016, Triple H announced the WWE UK Championship, and in January of 2017, a tournament was held in Blackpool England to crown the inaugural belt holder.

It was an epic event for us in the UK, and a who’s who of British talent gathered in Blackpool’s beautiful Empress ballroom.

The final saw Tyle Bate vs Pete Dunne, with Bates being the last man standing.

It was a wonderful moment for the UK wrestling scene. No longer would we have to see pity IC championship victories that would be reversed by the time the company went back stateside.

We had our own brand, our own roster, and are own title matches to look forward to!

At least that’s what we thought. So far all subsequent title changes have taken place at American events. Had it truly been a British title it would have ranked higher on our list.

Still, it was a nice thought at the time.

Rated-RKO Wins The WWE Raw Tag Team Title

Randy Orton and Edge with their tag team titles

In 2006 Shawn Michaels and Triple H were enjoying another run as DX, and as the team couldn’t just keep on beating up the Spirit Squad on a weekly bases a new nemesis had to be formed.

In an episode of The Cutting Edge on the October 9th edition of Raw, Edge proposed an alignment with the legend killer Randy Orton to take out the green-clad goons.

And so Rated-RKO was born. Even though their main run was less than a year, the dastardly duo have seemed to surpass the usual casual superstar team-ups to be fondly remembered as a brilliant heel tag team.

Their legacy was truly cemented on the November 16th Raw from Manchester England when they won the Tag titles.

However, this win isn’t on the list for who won, but rather who lost.

Their opponents that night, who won the titles themselves a little over a week ago at Cyber Sunday 2006, were none other than Ric Flair and Roddy Piper.

Their run was short-lived as Roddy was suffering from health issues, and the loss made sense with Randy’s legend killer ambitions, and it helped plunge Rated-RKO even deeper into absolute pure a******s in the eyes of the fans.

It also gave us a bitter-sweet fact we may have not known at the time. The UK audience paid witness to the last time both Rowdy Roddy Piper and The Nature Boy Ric Flair held a WWE title.

British Bulldog Wins The Intercontinental Championship 92

Bulldog wins the IC title

 

So the upcoming Cardiff show is being touted as the first major WWE stadium event in 30 years. The last one was SummerSlam 92.

The build-up was huge, with 80,0000 people filling Wembley Stadium to witness a packed card featuring TWO main events.

Randy Savage would defend the WWF Championship against The Ultimate Warrior, but more importantly for UK fans, the homegrown hero British Bulldog would win the IC Championship from Bret Hart in the evening’s last bout, creating a moment for fans to remember for years to come.

At least it was the last match of the evening for the UK. As it was on tape delay for the US showing, the main events were switched around so the states would conclude with Savage V Warrior.

And there lies the problem. A few short years later the wrestling landscape would change with the advent of the internet.

By the time the late 90s rolled around the internet wrestling community with instantaneous results and spoilers meant that a UK event of Summerslam 92’s magnitude could no longer take place.

Every subsequent UK PPV since, as previously mentioned, was nothing more than glorified house shows, without anything of any real significance happening for fear of spoilers for American fans

That was until…

AJ Styles Wins The World Title

Aj Styles stands victorious in Manchester

On the 7th of November 2017, Smackdown would take place at the Manchester Arena in England, as part of one of WWE’s bi-annual UK tours.

The main event saw AJ Styles take on WWE Champion Jinder Mahal for the latters title. It was already a treat for British fans to see a WWE title match live, but then the unthinkable happened.

AJ STYLES ACTUALLY WON!

The crowd was in shock, expecting some kind of decision reversal, but as AJ celebrated it became clear that this was the real deal, and the game had changed for British ticket payers.

Even off home soil, the adage “Anything can happen in the WWE!” came to prominence.

Style’s win gave fans a new reason to believe a mega UK PPV could once again take place, and after five years of rumours and hearsay, and the United Kingdom getting a new main event hero in Drew Macintyre, it’s actually happening.

So no matter what takes place on the night of September 3rd, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales, one thing is guaranteed. History will be made.