Matt Cardona made history last night at GCW Most Notorious, as he pinned Rhino to become the new ECW World Television Champion. Rhino was the last champion to hold the belt before ECW dissolved in 2001. The title had not been referenced by WWE since, and is unknown whether they own the rights to the championship or not.
Matt Cardona, formerly known as Zack Ryder, has been on a tear in the past year since his WWE release. He became the GCW Champion earlier in the year by defeating Death Match Legend Nick Gage, which caused the crowd to almost riot. He had debuted his new character earlier that year, heavily referencing WWE and exaggerating many facets of his WWE character and the way WWE run their company.
Cardona used buzzwords that fans hate, like calling the GCW fans the “GCW Universe”, and claimed himself to be an “ECW Original”. ECW Original was a term used to refer to wrestlers who wrestled in ECW prior to it’s shutting down in 2001. Wrestlers like The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno are referred to as such, whilst Zack Ryder only performed on the ECW reboot post 2005. It makes a mockery of the spirit of ECW and made the fans hate Matt Cardona even more.
Matt Cardona as ECW Champion
He faced Rhyno, the former ECW Television Champion, at the latest GCW show “GCW Most Notorious”. In the days leading up the show, Cardona made references on social media and his podcast to Rhyno being the last ever ECW World Television champion. It was a prestigious title, held for over a year by Rob Van Dam in one of the most legendary title runs of all time. Cardona made note of the fact he wanted to beat Rhyno to become the first new champion in over 20 years.
During a chaotic bout with a rabid crowd in attendance, Cardona defeated Rhyno. Toward the end of the match, Rhyno hit Cardona’s wife Chelsea Green with a Gore, after which Cardona pulled out the ECW Television Champion and hit the former champion over the head with it. He then pinned him for the victory, and the announcer announced Cardona and the winner and the NEW ECW Television Champion.
Whether or not WWE own the Championship title is unknown. They purchased ECW in 2001 after they dissolved, but the ECW Television champion never appeared on WWE Television. However, it does make Rhyno one of the longest reigning champions of all time, officially holding the belt for over 20 years. This rivals the title reign of the Fabulous Moolah, who held the Women’s Championship for 28 years.