The WWE Hardcore Championship a hardcore wrestling championship in WWE, which was contested under "hardcore" rules (no disqualifications, no countouts, and pinfalls count anywhere). In the latter part of the title's history, a rule was implemented allowing anyone to challenge the champion at any place or time, provided a referee was present (dubbed the "24/7 rule"). It was established on November 2, 1998 with Mankind as the inaugural champion. In 2002, it was unified with the WWE Intercontinental Championship by Rob Van Dam, the final Hardcore Champion.
Mr. McMahon awarded Mankind the World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship on November 2, 1998. After Mankind lost the title to Big Boss Man, he never attempted to recapture it mainly because of the main event push he received shortly afterward. At the time of conception, the idea was for the belt to be used in comedy segments to play on Mankind's reputation as a hardcore wrestler. However, as Mankind and hardcore wrestling became more popular with audiences, the Hardcore Championship became a more serious title. Its popularity led competitor World Championship Wrestling to create its own Hardcore Championship, a move followed by numerous independent promotions.