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Thoughts From Ringside…
- Updated: February 28, 2013
The Current WWE Championships: How Much Do They Matter?
When The Rock debuted a brand new WWE Championship belt on Monday Night RAW two weeks ago, a very vocal Internet Wrestling Community took to their favorite media outlet to let the world know whether they loved the new design or hated it. When I saw the new design, it made me ask a totally different question…
Sure, I’ll respond to the new Title: I’m not totally against the new design, but I’m not 100% behind it either. It looks like a giant class or championship ring to me. Regardless of how it looks though, I just can’t seem to get behind the title period.
I’m not one of the many IWC’ers that have turned their backs completely on The Rock since his return, but I am in the percentage that doesn’t believe he should be the WWE Champion at the moment, and I’ll tell you why.
Being a title-holder in the world of professional wrestling used to mean that you were one of the “ones that mattered.” (The Rock matters, but he’s wrestled 4 times in the last 7 years, come on) Yes, the championships aren’t competed for like in football, UFC, or boxing, but they are still earned (at least they were up until about 10 years ago). Being a champion meant that you had worked your butt off in that promotion to make it better, make your co-workers better, and make the product ITSELF better. And if you held the most prestigious title in the company, it meant you were the absolute best at doing all of these things AND you were one of, if not the most over with the fans, heel or face.
This just isn’t the case anymore.
Somewhere down the line, the championships in professional wrestling changed. They’ve morphed into almost USELESS transitional tools. Nothing more than flashy objects (that used to mean a lot) given to someone in order to try and make that person a star, even if he/she hasn’t done ONE thing to deserve it.
It looked like the WWE Championship was going to get pushed back into a prestigious category with CM Punk’s reign, but honestly, there were still many nights where he played second fiddle to whatever “main event” storyline WWE Creative had come up with (usually between poster boy John Cena and/or some part-timer that had returned to the company). He might have held the title longer than anyone else in the last 20 years, but ultimately, the main events of the night STILL went to someone that was NOT the WWE Champion.
Look at the current list of Champions in the WWE:
*WWE Champion* The Rock
*World Heavyweight Champion* Alberto Del Rio
*Intercontinental Champion* Wade Barrett
*United States Champion* Antonio Cesaro
*WWE Tag Team Champions* Team Hell No
*Divas Champion* Kaitlyn
Let’s start at the top. The WWE Title is currently held by someone that was once a great champion. The Rock is a part-timer though, not a full-time WWE competitor. In my opinion, he does GREAT things for the company by bringing in positive media attention and sales numbers, but he does NOTHING to help build that title back up into a place of relevance.
How much am I supposed to care about a championship, let alone the champion, when they aren’t even on television much?
One week after revealing a brand new title, The Rock wasn’t even on WWE programming. He is only wrestling on PPV cards as well, which really bothers me. A CHAMPION SHOULD BE WRESTLING ON LIVE TELEVISION TOO! I just lose respect for the title (and WWE Creative) when you remove it from one of the hardest working guys in the locker room and give it to someone STRICTLY because doing so might make the company more money, bring in more media coverage, and sell more merchandise. It adds a bigger element to the “Twice in a Lifetime” match that we’ll see in 5 weeks, but still, I could care less.
The World Heavyweight Championship (you know, Ric Flair’s old title that Vince acquired, along with the US Title, via his purchase of WCW) is now at the prestige level that the Intercontinental Championship used to be. Usually the guy that could be the next “top” guy will hold this level of championship, but they’ve failing with booking this one as well. Matches involving the WHC are usually the curtain jerkers, especially at PPVs (and it’s being passed around to more people than AJ Lee). What was at one time Smackdown’s WWE Title “equivalent”, is now 2nd tier. It’s being used currently in a decent program between Swagger and Del Rio, but I still find myself looking at it overall as something that just doesn’t matter.
The IC, US, and Divas Championships are even worse. They mean pretty much nothing. They’re lackluster “pusher” tools that don’t even work right now. The divas aren’t even getting regular matches on RAW much anymore. So, being the champion of a division that no one watches (even when they do air a match) is an absolute waste. Honestly, these three championships are as relevant right now as Zack Ryder’s Internet Championship…and we ALL know how relevant THAT is.
The Tag Titles are a joke (check out the “Thoughts From Ringside” post from 2 weeks ago to see more of my thoughts on the current Tag Team Division). Two of the best ring workers in the business have to be clowns at the moment while holding these belts, ALL for the comedic relief that WWE programming “desperately needs.” WASTE! They’ll probably keep this streak going by putting the Tag straps on Brodus Clay and “Sweet T” A-train soon. Ugh.
I just want to be able to care about who’s champion. This past Monday night, the only “champions” that wrestled were Team Hell No and Antonio Cesaro (and he jobbed to Randy Orton in a non-title match). Del Rio had a good verbal encounter with Swagger, and like I said, I’m enjoying their program, but the rest of the GREAT show that aired did NOT involve a lot of “champions” even competing. The Rock wasn’t even there. Meanwhile, non-champions like Punk and Cena tore the house down. Even Lesnar and Triple H actually got me interested in their up-coming rematch.
What I’m saying is, the show last Monday night was awesome, and the “champions” of the WWE had NOTHING to do with it. The only championship that “really matters” wasn’t even there.
I’d like to see the business and programming once again be built around a prestigious championship, because I think that’s what will produce superstars and give the fans wrestling worth watching. Why did the Attitude Era produce so many superstars? Because they all wanted to be the top guy. They all wanted to be the WWE Champion. It was their goal in life and you knew it, which made you care more about those competitors more than you do the current roster. You cared about sharing in their championship quests. Now, it’s just seems like most of the guys in the company just want to get a pay check and go home.
So, I guess the question I have is really a two-parter, and neither have an answer:
a. How much do the current WWE championships really matter?
b. When will they be placed on superstars that DEFINITELY deserve them?