As anyone who watches fighting sports knows there are always titles to hold and to hold a title means that you are the best at that moment in your sport. But what does a title mean in the world of Sports Entertainment? Is it any less because the outcomes of matches are predetermined? Can a wrestling title truly be prestigious and if so if it looses it’s prestige can it ever truly regain it? In this article I am going to look at the main WWE titles that they currently have and state my opinion on how relevant they are and what they might want to try to make them better if needed.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
The WWE World Heavyweight Championship title is a relatively new title even though it has a history spanning 50+ years. This title is a combined title of the old WWE Heavyweight Title and the WCW World Title. I have done a study of who has held the WWE portion of this title over the years and I found that it is a very interesting read. Back in the day when Vince McMahons father ran the WWWF the title could be with someone for years, in a span of 10 years you would see like 3 title changes and only 2 champions. However, once we see the 80’s come in we have Vince take over from his father and right around that same time we start creeping into an era of title changes that I like to call “No Superstar Left Behind”. Has anyone else noticed that in the past few years with the main rosters you really can’t Cesaro Swing a cruiserweight without hitting a title holder of some sort? Finally, the WWE has seemed to realize that their main title transferring holders every few months was not a good idea but like many people will do they did the worst knee jerk reaction they could and gave the title to the prepubescent pterodactyl Brock Lesnar and by his side as always the one that can actually talk Paul Heyman.
I don’t have any problem with Paul he’s an awesome manager and great on the Mic however the matches with Brock just do NOT feel like good old wrestling matches. Brock is a MMA Beast and he acts like it. His matches are mainly not technical but are more brutal I’m going to slam you down and destroy you and beat you into a pulp. There is also the problem that until just recently musical guests Florida Georgia Line had appeared on the WWE shows more than Brock did since he had won the title and thats just rediculous. Back in the da, Andre the Giant was an attraction because as he toured the various territories he wasn’t seen as much from place to place but the reason this worked is because while he may not be being seen in PA right now he might be in TN and wowing the fans there.
He was always kept relevant somewhere. You can’t say that now a days if someone disappears for a bit, now a days they more fade away as do any titles they may hold. What they need for the title is someone like Roman Reigns or Daniel Bryan some good fan favorite to get the title and HOLD it. They don’t need to fight for it every PPV but they have to be seen, the title has to be seen and for a while I think the person who has it truly does need to be a babyface for the company. Evil has won out for too long on the titles, we need a new hero a new (god forgive me for saying it) Hulk Hogan for this generation. If you can give us that, someone to cheer for, to look up to who can hold his own and keep the title believably for a good amount of time (like Samartino) then and only then does this title start to mean something again.
A very prestigious title in the WWE that has been around since I was 1 year old. The first IC champ was Pat Patterson and for seven whole months he held onto the title. The IC has been a great title to strive for because the greats have all held it from Macho Man, to Shawn Michaels and Triple H a lot of the ones who have held this title have put on amazing shows and gone on to headline as the World Champ. For the longest time it seemed that if you were in line for the IC Title and could get your hands on it that the sky was then your destiny and not just a limit. Some of the great IC champs recently have even gone on to hold the World Champ title such as Dolph Ziggler, the Miz, Big Show, Christian and ummm well to tell the truth the rest of the ones that have held it “recently” aren’t ones that inspire confidence that they could go on to the top or aren’t the type to be let near the top by the WWE.
I mean lets be honest Curtis Axel only got his chance as IC title holder because his dad was Mr. Perfect and he got it on fathers day, he is no where near ready for the big game of World Champ and it shows right now between mic and ring work Curtis Axel is a mid-carder at best. Big E, he has the potential to be big but lets face it the WWE does tend to be a bit racist with World Champ titles, very rarely do you see someone who is not White or Samoan near the World Title. Kofi Kingston has held it and is like a black Shawn Michaels in a lot of his moves and I would love to see him go far but he has that same problem I mentioned for Big E. Wade Barrett isn’t bad as a mid-card champion and right now that’s what the IC title feels like it’s lost it’s shine. As much as I like Barrett in the ring, I can’t stand his character, never have been able to and honestly I don’t think he is nearly ready to go World Champ nor do I think he could with the type of character he plays.
Now the IC title is being put up soon at Wrestlemania with a Ladder Match and in it are Stardust, Luke Harper, Bad News Barrett, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose and R-Truth. Right off the bat I can say R-Truth most likely has no chance and even if he does somehow get it it won’t be good for the title. Don’t get me wrong, I love R-Truth but he has the whole racial bias of the WWE working against him, and he also has a whole slew of goofy characters that he tends to play. Can you imagine little Jimmy or a title belt stealing type being the world champion? I can’t so why put him in the IC title position? Luke Harper as the World Title Holder, yeah I can’t see that either as long as he is playing the crazy redneck swamp person type of character. Harper really needs to go back to the Wyatt Family with Erick Rowan. Stardust, well if he was wrestling as Cody Rhodes I could see a possibility of him getting it and helping make it prestigious again. However as the weird hissing and nonsense talking oddity Stardust I just don’t see him as World Champ material in that character and while it may make for some good titles like the US or Tag titles I don’t see it for someone who could become the face of the company at least not in this day and age.
Then we have Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, and Daniel Bryan. Any of these three could conceivably hold the title and bring it back to the glory it once held. Ambrose is well on his way to being a crowd favorite who could one day challenge for the World Title. Dolph Ziggler has already proved himself capable of holding the World Title and I would love to see him get another shot at it. Daniel Bryan, as much as he would do good for the IC Title, I have other plans for him that I will discuss in our next blog. So right now I think the best thing for the IC Title is very similar to the World Title, we need a fan fav to hold it and bring the shine back to it’s name. We need someone like Ambrose or Ziggler who could easily move on to the higher titles when they are ready. We also need to get the titles away from the Heels for a bit; for the past few years the bad guys have had too much power in the WWE and one good way to bring prestige back to a title is going to be for someone who deserves it and can do good by it to hold it.
The US Title is one of the few WCW Titles that has lasted to this day. As with the other titles in the WWE and other wrestling promotions like WCW this title was once a prestigious title to hold. Many great superstars past and present have held this title such as Harley Race, Ric Flair, Sgt Slaughter, Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka among others. However, the US title hasn’t been as great as it used to be, this seems to be a running theme in the WWE to tell the truth. The various things they have done over the years has really run most of their titles into the ground or for some reason made them kinda pointless.
For instance, did you know that since 2012 the US title has only been held by 1 superstar that has been billed from the US and in the year that he held the title he only defended it 8 times and mainly only kept it because the rest of his group the Shield would interfere and a title can only change hands on a pin or submission? Otherwise, since 2012, we have seen Santino Marella who while fun to watch isn’t the epitome of a great champion. He is better comedy relief than champion material truthfully, don’t get me wrong I love the guy, but I love him for his comedy. We have also seen Cesaro who did nothing but put down America while he was the US champion which doesn’t help the title look good. We then had Sheamus and Kofi Kingston as US champions and while they made for good champions one is from Ireland and one from Africa (yes I know Kofi moved to America when he was 1 but that’s not where they say he is from in the story line).
Now we have a Bulgarian Brute who fancies himself as a Russian hero as the US champ and once again every time he is out he runs down the US. Thankfully I think the WWE may have found a way to bring this title back to prominence. Thankfully, this way is not the way that many fans think they should go with it. I keep hearing that the IC Title and the US Title should be merged but I see a huge problem with this. You see the IC title is kinda a mini world title which honestly to me has always seemed to be the world minus the US After all it did merge with the European Title and not the US in the past which makes one think it is a European Title plus Asia and such but without the US. So what happens if you mix a title that is everything but the US and the US Title? You basically get a new World Title, which the WWE just took great pains to get rid of by merging with their Heavyweight Title so it wouldn’t make much sense to introduce another one.
No instead what they need to do is to find someone that is very patriotic to hold it. They need to find someone who is well respected in the business by fans and wrestlers alike. They need to find someone that the fans and such can look up to to erase the Tarnish on the title that Rusev and Cesaro heaped upon it. But who could ever fulfill all that? well considering 15 time World Champ John Cena is set to go up against Rusev at Wrestlemania for the title and as I said in a previous blog about Cena he also fills those other criteria, well if they allow him to hold onto the title for a bit it could be possible to bring it back to it’s former glory.
Tag Team Titles
For me one of the things I have always enjoyed almost the most in wrestling is to see a great Tag Team. I can see why individual wrestlers become stars but for me it is so much more impressive to see what 2 people can do to work together for a common goal. While I will always remember Shawn Michaels and Triple H and John Cena and various other wrestlers for their individual accomplishments its always been the Tag Teams that have really stood out for me.
The history of this title only goes back to 2002 but if you connect the history of the World Tag Titles that it was unified with then you have a title that stretches back to 1971. Some truly great teams have gone after these titles such as The Blackjacks, The Wild Samoans, Iron Sheik with Nikolai Volkoff, the Hart Foundation, the Legion of Doom and the New Age Outlaws among many others. For me it was always interesting to see how the heels would try to screw the system to win, or how a team reacted to each other when they were first put together. It still is great to me to see Tag Team matches as some true greats have started in the Tag Teams and come up from there whereas some others truly become great with the team and make the team great.
Unfortunately, the WWE doesn’t seem to agree with me about how cool tag teams can be! From what I hear Triple H agrees with me but for some reason Vince just doesn’t like the teams form what I hear. This has made for a rather pathetic Tag Team roster as of late. Currently the Tag Belts are up for grabs at Wrestlemania in a Four Way Tag Match with the Usos, Los Matadores, The New Day and Cesaro and Kidd. Heres the problem with the Tag Team roster right now for the WWE, basically what you see in this match is all but 2 Tag Teams. They are missing Prime Time Players and The Ascension but honestly we’re seeing the entire tag team division in one match it seems!
I mean honestly you look at the other titles and see how many people could possibly go after them and you have like 30 or 40 people and then some if you look at the complete WWE Roster (though I admit a ton of them seem to be live show only and never get airtime anymore) and then you go to the tag team and it becomes only a handful. If they want to make the Tag Team Titles mean anything they need an actual Tag Team Division. However, they need actual Tag Teams like the Usos, The New Day, Los Matadores, the Dust Brothers, we need actual teams not just two people thrown together! Bring back the Wyatt Family they need a reunion that lasts. If Reigns can’t get the Heavyweight title then maybe have a Shield reunion of Ambrose and Reigns but get some actual long term teams with real names that are more than just two people thrown together. This could make the Tag Titles mean something because right now the Tag Division is so small its laughable that they even keep it at all.
Now due to the length this blog has already reached, I am going to split this in two portions. In this blog you have the current titles (minus the Divas title because that will take a whole blog to talk about on it’s own). Next blog will bring in some retired titles I think should be brought back and why as well as the introduction of a brand new title that I think they really need to introduce! So keep checking back and our next blog will be with you soon!
Photos Courtesy of:
WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt- prowrestling.wikia.com
Tag Team Belt- successimg.com
IC Title- jkwrestling.com
US title- wikipedia.com
Cruiserweight title- bebo.com
Hardcore title- cagesideseats.com