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SHOULD THE WWE GET RID OF THE WORLD TITLE? (Long Read)

m. inferno
m. inferno Members Posts: 1,768 ✭✭✭
edited October 2011 in Off The Turn Buckle
From Mark Henry and Christian to Kane, Batista, Jeff Hardy and more, the WWE's World Heavyweight Title has been many wrestlers' first taste of main event gold! But is it time to do away with the belt? 411's Ronny Sarnecky takes a look!

According to the Merriam-Webster's on-line dictionary, one of the definitions of the word Champion describes "a winner of first prize or first place in competition." From the WWWF/WWF/WWE's inception in 1963 up until September 2002, there was one wrestler at a time that could call himself World Champion. In September 2002, the WWE introduced a second World championship to go along with the WWE World title. The reason for the dual World titles was to give the SmackDown! brand and the RAW brand their own World championship.
In March of next year, the WWE will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the WWE Raw/SmackDown! brand split. Ever since the very first WWE Draft Lottery, there has been arguments among wrestling fans on whether the WWE should have two separate brands or should all of the wrestlers compete under one umbrella. Over the years, the WWE has blurred the line between the two separate brands. Wrestlers on RAW frequently compete on SmackDown!, and SmackDown! performers now compete on RAW every Monday night. With the two brands now closer to being one brand than at any point since the advent of the brand split, there is one question that needs to be asked. Should the WWE merger the WWE World title with the World Heavyweight Championship, and should they do the same with the Intercontinental and United States titles? Is it time for the WWE to go back to the WWE World title, WWE Tag Team Championship, and Intercontinental belt as their only titles, like what they presented in the eighties until the mid-nineties?
There are both advantages and disadvantages for the WWE to cut the number of singles championships in half.

THE VALUE OF THE BELT



It's really no secret. For the last several years, the title belts in the WWE have lost a tremendous amount of value and prestige over the last decade. When I first started watching wrestling in 1984,seeing a title change in the WWF was a special occurance. Bruno Sammartino held the WWWF World title on two occasions for eleven plus years. Bob Backlund had the belt for over five years. Hulk Hogan was about to begin a four year reign as WWF World Champion. In the company's first twenty one years in existence, there were only ten recognized World Champions in the promotion's history. The WWF Intercontinental title had infrequent title changes as well. The average title reign for an Intercontinental champion was a little less than a year. The World Tag Team titles only switched hands two-three times a year.

Whenever a wrestler won a title, it was a special moment. A title change wasn't something that you saw every month. There's a reason why the crowd popped huge whenever a title changed hands. It was because you never knew when you would see another title change in person.

A WWF World title switch was the most rare of all of the title changes. What made a WWF World title change so special was that, aside from the "transitional" champion that would get a couple week reign, the holder of the WWWF/WWF World title represented the top performer in the company. This wrestler was given the ball, and became the face of the company. He was the man that the McMahons built the company around. Whether it was Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Bob Backlund, or Hulk Hogan, when these men captured the WWWF/WWF World title, you know that they were in it for the long haul. For the first quarter of a century of the company's exsistence, having your name in the record books as holding the WWWF/WWF World title made you a part of an elite fraternity. One that only a select few could call home.

MULTIPLE REIGNS



One of the benefits of having one World champion in the company, as opposed to having two World title belts is that there is less of a chance at seeing multiple title reigns. Before the WWF found its home on pay per view in 1985, the WWWF/WWF had only one wrestler that held the title on more than one occasion. That man was Bruno Sammartino, who captured the title twice. Depending on what record book you look at, Bob Backlund may be given credit as being the only other wrestler who held two WWWF/WWF World titles in the company's first twenty-five years.

As pay per view grew, the WWF World title changed hands more frequently. Until the "Attitude Era," the title would change hands one-three times a year. During the "Attitude Era" title changes increased to five to six times a year, except for 1999 when the World title switched hands a whopping eleven times. Despite the increase in WWF World title changes since 1988, the list of multiple champions from that year until 2002 (when a second World title was born) included Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Yokozuna, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Sid, the Undertaker, Steve Austin, The Rock, 🤬 Foley, Triple H, Kurt Angle, and The Big Show. That's fourteen different wrestlers with more than one title reign.

Since the inception of the second World title there have been Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, John Cena, Edge, Randy Orton, Triple H, Batista, and Sheamus all with multiple WWE World title reigns. Triple H, Batista, Edge, the Undertaker, Chris Jericho, John Cena,CM Punk, Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, and Christian with multiple World Heavyweight title reigns. Of the nineteen "multiple" World title reigns since 2002, John Cena, Edge, Randy Orton, Triple H, and Batista had multiple WWE and World Heavyweight title reigns. John Cena had a total of twelve. Edge captured a total of eleven. Orton has nine combined reigns. Triple H garnered eight combined titles. Batista won six combined championships in this nine year period.

Before September 2002, when the second World title was introduced in the company, The Rock led the way with seven multiple WWF World title reigns. Hulk Hogan was next with six, and he went around nine years between title wins number five and six. Steve Austin tied Hulk Hogan with six reigns. Triple H had five, as did Bret Hart. All of the other "multiple" title reigns before the fall of 2002 had two or three.

The wrestlers who won four or more multiple World titles between 1963-the fall of 2002 equals a total of 29 title reigns. Since the creation of the World Heavyweight Championship, the number of title reigns involving wrestlers who won multiple title reigns equals 46. If the WWE would merge the two World title belts, there would be less of an opportunity for wrestlers to win multiple World Championships. It would make each multiple title reign that much more impressive. Today, it seems like everybody who holds a World title in the WWE is destin to have more than one title reign. Therefore, the title victory isn't as special because it's more of the same old, same old. Case in point was when John Cena captured his tenth WWE World title last week. If there was only one belt, this would be seen as a huge milestone accomplishment. Instead, fans couldn't care any less about the record win.

THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE GROWS STRONGER



Growing up, I loved watching matches where the Intercontinental Championship was at stake. The reason is because the WWF's "secondary" title was usually almost as important as the WWF World championship. The Intercontinental championship served many purposes. It was the "work horse" title. While Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior held the WWF World title, the WWF usually put their best worker in the Intercontinental title slot. Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Rick Rude, Curt Henning, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels were just a handful of the wrestlers that held the Intercontinental title, and provided some of the best matches in the company. Another use for the Intercontinental championship was to serve as a stepping stone to the WWF World title. Depending on how well the wrestler was over holding the WWF's secondary title, a World title reign could be in their future. This was the path that Randy Savage, the Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, amongst many others took before capturing the ultimate prize; the WWF World title.

In 2003, the WWE brought back the United States Championship. The new title was supposed to be used as the secondary belt for the SmackDown! brand. On paper, it was a good idea. A World champion on each show, and a secondary belt on each program for the undercard. Unfortunately, what has happened is that the WWE World championship is seen as the top belt in the company. The World Heavyweight Championship is viewed as the number two belt in the organization. Despite being a "world" title, the World Heavyweight championship is seen in the same light as the Intercontinental title back in the eighties and mid-nineties. The "secondary" titles are now viewed as afterthoughts. Today's United States and Intercontinental championships share the same clout as the European and 🤬 titles during the "Attitude Era." Instead of being used to elevate wrestlers to the next level, the two belts are nothing more than props to give the illusion that the WWE is pushing the "champion" to the next level. Instead of being an upper mid-card belt, these championships are now relegated to being a mid-card wrestler.

If the WWE eliminated the World Heavyweight Championship and the United States title, the Intercontinental strap will get stronger. Instead of having two mid-card wrestlers fighting for the Intercontinental Championship, you will have main event, or close to main event, performers battling for the belt. Then, when a non-main event player captures the Intercontinental title, the victory would be a big deal, because he would be moving up the WWE's food chain.

Comments

  • m. inferno
    m. inferno Members Posts: 1,768 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2011
    WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER BRAND?



    One of the reasons for having dual World Champions due to the brand split was because of the WWE's house show tour. With two World Champions, you can have a World title match on a RAW house show, and another World title match on a SmackDown! house show. While that is logical thinking, it's an idea that no longer works. Currently, the SmackDown! house show circuit is doing horrible numbers. How bad could the brand's house show attendance fall without a World title defense on the show.

    Besides, if you look at the WWE pre-brand split, the WWE had multiple tours going on at the same time. Instead of the RAW and SmackDown! brands, the WWE had the "A" house show and the "B" house show. The World title would be defended on the "A" show, and the Intercontinental championship would be on the line on the "B" shows. During a house show tour, you could alternate between the WWE World champion and the Intercontinental champion on each brand. Plus, with the two brands more and more becoming a single brand, it wouldn't matter which show is considered the "A" show or the "B" show.

    WHY SHOULD THERE BE TWO WORLD CHAMPIONS?



    Whether there should be dual champions or a single World title holder is not a one sided argument. While there are many reasons why the WWE should go back to a lone World Champion there is a big reason why the WWE should keep the WWE World and World Heavyweight Championships.
    In the eighties, the WWE had a stacked roster filled with talented performers. Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff, Ricky Steamboat, Jake Roberts, John Studd, King Kong Bundy, Barry Windham, Rick Rude, Curt Henning, and Ted DiBiase all had the talent to be the World Champion. However, they had a roadblock named Hulk Hogan standing in their way. If these wrestlers were active today, each man would have at least one World title reign to their credit. That's the good thing about the dual World Champions. Guys who are deserving of at least one title reign get rewarded. If there was only one World title to go around, I don't believe the Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, The Miz, and probably Sheamus would have never gotten a taste of World Championship gold.

    While I like the fact that the WWE shares the wealth with its wrestlers by having two World titles, I prefer the one World champion system. Give me a single World title, where the belt means a lot more, and a title change is viewed as a changing of the guard for the company. Until then, I'll settle for two title matches on each pay per view.
  • Ishi
    Ishi "You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger" Members Posts: 4,649 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2011
    I think they should half the titles too to bring back that important to the titles that are now gone like the writer of this said.
  • Silverfoxxx
    Silverfoxxx Members Posts: 1,066
    edited October 2011
    Great read man i fully agree about the one title rule. But the problem is that SUPER DUPER CENA and SUPER ORTON will only hold the title.
  • Indy8503 HD
    Indy8503 HD Members Posts: 554
    edited October 2011
    I'm for one World title only if they committ to having the title defended on both shows like they're doing with the Diva's and Tag titles now.
  • lovelyfox83
    lovelyfox83 Members Posts: 4
    edited October 2011
    John Studd, King Kong Bundy, Barry Windham, Rick Rude, Curt Henning, and Ted DiBiase all had the talent to be the World Champion. However, they had a roadblock named Hulk Hogan standing in their way. If these wrestlers were active today, each man would have at least one World title reign to their credit. That's the good thing about the dual World Champions. Guys who are deserving of at least one title reign get rewarded. If there was only one World title to go around, I don't believe the Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio,