WWE Titles, a colossal mess?

WWE World Heavyweight Title - WikiMedia Commons

Let's explore the various problems with WWE's titles, as well as precisely how to go about fixing them.

Fans, blog writers, and even our loyal Cagesiders here have brought up the colossal mess WWE's title situation is in. Some people believe the titles lack credibility while others believe there are too many titles. WWE has a variety of issues it should consider repairing.

Many characteristics draw people to this thing known as professional wrestling. Some want to believe it is real, while others relish the theatrical features of it. What compels me the most is the faux sporting aspect of it (i.e. the athleticism, competition and realism). Theatre and sports working in tandem is the essential component wrestling attempts to emulate.

Therefore, having two World Titles at play is akin to two teams able to win the Superbowl. It is nonsensical to have two chief champions affiliated with one product; there should be only one wrestler at the apex.

Granted, when WWE used to accentuate that SmackDown and Raw were wholly separate products, it was not quite so abominable for two titles to exist simultaneously. Today however, everyone who's an alpha wrestler on SmackDown appears on Raw these days and there haven't been exclusive SmackDown pay-per-views (PPVs) since 2007. In collaboration, these things have gazumped the brand separation of all its significance.

Consequently, WWE ought to consider unifying the belts, particularly considering how atrociously they are treating the World Heavyweight Championship. It would be one thing if it was close to the main-event, providing double main events on every PPV, but it is normally near the bottom of the card, and it sometimes even commences the show. Sorry, but no one believes that a wrestler is genuinely the world champion when he's curtain-jerking.

Something that has similarly daunted me forever is when Champion vs. Champion matches end up tangled together for an ordinary episode of Raw or SmackDown. These matches should be an immense deal. Not to mention that most of the time, whoever loses that match ends up looking like the inferior champion due to its lackluster build. It is after all two champions battling it out to see who will prove to be superior. Something of that magnitude needs to follow some sort of plot diagram in order to be climaxed.

Long story short, if WWE wants all of their titles to have some semblance of importance, this can no longer occur.

Aside from perhaps the divas championship, the titles that are lacking the most prestige are the United States (US) and Inter-Continental (IC) titles. The IC title was formerly a title of essence. It used to be a stepping-stone for forthcoming wrestlers or at the very least a good indicator as to whether or not a wrestler could prosper if he were to win the astronomic world title. In other words, it was a title they could use for trial-and-error purposes.

Wrestlers such as Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, and Chris Jericho all profited from their IC titles, as they were indicators as to what they could do. In fact, sometimes the Intercontinental Title matches were greater than the World Title matches simply because the wrestlers were younger, more acrobatic, faster and more nimble.

Today, evidently, the title is meaningless. Wade Barrett, the current champion, hasn't even won a match in months until last night. The only kayfabe explanation: he has the title because he rarely ever has to defend it (rendering the 30-day clause, which in all fairness, has been an afterthought forever).

Furthermore, whenever the IC is defended infrequently on PPV, it is commonly a last-minute buffer match lacking any semblance of narrative behind it. The match allows the fans to either get their popcorn or take a bathroom break.

The lack of an important mid-card title ends up being a chief problem, and one that we are seeing in WWE right now. It is challenging to make mid-card wrestlers seem important when there's not much they can do. Sure, they can feud with another midcarder for a while, but ultimately where does that lead?

They are not prepared from an experience or characterization development standpoint for the main-event, so they are going to keep beating every other mid-carder, or wind up switching off on who gets the mid-card push of the month; this results in even-steven booking, which doesn't help anyone become more popular.

In addition, there's not a mid-card "trial and error" title available, with its purpose being to see how someone could do as champion. Alternatively, they do it with the big titles -- as seen with Daniel Bryan, Jack Swagger, The Miz, and CM Punk -- and that vastly decreases the numerical quantity of the belts. After all, just because one becomes champion doesn't mean one automatically gets over.

What the midcard needs more than anything is something for them to compete over. They need obstacles and a goal to achieve, and a midcard title that has merit is something that would effectively work.

Truthfully, Antonio Cesaro is the ideal mid-card champion. He is a forthcoming wrestler who could be WWE champion. All he needs to do is polish some of his abilities beforehand, and pay his dues. The problem is, however, that he hasn't won an important match since becoming champion, and he is rarely allowed to talk on the microphone to get his character over. If he does talk, it's overly scripted clichéd nonsense, which comes off like a rehearsal, as opposed to something realistic. In fact, he is booked so irrelevantly that people have actually asked me who the US champion is.

Frankly, the US and IC titles are so similar that they overlap each other, and thus one should be replaced by something else. Since WWE is at a point where they are evolving from the "WWE Main Event style" into a more hybrid wrestling company with unique styles, bringing back the Light Heavyweight title would be a solid idea.

They do have a few wrestlers that are light heavyweights and more in developmental. If done correctly, of course, this would add more layers of variety into WWE's product, eliminate the overlapping feeling, allow more mid card wrestlers to be involved in a championship angle, and reestablish different divisions in WWE -- as opposed to everyone feeling as though they're lost in the shuffle.

The Divas title's purpose is obviously to be eye-candy and a buffer for PPV matches. Albeit from bringing in women who at least know the fundamentals of working a good match as well as cutting a promo, this division will be virtually useless.

On the other hand, the tag team division is far from the point of uselessness, although McMahon would have to alter his perception of it. He believes a tag division is unprofitable because it only markets one team, when he could be making money on two individual wrestlers. This logic (or lack-thereof) is idiotic. A tag-division exemplifies some diversity.

The company's titles are one of most important things in it. When they have no merit, the purpose of wrestling is rather meaningless. The titles are the strings that hold everything together. They are why every wrestler is trying to win and compete at the highest level every week. It's because they want a chance to get their shot at a title. This has been rather an afterthought in WWE, as it seems to be the wrestlers, especially in the midcard, could care less if they get a title shot.

This needs to change, and pronto.

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