WWE's Lost Art: What Happened to the 30-Day Title Defense Rule?

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WWE's Lost Art: What Happened to the 30-Day Title Defense Rule?
Photo courtesy of WWE.com

The WWE has a big problem. 

Well, it has hundreds of big problems, but at the top of that list is inconsistency. 

Although that’s a very broad term, I think we can all agree that the WWE is hardly ever consistent with its storylines and rules. 

Hey, remember that whole anonymous Raw general manager thing? Whatever happened to that? 

What about who raised and lowered the cell for R-Truth and The Miz at Hell in a Cell last year? I guess we’re just supposed to forget about that, huh? 

How about Zack Ryder’s automatic rematch for the United States Championship? Is he ever gonna get that? 

I think you get the point—the WWE forgets about its own storylines and bends its own rules if they don’t fit in well with the direction of the company at the time. 

There’s no better example of this than the blatant disregard for the rule that a champion must defend his title at least once within a 30-day period or will be forced to drop the belt. 

Especially in recent years, the WWE has completely ignored this rule. 

Take, for example, Cody Rhodes’ recent eight-plus month run with the Intercontinental Championship. 

I’m sure the creative team thinks we won’t remember that Rhodes often went well over a month without defending his title. But we obviously do.

Sorry, WWE, but house shows don’t count for that rule. If a wrestler doesn’t defend his belt on TV or pay-per-view within that 30-day span, he or she should drop the title, no questions asked. 

Yet, it almost never happens. 

Remember when Evan Bourne was suspended for 30 days last fall? Did he and Kofi Kingston have to drop the WWE Tag Team Championship? 

Of course not. 

The creative team did not want to take the belts off of Air Boom and/or had no other team to put them on, so—guess what? They just said, “Screw that 30-day rule. The fans won’t notice.” 

Well, on the contrary, my friend. We definitely do. 

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Although it may not seem like such a big deal for this rule to be totally ignored, the ignorance of said rule is part of a bigger picture: It devalues the WWE’s titles. 

If the WWE tag team titles or the Intercontinental title aren’t defended for 45 or 60 days, people will forget about them. Even more so than they already have. 

In turn, that makes the suffering mid-card and tag team titles one step closer to irrelevancy. And it’s all because the WWE chooses to brush a simple rule aside to keep in tune with whatever is going on at the time. 

For the most part, the 30-day role is never even acknowledged on TV, which I guess is the WWE’s way of saying that house show title defenses count, which, of course, is total and utter BS.

The last time I remember seeing a title vacated because someone couldn’t defend it for 30 days (not including Edge’s retirement) was when Batista won the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules in 2009 and then had to forfeit it the next night on Raw because of a legitimate injury. 

Other than that, the simple rule that is meant to protect the prestige of the WWE’s championships has become nonexistent. 

For all we know, Santino Marella might not have his next US Championship match until January 2013, but he would still hold onto the title. 

The 30-day rule is a problem that needs fixing, a lost art that needs to be found.

 

Note: As part of the new WWE blog, I'll be asking all of the B/R wrestling readers for questions for a new mailbag that I will post on Fridays. It will be a slideshow featuring 10-to-20 questions and answers on a wide range of topics. You can submit questions either through Formspring or Twitter, and the best ones will be answered in the B/R mailbag.

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