Intercontinential Title-United States Title: Do We Care Anymore?
Don't you remember the good-old days? The days when holding a championship actually meant something?
The days when you could order a pay-per-view and every title would be defended?
Do you remember the Intercontinental and U.S. Championship? Did you know these titles actual still exist in the WWE?
Maybe you do but lately it seems the WWE doesn't. In the next five years, it's quite possible that these two historic titles may become a distant memory.
The I/C and U.S. titles have so much history between them. Legends have held these titles. Steamboat, Savage, Flair, and Race just to name a few.
Lately we've seen both titles be treated as a complete joke.
Let's start with the I/C title. We were hoodwinked into thinking that there was some hope for the title when the WWE came up with the idea of having a tournament to determine the number one contender for the title.
At the time William Regal was champion and he needed a new challenger. Eventually CM Punk became number one contender and eventually Intercontinental Champion. CM Punk was to be the flagbearer for the new and improved intercontinental division. No fault to CM Punk, but he has been anything but.
Since CM Punk became I/C champ, do you know how many times he has defended the title? You don't? Me either.
I do know that he's defended the title a whopping ZERO times on any pay-per-view event since winning the gold!
William Regal, the previous champion, had no pay-per-view title defenses either.
In fact, in 2008 the I/C title was defended on pay-per-view three times. Three out of the 108 pay-per-views the WWE puts on every year. (Just an exaggeration on the 108, but it's too many, dammit!)
Let's examine those matches.
At Night of Champions, Chris Jericho battled Kofi Kingston for the title. Pretty decent match.
The next two are very, very, peeworthy.
Summerslam brought us a match where the I/C and Women's Title were defended in the same match. Kofi Kingston and Mickie James teamed up to face Glamarella.
At Cyber Sunday, Santino defended the title against The Honky Tonk Man! Are you flippin kidding me? I understand that there was a comedy aspect to this whole thing but Honky Tonk is 72 years old and no one thought for a second he would win the title. (He did win the match by DQ)
A title so rich in prestige and history should be defended more than three times in a year on PPV. We're approaching the 25th anniversary of Wrestlemania. The I/C title has not been defended at Wrestlemania since 2002.
That drought will continue this year as I/C champ CM Punk is slated to participate in the "Money In The Bank" ladder match. Prior to 2002 with the exception of Wrestlemania XII, an I/C title match was on every Wrestlemania card.
These days we're lucky if we see an I/C title match on RAW.
The U.S. title, in my opinion, has surpassed the I/C title as far it's current value in the WWE. Though that's not saying very much.
At least when you hold the U.S. title you can be guaranteed a decent title reign.
Shelton Benjamin, the current U.S. champ, has held the title longer than the reigns of the last four I/C champs (Punk, Marella, Regal, Kingston) combined.
In fact, three of the last four U.S. champs have had title reigns over six months. That's saying something seeing as how titles change hands so rapidly in the WWE.
Since 2007 there have been nine different I/C champs. Only three U.S. champs.
Like the I/C title, the U.S. title still lacks the PPV exposure that it needs. They had a couple more PPV matches in 2008 but there is a need for more. The U.S. title is only in the midst of a two year Wrestlemania drought.
So the question is do we care anymore?
These two titles give the mid-card wrestlers the opportunity to compete and have a shot at holding a title. Because let's face it everyone can't be World Champion.
The mid-card wrestlers often still the show at WWE events.
You may come to see the big stars like John Cena, Shawn Michaels and Triple H but often you leave talking about Kofi Kingston, Shelton Benjamin or Jeff Hardy.
So again do we care about the relevance of the U.S. and Intercontinental Championships?
There is too much history not to.
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