Kofi Kingston has been more than capable of making the next step in his career for the better part of four years, but we've yet to see the West African fan favorite move beyond perpetual midcard purgatory. The same goes for Wade Barrett, who seemed to be on the fast track to the main event scene upon debuting with the Nexus, but has been left meandering through directionless mini-feuds since his stable, The Corre, disbanded.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Kofi won the belt off Antonio Cesaro last week on Raw. Despite the outcry from parts of the Internet Wrestling Community over the treatment of Cesaro since the beginning of the new year, the WWE clearly doesn't see Swiss powerhouse as a key part of the company's immediate future.
So here we are with two familiar faces holding title belts that hold great historic prestige, but little value in the current WWE Universe. Were you to ask the common John Cena fan (See: child with wristbands age 4-10), they would be able to understand the implied importance of those championships. They can't recall a popular or heavily featured feud over the belts in lifetime of their fandom. They just know it gets passed around between guys who aren't John Cena.
The Intercontinental and United States championships are only important to old school wrestling fans that remember when these belts were used to launch the next big star. These were the work rate titles held by smaller statured, talented, young wrestlers who gained fan support for having great matches, not the greatest marketing campaigns behind them.
Unfortunately, the WWE has changed the landscape of title importance. It could be said that the World Heavyweight Championship is now the company's equivalent to the Intercontinental Title of old. Dolph Ziggler, Del Rio and Swagger aren't on the level of CM Punk, John Cena or part-timers like The Rock. I'd say that since Edge retired, vacating the World Heavyweight Championship, the belt has lost its luster and been relegated to a secondary belt.
Which brings us back to Kofi Kingston and Wade Barrett. Were we to consider the WHC to be the new IC strap, then Kofi and Wade are wearing something that may as well be the Attitude Era's European Championship. There was only one Euro Title, though. And that's why we should see these belts unified and a true division belt around a single championship.
To not give away much from the Smackdown spoilers, it appears we are about to get a feud between the two champions. They have worked well in matches together during earlier feuds and fit the mold of an exciting baby-face fan favorite and a bruising heel. With Extreme Rules still nearly a month away, it's plenty of time to build to a match.
Considering the Extreme Rules concept, it would make sense for a Ladder Match to be included on the show. If given time, Kingston and Barrett could have a star-making performance in such a match. As a show-opener, a Kofi victory would raise his profile, the profile of the unified title and make it feel special for the first time in years.