WWE's Best That Never Was: WWE's Championship Scramble Fizzles Out
WWE Money in the Bank has proven to become WWE's strongest gimmick. The knee-jerk cash-in opportunity is almost optimized for the drive-by, social media generation of instant news. Its high success rate has made the Money in the Bank match such a must-watch entity, it now has its own pay-per-view.
The same fate should have been apparent with WWE's Championship Scramble, a unique, frenzied match type similarly optimized for the A.D.D. generation. So what happened?
This summer series will examine talents, moments and matches that crumbled under the weight of their immense potential.
WWE's Championship Scramble was an emblem of present day. Fluid action. A constantly changing make up from participants, to new interim champions. And The Brian Kendrick, of course.
Turn on professional wrestling in the 1950s and watch Lou Thesz in black and white assert himself through a tactical, deliberate grounded attack.
But this was the younger, cooler WWE where a collection of WWE talent participated in a mad dash for sudden greatness.
It was The Elimination Chamber without the eliminations. The Royal Rumble without the filler. War Games without the teams. An all-in-one showcase of fast-forwarded competition between WWE's top stars and The Brian Kendrick.
Should WWE give The Championship Scramble another shot?
The rules were much simpler than many detractors claimed. Two wrestlers start the match. A new participant enters every five minutes until all five participants have entered. Then the fun begins as the wrestlers have a time limit to become an interim champion through pinfalls and submissions. He who scores the final decision before the bell becomes a new world champion.
The storytelling of desperation to score a pinfall perfectly underscored the urgency and importance of becoming a WWE champion. There was no time to wait. No time for chinlocks, rest holds or hiding in the corner. It was the PRIDE fighting of professional wrestling. Hesitate and all hope is lost. It's now or never.
Imagine a world where The Brian Kendrick becomes an interim WWE champion, with seconds ticking before the unthinkable is a reality. A final minute where Jeff Hardy desperately scales the top rope looking to hit his Swanton Bomb finisher in order to regain the WWE championship. Chaos building to a crescendo.
Welcome to the Championship Scramble.
Maybe it was too much, too soon. The unveiling of the match type at Unforgiven 2008 included three Championship Scramble matches for three different world championships on one card.
Some fans didn't like the fact that a wrestler could score three pinfalls in one match without becoming a WWE champion.
But wouldn't this be the perfect way to protect a rising star who wasn't quite ready to become a world champion? Imagine Ryback running through the field in a Championship Scramble, racking up multiple pinfalls before a savvy heel snipes the final pinfall at the last second. In 20 minutes there is immense heat on the heel while the babyface is kept strong.
It's like the visual pinfall on steroids. No pun intended.
The Championship Scramble was a hair before its time. Twitter had not yet taken off to the level it is now, nor had WWE given its Lennie Small embrace to the social media giant.
Had the match occurred in era of Twitter, think of the multiple trending topics within one match following each interim championship pinfall. Social media influence alone could have been enough to make WWE to change its tune when it came to eventually scrapping the scramble.
With some fine-tuning, maybe WWE will see the value of such a potentially exciting match. But for all intents and purposes, the WWE Championship Scramble went too soon.
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