For 69 days, Dolph Ziggler was World Heavyweight champion. Outside of that short period of time, Alberto Del Rio has held the title throughout 2013, defeating challenger after challenger and tossing his name into consideration for Wrestler of the Year honors.
One of the most consistent in-ring performers on the roster, the second-generation Superstar can be counted on to deliver quality title matches on television and pay-per-view events.
The length of Del Rio’s title reign, coupled with the fact that no one Superstar has been presented as a legitimate threat to the championship, has created a stagnant nature to the championship picture.
There has been no measurable excitement for any of Del Rio’s recent title defenses and interest in the Mexican-born Superstar is incredibly low. That is not to say that it is his fault. After all, with the entire creative team’s focus on the WWE title feud and the abuse-of-power storyline currently dominating television, there has been little build to justify any interest in the champion or his challengers.
While it would not make up for the lack of creativity or intrigue surrounding the title, a Rob Van Dam win at Sunday’s Battleground would bring with it a freshness that has not accompanied the World Heavyweight Championship since Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and won it the night after WrestleMania 29.
Would Van Dam make a better champion than Del Rio has? Probably not. In fact, the decided lack of worthy heel challengers would probably lead to a series of rematches and the continued absence of any real reason to care about the feud.
It would serve only two functions: to add to Van Dam’s long and decorated Hall of Fame worthy resume and to give WWE an event to pretend it meant something in the long run.
Despite its lack of long-term importance, it would revive a division that has fallen into a black hole of excitement and give fans a champion they are actually invested in, regardless of creative support.
Del Rio has been a solid champion for the company, delivering in the ring and carrying himself as a true champion would. But change is needed, and that change should come Sunday at Battleground.
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