Brand Battle No. 2: The Midcard Title Scene
Note to Readers:
Welcome back to the TNA vs. WWE Brand Battle brought to you by Bleacher Report’s own Demetrus Stokes and Adam Testa.
It’s been a while, so if you forgot how this competition works, here’s a refresher course.
Through the poll on this article, you will select who makes the better argument for his respective company. Demetrus represents WWE, while Adam represents TNA.
Remember, you are voting for the better argument, not which company you believe is actually superior in this area.
In the first round of competition, Demetrus crushed Adam by a vote total of 21-9. Being the TNA conspiracy theorist he is, Adam’s looking for all the blind haters who just pushed the WWE button.
Anyway, let’s get the ball back rolling with the second installment of this Brand Battle, one in which Demetrus and Adam will debate the mid-card title scenes of professional wrestling’s two major competitors.
Adam’s Case for TNA:
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling separates itself from its competition by not having a true mid-card title.
Stars in World Wrestling Entertainment build themselves and test their championship caliber by holding the Intercontinental or U.S. titles, but stars in TNA have to prove their worth without the benefits of a mid-card title.
One would likely be hard pressed to find someone who could honestly say that holding a belt like the two aforementioned ones automatically gains a wrestler either popularity (for babyface characters) or heat (for the heels).
Stars in TNA, for the most part, must build the credentials themselves without the easy route of adding gold around their shoulder. This forces the superstars to grow their skills and their talent rather than using a mid-card title as a crutch.
The closest thing TNA has to a mid-card title is the X Division Championship. But, many future world champions don’t fit the “no limits” characteristics of that division’s championship.
Breakout stars like James Storm and Hernandez would look out of place with the X Division title around their waist, though stars like Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle proved they could live up to the slogan, “It’s not about weight limits, it’s about no limits.”
While the X Division title has helped develop past, and likely future, world champions like A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels, it cannot be used as the only evaluating factor of TNA’s mid-card scene.
The company is also sitting on gold with the Legends Championship.
Introduced by Booker T as a gimmick title, only he and Styles have held the belt. Many have called for it to be eliminated from the company, but it would be more sensible for the company to use it to promote “future legends” and help legitimate legends like Mick Foley and Sting put over younger stars.
Once the Main Event Mafia storyline ends and Styles is ready to move on to bigger things, likely including the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, the Legends title can become another mid-card title for the company.
Guys like Eric Young, Storm, and Robert Roode could have feuds over the belt with Sting, Jeff Jarrett, Kurt Angle, and other veterans of the industry that call TNA home.
If used properly, the belt could become a crucial part of building stars as long as it doesn’t fall into the position of being a crutch to just help get mediocre talent over with the crowd.
Reserving the title for stars with solid in-ring and mic skills would prevent it from becoming a crutch for these stars, but would also allow some of the younger guys a chance to shine with gold on their wastes.
TNA is in the position to capitalize on its mid-card title scene and truly use it as a mechanism to develop new stars. With the X Division keeping fans entertained and building the high-flying, fast-paced stars of tomorrow’s main event scene, the Legends title could also build future heavyweight stars.
While no one may be able to claim being a nine-time mid-card champion like in the WWE, no one on the TNA roster needs a claim like that to carry their gimmick through to fruition.
Demetrus’ Case for WWE:
Adam makes the case that TNA separates themselves from the competition by not having a mid-card title.
He is absolutely correct.
Not having a mid-card title leaves the current stars in a “bottomless pit” with no hopes of getting out.
What can a mid-card star in TNA hope to obtain while they stay stuck in the mid-card and the Fogey’s run rough shot over TNA?
What goals do they have?
Of course they want to be World Champion, but, with Mic Foley, Sting, and Jeff Jarrett in the main event of every Pay-Per-View and airing of Impact, will it ever happen?
One could hope that TNA brass pairs them up with another down and out mid-carder, make an awkward tag team, and battle for a trophy and $100,000!
Give them a mid-card title to fight for, and at least the TNA mid-carder will feel some sense of accomplishment.
Look at Chris Jericho’s victory at Extreme Rules.
He won the Intercontinental title for a record ninth time.
That is a huge accomplishment.
That is a Hall of Fame worthy accomplishment.
The IC Title and US Title are rich with history. Classic matches have been held with these two prestigious titles at stake.
Most of the current WWE stars in the main event picture have held the IC or US Title at some point in their career, which proves that winning a mid-card title will get you somewhere.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule (See Shelton Benjamin), but at least you know at some point the WWE’s new stars will be pushed from mid-card to main event status.
You’re not so sure in TNA.
The Legends Championship is pretty much an after thought as AJ Styles has been the champ for quite some time and rarely defends the title.
You don’t hear any TNA star say they hope to become Legends Champion.
They may say I want to become TNA World Champion, but it’s hard to climb out of a bottomless pit.
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