Is Sports Entertainment on Life Support? Part 4: Prestige of WWE Titles
Throughout sports entertainment history, a common misconception has been shared by a group of wrestling fanatics regarding to what adds prestige to a company title, whether it’s a top-tier, mid-card, or a women’s division championship.
This erroneous belief shared by a few select individuals is often brought up during the discussion pertaining to the ongoing title changes in the industry today.
To some, it is the length of the reign that a wrestler has which not only proves his supremacy in the industry, but also adds another great portion of history to the already reputable championship.
To others, it is the number of memorable moments that a wrestler creates during his possession of the title that matters most.
And in so doing, they tend to overlook the frequent title swaps that might occur and be inclined to instead count the number of memorable matches and feuds that came to fruition during the wrestler’s tenure.
Judging by the above-mentioned categorization, the first group is to be quite perturbed by the recent series of unfortunate events that have caused a downward spiral of interest for the aforementioned group of people.
The second group might also be quite agitated with the recent roller coaster of title exchanges, and it might not welcome nor appreciate the lack of remarkable feuds and matches that leave you awestruck, flabbergasted, and speechless.
What is understood by the endless discontentment towards the wrestling program of today is that both parties are unsatisfied by the hoopla that is caused by the hot potato exchange of championships between several superstars, whether it is a vicious cycle or between entirely new faces.
The reason for this is clear—it brings in ratings. At the moment, that means more than building cornerstones of today’s wrestling industry.
A quick title change, be it between a face and heel, is going to get even the most bored fan interested, and lead them to think: “Where are they going with this?”
Wrestling fans sometimes joke around that the creative team is under the impression that we, as wrestling fans, have a limited attention span.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s quite the opposite.
What wrestling aficionados everywhere are desperate to see are wrestling feuds that build, lead to a climax, and the eventual blow off match that ends the feud.
A good example of a well-executed, short-term rivalry would be between CM Punk and the recently liberated Jeff Hardy.
The question we have to ask ourselves at this transition era in professional wrestling is: How do we bring back the prestige that has so often been linked to championships?
The most common solution that people will say is long title reigns. While the answer isn’t exactly laced with logic and forethought for today’s market, it does speak volumes for what the fans really want to see.
The answer isn’t an outstandingly long reign, because it is quite impractical in this day and age of fast-paced, technology aided, and nonstop world of professional wrestling.
Without a solid, bankable star that will draw a crowd like established veterans like Michaels, a long title reign is out of the question, although a reign of more than five months would be more than welcomed once in a while.
I’m almost certain that Hardy's fans would have stuck through that amount of time, regardless of who he feuded with.
The structure of the main event would perturb even the simplest-minded Tommy, in the sense that it’s mixed with both surprising returns, ring veterans and the odd triple threat match once in a while.
Blame can be placed on the lack of a long-term booking plan, but then again, no one can foresee injuries and suspensions.
Another possibility is to continue to have the veterans mix it up with the rising stars in order to give them a big rub when they successfully defend the title against them.
The problem with the above suggestion is that what’s missing is that one rising star who has all it takes to not only feud with the likes of The Undertaker, but to take the fight to them.
The answer is quite simple. Yet without a plethora of great talent that is both skilled in the ring and on the microphone, it's quite impossible to put into motion.
The only way left to turn to is to provide us with classic wrestling matches from two competitors in an intense feud in the ring, going head-to-head.
It’s the formula that’s worked so far, but can it be tweaked?
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