Should the WWE Change Its Championship Structure?
Let me start off by saying that this article has absolutely nothing to do with the WWE Champion Sheamus. I've said what I needed to say about that a couple of articles ago, and I have made my peace with that whole storyline.
No, this is an article about all the championships currently in World Wrestling Entertainment. Currently, WWE has a total of eight championship belts between the three brands (nine, if you count the unified tag belts as two separate titles).
Some people out there believe that this number is too high. Others feel WWE should add another belt so more wrestlers are utilized.
I myself, have gone on record as saying that I would like to see another belt (i.e. Cruiserweight or Light-Heavyweight Championship) added to ECW because of the lack of titles on the brand.
I haven't changed this opinion, but an article I read a few weeks back by Jim Campbell (Time to Evolve WWE and TNA) really got me thinking about how titles are structured in WWE. This led me to wonder if any of them make sense?
I'll start with the Unified Tag Team Championship. I believe it makes sense because currently, WWE really doesn't have enough tag teams to compete for more than one title. I mean, how many true (not two guys thrown together for a few weeks, only to be broken up) tag teams are in WWE?
First is Jerishow, the former champs, which, if they don't win this Monday, will be broken up. Next we have DX, the current champs. Then we have The Hart Dynasty, who seem to be the future of the division.
Next we have Legacy, which WWE seems to use more as Randy Orton's lackeys than tag team competitors. Finally, we have Cryme Tyme, a tag team we see once every few weeks. I think it's safe to say, that WWE was right in unifying the belts.
Next, we have the Women's and Divas Championship's respectively. These two kind of make sense, simply because, only two of the three brands actually have enough women to make a division. (Sorry to Katie Lea & Rosa Mendes, the only two divas on ECW.)
Personally, I would like to see the WWE take a page out of TNA's book and create a Women's Tag Team Championship. This would make more sense, seeing as, every week there is always some sort of divas tag match.
After these belts, however, is where the confusion begins. One glaring problem is the fact that the WWE considers both the WWE Championship & The World Heavyweight titles as the company's top prize.
How can you have one company (WWE), with three separate brands (Raw, Smackdown & ECW) and have two belts as the top prize. I mean, I'm no math major but, you don't need a calculator to know that it doesn't add up.
Now, I know ECW has their own championship, but does anyone honestly believe that the WWE considers it a top championship anymore? Back in 2007, after Undertaker won the Royal Rumble, we saw him on RAW. He was there to decide who he was going to face at Wrestlemania.
His choices included the ECW Champion, which was probably the peak of the championship's importance in WWE. Since then the WWE has made decisions that have diminished the belt (like making it silver).
Its depreciated value was evident, especially over a month ago at the "Breakthrough Battle Royal." This was a tournament with the stipulation that all the participants could not have previously been a world champion (aside from Randy Orton).
If the ECW Championship is a top championship, then why were former ECW champion's Mark Henry and Jack Swagger allowed to compete? Also, there was no participation from any current ECW wrestlers. These actions told us just how the WWE currently regards the ECW title.
Another problem with the two top prizes are their respective names. First you have the WWE championship. This championship dates all the way back to 1963. Back then, it made sense to have one belt, when the WWE (formerly WWWF) was one promotion with no brands.
Once the brand extension was introduced, the idea of having one top belt for two brands to share no longer made sense (especially since WWE had acquired a lot of wrestlers when they bought WCW and ECW).
With all the extra talent and the addition of a second brand, WWE needed to create another top championship for wrestlers to compete for.
Of course, this is the reason the WWE created The World Heavyweight Championship, which just added to the confusion.
This confusion is also rooted in its name: The World Heavyweight Championship. Last time I checked, the WWE didn't have a heavyweight division.
In fact, since the Cruiserweight Championship was retired, the WWE doesn't have any weight divisions. This explains why we see Rey Mysterio competing for the "Heavyweight Championship."
A heavyweight in other sports such as MMA or boxing is traditionally a title with a weight class of no less than 200 lbs. Last I checked, Rey Mysterio is no where close to 200 lbs.
If WWE wants a Heavyweight Championship, then they would need to use a system of weight classes for championships. This could work, but it would mean that the WWE would have to retire many titles in the company.
Two titles that would definitely have to go are United States Championship and Intercontinental Championship. Personally, I don't have a problem with this because really, what does it mean to be a US or Intercontinental champion?
The US & IC titles are both regarded as secondary titles according to Wikipedia. OK, so this leaves me with a question, What good is giving a guy a title that is considered secondary? I thought that winning a championship meant you were the best at something.
You see, because the WWE has not made divisions for any of their men's singles titles, then one is left questioning the value of winning a secondary title. Does winning one of these titles mean that your the second-best in your respective brand?
If this was the case, then logic would dictate that the winner of the US or IC championship would be in line to get a shot at the top guy on their brand, right? This of course, very rarely if ever happens, as No. 1 contenders are usually non-title holders.
So depending on the amount of contenders for the top prize in a title match, this makes the US or IC champ anywhere from the third- to fifth-best wrestler, on their respective brand.
I don't know about you, but which would you rather be? The best in my division or the third- to fifth-best wrestler on my brand, who wont get a shot at the “top prize” anytime soon? Gee, that's a tough one.
If the WWE decided to go the weight class route,then I believe four weight classes could be created based on the WWE's current roster: Cruiserweight, Light-Heavyweight, Heavyweight & Super-Heavyweight.
The Cruiserweight division would be any wrestlers 220lbs or under. Next would be the Light-Heavyweight division which would consist of wrestlers 221-235 lbs. Then you would have the Heavyweight division which would be wrestlers 236-255 lbs. Finally, you would have your Super-Heavyweight division that would be any wrestlers 256 lbs. and over.
Based on the current WWE roster, here is how the wrestlers would be divided.(weights based on WWE.com bio's)
The Great Khali
David Hart Smith
Jimmy Wang Yang
Kung Fu Naki
Slam Master J
Based on these divisions, you could probably create two Super Heavyweight, Heavyweight and Light-heavyweight titles, with one Cruiserweight belt. In total, that would be seven men's singles belt between three brands and 10 championship belts in WWE.
This could yield new rivalries and would help prevent so many wrestlers from getting buried and forgotten. Also, if promoted properly, would mean PPV's with a main event of a Cruiserweight Championship would be just as important as a PPV with a Super-Heavyweight Championship main event. This in turn would mean the same titles wouldn't have to be defended every few weeks, allowing wrestlers to take time off.
However, no system is without its stumbling blocks. This system would result in the demise of many championships that have a lot of history.
It would also mean that the WWE would have to relinquish any men's singles title with the WWE name on it, including The WWE Championship.
This would need to be done in order to make each brand as important as the next. Having a company wide title exclusive to one brand, would be seen as making one brand superior to the other two.
Now, maybe WWE wants to have an a, b, & c show, but if you have the best wrestlers competing for the top belt on one show, then what's the point of watching the other two?
WWE could get around this by having one title per weight class and float the titles between each of the three brands. This, of course, would raise the question if four singles belts are enough between three brands?
Finally, the WWE could use some other kind of divisional method (i.e. hardcore or Age division). This, too, would probably result in the end of belts that have history in the company.
So I ask you Bleacher readers, what do you think? Should the WWE overhaul their title picture?
Would adding some kind of divisional-based systems be best, or, should they just leave the status quo? Do any of my idea's make sense or am I completely off base? Comments are welcome.
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