Squared Circle: WWE World CHUMPions and The Value Of Their Reigns
For those of you old enough to remember think back to WWE in 2001. More specifically remember the Invasion angle and the mini-feud between Booker T and Rob Van Dam that developed in the build up to Survivor Series 2001. The feud itself was only fodder to the big WWE vs. Alliance story but there was an excellent line given by RVD when Booker T gave his usually, at the time anyway, five time WCW chant.
"Wow. That's actually impressive. You've lost the WCW Championship FIVE times."
I may have not quoted that to the word but the message gets across. Citing your former glories in the professional wrestling business is a double-edged blade. Yes it looks impressive that you won so many titles but when you have lost them they are no longer relevant. They are mementos of the past, glories of days gone by, and some other classy sentimental saying that I can not think of right now. So basically what I am saying is that the world championships in WWE are worthless right? Wrong. The reigns are worthless even if the title belt itself has quite a lot of prestige.
How can a belt, like the WWE championship, that has been held by greats such as Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels etc. be considered worthless? As I said the belts have prestige but the reigns are not worth anything and I'll show you why.
This is a list of he last ten WWE Championship reigns
Batista (7th June 2009) 2 Days
Randy Orton (15th June 2009) 90 Days
John Cena (13th September 2009) 21 Days
Randy Orton (4th October 2009) 21 Days
John Cena (25th October 2009) 49 Days
Sheamus (13th December 2009) 70 Days
John Cena (21st February 2010) 0 Days
Batista (21st February 2010) 35 Days
John Cena (28th March 2010) 84 Days
Sheamus (20th June 2010) 64 Days (As of 24th August 2010)
So out of the last ten reigns only once has someone reached the three month mark. Four didn't even make a month, heck one of Cena's lasted seconds. The worst thing is that there are only four names amongst this list so the changes have been pointless. They haven't boosted anyone's status within the company and no one will ever look back at any of these reigns and think of a time any particular man dominated. Maybe it will be known as the Cena couldn't stop being in the main event despite needing time away to refresh the scene era (catchier name pending).
What about the other world championship though? Ah yes the other world championship, the rather uninspired titled World Heavyweight Championship (although Heavyweight is dropped at convenience).
Yes let’s look at the last ten reigns for that championship.
Edge (26th April 2009) 42 Days
Jeff Hardy (7th June 2009) 0 Days
CM Punk (7th June 2009) 49 Days
Jeff Hardy (26th July 2009) 28 Days
CM Punk (23rd August 2009) 42 Days
The Undertaker (4th October 2009) 140 Days
Chris Jericho (21st February 2010) 37 Days
Jack Swagger (30th March 2010) 82 Days
Rey Mysterio (20th June 2010) 28 Days
Kane (18th July 2010) 37 Days (As of 24th August 2010)
Not as terrible but still pretty dire. At least Undertaker had the belt for over 100 days. Its also makes a bit more sense in this case since the names with the exception of the Punk/Hardy era keep changing. The title is seen with fresh faces that keep the title scene, if at the very least, unpredictable. At least it has something of small value that the WWE Championship lacks. All the same though there are a lot of reigns that don't make the three month mark.
The creative team is to blame in this case. They don't know how to keep a story going or even gets people to notice a story unless the championship changes hands. If you think about it three months is the average length for a World Championship storyline in WWE. Win the belt, defend it in the rematch and then lose it to the next opponent. Or Win the belt, defend it against some one new and lose it back to John Cena. See whilst Cena may be remember for his nine championship reigns there’s no value to them. What has happened during any title reign recently that you think will become a timeless moment. This is the biggest damage the short title reigns are causing.
There will be no more moments such as Hulk Hogan body slamming Andre The Giant, a moment that defined Hogan's first title reign. There will be no Bret Hart being hoisted high above the WWE wrestlers for defeating the seemingly unstoppable Yokozuna. There will be no Shawn Michaels screwing Bret Hart out of the WWE Championship in Montreal. No Austin/McMahon handshake. There will be no memorable moments for World championship matches all the while the creative team think a title change is all that is required to do their job.
If the creative team don't start putting the extra effort into their work a terrible fate awaits the memory of WWE in reference to the early 21st century. There will be nothing to reference to. Maybe in the very first few years the last bit of the 20th century was used up but there will soon be a void that could have easily been filled if wrestlers were allowed to run with the title for a few months more. Cena vs. Orton should have seen Orton retain countless times before Cena finally got the pay off and then he could have run with a decent length reign. Both would have looked good and occasionally new challengers and break the flow thus keeping a reign going for six to twelve months (even more if it is a good run). I know he prospect of Cena being champion for a year is not a likeable option for many fans but this is what the world championships need a long reign with someone a majority of the fans can get behind (e.g. Orton would be damn popular with his current push).
But then again I am only one man with his opinion. That’s why I openly invite people to come and discuss the current state of World Championships in WWE and share their opinion. Who would you like to see have a year long title reign if you could choose? Who could pull it off? How often should a title change hands in a year?
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