After the announcement of WWE’s brand split returning with RAW and SmackDown having their own exclusive rosters once again, many fans (including myself) are excited about the possibilities and the fresh change in direction for the company. Many questions have been left unanswered pertaining to the division of the company’s roster however, including what will be done with the WWE’s championships. The WWE Universe has debated the options all over social media, but for this guy, I don’t think anything needs to be done with the titles. The championship landscape is not something that should be tinkered with in my opinion. Keep it simple. Rumors of the United States and Intercontinental Championships being kept exclusively to separate shows is a great idea, as well as the rumor of having the Tag Team Champions appear on both. The rest of what I’ve heard though, doesn’t sound pleasing to me.
Benefits Of One World Champion
Everything is all rumors and speculation at this point, but early reports are looking like there will once again be two World Champions and I couldn’t disagree more with this move. We all know that splitting the roster in half gives more opportunity to more talents, however that also opens up more spots that will need to be filled with either stars from NXT or from outside of the company. We’ve seen two World Titles once before and long term, it did not work out. One was always more important than the other, the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship trading-off that spot from 2002-2013. However, near the end of that run the World Heavyweight Championship was much less meaningful before it was merged with the WWE Title. Which brings up another good point, we just merged the World Titles a little over 2 years ago. The bigger reason to keep one World Champion is being able to have them work both RAW and SmackDown. What if a shows roster becomes depleted due to injuries like we’ve seen over the past year? Having your World Champion work both shows allows you to bring in a fresh face or help fill a void without seeking an outside source. For example, if Roman Reigns was a RAW Superstar, you’d get to see him on both shows for as long as he’s got the title. If he were to lose to say, SmackDown’s Seth Rollins, now you get to have Seth on RAW, making it feel more refreshing. It expands the possibilities and options of challengers, whereas if you have a World Champion for each show, they are limited to opponents from only their show’s roster. This gives us the same matches over and over again and only breeds the creative bacteria known as “stale”.
Additionally, using that same scenario where Reigns is on RAW and Rollins is on SmackDown, this would allow for nights where the champion’s not needed on RAW because his story line is developing on SmackDown. This could be construed as a negative in Monday night programming for the duration of that angle, but it would give a chance for the show’s mid-card title, whether it be the US or IC, to have a brighter spotlight. You could use this opportunity to put that championship in main events to fill that gap, making it much more important to that show while adding to the “different” and “exclusive” feel that is the entire point of a brand split.
The Women’s Championship Should Not Be Exclusive
Another early report states that the talk right now is the WWE Women’s Championship would be exclusive to one show, similar to the United States or Intercontinental straps. Horrible idea that makes absolutely no sense to me. Does this mean you will only have women’s wrestlers on one show as well? You certainly could not have them on a show with no championship to work towards, as a company you’d be putting yourself into a creative corner without having that story line option in your pocket. It would also completely diminish everything that the WWE and the female Superstars have been working towards over the past 12 months, shedding the ‘Diva’ moniker and becoming a more important part of the program. You’d be trying to squeeze all of them onto one show, possibly only a two hour show if it were SmackDown, giving them less time to get on-screen. A major step backwards. Additionally, just like having one World Champion, this too would allow you to bring a fresh face over to either show whenever there’s a new titleholder.
A Cruiserweight Title Pigeon-Holes Smaller Performers
There have been no credible sources even mentioning the chance of bringing back the Cruiserweight Championship, it’s only been social media, but again this is another thought that doesn’t add up. There’s no need for a Cruiserweight division, WWE has never done justice to a “lighter weight” championship for any number of reasons. It’s just a fact that historically, it never works for them. This idea is merely the brainchild of many-a-fan’s nostalgic thoughts of how great WCW’s Cruiserweight division was in the late 90’s. While I agree that it was entertaining as all hell, it completely painted those performers into a category that the vast majority of them never got out of. Some broke through the glass ceiling, but it took years of work and a shift to another company before any reached main event status (Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero). In case anybody forgot, the original stipulation for being a Cruiserweight competitor was under 230 pounds. This certainly could be altered, but this is more of a niche style of wrestling that has predominantly become common nowadays. Laboring big guys don’t work in this day and age, just look at the Superstars on the roster that fit into that under-23o category of a Cruiserweight; 25 of them in total just on the main roster including Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn, Neville, AJ Styles, Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho. If you want to add in NXT, it grows even further with names like Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Austin Aries, and Hideo Itami. For the late 90’s a Cruiserweight division worked because the wrestling landscape was still mainly dominated by “giants”, but that’s no longer the case. If you want to see a Cruiserweight division, check out the Cruiserweight Classic coming to the WWE Network.
Less Is More, Too Many Belts Is A Snore
“Bring back the European Title!”, “Bring back the Hardcore Championship!”, “Bring back the Television Belt!”. No! No! No! WWE Universe members have also been making these kinds of statements and suggestions like the previous one, but I’d rather take a Bronco Buster from Mae Young. And not to be distasteful, but I mean from her now. Bringing back any number of these championships only dilutes your United States and Intercontinental Titles that are being put to separate shows. These are the two most historical, mid-card titles in wrestling history, bar-none. Additional mid-card titles are not needed and flooding the market with championships, historically, makes them all less important. At one point in 2001 after WCW was purchased and their stars filtered in for the Invasion angle, your list of championships in the company was: WWF Championship, WCW Championship, WWF Intercontinental, WCW United States, WWF Tag Team, WCW Tag Team, WWF European, WWF Hardcore, WCW Cruiserweight, WWF Light Heavyweight, WWF Women’s. Way too much and totally unnecessary. I don’t even need to delve into why each individual belt isn’t needed because honestly, while the WCW TV Title had some historical value at one point in its life, it became a joke by the end and had lost all credibility. Credibility that the European or Hardcore titles never really had to begin with. Somebody tell me when the European or Hardcore Title was EVER important? I’ll give you $1.
I’m urging the WWE to not go overboard with their titles because of the brand split. The title pictures are just fine, allowing all of them to swap between shows (except the US and IC) allows you to continuously have new interactions and dream match scenarios without breaking the “exclusivity” of the roster or having to do a redraft every year. It gives you a lot more options in terms of story lines, developing talent in NXT and not having to be desperate to sign stars from outside of the company. Leave the damn championships alone!