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ejorbit

Subtle Shift: The Value of Titles

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Entry 5.

Before I get into the meat of this blog, I’d like to establish three important dates:

1) 4/26/09 – Backlash – The last time John Cena held/challenged for the World Heavyweight Championship (at least on ppv). This would also mark the end of the World Heavyweight Championship being Raw exclusive.
2) 10/3/10 – Hell in a Cell – The last time a World Heavyweight Championship match headlined a ppv.
3) 8/29/11 – The unofficial end of the brand split as RAW becomes a “supershow.”

Fun Fact: Did you know…. Santino Marella, over the course of 2 reigns, has held the intercontinental title for a combined 162 days? That’s good for 29th on a list of 70 men (and one woman).

Alrighty, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk titles. Championships. Straps. Belts. Gold. That thing that wraps snuggly around your waist (depending on the waist). A piece of hardware that once meant the world and now means…. A bit less.

I’ve always been a firm believer that titles are overrated, at least by fans. After years of conditioning, we’ve been led to believe that a title can make or break a career. You’re either a champ or a chump. You’re either surging to the top or lying face down at the bottom of the pile. We’ve been taught that titles are a gateway to immortality, a symbol that will secure you a seat among legends in the hall of fame.

But…. Didn’t The Great Khali hold the WHC. For like…. 61 days? Oh yeah, and Swagger had it for 82. And Kane, Jesus, he had it for 154 days. Cena? Yeah, he held it too. Two reigns that lasted a combined 105 days. That’s right, John Cena, the face of the WWE, the man who’s held the WWE Championship for 1149 days and counting, held the WHC for a cup of coffee and a smoke. Wait a minute…. Now that I think about it, it’s like the WHC is worth less then the WWE title. Like it’s meant for mid carders who are trying to get over the hump…. It’s like it’s….

The intercontinental title.

[Note: Sorry to all the Ziggler fans that think he’s finally hit the big time].

Or, you know, the old intercontinental title. Not the one Curtis Axel happens to hold around his imperfect (heh) waist. Let’s not forget the US title. I’m pretty sure that still exists too. Those titles, while historically significant, have lost a fair bit of their luster over time. They’ve both fallen to the level of…. The European title? The cruiserweight title? The light heavyweight title? The hardcore title? Pick one.

So why, why has this happened? I’ll give you two reasons. First, in the era of limited wrestling exposure, titles weren’t tossed around like a hacky sack. However, in the modern day…. Well, Alberto Del Rio is a four-time heavyweight champion. Secondly, and this is crucial, titles don’t make stars. They can raise a wrestler’s stock a point or two but that’s about it. No title has ever turned a run of the mill jobber into a wrestling prince.

Look at Steve Austin. He was the most over guy in the company from Wrestlemania 13-Wrestlmania 17 and he would have come pretty damn near that peak even if he never became champ. Why? Cause he got himself over with his roughneck in-ring style, his DTA attitude, and his top caliber promos. Great wrestlers will always find a way to be great, titles only accentuate that point.

I use this example all the time but Jake Roberts never held a title in the WWF. All time great Ted DiBiase never (officially) won the WWF title. Neither did hall of famer Ricky Steamboat. Yet, we hold these men (and many others) in high regard because of the impressions they left on the business. Everyone should keep that in mind whenever Ryback gets his courtesy title reign.

Thank you for Reading. Feel free to leave praise, constructive feedback, or troll. If you're going to troll though, please have some style.

Song of the Day: One Brick by Aesop Rock

Wrestling Move of the Day: Inverted Shoulderbreaker

Cheers.

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Updated 07-08-2013 at 11:42 AM by ejorbit

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Comments

  1. Kajmere's Avatar
    As far as Ziggler goes, I think 2-3 additional IC title runs could have made the biggest difference in his career. Instead, they tried to make him go zero to hero. I say demote him to midcard status for several months to a year, then have him return to the WHC scene with a force. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on DZ, just trying to think of a way to salvage his character's credibility.
  2. scribbler_jones's Avatar
    You know... I do agree with a lot that your blog has to say. True, titles are meant to draw attention, to highlight a character. But titles for the sake of titles is nigh-pointless. I look at it this way: people like Ric Flair or John Cena can say they were (insert championship here) for (insert number of title reigns here) but to me, that just says that they lost the title so many times. Main difference in this example is that Ric Flair is one of the greats. Point here: titles and title reigns alone do very little for a career in the grand scheme of things.

    As for the performers who only held one or two titles in their careers - or even none - you have to be one awesome son-of-a-gun to have a career like Jake Roberts or his ilk. I wish there were more of a focus in WWE on developing those kind of characters - characters that really connect with the viewers, that really stay with them... without needing some form of "justification" in the form of a title belt.

    After all... not all that glitters is gold.
  3. TheGreatOne's Avatar
    Do you need a title to be great? No! Do you need the WWE title to be called the best? Hell yea!

    Yea, we have some exceptions that havn't won a midcard title before winning the big one. However, several do win a midcard title before winning the big one. I don't see the US or IC titles less than the European title. I'm high on the guys who are holding those belts. It is different when the guys who are holding it arn't high on my list.
  4. weems's Avatar
    This is a great blog. I couldn't agree with you more. In fact, it has inspired me to write a blog about the current title situation and why it sucks.
  5. ejorbit's Avatar
    First, thanks everyone for reading. I hope you enjoyed the piece, whether or not you agreed with my opinion.

    @Kajmere: I agree that Ziggler has been a victim of the classic start/stop push. But with his (current) inability to cut a memorable promo, I understand WWE's reluctance. Like I said, I see the WHC as having the same value as the old IC title so hopefully that helps him get over the hump.

    @Scibbler_Jones: I'll say this for Cena, even though he doesn't need the WWE title, his constant drive to be champion makes that title important. Part of the reason the WHC has lost so much credibility is because the #1 (and #2 really) guy in the company has no interest in holding it.

    @TheGreatOne: I guess the difference is, back in the day, the IC title was the final step before the WWF title. Now it's IC/US, then WHC, then WWE. I also think it hurts that the IC/US titles are considered to have the same value which actually works to reduce the value of both.
  6. ejorbit's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by weems
    This is a great blog. I couldn't agree with you more. In fact, it has inspired me to write a blog about the current title situation and why it sucks.
    Haha, thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

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