The Fall of the WWE Championship Belts
The WWE Championship has changed hands four times since January this year. That's insane, but WWE have been playing hot potato with all their championship belts for a long time.
So another WWE pay-per-view down and yet another WWE title change. Randal Orton held the belt for all of a month after he beat Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania (who also only held it for a month) and at Backlash he dropped it to Jinder Mahal; a man with no build-up and next to no momentum behind him.
The reason for this is obvious. The WWE are trying to break into the Indian market and by putting the most prestigious title their company has on an Indian wrestler, it may offer just a little extra help in ensuring the brand becomes a big hit. But what they have inadvertently done is lowered the prestige of the WWE title by playing pass the parcel with it.
The last wrestler who had an amazing run with the belt was AJ Styles and he worked his southern ass to the bone to build up both the Smackdown brand and also the prestige off the belt after the WWE put it on Roman Reigns. Before him, we had Seth Rollins, who carried the belt for an insane run before injury halted it in its tracks and he has since struggled to regain any kind of momentum over on Raw.
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But what the WWE are doing is killing everything it means to be a champion in order to do what they think is best for business. The last time this kind of thing happened was during The Attitude Era, but it didn’t really matter too much then because you had explosive characters such as The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and possibly one of the best heels in WWE history, Vince McMahon. The WWE brand was built on the fantastic promos and i- ring ability these men had. The WWE of today doesn’t have anyone anywhere near as charismatic as The Rock and so they must rely on intelligent booking and well-written feuds to make them stand out, just like Lucha Underground has succeeded in doing.
The WWE Championship title is maybe one of the best known and easily recognised belts in the industry. Every wrestler’s dream is to grab this title as it used to mean that you had made it to the top of the mountain and you were the best the company had to offer. But after having four champions in such a short space of time, it’s starting to feel like a belt you can grab from a toy store.
The WWE also did the same thing with their newest title, the Universal Championship. They took the belt off of Kevin Owens, who was doing a fantastic job, and gave it to Goldberg just so they could push the sales of their video game, WWE 2K17. Brock Lesnar then demolished Goldberg at Wrestlemania, meaning that the belt has been held by two part-timers in quick succession. The big red belt was already struggling and if I’m being honest, it is maybe the least prestigious belt in the wrestling industry (aside from the TNA title, of course).
The same can also be said for the US title. When Cena nabbed it from Rusev, he worked hard to rebuild the belt, making the secondary title on Raw feel like it was the stepping stone it had always been before you were given a shot at the real gold. Then they gave it Reigns, which was just incredibly stupid, before Kevin Owens and Jericho played hot potato with it with Jericho departing shortly after to concentrate on Fozzy.
The Intercontinental Championship remains the only belt to be worth a damn in the industry and that is down to the incredible heel run from The Miz. If I was to go for any belt the WWE has, I would pick that one, because I would feel honoured to carry the belt.
Passing the belt around the locker room to increase the market share and the brand name may work in the short-term, but long-term, it is going to have a serious detrimental effect on both the company and the wrestlers that hold the belt.